Choking, I look down. At the bottom of the tower, a figure is waving up at me.
“Hey. I’m here to save you!” is the shouted explanation.
I sniff and wipe my tears away. I can’t believe I was crying! Honestly, how much of a wimp am I?
“Who are you?” I call down. It sounds like my vocal chords have been ripped across a sheet of sandpaper; the tough kind that is used to tame a lump of stubborn metal.
From here, I can’t make out much of my ‘rescuer’, especially as the sun is sinking below the trees and shadows fill the outside world. From the sound of it, my visitor is a man. What am I, a damsel in distress? Because I’ve been leaning out the window, my hair has dried in the wrong direction and is covering my face. I blow it out of my eyes, feeling a tad indignant; I can rescue myself, thank you very much.
“And what makes you think I need saving?” I shout. “My hair isn’t long enough to pull you up. Rapunzel’s probably in the next tower.”
I chuckle at my amazing wit. Oh ho-ho, someone should find me a stage. That said, my situation is remarkably similar to Rapunzel’s.
“Look! Can we do all this later? Zibruxia won’t be gone for long and I’m sure she won’t be happy to return to find us exchanging pleasantries,” the man replies. “So how about you find something you can use as a rope so you can get out of this little mess you’ve made for yourself?”
Oh my, did I just hear that right? What nerve! I have made no mess. This is entirely down to other people interfering with me. No, I am not taking the blame for this. I open my mouth to tell him just this, but then I think again. Having a shouting match out of a tower window isn’t really my style and besides, Zibruxia might hear me. If I’m honest, I need this guy’s help and arguing with him over little details will only land me in stickier mud – possibly a higher tower.
The only things in this room that can possibly be used as rope are the bed sheets. Ha-ha, cliché or what? This is what they do in films. But as much as I’d like to be original, wanting to stand apart from the crowd isn’t going to be a great help any time soon, so I grit my teeth and rip the bed sheet into strips. I can’t bring myself to rip the embroidered blanket though – it’s too gorgeous to be destroyed for anything as trivial as an escape attempt. And besides, I can use it while on the road, so to speak.
I really hope these sheets will be long enough and strong enough to hold my immense weight after all the food I ate earlier. I knot the strips together and tie one end to the leg of the bed, which looks sturdy. I give it a tug and it holds. Looking around, I feel a pang of regret that I will doubtless spend tonight sleeping on dirt and thorns.
“One more thing!” I can’t leave without the toiletries I’ve been provided with, so I wrap them up in the embroidered blanket and throw the bundle out the window. My ‘rescuer’ dodges out of the way just in time and I back away from the window so he can’t see the grin on my face. That’ll teach him to blame me for being kidnapped.
As I hoist myself onto the window ledge, I take one last look at the circular room. That’s when I catch sight of the apple crumble, alone on the tray and congealing in its dish. A shiver runs down my spine. Or is it up my spine? Whatever. My spine shivers.
I swing my legs over the window ledge. Oh my giddy aunt, it is mighty high up here. But I’m not going to scream because my ‘rescuer’ will hear me and I can’t be doing with any more embarrassment right now. I grip the sheet tightly and keep my eyes fixed on my hands. And then I drop from the ledge.
Thankfully, my heart jumps into my throat at the exact same moment that I scream, choking it to silence. Below, my ‘rescuer’ remains oblivious to my terror. For a moment I just swing there, paralysed with fright. Then I open my eyes and realise that I’m still alive, still holding on to the ripped-up bed sheet. I slowly place my feet on the wall of the tower and lean in, so my weight is on the wall. So far so good, the world hasn’t ended yet. I arch my back a bit and slowly lower my hands to the next knot in my self-made rope. It’s actually quite fun, as long as I don’t look down. But by the time I’ve scaled halfway down the length of the tower, I am regretting that I didn’t rip up that beautiful blanket to make my rope longer.
“It’d better be worth its weight in gold if I ever get down from here,” I grumble through gritted teeth as I dangle at the bottom of the last sheet. I am still a long way from the ground. Can I jump?
“Let go and I’ll catch you,” the man below me offers helpfully.
“Nah, I’m too heavy.” I doubt he would go to the trouble of letting me squash him when we’re not even on first name terms yet. “I’m okay just hanging around.”
“Don’t be a fool,” he protests. “I’m stronger than I look.”
Pshh, he’d better be. What I can see from this vantage point leaves much to be desired.
“What’s your name?” I ask.
“What? Not this again.”
“Just tell me your name and I’ll let you catch me.”
“Fine! My name is Ely. Now would you please let go of the… is that a ripped up bed sheet? Cliché or what?”
I grin; this guy is funny.
“Hi Ely, I’m Prue,” I say. Then I let go.
- By Amy Lisa Holmes at Alisah Creative
<- This an excerpt taken from ‘In Shengale Forest’, the first book in the ‘Prue Peppiatt’s Dreams’ series. Read the first extract here and the second here. Copyright to Amy Lisa Holmes at Alisah Creative ->