home Fiction The Well

The Well

They had been languishing there for an indeterminable amount of time.
“The water has leaked into my shoes”, came a voice from the right.
“I know”, replied a bored voice from the left.
“How can you know?”
“Well, because you just told me”
“Yes, well, you responding ‘I know’ to a fact I just told you suggests that you knew prior to
me telling you”
“Mmm”
“What do you mean, ‘mmm’?”
“It was a non-committal sound”
“Well how did you know?”
“How did I know what?”
“That the water has leaked into my shoes”
“Because we have both been sitting in this water for several eternities now…it is to be
expected”
“Still, just because you expect something doesn’t mean it is any less comfortable when it
happens”
“Better to be prepared”
“Better to be out of here”
“Well we have established that is not going to happen”
“WE established nothing. You are refusing to let us get out of here”
“Excuse me, how is this incarceration my fault?”
“You could have prevented it”
“Oh? Do tell. How do you reckon that one?”
“You were out front and allowed us to flounder…you allowed us to fall. You should have
been looking out”
“I see… But the person walking behind pushing isn’t at fault?”
“How many times do I have to tell you, it wasn’t me. It was…it”
There was a lapse into silence as they both turned to stare across the darkness, waiting for
something. But it did not come.
“It hasn’t said anything yet. It should have said something by now”.
“I am still not entirely convinced it is in here”

2

The Well

“What do you mean? Where else could it go?”
“Well I don’t know but I doubt it is in here. Surely it would have spoken up by now”
“We have been here an awful long time”
“How long, do you think?”
“How long what?”
“How long do you think we have been in here?”
“Oh…who knows? Could be centuries. Could be days…”
“Centuries? Surely not. We should be out long before that”
“And who do you think is responsible for getting us out?”
They both stared across into the darkness, waiting for a sound. None came.
“I am growing impatient”
“Stop that”
“Stop what?”
“You’re gritting your teeth. It irks me”
“I am frustrated. It is what one does when one is frustrated”
“Well you are not ‘one’ so stop”
“I just need it to say something. Anything”
“I think it’s too late for that”
“You think we will be in this blackness forever?”
“I think we will be in this blackness forever”
“Well that is simply unacceptable”
“It is was inevitable, considering”
“Considering?”
“Well it can’t have gone on much longer really can it?”
“I think you could have tried more”
“I TOLD you, if someone is pushing from behind there’s nothing that can be done”
“You were out front”
“Yes”
“So you could have warned us. You’re supposed to be the reasonable one remember?”
“I have never come across someone that makes me want to sigh in frustration more than you”
“I thought I was not a “one”

3

The Well

“What?”
“You said I was not a one, but you just called me someone”
“Can you just let me enjoy sitting in this…place in peace?”
“No…I refuse. Because if you get peace you will give up”
“I thought we already agreed we are not getting out of here”
“I thought we already agreed that you agreed that but no one else”
“Ok. I tell you what, if you get it to agree I will try to get us out of here”
Both wait in silence. Nothing happens.
“See? Now just sit down and settle yourself. We had a long battle up there. If this is how it
ends, let it end with some dignity”
“No”
“No?”
“No”
“Ok you carry on working yourself up. But just do it quietly. I deserve some quiet”
“Where is your fighting spirit?”
“Up there”
Both look up, but there is nothing to be seen. Darkness stretches for as far as they can see.
“What if we scale the walls?”
“We tried that remember? We lost our grip”
“Oh yes…If only it would speak”
“If only you would not”
“Has the water gotten deeper or is it just me?”
“It has gotten deeper”
“How much?”
“How much what?”
“How much deeper, do you think?”
“At least a few inches”
“Do you think it will get deeper?”
“I think it will drown us, yes”
“My god. We need to get out of here”
“Well talk to it. It needs to do it”
They both pause to wait for any noise. They hear a movement in the water.

4

The Well

“I knew it was here”
“That could be anything”
“By that reasoning, it could be it”
“I suppose”
“I’m going to talk to it”
“I have tried for years up there. No luck but, you know, waste your time by all means”
“Wshhhed…”, they cleared their throats, in the habit of being physically in sync, but only one
spoke. “Hello?”
“Yes”, it spoke so quietly it was almost a whisper.
They sighed in relief.
“Well that’s progress. Only took an eternity”
“Wsshhed I said!!”, one said to the other. One turned to it, “Are you ok? You haven’t made a
sound since we got in here”
There was a soft weeping sound.
“Yes I’m fine”, said it.
“Oh here we go…”, said the other. You could hear the eyes rolling.
“How many times must I say it. Wssheed!”, one turned back towards the direction of it, “are
you sure? You don’t sound fine”
“It’s easier down here. I am fine”
“Right…well, you see, now while I appreciate that…we really should be getting out of here”
“No no…I can’t. It’s easier here. You go on without me”
“We can’t”
“Oh?…That’s…I’m sorry. I wish I could help but…”
“But you can help”
“I really can’t. You said it yourself. It’s my fault we are here”
“…Right…well yes. But you can get us out”
“Can someone else do it?”
“There is no one”
“But there is you”
“I am not one. We need to do it together”
“I can’t”
“I am going to get mad soon”

5

The Well

“Mad? I can’t remember what that’s like. I only remember being here”
“What about up there? You can’t remember up there?”
“No”
“Nothing?”
“No”
“What about him? Do you remember him?”
“Him…oh…maybe. I don’t know”
“I do. Maybe I could help you remember?”
“No…no I would rather not”
“I think it will help”
“I don’t”
“Do you remember the way he used to lean in and smile before he talked?”
“No…I…no…please stop”
“You do! You do remember him”
“I don’t want to”
“Why not?”
“Because he got us here”
“Ah now, he did not solely get us here”
“No but he didn’t help”
“No but either did…those. She was the worst of them”
“Please don’t talk about her”
“I always thought she was the worst. The ring leader, as it were”
“I don’t want to talk about her”
“Why?”
“Because it makes me mad”
“How would you know? I thought you don’t remember what that’s like”
“I remember what it’s like. I just can’t bring myself to feel it now. It is better down here”
“I can assure you it’s not”
“You don’t know what it was like”
“I do”
“How?”

6

The Well

“I was there the whole time”
“You think I should have done differently?”
“I think it’s easier said than done”
“But yes?”
“But yes”
“No use crying over spilled milk”
They lapsed into silence again. Two of three staring up at the darkness stretching ahead for
what seemed like miles.
“Are you ok?”, it was asked.
“Please…stop asking me that. I am tired of people asking me that”
“Maybe it’s not the question”
“What?”
“I said maybe it is not the question…you know, that’s the problem”
“I don’t understand”
“The question is not the problem. You don’t like that question because you will not answer it
honestly”
“I am okay”
“You’re not”
“Please don’t”
“So by association, we are not okay”
“Stop”, it warned, tone changing from quiet to dangerous.
“You stop it. Enough. We need to go up”
“WE ARE NOT GOING UP”, it roared.
“Fine. If you won’t do it for us, will you do it for him?”
“No”
“Why not?”
“I…would have done anything for him before. But it’s hopeless. That’s been made clear”
“It isn’t hopeless”
“Stop it”
“We failed you. We are all the problem. Not him. Not them. We are. But we can fix it”
“No”
“Yes”

7

The Well

“I said no”
“Well you said wrong”
“Stop testing me. I don’t like it”
“You are damning all of us to stay here”
“It’s better down here. It’s safer”
“You’re speaking nonsense. What use is it being safe if you are going to be miserable?”
“I was miserable up there too”
“That was different”
“How?”
“You still had him. And there were some others”
“Not including them?”
“God no. Not including them. You definitely could have done without them”
“They did make it worse didn’t they?”
“They did. But he didn’t”
“He did”
“He didn’t”
“I miss him”
“Me too…If we get out of here perhaps we could see him?”
“No”
“We can’t stay here forever”
“Maybe not forever”
“It would be good to see him again. And some of them”
“I suppose”
“Can we go now?”
“No…but…some other time. Maybe”
“For him”
“It was always for him”
“Are you okay?”
“Just remembering….”
“Him?”
“And some of them…but yes, mostly him. Do you remember his laugh?”

8

The Well
A shard of light, barely visible and fleeting but there nonetheless, appeared above them.
“Did you see that?!”
“I did”
“Do you think it’s a good sign?”
“I don’t…I don’t know”, it sighed.
“Are you okay?”
“I don’t know”
“You don’t know?”
“No…”
“So you’re not saying you are okay?”
“Now that I think of it…I don’t think I am okay, no”
A large beam of light shined down upon them, too bright to illuminate much but enough to
startle them all before it disappeared, leaving them in darkness again.