When the night is deep, and everything for miles outside is calm and asleep – he wakes up in a dream inside of a very, very dark well. The sound of water gurgling down along its jagged walls, to the rocky pit he stands knee-deep upon surrounds him. Taunting.
“You won’t get out. You’re not good enough to get out,” it seems to say above the slush and echo, the mist and the smell.
The water is not clear, its dark. Black. The grey expressionless sky visible through the maw of the well, offers no hope, makes no promises. He must escape it.
He tries. He tries to reach up. To raise his arms. To get a grip. The sharp rocks bite into his fingers. He flinches – falls.
Splash! Into the water below. Gets up. Tries again. Makes a grip on the rock. The other hand reaches above. Another grip. Then a foot. Everything bites. But he keeps at it. He raises a few feet on the wall. Foul water run down on him like thick, blunt sheets of steel. One step – then the second – then the third. His breath is ragged. His heart pounding…Must escape. The walls of the well are closing in on him, like its being zippered up. He must keep on. On and on he must. One hand, then the other above it. One foot above the other. Keep going.
The walls begin to morph into faces around him. Stony rocks take forms of eyes, a nose, lips. Sinister and dark. He keeps pushing, keeps rising.
“You are one of us, where are you going,” the faces on the walls speak with a smirk. “It is your duty to stay here. How dare you trample over us. You will never leave. NEVER.”
With a sudden jerk the entire well heaves. A wave goes through it jolting him, loosening his grip. He falls – slips – tumbles. Down and down and down back to the endless pit he goes. Legs over arms over head, all back to the dark below – his heart is racing, his mouth is screaming – all falling back with a SPLASH.
He wakes up, out of breath, a foul stench in his nostrils a sour taste in his mouth.
Credit: illustration by Mariah (M.S)