No sooner had the front door clicked shut than Peter began to struggle against his bonds. He had learned from experience to keep as tense as possible when being tied up, as it made for an easier escape… but Michael’s knots were strong, and it seemed like an age before Peter could feel them loosening.
He knew he didn’t have much time… but he owed it to himself to try.
With determined concentration, Peter felt his right hand begin to slide from the rope. His wrist was being stretched painfully, but he continued to pull, the rope burning his skin with the friction.
Relief and hope filled him as his hand was finally freed. With one hand loose he was able to make short work of undoing the knots holding him.
Free from his bonds, Peter set to work, searching the house for the fairy Michael may or may not have caught. If he could fly, he would easily escape Michael and his dismal house.
Hurrying into the living room, Peter pulled open every draw and cupboard in turn, rifling through their contents to no avail. After several minutes of search, however, Peter finally uncovered a glass jar identical to the one that had imprisoned Tinkerbell. Instead of a glittering fairy, though, this jar contained a single, fluttering butterfly, it’s body desperately bumping against the glass that surrounded it.
Disappointment washed over Peter as he watched the frenzied creature in it’s futile attempts to escape. He felt like that butterfly; trapped and alone with no hope of escape. Filled with despair, Peter calmly unscrewed the lid of the jar and watched sadly as the insect found its freedom and took flight across the room. How he wished he was that butterfly. Of course, the creature was still trapped inside the house, as he was…
Peter started examining the windows, pulling against the wooden planks barring each of them to see if any would give way. They were all solid and secure, of course. Peter hadn’t doubted they would be. But he couldn’t just sit around and wait for Michael to return without at least trying to escape.
Just as the boy had decided to think of a plan in earnest, the creak of the garden gate warned him he had already run out of time; Michael would be entering the house in a few moments. Letting his instinct and desperation take over, Peter rushed to the front door and crouched beside it, close to the wall. If only he could get past his captor, he would be free of the man and that hateful house. Michael would never be able to chase him down. Not at his age.
Peter knew success was unlikely, but it was worth a try. He didn’t have time to consider the consequences should his rash plan fail.
Daylight flooded into the gloomy corridor as Michael unlocked the front door and pushed it open, careful of the grocery bags he carried. The sudden appearance of Peter startled him, but as the boy darted past, Michael let his burden fall to the ground, potatoes and apples rolling out across the garden path, and grabbed the child’s arm tightly with both hands.
Peter screamed as he felt Michael grab hold of him, and desperately pulled away. But Michael held on just as desperately, locked one arm around Peter’s waist, and hauled him back through the door and into the house.
Peter sobbed on the floor of the hallway where he had been dropped, Michael hurriedly slamming and locking the front door, abandoning the groceries until later. He breathed heavily from the sudden exertion, leaning against the door once it was secure.
Minutes passed before either spoke.
“You got free of your bonds.”
It was a statement, not a question, and Peter was still fighting to regain his composure and stop the sobs that racked him.
Staring down at the boy, he ignored Peter’s fearful cry as Michael grabbed hold of him once more, pulling him to his feet and dragging him to the closet. Peter began to beg Michael not to shut him in there again, but that’s exactly what the man did; shoving Peter inside the tiny room and closing the door on him, surrounding the child in darkness while he went to tidy up the discarded shopping.