The Well

A short story that I did a few years ago for school. Just found it so I thought I'd show you all. It's a quirky little story with a strange twist. Hope you enjoy and of course give me your opinions.

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1. The Well

Donegal. The end of the world. At least it was the end of my world as it was the furthest my family cared to venture each summer. “It’s just as good as Spain.” My mother would assure me. She enjoyed the occasional delusion. Anyway, it wasn’t all bad; I liked the open countryside and staying with my ‘new-age granny’ was entertaining.

Her house was perched atop a great hill overlooking and surveying the surrounding land. It was old and the paint had faded with age, giving it that rustic atmosphere. From the outside you would never have guessed that healing crystals, dream catchers and a wide array of other cosmic oddities designed to “clean your aura” lurked within. Yes, she was a strange old woman but I loved her nonetheless. The same couldn’t be said for my cousin and his family.

They had decided to tag along this year and join us in this “little piece of heaven” as they loved to call it. I wished they hadn’t. The parents were your typical husband and wife, not much to report there. How then had they spawned two of the most insufferable children to walk this earth? Geoff, a year my elder, was brutish, dumb and took pleasure in observing and often partaking in the misery of others. His sister, Laura, on the other hand was a little, snivelling mutt that cried if she so much as sneezed incorrectly. Needless to say I did not enjoy rambling on the moors with them.

On one of our walks I decided to keep a dozen or so paces ahead of them for fear of going mad at their incessant jibber-jabber. In my reverie I failed to notice (although it seems blatantly obvious now) the hole of an old well in the ground. I plummeted for a moment and then hit the ground with a sickening thud. Geoff laughed, Laura cried. I expected no less. Once they had finished in their respective condolences for my misstep I urged them to go and find help. Geoff’s laughter faded as he made his way back to the house and I sat in the cold, damp well. It really was an awful place to be; it smelt as if death itself had made a cosy home for itself down there.

On that thought I noticed something. Two dull sparks in the darkness... looking at me. As my vision adjusted to the gloom I saw that they were eyes. Framing them was a gaunt face with a terrible grimace for its expression. Its body was twisted in an awkward manner and one of its hands was missing three out of five fingers. Its clothes were muddy brown and its flesh seemed to be melting off of its bones. This was the source of that foul odour.

I drew away from the body and closed my eyes but that stench remained. I couldn’t escape it. The walls of the well seemed to grow taller and I more trapped. Help. Help. Help. I thought to myself repeatedly as I rocked back and forth. No, I can’t lose it. It’s only a body. There’s nothing to fear. This reassured me slightly and I awaited my rescue more peacefully now. I dared to open my eyes and regretted it immediately. The face was directly in front of my own and those dull eyes we level with mine.

I’m quite sure I fainted for when I glanced at the sky it was noticeably darker. Hoping that it was all a hallucination because of the fall I looked in the direction of the corpse. Unfortunately the thing was now crouched and looking at me with the ugliest of smiles on its face, held up loosely by rotting muscle and skin.

“Thought you were never gonna wake up.” It chuckled.

Oh no! It was talking. Did this mean that I had lost it? I had finally gone mad! It was inevitable really, whether I was going to go mad because a corpse was talking to me or because of my unbearable cousins, it was definitely going to happen on this trip.

“Wow, you’re even paler than me boy.” It gave another raspy laugh.

I tried to respond but my throat was dry and I didn’t really have anything to say to this bag of bones.

“Looks like I’ll have to do the talking here.” It said as it sidled closer to me. I trembled and ceased breathing. “Carry on like that and you’ll end up the same as me, haha! Name’s Cormac by the way.”

It had a name. This corpse was telling me its name and I was listening with wide eyes. He settled beside me and his putrid flesh brushed mine. I let out a whimper as I came to the realisation that this was happening for real.

“Well... Cormac... how did you get here?” I managed to stutter out just before I heard my name being called in the distance. Thank the gods that they were coming to take me out of this surreal hell. Then I felt Cormac’s cold, dead hand on my arm, begging for my attention.

“I’m going to keep this brief boy.” He whispered urgently. He proceeded to tell me of how my grandmother was really a witch that had cursed him years ago and that he wished to be free from its effects. Nonsense I know but I thought that since a dead body was telling this to me I might as well have a listen. “The only way to lift it is to kill her.” Just as he had said this I was being pulled up by strong arms and out into the warmth of the light. The rest was a blur. Shower, food, clean clothes, plenty of hugs and kisses from the witch and then into bed.

I lay staring at the ceiling and pondering Cormac’s words, The only way to lift it is to kill her. Was I really to kill this eccentric old woman? My legs carried me from my bed, out into the hall and to her bedroom door. My hand turned the handle of its own accord and then I was in her room. It was dark so very unlikely that she should detect my intrusion. The room twisted around me as I stood there. All of her crystals and her trinkets were grotesque to me now. Cormac’s claims rang true; there was something odd about this woman. His voice was in my head, kill her. A knife was in my hand and then in her chest and in her neck. The knife gleamed with her blood and I knew I had done right by my newfound friend.

“It’s over.” I said with a sigh of relief.

There was a commotion in the room in the next instant and I was being thrown from the bed. There was crying and shouting and gnashing of teeth. I really didn’t see what all the fuss was about, my work was good. Then I was being handled by men in uniform and whirled back and forth from cars to rooms... I think there was a judge at some point. Finally I ended up in this small featureless room. It’s kind of boring here but at least I don’t have to listen to my idiotic cousins anymore.

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