The Well |One-Shot Competition Entry|

There's always been a place you've been told not to go. Sometimes you go into those places and come out unscathed. And sometimes you learn that your mother knows best.

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1. The Well

"James stop!" Sarah argued, following her older brother across the yard. "Mom said we can't go there!"

"What she doesn't know can't hurt her," James replied, marching towards the forest behind the family's yard. "Just don't tell her."

"It's dangerous!" Sarah persisted. "You could get hurt!"

"I'll be careful," he laughed, allowing his sister to follow him down the forest trail. "It'll be cool, I promise."

"I'm only going so I can tell mom how I tried to stop you," she crossed her arms and stomped after him down the trail, a frown etched into her small face.

"Whatever," James replied. "You'll want to explore once you see it, I just know it!"

"What d'ya think?" He asked once they had reached their destination.

James had led them to a large clearing in the forest, with a hauntingly beautiful abandoned farmhouse that was at least a century old. Behind the farmhouse you could just barely see a small barn, just as old as the house itself, surrounded by a small, unkempt field. As the two children began to grow closer to the ruined home, they began to see a large, stone, well peeking out from behind the large farmhouse. James' eyes lit up at the sight of all the places to cause mischief. Sarah gasped in wonder, thinking of all of the things she could possibly discover. 

"Jack never told me there was a well!" James ran off in the direction of the well, and Sarah's almost mother like disposition returned.

"James, wait!" Sarah began to chase her brother across the neglected yard. "It could be dangerous!"

James ran straight to the well, his sister in tow. When they reached the crumbling stone structure, they discovered the opening had been covered with a rotting wooden lid, held down by a large rock.

James let out a disappointed noise, his grin fading. "It's all covered up! How are we supposed to see what's inside?"

"We're not," Sarah replied. "Mom said we're not allowed to be here."

"But there might be something cool down there," James told her. "Help me move this rock. If there's nothing there...I'll...do your chores for a week?"

"Fine," Sarah agreed. "But you can't tell mom I was here."

The two children each stretched to grab a section of the rock, pushing as hard as they could to move the obstacle. When they finally managed to push it off the wooden cover, only to get a large amount of dirt straight to their faces. They coughed and wiped off their faces, before straightening up to move the circular piece of wood covering the opening to the well.

"Ready?" James asked, a devilish smirk plastered across his face.

"Ready," Sarah answered, grabbing her side of the wooden boards. 

Finally the two managed to tip the wooden board off of the well, allowing them to see inside. James peered over the edge first, his joyful expression soon fading.

"There's nothing in there," he explained. "Not even water."

"There has to be water, it's a well," Sarah argued, moving to peer into the hole.

James had been right. There wasn't any water in the well as far as the children could see, only piercing blackness, and crumbling rock walls. Sarah grabbed a pebble, and dropped it into the well, hoping to hear a splash of water. After several moments, nothing had happened, not a single splash. The children frowned, puzzled. Shouldn't they have heard it hit the ground or something?

James shrugged. "I'm gonna go explore, this is boring."

"James, wait!" Sarah told him. "It's dangerous!"

"That didn't stop you from opening the well with me," he reminded her.

"Fine," she rolled her eyes. "But I think I'll go home in a minute."

"Whatever," her brother replied, running off in the direction of the barn, which looked much easier to get into than the old farmhouse.

Sarah turned to go back home, but something stopped her. She felt as though she had to look in the well just one more time, like something was calling to her. Slowly, she turned and walked towards the well once more, as if in a trance. She peered over the side, and to her surprise, she could see a dark shape climbing towards the top of the well at an alarming speed.

"J-James? I think there's something-" She began to call for her brother, only to be cut off with by the sight of a long, pale, clawed hand gripping her arm.

~*~

James was exploring the barn, finding few things of interest when her heard a blood-curdling scream from where he had last seen his sister.

"Sarah?!" he rushed out as fast as he could, getting there in time only to see a pale, slender, figure pull his sister into the well.

Scared, and shocked, but mostly concerned for his sister, James ran to the well and looked down into the darkness. He couldn't see anything, not even a sign of movement.

"Sarah! Sarah, please be okay," he begged. "I'm gonna go get mom, I'll be back as soon as I can I promise!"

James ran down the forest trail, stumbling on roots and slipping in puddles, but never once stopping until he burst into his house, running straight to his mother.

"M-mom! Something pulled Sarah down the old well!" he had tears streaming down his dirt stained face, and cuts and bruises all over his legs where his pants had been torn. "I made her come with me, it's all my fault!"

"What?" his mother sat, shocked for a moment, looking over her sobbing son before everything sunk in. "James, I'm going to call nine-one-one, and then you need to take me to the well as fast as you can, do you understand?"

James nodded, and his mother began to talk to the person on the other end of the phone, while stuffing flashlights, first aid kits, and lengths of rope and chain into a bag. Soon she hung up the phone, and ushered James out the door, following him down the forest path as fast as the pair could go.

They watched, numb with shock as the emergency team sent someone to the bottom of the well, only to come up with nothing. There was nothing down there, no Sarah and no creature. Not even a drop of water. 

They searched the surrounding area for months, and were never able to find Sarah, or a creature. The only evidence Sarah had been there at all was James' account of what had happened. 

Almost a year later, James was getting into bed, still struggling with the memory of what had happened to his sister. He rolled over in bed, and noticed he had left his curtains open. Standing to close them, he noticed something on the lawn. Upon closer inspection, he noticed it was the monster he had seen take Sarah down into the well. He could only stand, paralyzed with fear, as it began to run towards him.

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