Chapter 1 – The Well Part I
My sister Emma and I used to spend a lot of weekends at our grandparent’s house when we were younger. They lived about three and a half hours away from us in the residential area of a very small town, although they lived at the end of the block, and as such, they owned a portion of the large field that laid past it.. They had what was basically a playground in their huge backyard, and we spent a handful of weekends a year going to movies in the next town over, playing outside, playing video games, and eating our grandma’s amazing cooking. It was truly our favorite place to be.
Nights at the farm could get a little creepy though. The town in which their house was situated was essentially in the middle of nowhere, so to be away from the lights and sounds of the city could be a little unsettling while my sister and I were trying to fall asleep. The sounds of cicadas and other insects permeated the night air, while almost pitch black darkness surrounded us in every direction.
There was really only one rule when we were at our grandparents, and that was to never go near the well. The well rests a short distance away from the house and around it is a rope that our grandfather put up as a boundary we were forbidden to cross. It was a rule that we followed very strictly. In fact, the only time I’ve ever seen my grandparents angry was when I made the foolish mistake to cross the rope.
Now until I was 11 years old, I had always assumed that our grandparents forbade us from going near the well for our safety, so we didn’t fall in. And I suppose, in some capacity, that was true. But there was a weekend we spent there that showed me what the real reason was for us keeping our distance from the well. I didn’t understand it until recently, but the actual reason was something so much worse.
I was six years old when I first heard noises outside my room at my grandparents house. They would wake me up and I would think nothing of it before quickly falling back asleep. I would hear this same sound every few times I slept over at their house, but nothing ever made me think to investigate further.
I was 11 when the crunching of leaves outside my window woke me up from another night of light sleep. I sat up and saw my grandmother walking along the side of the house towards the front yard holding a duffel bag. With the aid of sunlight I could see the well from my window, but during the night it was too dark. I saw the unmistakable glow of headlights coming from an unknown source turning in towards the house before shutting off.
I pressed my face against the window in a failed attempt at seeing what was going on. My curiosity eventually got the best of me, and I exited my room and went to the front of the house to look out a window that I could actually see something from. When I did, I saw a semi-truck parked, mostly on the road but with the front turned a bit inwards. My grandmother was standing there talking to a man who I presumed to be the driver.
The two of them stood there talking for about two minutes by my guess, before the driver walked to the end of the truck and opened the back. He climbed into the trailer and walked out a short time later, with a child in each arm. They looked to be about seven or eight years old, but I couldn’t be certain, as it was dark. The man put the kids on their feet and my grandmother knelt down and put a hand on each of their shoulders, saying something to them. She then tossed the duffel bag to the man, who picked it up, opened it, and inspected its contents.
The driver then walked back to the front of his truck, climbed in, and drove off. Meanwhile, my grandmother led the children to the well, helping them step over the rope my sister and I dared never cross, save for my one foolish time. I went to a window in the dining room, the closest one to the well, to get the best view possible. All sorts of things ran through my young mind as far as what my grandmother was doing with two children she got out of the back of a truck.
My grandma shined a flashlight down the well, and it looked as if she was talking to whatever was in it. She then, to my horror, grabbed the young girl and threw her down the well. The boy tried to turn around and run, but my grandmother grabbed his arm, preventing him from doing so. She took the boy and threw him down the well too. She then raised her arms, palms up, and looked to the sky. She said something, but since I was inside I couldn’t hear what.
She stood there saying whatever she was saying for about 10 seconds, before looking back down the well while shining her light down it. She then shut off her light and began walking back towards the house. At this point, I ran as quickly and quietly as I could back to my room and hopped in bed, pretending to be asleep.
While facing the wall my bed was against, I listened as I heard my grandma enter through the back of the house, through a door that was located in the unused bedroom of the four-bedroom house. I listened as she stopped at my sister’s room, and then mine, looking inside to see if we were sleeping (I’m guessing). She then went back to her room, and that was the last I heard from her that night.
The next day, I woke up after getting only another 45 minutes of sleep to the smell of bacon. I walked out to the kitchen and found my grandparents and sister sitting in the kitchen eating breakfast. I was welcomed to join them, and my grandmother was acting perfectly normal. We left for the weekend and I was more curious than I’d ever been about anything. I couldn’t wait to get back to their house.
We went back about once every other month, and during two of those times, my grandmother would exit the house through the back door in the middle of the night, meet the trucker, give him a duffel bag, and throw two kids down the well. It went on this way until I was 15. By that point, I was only going there a few times a year, but the strange ritual never stopped.
When I was 15, I finally got the courage to investigate the well myself. I once again watched my grandmother meet the trucker and drop the kids in the well, and she came by to make sure my sister and I were asleep as she always did. I then waited about 45 minutes, what I figured would be ample time for my grandmother to fall back asleep, and got out of bed. I snuck my way to the back of the house and exited through the back door. It was then that I realized that the reason my grandma always used the back door was because it was nearly silent, whereas the large, wooden front door groaned throughout the entire house every time it was opened or closed.
I walked along the side of the house, avoiding the dry leaves next to my window that my grandmother walked across every time the season had them. I made my way to the well with my flashlight, half of me intrigued, the other half terrified at what I might find. I approached the well and as I did, I heard sounds emanating from within it. There was a sort of shuffling sound, as well a sort of…chattering, like someone’s teeth in the cold.
I got right up to the edge of well, leaned over it, and took a deep breath. Then, I shined the flashlight down the well. I stepped back in disgust at the foul odor that emanated from within it. I chose then to hold my breath and take another look. There were bones, human bones and pieces of skin, ligament and muscle strewn about the well floor. Blood stained the walls up a few feet and all over the well floor. Then I realized that there was a chamber at the bottom of the well, more space on either side that I couldn’t see into. That’s where he came from.
Into the light appeared…someone. To this day, I’m not entirely convinced that whoever it was was human. The body of him was like a skeleton, skin clinging to his bones for dear life. His face was as gaunt as his body, with cheekbones that could cut glass. His limbs were so thin, it looked as if a gust of wind would make him shatter into pieces. His skin was as pale as a ghost, and his eyes, as sunken in as they were, gleamed against my flashlight a sharp, brilliant green.
His hair was in patches, and looked to me that what remained only did because he hadn’t pulled it out of his scalp yet, as much of it was stained with blood. In fact, as pale as his skin was, much of it was covered with dirt blood. He snarled at me; his teeth some other color than white, jagged and sharp. There was something between many of his teeth, and while I could be mistaken, it looked like skin.
He reached down and scooped something up from the ground, then held out its hand and blew it upwards. He had picked up some kind of dust, which was very clear in the bright light I was shining down into the well. Then, the disgusting man in the well let out a screeching howl that made me recoil and cover my ears as it echoed up the walls of the well. It was then that I saw the light on the back of the house turn on.
I quickly ran around the opposite side of the house I’d traversed to get to the well. I snuck my way back inside and got back in bed quickly. A few minutes later, I heard who I presume to be my grandmother walk back past my window and into the house. That was the last time I ever went to my grandparents house.
Until now, that well and whoever was in it made me stay as far away as I possibly could from the town of Glarus.