A Man is Languishing At The Bottom of A Well

We had a tie.  We’re debating what to do.

I’m thinking that we should just continue to write our stories down this path and see where they go next.

If you have a better idea, leave it in the comments.

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Unforeseen Circumstances…

Due to some unforeseen circumstances (and some foreseen ones that we didn’t do anything about) there will not be a Mr. and Mrs. Write story this week.

I know, I know.  Whatever will happen to the nameless man who fell into a well, and maybe is still stuck there, or maybe is talking to a very weird man in a very strange place? Well dear reader, patience is a virtue, and virtue must be earned*.

In the meantime, please feel free to wish Mrs. Write a very happy birthday, and we look forward to regaling you with more stories in a week’s time.

 

 

 

*I don’t really know what this means, but it sounds deep, right?

A Man Fell Into A Well Part 3a

A Man Fell Into A Well Part 2b

The well widened as I slipped. I could hear the man above calling out to me, but I knew there was no way I was getting back up to him.  

“AHHHHHH!!” I shouted as I fell.  I knew from dropping the rock earlier that it would take to the count of three until I landed.  I didn’t assume I was going to fall with the same soft pop as the rock had earlier.

I didn’t.  The pain was so excruciating, I passed out.  

When I woke up, the first thing I noticed was the smell.  When I had been stuck in the shaft of the well, the putrid smell of stagnant water and decaying animal had been offensive, now it was bad enough to make my eyes water and my nose burn. I could feel something underneath me.  It was somewhat softer than a rock, and maybe a little hairy.  I could feel the dampness of the water seeping in, but I didn’t appear to be in the water, rather on the side of it.  Or what was left of it.  At one time, the well had been full, but had dried up.  It was probably why it had been boarded up in the first place.  There was now just a trickle of water.  I could hear it and feel it more than I could see it.  There was a patch of light shining down from the opening in the top of the well, but there was also a faint light coming from the left of me.  As my eyes adjusted, I realized that the well was not just a hole in the ground as it had appeared from the top, but rather the entrance to a series of tunnels.  As I became aware of my surroundings, I realized that I could hear someone calling me from above.  

“Hey!  Are you still alive down there?”

The voice was faint and hard to hear.

I couldn’t answer yet.  Now that my leg was free to move, it was also free to swell.  My pants felt tight around my ankle and calf.  The laces of my boot dug into the top of my foot. I knew that loosening them would be a mistake, but the pressure was intense.  I could feel every time my heart beat.  I could feel my toes growing colder.

As I continued to lay there, I thought about my choices.  It would be easy to just continue to lay as I was.  I thought about my family.  How long would it take them to notice that I was gone?  I was sure they would’ve expected me home by now.  They hadn’t expected me to skip school that day.  Normally I was a good and attentive teacher.  But there was something about the sun that day.  I couldn’t concentrate.  I felt the need to be outside and in the woods. I feigned an emergency and left.  

Why had I taken the blocked path? The signs were there.   

I tentatively moved my arms in order to brace myself to sit up.  The muscles in them were stiff and they didn’t move easily, but  I could tell that nothing was broken in them.  Because they were able to move, I braced them on the floor.  My left hand pressed onto something both hairy and slimy. The sliminess was reminiscent of overripe kumquats.   I quickly pulled it away and winced at the pain in my back from the sudden movement. My brain felt too big for my skull.  The back of my eyeballs pounded rhythmically The sounds became amplified as I became more focused.  My head hurt so much I could feel the sounds more than hear them.  

I tried to push everything else away.  I could not just lay there and let myself die.  

“Come closer…”

I flinched with surprise.  The voices were back, I had forgotten about them.

“HEY!” I heard calling from above.

I weighed my options.  I could continue to lie there.  It didn’t appear that the voices were going to come closer.  I figured I should let the man on the top know I was still alive.

I opened my mouth to shout up to him.

“I wouldn’t do that.”

I swiveled my head trying to figure out where the voice had come from.  Again, there was nothing except that faint light to my left.  It flickered a bit.  

I, once again, tried to fight my way into a sitting position.  This time, I did not move my hand away when it touched whatever rotted creature was laying in repose next to me, although I did gag.  From the size and shape, I was guessing it used to be a cat.  

“Come closer…” the voice said again.  The light in the tunnel flickered.  Was it beckoning me?  Was it the tunnel speaking?  I shook my head in disbelief. This day was nothing that I had imagined.

I had to move.  I would not let myself continue to fester at the bottom of a well.  After steeling myself, I attempted to stand.  There was nothing grab onto except a dead cat.  Moving my leg sent shock waves of pain up through my hip to my spine.  

I cried out.

“You’re alive!” the man exclaimed.  “He’s alive!” he shouted to someone behind him.  “I’m going to throw you a rope!”  He cried.

I could hear the sound of the rope hitting the sides of the well as it rushed down the hole toward me.   It hit me in the face pretty hard, not that I could feel more damage at that point.  But I knew the roughness of it would leave a mark.  At the same time the rope hit me, I felt something grab my hand and pull me toward the tunnel.  I didn’t feel the presence of anything around me.  I didn’t see anyone near me.  I wasn’t sure what it was that grabbed me, but I knew for sure that it wasn’t the dead cat.  

“NOW!”

 

A Man Fell Into A Well Part 3b

A Man Fell Into A Well Part 2b

I grabbed the rope with all of my might, but to no avail.  My good leg flailing, I dropped.  I grasped desperately at any poking rocks that my fingers could catch as I plummeted by.  I realized in a flash that the worst was yet to come; soon, I would land at the bottom, and my legs would land first. I clawed. I gripped.  I screamed.

 

I am well aware that it must have been mere seconds.  But I felt like I was falling forever.  My life didn’t flash before my eyes or anything, but I definitely foresaw the pain of the landing, what must have been inevitable death.  What is it like to smash your head and die at the bottom of a hole, unable to see, unable to breathe.

 

So, it was a shock as much as anything when I plunged into water.  Not just a small bit of standing water, but a warm, fresh and large body of water.  My left leg throbbed as it was immersed, but the pain didn’t last long. I never touched the bottom of whatever I was in, and knew at that moment that I had to swim as fast as I could.  I didn’t have the air in my lungs. I kicked my leg and paddled my arm, and bobbed out of the water.

 

Big breath.  

 

Tread.

 

I wiped the water from my eyes to try and make sense of my surroundings.  More big breaths.  It took my eyes far too long, having been in the darkness for such a long time, to adjust to the light all around me.  But it was soft and easy, and I had no idea where it was coming from. There was land ahead, so I tried to swim toward it. But mostly, I tried to wrap my head around this place.

 

It was a lake.  Or a pond. I was clearly in some kind of cave, some underground cavern. The water was shining blue, perfectly cool and relaxing.  As I closed in on the shores, my feet came into contact with the ground: small soft pebbles, bunching between my toes like sand. My leg hitting the ground didn’t hurt. As I climbed out of the water, I could still see the blood on my jeans, but the pain was gone.  It didn’t make sense.  None of this made sense.  Moments ago I was terrified and broken.  My neck wouldn’t turn, my leg, I was sure, had snapped.  I was tired and I was angry.  But suddenly, it was as if life itself had blown into my lungs.  I was in some unknown place, but a place of beauty and calm.  The air was cool.  The smell of rot was gone, replaced by the freshness of untouched Eden.

 

It was only then, after being lambasted by the change of scenery, Immersed in the water, and been brought to a sudden new life, did it occur to me that something else was missing. The voices.  Whoever had been talking to me, or whatever had been talking to me, wasn’t there any longer. The cavern was empty, except for myself.  I looked around, keeping my mind open as to what might have spoken the words.  I saw a hole in the roof of the cave, one I assumed I had fallen through. I even allowed myself to imagine that this was some Disney movie, and any animal could have been the source; a wise old bat, a friendly fish, maybe.

 

But there was nothing aside from me. I called out “Hello?” Nothing but echoes replied.  “You were waiting for me?”  Echoes again. “Are you here?”

 

“I knew you’d come” said a voice directly behind me.  I spun around so fast, I tripped over my own feet and landed on my ass.  I scooted back from the being before me, someone who wasn’t there seconds ago.  I shuffled backwards quickly, trying to figure out who this was and what they wanted.  How did they sneak up on me?  Where did they come from?

 

Standing there, with a slightly askew grin, was a man.  He was not old, but he was older than I am.  His head was covered by a hat, worn beyond much use.  He did not appear threatening, but he wouldn’t be considered friendly either. And he was certainly not scared of me.  “I told you you’d come down here.” His voice was unaffected, simply matter-of-fact.  His eyes scanned over me, taking me in, seemingly proud of himself.

 

“You sat up there so long. Got annoying watching you wasting your time like that. Should have just let go.  Stop hurting yourself for nothing.”  His voice was craggly, with a slightly southern twinge.  And his sentences seemed to stop abruptly, as if they ended before even he knew they would. He stopped watching me and started to wander off.

 

“Who are you?”

 

“Why? Think you heard of us? You ain’t heard of us.” I couldn’t tell if he was being short with me, or just hadn’t talked to anyone in a long time and forgot how you were supposed to have a conversation.  “What should I call you?’ I asked.  “You can call me what you want.  If you’re talking to someone, it’s probably me, right?” He looked at me, and stuck his lip out as if he was pondering what I was thinking. I will admit that I was thinking his ability to provide any useful information was lacking.  “Most folks called me Sandy, if you want to be like most folks.  One guy called me Sam, but i think he just didn’t hear good.  One guy called me “Dahlia”.  Never knew why,” he said, turning away. I couldn’t tell for sure, but I thought I saw a slight grin as he turned.

 

“What other folks?” I asked.  “Are there other people down here?”

 

“No one else down here.  Just you and me. The rest of them ain’t alive anymore.” This time, I saw the grin.

 

A Man Fell Into A Well Part 3

You should know how this goes by now.  Read the stories, decide which is better and vote for the best one.  We’ll close the poll on Sunday.  Don’t feel obligated to choose Anne’s just because you know her birthday is coming up.  (If you can even tell which one it is.)

A Man Fell Into A Well Part 2b

To read the beginning A Man Fell Into a Well Part 1b

I started to panic.  My breaths were coming in short pants. My chin was pressed against my chest.  My back and legs pressed against the walls of the well.  I knew that I couldn’t support myself in this position much longer.  Unless help arrived from above, I was going to be going down.  Toward the voices.  

How long had I been in here?  Had it been hours?  Perhaps the voices were hallucinations caused by pain.  Maybe they weren’t really coming from below me and the closeness of the walls just made it sound like it.

“We are waiting for you.” They said again.  This time they were more familiar.  Growing up in these hills, I had heard stories from the miners that were old before their time.  They always began the same way their voices raspy with the “miner’s asthma” that claims too many of them and frequently interrupted by coughing spells.  “I was down in the heart of the mine.  I could hear the walls starting to shake.  In the rumbling, I could hear voices…”  

There are stories from all over the world about the ghosts in the mines.  The Shubin in Russia, the Seven Whistlers in Wales. I had heard all of these stories from my grandfather.  He often told stories as he whittled.  As he talked, I watched the wood take the shape of ghostly figures.  Not all of the ghosts were evil, he explained.  Some ghosts appeared to give warning before the mine caved in.  Other miners, he said, reported seeing a ghost just after the mine had collapsed.  The mines were a dangerous place.   

I tried to push those thoughts out of my head.  I wasn’t in a mine, I was in a well.  

“Well, well, well…” echoed in my head.  Scolding me and mocking me. I wished I could raise my arms to cover my ears and drown out the noise.  The pressure of the words not said built up inside me.  My chest started to feel tight.  The stone against my back made me ache.  I needed to move.  I closed my eyes against the pain in my leg.  But the words just kept pounding inside me. I had to release the pressure.  It was just too much.  I could feel my jaws opening to scream again, when the voices returned.  

“We are here.” They said this time.

Wait.

Where?  These voices didn’t sound like they were coming from below me.  My scream stopped in my throat.  I attempted once again to look up.  The movement of my head caused a small rock to dislodge itself.  I heard it fall and counted.  Waiting to hear the splash, waiting for the voices to come again.  Waiting for the answer that I hoped would come.  

1…2…3…there was a soft pop as the rock landed.  It did not hit water.  I could hear the movement of something beneath me.  A sort of shuffling.  

I still could see nothing above me, so I decided to look below.  It was hard to see around myself wedged in the way I was.  I rolled my head slightly to the left.  Underneath me I saw a flash of white.  It was perhaps 15 or 20 feet down.  I weighed my risks.  I was stuck.  There was no way I was going to be able to get up the well.  I could perhaps maneuver myself into a position that would let me fall deeper into it.  My leg screamed with pain and my muscles were fatigued from holding this position for so long.  I realized that it just didn’t matter.  

There was no way I was going to be rescued.  If I was going to move, the only way was down.

I heard a shuffling noise above me.  Wait.  Was it above me?  I opened my mouth and called out.  “HELP!”

I heard the noise again. A rock tumbled down onto me.  A light shone on me.  A voice. ”Hold on!  I’m going to get some rope.”  

The noises above faded.  The noises below increased.  There was cavernous roaring now.  It was growing louder, I could feel the noise coming from under me.  I could feel movement and wind beneath me.  

“You don’t want to do that.”  the voices warned.  “We have been waiting a long time.”

There was a part of me that longed to just fall. To end the relentless waiting.  How long would be before the top voices came back?  I wanted to know what fate awaited me at the bottom.  What were those voices?  

I heard scuffling above me again.  I could hear the old wood creak.  “Hey!  Are you still there?” the voice called down to me, as the light hit me again.  

“Yes!  Help!” I cried.  My leg throbbed with the effort.  

“I’m going to throw you a rope.” Said the voice.  I was able to identify the voice as a man. “I’ve called for help.  Are you hurt?”

As I was about to answer as the rope hit me in the chest. “Tie that around yourself.” the man said.  

I started trying to move my arms to grab the rope.  I could feel the excitement building below me.  The rumblings started again.  “Do you hear that?” I shouted up to the man.

“Hear what?” he called down.  

The noises were nearly deafening now.  They were bouncing around the cavern.  Despite all of that, I heard the man take a step backward.  I heard the splintering of the old wood.  I knew he had heard it too.  As I was finally able to grab the rope, I felt it go slack.  My body started to slip further down.  I knew there was no way I could brace myself this time.  

“We told you.”  The voices said.