Stories from my life and other writing…

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#7 The Girl and the Empty Well

Posted by Jane Lancaster on December 15, 2010

This story emerged out of a time in 2001 when I was in a relationship (if you can call it that) with a complete fucking shit.  He was totally destructive towards women or it may have just been me in particular.  And I seemed to lap it up and then return the abuse in kind.  Sigh.  Anyway at that time I was in full recognition of the fact that I seemed to be addicted to abusive men…and since I had just turned 40 I wanted it to stop.  For any old boyfriend who might stumble upon this story…you know who you are.

Sitting at the top of a dark, cold, dripping well.   As if in a trance, the girl lowered the bucket, desperately in need of water.  The people told her to stop.  ‘It’s a disused well, there’s no water, look over here is the full well, come lower your bucket here.’  ‘No,’ she cried ‘get away from me, I know what I’m doing, I know this well, this is the well I want, I want this well!’  Clinging onto the well, she watched as the others happily chattered and drank cool, clear water from pretty little cups.  They were contented and laughing, their faces fresh and carefree.  ‘Come,’ they beckoned her.

But she couldn’t let go of her well.  It felt so weird and strange to even contemplate.  She looked at them longingly as they shook their heads in disbelief.  She began to cry because she knew that her well was empty so why couldn’t she let go?  Sadly, she watched the people, her head resting against the wall.  It was hard and cold and it didn’t feel comforting at all but it was so familiar.  A young, gentle looking man held out a beautiful golden cup of water for her, she so wanted to drink from it.  She began to get to her feet and to hold out her hand.  But noticing that some of the women looked faintly surprised, she hesitated.  All at once a voice rang out, loud and clear.  “I want you girl, oh girl, I want you so much!”  The words brought her attention snap back to her old well!  There, dressed like Frank Sinatra, leaning against the bucket, hat tilted back on his head, stood the spirit of the well.  He’s back, she thought, he came back!  He had that come hither look that she so loved.  His eyes twinkled with promising delight. Feelings of intense desire and longing surged through her body.   “Come fly with me, let’s fly let’s fly away” he sang and her heart soared.  She started to melt into ecstasy when the man with the beautiful golden cup cleared his throat. With some effort she managed to steal a look back at him.  As she could have predicted, he now looked odd and ridiculous to her. “Come fly with me let’s float down to Peru.” She swooned at the sound of that smooth, dreamy Frank Sinatra voice, sprinting back to the old disused well a rapturous giggle bubbled out of her.

The spirit closed around her swiftly and snatched her down into the darkness.  Brimming with hope and desire, she clung onto him. Slowly, she became aware of a horrible smell.   Something really stank.   It was the most disgusting, foul smell.  With more than a little trepidation, she slowly lifted her head.  The spirit’s evil eyes were burning into her. Like a demon, he burst out laughing and let out a loud fart that echoed disgustingly round the well. She jerked as shock ripped through her, like the ear-piercing sound of a needle across a record. Her stomach lurched, her heart sank.  “Please don’t do that?”  She said.  “Not this again, not again.“  He smiled wickedly and with the utmost disrespect forced out a rip-roaringly crude fart.  It was repulsive, the smell was unbearable.  He laughed and farted and laughed and farted all over her.  She screamed in horror, held her fingers to her nose and pleaded with him to stop.  The more upset she became the louder he laughed.  By now he had turned into an ugly, mean-looking goblin. He was farting and dancing, farting and dancing until her mind was a sea of misery and confusion.  Suddenly everything went still as he flew into the shadows. Looking around crazily she spotted his red eyes in the darkness watching her with a flaming intensity.  She felt weak. How could she have been so stupid?   She felt used and appalled by this maddening, crazy making game.  Why did he have this power over her?  Reflecting on this, she watched him searchingly, he just laughed in her face. He loathed her for her weakness and she knew it.  He knew, she knew, she had fallen for his tricks all over again.

She felt weary with pain and disappointment.  She knew that this time her climb out of the well would be harder than before.  That each time was harder than before.  She doubted her strength.  The bitter regret sapped her already drained energy.  Crouching in a dank corner, her face turned toward the dirty wall, she wondered helplessly what she should do.  Her mind raced with memories of the spirits past abuses, she felt disgusted with herself. Just then something moved at the top of the well, it was the gentle man squinting down, she heard him say, “I’m sure I saw her disappear down here.”  She looked at the spirit.  He was watching her very carefully.  By now he’d adopted his handsome demeanour again.  She saw that she had his attention.  She bit her lip and agonized, might there be some possibility of love with the spirit?  Her head was throbbing.  “How can you be so cruel?”  She whispered hoarsely,  “Why do you want to be?  There was a time when I thought you loved me.”  “Come here“ he said, she froze as he held out his arms. “Let me hold you,” he said.

“Come my darling, come to me.”  What now she thought?  He looked genuinely concerned for her, like the most decent, benevolent of fathers.  Oh, how tempting he was!  She looked up and saw the gentle man peering down at her.  She knew he was the way but felt compelled to try to change the spirit she knew.  The spirit’s face now shone like an angel.  She felt torn between wanting the love that she hoped was being offered here and the wracking pain of knowing how deluded that was. Anything that was given would be spoiled minutes later like smearing mud over a just finished work of art.  She opened her mouth and out came a long, desolate howl, “Somebody please help me. Help me please!”  Then the sound of a rope uncoiling thudded at her feet.

Jane Lancaster 2002.


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