When Samuel woke up, the first thing he felt was the stone cold floor of the tower. It was made out of huge rocks that had probably being recovered from the river down below. The sounds that the water made stumbling down from the mountain could not be heard at such heights. The cold wind blew and he was finally awake to see the horror of his situation. He had been trapped and put in a tower, far away from anyone that would be able to ever rescue him from his ordeal.
Before losing his consciousness, he remembered a gentle smile and green bright eyes. He almost remembered huge yellow eyes and fire. But nothing else. Only those four things and when he put them together in his mind, they didn’t make any sense at all. It was as if he had many fragments of one story in his head but not the whole thing. He could put them in any order and try to make sense out of it, but it was useless. Even if he came up with the right idea, he wouldn’t know it.
After waking up, he walked to the balcony and saw the land beneath the tower. There was an immense forest, larger than any he had ever seen or heard of. His motherland was located near the ocean. He had seen mountains only from afar and now he was surrounded by them. He had water so close he would fish every single day with his friends, for his parents and the townspeople in general. Now, the river was only a glistening thread that sometimes shone beneath the trees.
Sam walked back to the tower’s interior and saw his new kingdom: a straw carpet on the center of the room, a bookshelf with many dusty volumes, a large wooden table with some fruit going bad on a basket on top, a chair, and a something resembling a bed but much smaller. It was uncomfortable even looking at it. Only one pillow and one thin blanket on top. It wouldn’t be enough for the nights on such a high place. The final touch was two doors: one half broken, going to the terrace, and the other made of solid metal, leading elsewhere.
He ran to the metal door. He tried to push and hit and kick the door. But nothing happened. It wouldn’t even make a sound. It was just there, impervious, being the frontier between his cell and the rest of the world. He banged at the door, crying and yelling, desperate all of a sudden after realizing some mad man had imprisoned him. He begged for his life and for his sanity but no one came. He put one of his ears against the cold metal but couldn’t hear anything besides the wind. He was probably alone in that damned tower.
Samuel tried to look for something else around the room, something to help him, but there was nothing there than what he had already seen at first glance. It was just that room, with those objects. No magic or mystical thing behind it all. For a moment, he had felt like one of those imprisoned damsels on children’s stories. But his situation was far worse than what those ladies had gone through. His captor was not even there. And he only had bad fruit to eat and nothing to drink.
He decided to grab an apple and bite a chunk out of it. He felt the need of food in his stomach and maybe it would be best for him to think with a somewhat filled stomach. But he ended up eating the whole apple. In his rage against himself, Sam threw the apple’s heart over the balcony, and looked how it fell several meters before disappearing among the trees. After he saw that, he started crying and sobbing. He was going to die for sure and he had no way to ask anyone for help.
Night fell soon enough. He closed the wrecked wooden door but it was useless, as the freezing gusts of wind entered through the huge cracks. He got into bed, with all of his clothes on, and just lay there, trying not to fell the cold that pierced through the thin blanket. Besides, it was too short, so either his feet would froze or his chest. He decided to get up and use some of the bigger books on the shelf to cover his feet. They were more dust than paper but his idea worked. However, the sadness he felt prevented him from falling asleep quickly.
From afar, he heard the noises made by the forest. He closed his eyes and tried to remember the faces of his family and friends, his adventures to the beach and how he was congratulated for a week after having caught the largest lobster ever in that area. He had been so proud and had provided for his family for a whole month because of that feat. The pride lit his heart and that made the perfect temperature to fall asleep and visit his home in his dreams. He needed it badly.
As he dreamt, he saw the yellow eyes again and the fire but he also remembered something more: a laugh. Soft, almost imperceptible, but capable to chill every single fiber of one’s being. The laughter wouldn’t stop. It got louder and louder and louder. Until the green eyes appeared, the sound of metal was heard and everything became silent and peaceful again. Then, saw a smile and felt his heart filling with heat again. But this time it wasn’t pride that was doing the job. It was something much more powerful. It was love.
Samuel woke up all of a sudden. He had felt so good but then something had changed and his eyes just opened. But no one was in that place with him. He was still alone and the wind was still entering through the rotten door. But it was day outside. Not only that. His blanket had been replaced with a thicker and larger one, with many bright colors all over. And the moldy fruit was replaced with baked goodies and fresh fruit. The books though, were still as dusty as before.
It was obvious someone had entered the room. He stood up in the middle of the room, looking for more changes, and he realized he had overlooked something very obvious: he wasn’t wearing his boots anymore. Those were outside, the sun shining bright over them. And his vest had been put on the chair next to the table, nicely folded. He could finally spot something, the only thing, out of place in the whole room: a pair of wool socks made into a ball, on the bookshelf.
He walked towards it and grabbed the ball but, just when he did it, a piece of paper fell down to the floor. The bad thing was that the damn wind pulled it over to the balcony and through the biggest crack on the wooden door. Sam raced after the paper and was able to catch it just as it was flying over the edge of the structure. He pulled back so hard out of fear that he fell on his behind, hitting the stone floor hard. He couldn’t get up so fast, so he decided to read the note first.
It was short and very concise. It read: “Nights are cold. P”. That was it. Nothing more. No explanation of who the person was or why he or she had imprisoned Samuel on that tower. Nothing more than a kind thought made into a pair of woolen socks. They were new and Sam learned they worked wonders in order to try to keep the cold at bay. But it was a pain in the butt not to know who had been there to leave that present. Not even the actual pain could put his mind to rest.
The man from the coast stayed in that tower for a long time and each night, new food and objects would appear out of nowhere. Sometimes, he would get a new book; some other times it was board games he could play by himself. He even got more clothes, all which fit perfectly.
In time, he learned to live in the tower. He doubted his host less and loss until, one day; he eventually met the person who had put him there. And the first thing he did was to cry. And then, he looked at the horizon, and knew exactly what to do.