Magnus had a panic attack just before sunrise on the third day of his kidnapping. He woke up in bed, forgot that he was kidnapped, and freaked out at his unfamiliar surroundings. Then he forgot how to breathe. His heart beat so fast that he thought he was dying. He clutched his chest at the same time he clawed at his windpipe. Magnus practiced deep breathing exercises, counted back from a hundred, and rehearsed a ten-minute meditation. When that didn’t work, his impulsive side told him it was time to escape. Magnus spent too much time working out to be held hostage in a second-story room with a balcony.
It was 1737, and kidnapping was so ten years ago. Only bored housewives still believed urban legends about rich people getting kidnapped by swashbucklers. Magnus wasn’t sure who kidnapped him, but whoever it was had the means to accommodate a man of his station. Swashbucklers didn’t have countryside mansions. Based on the level of pollution in his water, Magnus guessed he was probably still in Connecticut.
Escape was contraindicated in the presence of storm clouds, but Magnus was too deep in a panic attack to be perceptive about stuff like that. If he could find a wagon, he could pay someone to take him back to his parent’s house. He didn’t have any money on him but his parents would pay for it, probably.
The storm that Magnus chose to ignore hit the mansion with a vengeance. Magnus’ wet hands guided his descent from the rain-rotten balcony. His silk suit was less than ideal in the deluge. Everything from his hair to his stockings became three times heavier. Vague determination insulated him against storm-force winds as he descended the busted railing. Magnus landed somewhere in the forest below his balcony. His wet velvet slippers disintegrated almost immediately. Magnus wrestled his shoes from the ankle-deep mud and trudged with purpose in a direction he picked at random. He made it two miles before he gave up. His body collapsed beneath a chestnut tree and entered hypothermia.
Magnus’ butler, Jesse, found him curled in the fetal position beneath a chestnut tree, “Not even a quarter of a mile. We could see you from the dining room window!”
Jesse was one of those people your hot friends might date. He was mid-twenties, African, and going places in life. Jesse’s servant uniform was pressed within an inch of its life. He kept the sides of his head shaved and twisted his hair into short locks. One day, he would start his own business and have his own servants. You would believe him if you heard him talk. His attitude informed people he was not destined to be a servant for long.
Jesse shouted over the wind, “Who tries to escape during a nor’easter? You couldn’t have pulled this on a sunny day?”
“Am I gonna die?” Magnus whined.
“Not on my watch!” Jesse snapped.
Magnus cried on the way back to the mansion. No big deal, he’d cried himself to sleep every night since he was kidnapped. He decided to hunger strike when he got back to his suite because he was petty.