Zacquell entered silently in his dark big room with his head faced down while walking towards his bed. He sat on the edge of his bed while folding his knees, putting it inside his shirt.
He stared at the floor while pinching his skin. He doesn't feel anything at all. He seemed blank, empty, and lifeless.
His mother died a month ago and he knew just now. His father told him that his mother died in a car accident. He wanted to be angry at him for not telling him sooner but he can't afford to. For all, he knew that he has to respect his father, for he is the one that raised him and he had no right to be angry at him.
His father is the one who caged him in this jail-like mansion. Zacquell never gets to go see the outside world, even in books or magazines. He didn't know anything about the world outside his mansion for his father won't let him. He was there inside for 24 years, living like a death in that gigantic house with middle-aged maids around him taking care of him and his mom.
His mom is the only one he can talk to. She taught him what she knows about the outside world. She is always with him, taking care of him, loving him but now that she is dead, he was left all alone.
Zacquell buried his face on his knees. He closed his eyes as his heart tightened. He felt something squeezing inside his chest, it hurts, and then tears began escaping from his eyes, sliding down on his cheeks. The only one who is always by his side was now gone and he doesn't know what to do anymore.
He missed her. Her smile, her laugh, her hugs, everything. He wanted to talk more to her, to hug her more, to say he loves her more, but she was now gone and all he could ever do is just cry and cry until he can't cry and feel anything anymore.
After hours of crying, Zacquell slept on the edge of his bed with his knees bent to his chest. He didn't move on his position, he stayed like that the whole time.
Midnight came and his maid knocked to give him food, he is still fast asleep. The maid entered carefully and put the tray on the side table. She took a glance at Zacquell who is lying on the edge of the bed and then she covered him a blanket up to his shoulder and then left.
Morning came and Zacquell woke up as the morning sunlight rested on his eyes. He got up and stretched his arms as he yawned. He looked around his room expecting his mom would be there but there isn't. Zacquell stared on the floor for a minute and then walked towards the bathroom to take a shower.
After half an hour, Zacquell walked outside the bathroom with a towel covering his waist. He was walking towards his bed while rubbing a towel on his wet hair. And he sat for a moment on his bed.
He really wanted to escape in this jail-like house made by his father. But he can't find a way. He wanted to escape with his mother but it's now late to save her, she's already dead.
His mother would always get bruises because his father would hit, slap, and punch her. He wanted to punch him so badly for hurting his mother but he is too weak to fight him. His mother would just cry and won't fight back to him. His mother suffered so much because of what his father has done.
Zacquell once begged his father to let them go but his father disagreed. He wanted them to be safe but that what confused Zacquell is, if he wants to protect them, why would he hurt his mother? And if he would ask the reason why his father wouldn't answer.
Zacquell got up and put some clothes on.
After he dressed, he walked towards the bookshelf in his room.
As he took his favorite book, a small folded paper fell on the floor. Zacquell's gaze turned onto the paper on the floor and he picked it up. His brows meet as he checked the paper.
'To Zacquell', written on the lower part of the paper, it must be a letter for him. ' Where is this from?', he asked himself.
And he opened the letter and his heart tightened. He now knew where the letter came from, from his mother. As it says, " From Mother" and also its handwriting is hers.
His heart beats so fast and he is catching his breath. He got nervous holding the paper and his hand is now shaking while holding the paper. And he slowly read the letter.
' To my son, Zacquell, How have you been? I hope you read this letter of mine. I have been hiding this letter on this shelf before I left to go with your father. I know it will take quite a long time for you to find this since you're not reading books anymore. The reason why I wrote a letter to you is to tell you things that I didn't get to tell you. I know you are suffering because of your father. He won't let you go, he won't set you free. And I didn't want that, and I know you know it.
I've always wanted you to be free and be happy outside this house. But you're mother is too weak to fight for you, and I'm sorry for that, my son. I want you to escape here. I want you to be happy, and the only way for you to be happy is to be free. You have so many things to know about the outside world, my son. There are so many things that you have to experience, feel, and people to encounter and be friends with.
And I wanted to tell you that your father had planned to arrange a marriage for you when you turn 28. That is one of the traditions in their family. That is why he has been locking you in this house because he knows that if he would let you go, you would betray him. I don't want you to marry a woman you don't love, son. That's also why I want you to escape. Escape now while it's still early. And when you escape there, find a place that you will be safe and hide from your father.
And a piece of advice for you, my son, find a reliable person there. Find the person that will help you explore the things that you didn't know in this world. Find the person who will take care of you and will be by your side no matter what happens. And choose people to be close with, don't let them hurt you and step on you. And treasure the people who will be good for you, they are worth to be kept.
And always remember that I love you. I will always pray for you. And I hope you will be safe when you escape there. Take care of yourself there. And also, I pray that you will find the girl that you will love forever and be happy with.
I love you, my son, forever and always.
-From Mother '
Zacquell' s tears started dropping from his eyes after he read what his mother wanted him to know. Her mother always protected him from his father. He didn't know that this is what his father had planned. He wanted him to marry a woman whom he never knew and love? He can't believe him. Why would he do that?
Anger flashed into his eyes while tears were still coming out from it. His fist clenched as he thought of what his father wanted. He won't let him do that to him. Now that he knows that his mother wanted him to escape. He will find a way to get away from this prison. He won't let himself be on that cage forever, and he will make sure of it.
Zacquell wiped his tears and folded the paper. He tried to calm himself down before going to his bed.
He is in his deep thoughts when he heard a knock from his door. He immediately hid the letter under his pillow and got up and walked towards the door to open it. And then he saw his father. His grip on the doorknob tightens while looking at his father. His father was smiling at him and that made him annoyed. You evil man! He shouted on the back of his mind.
But despite his annoyance, he still manages to talk to his father like he didn't hate him.
" Father", he said with his voice full of respect. " How may I help you?", he asked and opened the door widely to let his father enter.
His father walked into the room while scanning it and he was behind him. And he faced him.
" How are you, my son? Have you been crying because of your mother's death? ", his father asked.
He stilled and looked down. He didn't answer his father's question and just stayed quiet... Like always.
When he didn't respond, his father spoke.
" A man should never cry over someone's death, my son. ", said his father like it was lecturing him.
Zacquell just stayed quiet and looked down.
" You should be strong.", his father added while walking around his room.
" Never cry like a little baby. Learn to feel nothing. ", his father said and face him.
" Like you?", Zacquell can't take it anymore. He can't just stay quiet there and not say anything to him.
He looked up to face his father and looked into its eyes. A small smile crept into his father's face and chuckled.
" You are talking back now.", his father sat on the sofa and looked at him.
And he looked away. He clenched his fist and took a deep breath.
" I'm just stating what's the truth. ", he replied while still avoiding eye contact with his father.
" You disrespectful child. ", his father glared at him when he tried to look up and face him. " Is that what your mother taught you?!", his father's voice filled with disappointment.
" My mother is out of this. I am just saying what I want to say.", he answered while his head faces down and shutting his eyes close as he clenched his fist even tighter, trying to contain his emotions.
He felt his father walk towards him. He was about to look at him when he felt something. A strong slap landed on his cheek making him fall on the floor.
" Don't you ever dare talk back to me, Zacquell Lechner? You are just my son! You have no right to talk back to me!", his father pointed him and shouted.
He cupped his cheek that is now aching and hurting. He just stays silent while rubbing his palm against his cheek to lessen the pain.
He felt his father's footsteps past him and walk outside his room. When he heard the door close, tears came out of his eyes. He cried silently inside his room. He can't take the pain anymore. He have to get away from here before his father could do worse than what he did right now.
Zacquell cried all day. Honestly, he was shocked when his father hurt him, he thought his father wouldn't hurt him. And it hurts so much because his father is big and strong while he is just thin, weak and fragile.
As the sun sets, Zacquell has decided to escape this night. While he still can, while he wasn't hurt so much by his father. Because if he stayed there any longer, there might be a possibility that his father would do much more harm to him.
Zacquell took his black jacket from the closet and wore it. And then he walked towards his bed and took the paper under his pillow. He has to bring it. That's the last time that his mother talked to him through letters that's why he has to bring it with him. And he put the letter in his pocket. He looked at the clock to check the time.
' 6:00 pm'
He slightly opened the door to look outside. Three maids pass over his room and walked in the hallway to the living room. He closed the door as more maids pass his room.
" We have to hurry. Master Lechner has something to tell us.", Zacquell heard one of the maids talk while walking.
" Is it something urgent?", Asked the other maid.
" I don't know. But maybe it is important. He called all of us after all.", answers the maid.
' So all the guards and maids were inside the father's office. I can escape here while they were still inside.'
After hearing those, Zacquell immediately went back to his closet a
took a jacket and some clothes then went to his bed. He took the clothes and put them inside the jacket, filling it.
And then he put the pillow on the side and made the jacket look like its hugging the pillow. And then he put another two pillows below his jacket to resemble his legs.
After that, he went back to the door. The noise of maids walking was now gone. He slowly opened the door and peeped outside. Maybe they're now inside the father's office? He said in the back of his mind.
And he slowly walked outside, carefully not making any noise. He walked through the hallway tiptoed and carefully looking around if someone was coming.
His plan is to walk to the kitchen and make his way to the back door. He once went there when he walked around the house. Though he is not allowed to go out in his room, he went out once but the maids would have to keep an eye on him. That is how strict his father is.
When he got there, he heard some footsteps coming towards the kitchen. He immediately hides in the corner that has furniture and fits himself in that narrow space. And since he is thin, it is not hard for him to get in.
He holds his breath while he heard the footsteps coming near him. And he heard something open near him. It was dark so he can't be noticed hiding there unless he makes a noise.
The guy took a glass and poured water in it and then he drank the water. After that, the guy walked towards the back door and opened it and went outside, leaving the door open.
When the guy left, Zacquell slowly walked to the back door and peeped outside. It was dark and he can feel the cold air from the outside. He slowly stepped his foot on the stairs and walked outside.
He roamed his eyes around. It was now dark but he can still see the plants all around him. Beautiful. Was all Zacquell could say.
Zacquell ducked and hid behind one of the bonsai trees when he heard guys talking and walking towards the back door. He peeped to see 4 guys talking to each other while walking. And while walking towards the back door, a maid came out and talk to them. She was in her 30's.
" The maids were now out, Master has finished instructing them. You guards can now go. I will call the others myself.", the maid informed and the guards just nodded. And the maid started walking towards the opposite way, from where the guys came. And he carefully followed her.
When the maid came to the gate, the maid immediately talked to the other guards and informed them. When the guards started walking towards their mansion, Zacquell expected the maid to follow them but what happened was the opposite.
The maid stayed there not doing anything, just standing there. How am I supposed to get out when she is here? He asked in the back of his mind. And what happened next is what he never expected.
She faced towards his direction and talked."I know you are there, Master Zacquell.", the maid called him, making him nervous. What am I gonna do? he asked in the back of his mind.
Zacquell just stayed silent and didn't get out.
The maid spoke again. " Master Zacquell, I know you are there. Please come out. ", and slowly she walked towards where he is hiding. He was cornered, he can't go away unseen. He was stuck behind the bonsai tree and the wall and there's no other way to escape but to walk on the front of it and face the maid. He was just able to get in there because the maid was facing her back towards him.
Zacquell's hands started to tremble. Will he get caught? Will he get locked again? I can't let myself being locked here. Think something!! Do something, Zacquell!!, was all on Zacquell's mind. He was literally shaking when the maid was now a meter away from him. His breathing became heavy and his heart beats so fast in fear. All he thinks that time is to find a way to escape.
He was busy trying to think of a way to escape when the maid spoke in front of him. " It took you too long to do this, Master. We waited for you to escape. ", the maid smiled while she talked but it's too dark on that side for Zacquell to see her smile.
Zacquell can't believe what he heard? Is this true?
" Pardon?", before he could even stop himself, those words came out on his mouth.
" We waited for you to escape here.", the girl repeated.
" W-why? Aren't you one of the father's maids? ", Zacquell asked as he slowly walked near the lady. He didn't know how to react. He didn't know if the lady was lying or telling the truth.
" Yes.", she answered." But I'm not on his side.", she added.
Her answer made Zacquell even more confused. Why would she be on his side?
" I-I don't understand.", is all he could say. He doesn't know if he could trust her or not. He has to be very careful in his action. If he will believe her, there might be a chance that he will be fooled and might as well be locked to that mansion.. again.
" I came here to help. ", she said. " I know you don't know me. But I am here to help you, Zacquell. Your mother sent me here to help you escape.", she explained.
" Why would I believe you?", he asked. He is still doubtful. He can't just trust her just because she said she is on his side.
" Because I work for your mother. ", the woman answered.
Zacquell went silent for a moment. He was about to speak when the lady spoke again.
" You have to go now, master. Before your father will notice.", she said and took Zacquell's hand and guided him outside the gate. Zacquell didn't do anything but just let her guide him.
When they were outside the gate, the lady faced him and cupped his face.
Zacquell seemed comfortable with the lady, she seemed familiar to him.
" You have to go now, be safe.", she said while caressing his cheeks. " Promise that you will survive outside. And do what your mother wants, to be happy there.", she added as tears slid on her cheeks.
" What about you?", Zacquell asked.
He didn't know why he asked but she seemed familiar to him. And he got worried about her.
" Don't worry about me, I will be safe here. ", the woman assured him and held his shoulders. " Now go.", she said and pushed him slightly and he stepped back a little. " Escape here, Zacquell.", she added.
Zacquell nodded and started walking away. He was about to run but he stopped and looked back at the lady who's staring at him and said.
" Thank you.", and he ran away, not looking back to the house that he lived for 22 years.
The lady smiled as she dried her tears on her cheeks and went back to the mansion. When she entered the house, the maids were now back to their work. While she was about to go to the maid's room, the master walked towards her. As the master walked close to her, she slightly bowed and greeted the master.
" Have you given Zacquell his food?", the master asked.
" We haven't mastered. The chef was still preparing for master Zacquell's meal.", she answered politely.
" Make it quick.", the master demanded and walked away without waiting for her answer.
She immediately went back to the kitchen and told the chef to cook to make it quick.
Zacquell's father entered Zacquell's room and walked inside the darkroom. He saw Zacquell lie on the bed and wearing a jacket. Is he asleep? He asked in the back of his mind.
He stared at his son who is sleeping while hugging the pillow. And he began speaking.
" Son, I know that you miss your mother. But I can't let you stay with your mother, I have to let you away from your mother. Your mother is the one who brainwashed you. I wanted to protect you from her, that's why I brought her to a place away from you. I hope you understand me. I know you wanted to know the reason why, but it is better this way. You will be safer this way. ", he said while staring at Zacquell. He always talks to his son whenever it is asleep, he doesn't want to be soft in front of his son.
He waited for his son to move but he didn't. The suspicion came to him as he walked towards Zacquell. His hand reached on the blanket and as he grabbed the blanket towards him, anger-filled inside him as he saw a pillow instead of Zacquell's body.
" How could you do this?!", he said as he gritted his teeth in anger and his grip on the blanket tightened. " Guards!!", he shouted and he heard footsteps coming towards the room. " Find Zacquell!! How did he escape here?!", he said as the guards entered the room. " Find him!!! Quick!", he growled and all of the guards ran outside and immediately searched for Zacquell.
" You can't get away from me, Zacquell.", he murmured as he walked out of Zacquell's room.