The Well Continued

          She watched nervously as the skeleton floated away from her until it came to rest against the far wall. She continued to feel along the walls behind her for some piece of jutting stone where she could find a finger-hold and begin her ascent. Her eyes, however, never left the skeleton. Where had it come from?

          Then, just as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared into the murky depths. As did her purse, her shattered cell phone, the can of mace. And then she was underwater, being pulled by some unfelt force deep, deep down. She turned and dug her fingernails into the stone as hard as she could, frantically scratching the wall to slow her descent. She tried as hard as she could to find some jag, some crevice she could dig into to pull herself back up but the wall was far too slick, far too smooth. Bubbles escaped her screaming mouth as she scraped and struggled for her life, sinking quicker and quicker.

          And then she was free. The force let her go and she started to swim up once more. Air never tasted as sweet as it did when she finally got back to the surface. She looked to the sky to see that dawn had finally come, spilling red across the sky. Help, she screamed at the top of her lungs. Somebody help me! Sobbing, she continued to scream off and on for the next couple of hours, until the rain started once again.

          The rain came once again in torrents, and the water rose before Kristens eyes. Many uneventful hours passed as the water rose another good fifteen feet. As she looked up she realized she must be about halfway to the rim of the well by now. The sky appeared to have taken on a greenish hue, and she could barely see the clouds overhead. She continued to feel along the walls for a piece of jutting stone but still the walls were far too slick and smooth.

          The day passed slowly, and the rain continued as the sun drew low in the sky. The orange glow of dusk spilled down the well as Kristen continued to feel along the walls for some jag or jut. The rain had slowed but not stopped for the past hour, and the well--now half full--continued to rise ever-so-slowly. She was growing weaker as hunger gnawed at her gut, and hypothermia began to set in. Night hadnt yet fallen when the noises began anew deep beneath her feet, and Kristen wasted no time resuming her frantic pleas for help.

          The deep moaning echoes grew slowly nearer as the rain beat down upon her screaming face, and she clawed and scratched at the wall with abandon. The sun fell lower, and the shadows shifted, and just a few inches above her stretching hand she could see a small jut in the stone. Finally!

          The reverberations in the stone got increasingly noticeable as the subterranean cries grew louder. She stretched and strained with all her strength but the jut remained just out of reach. A vibration coursed through her as the next echo sounded out beneath her, and she felt something slide up her back. She screamed and spun around to see the well was filled with skeletons, all eyeless sockets staring one way or another, heads tilted back in silent, jawless screams.

          She sprung out of the water with all her strength and finally managed to barely catch the edge of the jutting stone. Quickly she reached with her right hand and grabbed onto the next crack in the wall. Summoning all her bodily strength she pulled herself up, feet slipping and sliding against the algae-slicked wall. Her body was shaking from the strain when she grabbed onto the next protrusion, and she managed to lift her foot to support herself on the first jut. As she inched further up the wall she could hear the skeletons dipping one by one back into the water. She dared not look back, though, lest she lose her balance and join them.

          Another cry rang out, shaking the stone, and she braced herself tightly against the wall, body shivering from hunger and exhaustion, fingers digging into the stone for dear life. One by one, more skeletons dipped into the water. She reached up and caught hold of the next jag, pulling with muscles strained long past their endurance. She mustve been a good four feet out of the water when she heard the splash, and then came that horrible moan, like some morbid otherworldly keening shaking the walls with its vibration, and her fingernails began to slide.

          She cried out in pain and terror and she strained to keep her grip on the wall. She dare not look back, she knew she had to keep climbing. She stretched out her right hand, feeling for another jut in the stone, as the noises below her continued. She heard teeth slamming together hungrily, and more desperate moans. Another splash, as whatever creature was below her sank beneath the waters surface once again. Then a thud shook the walls, and her grip faltered sending her leaning back.

          NO! she screamed as she dug her fingernails into the stone desperately, but she continued to slip. The keening once again below her shook the walls, and her tentative grip held for just another few secondsfingernails digging deep into the stone. Then Kristen cried out as her fingernail finally ripped free of the skin, and she fell. Her screams were swallowed as she hit the water with a painful splash.

The rain stopped, and the night was silent once again.

Uploaded 07/30/2009
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