"Papa." I looked up at him as he tucked me into bed that night "There was a boy, in that cage." I frowned slightly as he put the teddy bear next to me "He seemed sick, and hungry." I sat up in bed, much to my fathers dismay. "We have to bring him some food, please Papa?"
My father sighed and laid me back down "Christine, he's none of our concern."
"But it's cold outside!" I protested "He's just in his slacks and papa, you didn't see him! He's sleeping on hay!" I sat back up "Please, papa?"
My father cupped my face and placed a kiss on the top of my head "Christine, you heard what brutus said, we must leave him alone. We wouldn't want his masters to come after us, now would we?" He sighed and looked at the door and I watched him intently "if there was anything we could do, I'd do it. I don't want anything bad to happen to my Little Lotte, okay?"
I sighed and nodded before settling back down into my sheets "I don't want anything happen to my papa." I yawned and closed my eyes tightly "goodnight." I sighed and rolled over to stare at the wall.
I listened to my father sigh "Christine, It's not that I don't want to do it, it's just.." he sighed again and I imagined him scratching at the back of his neck, like he often did when he didn't know what to say "...we can't. Physically. We don't have the food." when I didn't answer my father sighed again and kissed me on the cheek "Sleep tight, my stubborn little lotte."
Later that night, after my father had fallen asleep, I gracefully climbed over him and tip toed into the kitchen where, in a basket, I placed a half loaf of bread, a small wedge of cheese and I grabbed a mug, just incase I found a stream nearby. I knew how thirsty bread made me, so I could imagine how thirsty it would have made this boy. I listened to my father stir and I paused in my tracks. He grumbled something and rolled over and I quietly put on my cloak and slippers before I made my way out the door with the basket in tow. I shut the door quietly behind me and jumped off the top of the three stepped ladder, as they creaked and often woke my papa up from his sleep. I grunted as I hit the ground and my hands fell into the deep snow. I watched as the basket spilled it's contents in front of me causing me to quickly jump up and scoop the bread cheese and mug, which was now stuffed with snow, and put it into the basket before sprinting off toward the caged that housed the little boy.
My lungs quickly filled with the cold air and it hurt. I wanted to stop running but I thought about the starving boy in the cage. Once I started to approach the cage I slowed my pace and when i stopped at the door of the cage I pulled the spare pin I kept in my hair after I had dressed for bed that night and jimmied the lock open. I slowly opened the door and heard a scurrying as I shut it behind me.
"Hello?" I called out "It's Christine.. from earlier." I looked down at my feet and picked up the burlap sack that I had been standing on "Here…" I reached out my hand with the sack held loosely "I won't hurt you." I cocked my head to one side and took another step "I saw you earlier, remember?" I inhaled and took another step and I listened to the boy back further into the corner "I came to give you some food." I placed down the basket and keeled down before it "It's not much but bread and cheese…" I grabbed the mug and looked at the snow that was still nestled inside "There's snow in the mug, but it's good! It's like a drink but really cold!" I giggled and placed the mug down next to the bread and cheese. "I forgot a blanket." I frowned "but I'll give you my cloak!" I took it off and laid it next to the meal "I'll come back tomorrow night" I moved my head to see around the shadow but all I could see was a foot and his leg up to his knee "Maybe you won't be so shy next time.." I inhaled deeply and rubbed my arms before walking to the door and grabbing it on my way out, locking it with the pin i had opened it with and went home the same way I had come.
The next day I had tried to explain to my father that I had left the cloak in the previous town, so he wouldn't let me go outside at all. He went out to play his violin and came back around lunchtime to eat the meal i had attempted to make all by myself. after he warmed up, he went back out to play for the crowds that had came, despite the weather. At night, I snuck out of the caravan and to the cage where the boy was staying. I brought a blanket this time, with some leftover potato soup that I had attempted to make earlier in the day. When i had made my way up the steps of the cage I instinctively took to my hair and gasped slightly as I realized the pin was not there. I scrambled back down the steps and to the front of the cage, pressing my face to the bars.
"Hello!" I placed my hands on the bars "I would have came in but…" I tapped my head, I was sure the boy could see by the moonlight "I forgot my pin." I stuffed the blanket in between the bars and looked for any sign of the boy "I brought you this, thought it would be okay if I had my cloak back? My papa keeps looking for it all over the caravan for it even though I told him I had left it." I inhaled some of the cold air "I brought you some soup. I tried to cook it." I smiled and pushed the mug over to him and I saw his hand reach for it and I smiled "So you are there!" I exhaled deeply "Good, I was thinking you had left." I listened to the sound of shuffling for a second and heard the familiar creak of the door "it's open?" I questioned as I made my way to the side of the cage and walked up the steps and into the cage "If it's open, why don't you just leave?" I listened to the sound of a chain and frowned slightly "You're chained?" I sat down on the ground and inhaled "Well, I'm sorry about that." I watched an arm jet out from the shadows, holding the cloak i had given him the day before "Thank you." I smiled and placed it over my shoulders to keep the chill off.
I looked up from buttoning my cloak "Pardon?"
"My name is Erik…"
I smiled and held out my hand "Well, it's a pleasure to meet you, Erik. Formally." when he didn't take my hand I remembered he was shackled and I knew it was long enough to go open the door, but i wasn't sure on how heavy it was, as i never had to be shackled, and simply dropped it "Glad to know you can speak!" I smiled and sat up on my knees "I'm seven."
He grabbed the burlap sack that was still in my hand and slipped it over his head before he emerged into the moonlight. "I'm nine." He paused "Ten. today."
I smiled "Happy birthday!"