The wind whistled once more from the dark through the canyons in the frame. The door rocked back and forth with it as far as the locked latch would allow. His throat was dryer than it had ever been from hours of crying out to no avail. He whimpered as the cold cut through him into his inner being, unable to resist it. It had been days, too many to remember now. His hunger no longer hurt as much as his throat, which was aching for moisture.
He moved through the shadows toward the shelf by the only window. He climbed to the glass and licked the pane edges covered in chipping paint for any residue of moisture to heal his throat as he had done a dozen times before.
There was not enough to wet his tongue nor soothe his ache.
He closed his eyes and thought of his brother, wondering if he too was captured, being held with no food nor water, waiting to die a slow death.
He could hear something in the distance, a faint but discernable sound. It was his brother calling to him. He scurried to the only opening in his prison. Big enough to see freedom, yet too small for him to pass.
His brother sat at the opening, waiting for him.
"Baron, are you there?" his brother whispered.
"Yes, brother. I am here."
"You sound weak. Weaker than yesterday."
"I am. I am glad you are still free."
"They left. They tried to catch me, but I was too quick. One of them left the door open, and I escaped. I hid in the field and watched them until they left."
"They're gone? Are you sure?" Baron asked.
"Yes. I watched them leave, and they never came back."
"What am I to do?" Baron asked his brother softly in a raspy voice.
"I don't know. I tried to find a way, but there isn't one. I don't know what to do, Baron."
The two sat at the opening. The only warmth from the cold wind was their breath as they spoke to each other. Baron began to drift off. He thought of sleep. Heavy sleep, the kind you get when you are sitting in the sun on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The kind where the warmth engulfs you like a blanket, and you snuggle in for the night, the kind you never wake from.
"Baron?" his brother called out.
Baron jerked, opening his eyes and peering into the dark opening at his brother's face just on the opposite side of the door, "Oh. Uh. It was warm, brother. I was warm, and the sun beat down on me as I slept."
"We have to get you out of there."
"No use," Baron said, "I have tried everything. This is it."
"No! Don't say that. This isn't it!"
Suddenly, lights across the window and into the black prison, lighting the tomb for a brief moment. Baron's brother ran again for the field where he hid the night before as Baron squinting tried to see if they had returned for him and his brother.
It wasn't them. It was someone new. Someone different. Baron listened the best he could, trying to distinguish the voice, but could not recognize it. It was a woman. She sounded kind, concerned, and worried. Calling out repeatedly, Baron knew his brother wouldn't come. He, on the other hand, had no choice. Freedom lost, imprisoned in this makeshift coffin awaiting the inevitable.
She called again. Baron mustered what little strength he had left and cried out to her, but she could not hear him. He responded once more, summoning his reserves. Still, she could not hear his pleas.
He decided to wait as she walked closer. If she would just step a few paces more, I would let out a cry like no other—a few more. Please, dear, sweet lady, call out to me once more so that I may reply!
She called, and Baron released his reply with every ounce of strength he had, and she heard!
She immediately began pulling and tugging on the door, trying to break it free, but it wouldn't give. Baron's brother watched from the field and wondered what to do.
She shook and pulled until the door finally broke loose and Baron was free. He wanted to run, wanted to break away and flee to the fields as his bother did, to hide among the tall weeds until all was safe. But he could barely move.