The Tower

It came to me years ago and have written nothing since just wondered if i should try again?

Sorry its only a short story!

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1. The whole story!!!

 

THE

TOWER

 

 

 

WRITTEN BY MARC FREEBORNE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun was brighter than usual for the time of day, Janet was slowly driving home from a small village set on a remote part of the Italian coastline where she had spent her day (or what little time she had left when she finally found it). She used her time there at an old style fish market famed for the fresher than fresh ocean catches. She had made the trip there on the advice of her so-called friends, so called as they were friends through necessity not through choice. Janet was not native to this foreign land, she had spent her younger years playing on the streets of Manchester where she was brought up by her father as her mother died while giving birth to her, she knew little about the person who was her mother except on the rare occasion her father would talk of her, usually with a hint of whiskey on his breath. To this day these memories still pain her heart, He would always say how much Janet resembled her dead mother and with time it seemed the resemblance grew too strong and he abandoned Janet by way of a length of rope and an attic crossbeam. But all this was now in her past, Janet was a strong girl, at first it was hard but with the help of her aunt Danielle, a woman she had always looked at with daughters eyes from being a baby, and some favorable A level results she ended up at Leeds university. While there she did well in her studies but her life was to change not for academic reasons but the oldest reason in the book,

 

Love

 

She met Tim in her second year of Uni. They had been on the same course from the beginning but with numerous fresher parties, late nights and early mornings, the first year was a bit of a blur for them both! However, in the second year their course was not the only thing they where interested in studying. It was a swift and sweet romance culminating in engagement in year two and then marriage on their graduation day. So here she is 15 years later feeling 30 years older in a foreign country driving home from a place she could not even pronounce without drawing giggles from the native Italians. She was still happy with Tim, how could she not be, he’s still handsome charming kind but also very successful. You would think it strange that Janet would be upset by a thing like his success, but what with Tim being at the forefront of a new communication breakthrough, something to do with a strange highway? She had heard Tim refer to it as the net or web as well? Driving, fishing, spiders? She had no idea what it was. Tim is a computer programmer, and a damn good one by all accounts, and he’s doing it at just the right time. It seems all major companies around the world are desperate to make the most of this new weapon in the war for global domination, in the economic sense of the phrase anyway. So in turn, for Janet this meant continually traveling the around the world while Tim did his magic for big companies with big ideas and even bigger paychecks.

 

Janet was heading north on the coast road now an hour in to her journey home, it all looked familiar but she noticed how it looked oddly different somehow. She could not quite put her finger on what it was but things just seemed more peaceful, serene even, she decided it was to blame on her rush to the village. She decided then to make a point studying the scenery as much as she could on her way home. To the west she had a clear view of the sea, the Mediterranean waves crashing against the jagged rocks that lay a little to close to the road for Janet’s liking, she saw the sun slowly setting in the clear blue sky. To her east she could see the rolling hills set beautifully with snow topped mountains in the background, Janet did love the scenery here maybe she could enjoy her time here for however long Tim's work would last. It was as Janet was taking in the surroundings she remembered something that one of her plastic friends had told her, she spoke of a medieval tower set just in from the coastline. Janet was told how the tower was built around 400 hundred years ago to be used as a lookout tower during a time the high sea’s were an unsafe place to sail. The view from the top at sunset over the ocean was said to be a sight to behold, Janet had not seen it on her way to the village but decided this was more to do with concentrating on not getting lost. But now she had time, as she knew her way back, so Janet decided to look out for the tower, from what she was told it wasn’t to hard to find.

 

After another 25 minutes of driving she saw what looked like an old style chimney, sticking out of the top of a hill to the north, as she got nearer it started to take the shape of what could only be the tower she was looking for. Janet was told that there was a narrow dirt track leading off the main road up to the base of the tower, it was supposed to be quite easy to miss so Janet reduced her speed accordingly. As she slowed it gave her a chance to watch the tower grow menacingly on the horizon she hoped the view at the top would be more appealing. She shortly came upon the dirt track which itself was steep and bumpy. Janet dropped the gears and made a slow ascent to the dark foreboding tower. It was only as she approached the base of the tower did she realize the sheer size of the tower, she began to wonder what she had let herself in for.

 

 

Before she left the car she decided to try to call Tim on her mobile phone, but as usual the line busy, she left a short but sweet message just declaring her love for him and that she would be in his arms soon. As she closed the car door behind her she disturbed a small group of birds in a nearby olive tree, Janet realized they had probably settled for the night and whispered them a soft apology as they flew in search of a place less likely to be awoken. This was the first time Janet felt weary of this place feeling it was rarely visited by human kind. The thought quickly disappeared as her gaze fell upon the imposing sunset on the horizon. Janet made her way to the entrance to the tower where she was greeted by a solid oak door which she guessed be at least eight foot high and more than likely the same door that would have seen the lonely lookout make his weary journey to the top to gaze endlessly out to sea in fear of a foreign flag. At this point she thought her adventure may have come to a premature end, it never crossed her mind that the door maybe locked, in the back of her mind she hoped it was.

However, intrigue is a strong emotion in situations like this, so she took a deep breath and tried the door. To her shock and amazement it slowly opened but the noise, oh the noise, the door practically screamed on its old iron hinges, it was enough to wake the dead, she thought to herself. Janet’s attention was quickly moved to the damp smell protruding from the stairwell within. The smell was soon followed by a rustling in the far corner of the stairwell hidden from light,

“Rats”

Janet reassuringly told herself, just some harmless rats.

The centre of the stairwell was only lit by a small shaft of light coming from a slit window about 15 feet up the inside wall of the tower. At this point Janet was having serious doubts about the whole idea of the adventure. Janet was tempted to turn and leave, but how long had it been since she was sat at one of Tim’s corporate dinner parties with nothing more interesting to talk about than clothes and shopping with the plastic wives of Tim’s associates.

“No”

She said to herself what’s the worst that could happen, get home late? Janet had been told the tower had exactly 1000 steps to the top, 1000 steps for the 1000 gold pieces the tower had cost its creator. Now Janet felt childish at the idea of counting her way to the top but it may help pass the time, it was a long way to the top. Slowly she made her ascent counting each step with a slow rhythm bordering on a repetitiveness that could lead to insanity. Luckily this monotony was broken up every 25 steps by the slit windows to allow light into the tower, there would be one facing north then another 25 steps on there would be one facing east and so on. Janet stopped at every east facing window to gaze upon the view of the ocean and impending sunset, she hoped she would make the top in time, and then soon be home in the arms of the man she loves.

 

493, if told the truth she was nearly halfway there, she stopped as she approached the slit window once again to enjoy the ever more impressive view as she got higher. She decided to wait a while and catch her breath, it gave her a chance to think about her life with Tim, Janet knew things could be better, more stable, but then she knew things could always be worse. Tim continually reassured her that his workload would ease off with time, as soon every business will be on the net and his work would no longer be required. Janet would smile and nod in compliance and hoped that one day it would be true, she still hoped to live out her days as she had planned, grandchildren and grey hair….one day, on she went.

 

898, Janet was now approaching the top, excitement was starting to take over her body, the sort of excitement you get when you were young and was about to do something you were told not to.

 

947, she approached the last east-facing slit to look again at what lie in wait for her at the top, the sun was close to embarking on its daily embrace with the earths horizon.

“Beautiful”

She said to herself. As she approached the last few steps Janet felt a shot of nerves shoot straight right from the back of her neck to the base of her spine, she stooped for a second to steady herself “cold shiver” she told herself, the sea breeze was cooling, “time to move quicker”, she told herself. 

 

So there she was at the top witnessing a view painted by the hand of god, the sun was about to start the sweetest kiss in the cosmos, a kiss that would eventually engulf her, the view was beauty in its purest form. Janet gazed with wonder at the sight that lay before her eyes, never before had she felt so at one with the world, relaxed without a worry in the world, no worry or fear that may poison the moment. Time appeared to stand still while her body was ridged taking in as much of the moment as she could, Janet felt she was in a different world, she imagined that this is how heaven felt, and this was a place she did want to leave.

 

But leave she must as she felt the now cool air bring the hairs on her arm to upright attention, she gave her arms a quick rub on decided to move down. As she started, she realized that the light in the tower was growing weaker, something she had not considered on her great adventure. Janet decided to count her way down as a way of keeping the end in sight. She came to the next window facing the ocean and paused for a second, Tim being the only thing on her mind, is he worried where I am? “No” he knows where I am. That’s when it struck Janet that no one on this planet knew where she was, she became frightened instantly.

 

Janet tried to call Tim again only to be met with the same business like message, Janet hung up when she heard the beeping of the phones low battery alert in her ear. Her descent was matched by the suns as she looked out of the slit windows on her way down.

“650” she counted, Janet was now really starting to fell the cold within the tower, her body was occasionally giving her muscles spasms in an attempt to warm her weary muscles. Janet stopped again to warm herself and it was this moment that brought on the strongest fear, as she stood still she realized she heard no ocean, could hear no wind, “whats going on”? She asked herself she suddenly felt more afraid than ever before in her life.

 

Janet moved on quickly just desperate to be away from this place.

 

“258”

 

Janet was now in complete darkness but felt her way for the next eight steps to the next slit window, but as she reached the step where the window should be she reached out ands felt nothing but cold stone, Janet started to lose control of her thoughts. Janet decided to stay strong know just keeping her hands to the wall as all light had now gone, she would count every step down and find the door and leave this place. So on she went no longer stopping for the windows, as she knew they held no escape from this newfound hell.

 

“25”

Her mind was now in complete disarray she was felling relived that she was near the end but fear would not leave her mind.

 

10

9

8

7

6

5…

 

 

 

By now Janet was crying, Janet had not cried since Tim first asked her to be his wife all the years ago, how she whished he was here with her now.

 

4

3

2

1…

 

Janet took the last step with a felling of relief and desperation, she was going to be home soon. Janet immediately started to reach for the oak door that she now wished had never opened. Her fingers scraped he wall in the darkness in the same desperation a rat does when trying to leave a sinking ship.

However, Janet felt nothing, nothing but solid stone were found by her searching fingertips, Janet began to become desperate, as the fear rose within here, Janets scraping had now turned to clawing. Janet’s fear induced clawing had now become frantic, but still no door and then snap.

 

 

Janet heard the sharp crack and stopped…then came the shooting pain, it was at that moment that Janet realized she had snapped one of her fingernail’s clean off. Her thoughts were turned to reality as she began to feel the warm blood trickle down her hand onto her forearm where it welled at her elbow to form perfect droplets, which fell to the stairwell floor. Janet was surprised how quickly the pain subsided, by now her desperation to leave this awful place was an emotion stronger than any other her mind may force upon her, Janet decided to sit. Confused and cold Janet decided to try Tim's mobile again, she took care in reaching for her phone making sure to keep her now blood covered hand away from it. She pressed menu and the screen lit like a flash of a nuclear blast, it took Janet’s eyes a while to adjust as she had been used to total darkness for some time now. When the screen finally became clear to her she sore there was no signal, she greeted the sight with a sigh that could have quite easily been her last the way her will was quickly deserting her. Now Janet was starting to feel sick, she was cold, alone, and scared. She started to question where she had gone wrong? This should be the place? The door should be here! Then all became clear to her “how could I be so silly” she asked herself out loud, “I miss-counted” she said with recovering confidence, there could be no other reason. Now she had it clear in her mind that the door could be just a few steps on.

 

 

“Arrgghh” Janet let out a deafening scream, something had sunk its teeth into her open wounded finger, the pain was excruciating! Janet vigorously shook her hand until the animal released its jaws, she surmised that it was one of the rats from earlier attracted to the blood, well she hoped it was. Janet quickly decided to move on again counting her way down. 7.8.9.10.11…Janet began to wonder how long she had been in the godforsaken hell, it felt like hours and she prayed it would be over soon. 93,94,95,96….it had to be the only reason she was still here she miscounted! Now if Janet was right she might be coming to a window or the door. She continued slowly with her arm-outstretched feeling the wall closely as not to miss her escape from this hell. 97,98,99,100. She stopped took a deep breath and started to feel the wall, she didn’t claw this time she already knew there was no door to be found, why would there be there was none 100 steps back. Janet realized she was kidding herself, she was lost not just in this tower but in her mind as well…she sunk her head into her hands. Then a noise pierced the tunnel…Janet’s mind was now a real mess her reality constantly confused with fiction and lost hope, it took her a few seconds to realize the noise was her phone.

 

 

Janet quickly scrambled the pnone from her pocket this time with no regard for her bleeding hand, she could just make out the name on the caller display through the blood-smeared screen. Janet was engulfed by a tidal wave of relief, it was Tim! Soon she would be rid of this awful tower forever, she quickly put her phone to her ear and pressed answer. “Tim, is that you? God Tim i've been so scared, please come, please tell me you’ll save me, god Tim I love you……….Tim?...........Tim? Tim are you there? Tim!” she went quiet and listened………..the line was silent, Janet pulled the phone from her ear realizing her own fate. Just as her own life energy was fading in this tower so was her phones and the phone died first. Janet heard rustling again, more rats she thought to herself, sounding strangely louder this time. By now Janet was growing weary, she was sure of her fate and how she had no power to change it “ill always love you Tim” she whispered to herself in a bizarre hope that the walls may echo her message to the day he may arrive to save his love. And with this final gesture Janet decided to sit, she had given up. The rustling of the rats grew louder……………..she began to cry.

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