Once upon a time there was a young man named Eric. He lived in a small town called Hereafter. Eric had been in love with a girl named Rapunzel. She had big green eyes and long blonde hair that almost touched the ground. The couple dated for years and then one day Rapunzel went missing. Eric nearly lost his mind. He had to go away to a mental institution for six months after Rapunzel vanished. Our story begins on Eric’s first day back from the institution.
I walk down the hallway towards my locker. I begin to open it, but my breath catches as I look across the hall. Rapunzel’s old locker is decorated with flowers and pictures. My heart falls to the pit of my stomach. Someone grabs me from behind. I turn it’s mine and Rapunzel’s old friends. There’s Eleanor, Ruby, Ryder, and Lance. They haven’t changed at all, but they all have huge, fake smiles on their faces. Eleanor hugs me. “Nice to have you back,” she smiles. I force a smile back. Lance playfully punches my arm, “So, Eric how about we have a good time tonight. I’ve been dying to check out the old tower off of Miller’s road.” I shrug, “I don’t really know if I’m up for that quite yet.” “Oh, come on man. Please?” Ryder chimes in. I grumble, “Fine.” The rest of my day goes by in a blur of sympathetic faces. When I finally get home I lay down not wanting to get up.
Knock, knock. I open my eyes Lance and Ryder stand over my bed. “Come on dude get up. You promised a night out,” Lance groans. I get up and throw on a hoodie. When we get down stairs I see Ruby and Eleanor. I wave at them and walk outside. We all hop into Lance’s jeep and head to Miller’s Road. At the end of the street there’s an open field. In the middle of the field is a run down farmhouse and an old tower. Lance runs around the tower looking for a door inside, but he’s unable to find it. I walk around the building myself looking for a way in. At the back of the building my foot falls in a little hole. I bend down to look at it. Under the grass is a little trap door leading to a cellar below the tower.
I slip inside without my friends noticing. I pull out my phone to use it as a flashlight. The walls are made of cement and there’s cob webs everywhere. In one corner of the room is the beginning of a staircase. It winds around the inside of the tower. I begin to walk up it, halfway to the top my calves start to burn. Suddenly, the stairs merge into the floor of a room. I see a large canopy bed on one wall of the room and in the center is a table with two chairs. I turn to face the other side of the room and see a figure standing in front of the only window in the tower. The only light in the room comes from my phone and the moon, so all I can make out from the back of the figure is that it's a woman. I step forward making the floorboards creek. The woman turns around. As the moonlight shines on her face I drop my phone in shock. Her green eyes look dull and hollow. Her figure is frail and thin, except for the large bump protruding from her stomach. Despite all of these things I know it's my Rapunzel.
I run to her and pull her into my embrace. “Eric?” she asks her voice is hardly audible.
I smile, tears begin to stream down my face, “It’s me, what're you doing in here? Where have you been all this time?” I ask.
Then, she begins to cry; not from happiness, but from sadness. “What's wrong?” I ask, alarmed.
“I..I'm so sorry,” she blubbers. “You must go and never come back.” In shock I stumble away from her. I run down the stairs of the tower. When I pop out of the cellar door my friends look at me in shock. I ignore them and call the police. A few minutes later they arrive, and I take them upstairs to Rapunzel. She's too weak to make it down the stairs on her own. The police bring her to the hospital with my friends and I following closely behind. I sit in the room with her while the police ask her questions about what happened, but she refuses to answer.
After, about twenty minutes her father comes running into the room with tears streaming down his face. Rapunzel looks like she's about to have a heart attack, “Papa?” She asks.
“Yes, it's me come here,” he says as he wraps her in a tight hug.
Once she and her father are done embracing she turns to the police, “I'm ready to talk, but first can I have a glass of water?”
A nurse quickly brings in some water, Rapunzel takes a large sip, clears her throat and begins, “My captor is an older woman named Madeline Gothel. About a week before I was taken I learned that I was three weeks pregnant. Madeline Gothel was in the hospital at the same time I was, but she wasn't getting the same uplifting news. Instead, she had just given birth to her stillborn child. I could hear her sobs from my exam room. I went to see if I could comfort the woman, but when she saw the way I cradled my stomach she was livid. A few days later she invited me over for tea to apologize for her angry outburst. That was when she drugged me and brought me to the tower. As Eric and I both know the cellar door was never locked. Madeline Gothel led me to believe that she had taken my father as well and that if I tried to escape or ever told anyone this she would kill him. That is why I stayed there so willingly, as for the reason she took me it was because she wanted my baby. She was going to keep me until I gave birth and then she was going to let me go, while she went on the run with the child. She really truly believed my baby was meant to be hers. She visited me every morning to bring me food and water for the day, but I don't know where she spends the rest of her time. That's everything that I know,” when Rapunzel finishes I feel as though I'm going to throw up. The whole thing seems so horrible, so unreal.
After, the police leave Rapunzel turns to me, “I'm sorry this was how you found out you're going to be a father,” she says sadly. Throughout this whole madness that thought hadn't even crossed my mind. I'm going to be a father I think in disbelief. I place my hands on Rapunzel’s cheeks and kiss her forward.
“I'm just happy you're both home safe,” I say.
A few weeks later the police found and arrested Madeline Gothel. A few days after that Rapunzel gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl, we named her Rose. And as all stories go my little family and I lived happily ever after.