I was finally asked to fetch pure water for the village. A task I was wondering when it will fall on my shoulders. They handed me the map to help with the road. Little do they know that I’ve been there too many times I can head to the Land of Wells blindfolded. Something about the place made it my go to sanctuary and the biggest oven for my raw thoughts. Curiosity pushed me in the beginning for the first three visits, then something different took the lead and kept me going there.
Now that my trip is official, I expected a little bit of eagerness and excitement to be my road companions in this task fulfilling journey, but it was different.
I’ve noticed before how all task fulfillers never come back, and I thought as rumor has it that they have failed and were too ashamed to face their families back home. Which was somehow one of my interest seeds.
Before I set out on my journey, the eldest whispered in my right ear: “Fetch it for your life.”
It sounded more of a push to take this task seriously, so I just nodded back closing my eyes to radiate whatever is there of adulthood in me, and embarked on my trip.
When I reached the one and only Land of Wells, everything looked different. The wells were exactly where I recalled them, but each felt more alive. It was too quiet every time I went there that the bewilderment of my unanswered wonders crippled me and sent me back home with my unanswered questions. Who dug those wells? Why are they arranged in a way where the smaller ones are surrounding the bigger ones, and so on until they reach the largest in the middle? Why dug too many wells instead of one big one? Why pave a very long and supposedly hidden road to reach this land when everyone knows the shortcuts? Why pretend like we only go there once to fulfill our duties? Why is it to be done solo? And the mother of them all, why no one has ever came back?
I never thought the place could be more quiet that it was already, as if the air has absorbed all living’s vibrations.
Whenever I got closer to a well it started calling my name as if it was announcing how close I was to the others. I never had the audacity to peek into any well as I feared the myths I used to hear before. They say whenever I peek in a well that calls my name, I’ll be its prisoner forever. So I kept walking searching for a silent one. The only well that wasn’t calling my name was the large one in the middle. I came closer to lower the bucket and noticed a ladder from within the well. I couldn’t really see the bottom of the well, and couldn’t therefore know if it had water or not. Wanting to get out of there as soon as I could, I lowered the bucket yet the rope was too short I had no other option but to go down the ladder. I tied the bucket to my waist and went down.
Chills covered me as I stood on the first step. The light cold breeze which was coming from the bottom didn’t cool the warm ladder. Something about the breeze made my senses sharper. I started noticing a pigeon standing on the tip of the well. It gave me a nod to keep going down, and I was pretty sure I wasn’t hallucinating while widely awake. I even could see in the dark! With two natural flashlights in my head I was able to see my way down. On the seventh step, I noticed scribbles all around the wall. What kind of person would decide to scribble in here? They weren’t even close to the ladder. I don’t know how that could be possible. As I kept moving down, scribbles turned to child drawings, which in turn became paintings as I kept climbing down. I started feeling lighter that moving down a step became more of a light jump down till I found myself floating in the middle of the wide deep well. As I went freely swimming in the air my fingers reached for the paintings that were getting denser. The moment I touched the wall paintings they crawled into my skin, my hands, my shoulders, my back, my neck, and in no time they were covering every inch of skin on my body. They were too heavy. I was out of my league. They took control of the bucket and detached it off my waist. I heard the splash way down. There was water! I wanted to hold the ladder and gain back control on my balance yet failed. The only thing left in my control was my voice. Fear took over, and I suddenly heard a scream I didn’t know I had the voice for. It took with it my last drop of energy and dropped me unconscious.
Light sequential tappings started from my belly till they reached my collar bone and stopped. With heavy eyelids, openning my eyes felt like moving two wet blankets holding the weight of the universe. Two tiny orange eye balls were staring right in front of my pupils. They were too close I had to close one eye to see clearly. Did this thing wake me up? Did the pigeon really wake me up?
Before I was able to comprehend where was I, the pigeon walked back to my belly and hopped off to the ladder. A tiny bright white spot with the size of a lentil was up above. Did I fell all the way down and I’m still alive??
After collecting the last strands of strength left in me, I pulled myself up lightly to find out I was fully soaked in knee-deep dirty water. It took no time to confirm the bucket was nowhere close. I was covered with what looked like heavy dirt at first glance, yet couple of seconds looking at it carefully made me realize it was thick paint colors merged into this dark brown and dark purple stains all over me. It was everywhere. Remembering the paintings, I started rubbing my right arm with my shaking left hand to wipe them off. Each stain was too hard to remove I had to leave plenty of scratches here and there. I wanted to remove at least the amount that brings my balance back to get myself out of here. A sudden burning sensation started to spread across my shoulders down to my spine and up to the back of head. And without hesitation I found myself dipping my body back in the stained water to ease the pain. As my skin cooled down colors started to fade away and be replaced by maps of thin fine green lines. The need to get out surpassed my bewilderment of the new lines that I found myself jumping to reach the lower part of the ladder. Couple of jumping attempts and I was able to grab hold of it. I was never aware I’m capable of climbing anything in life with the speed I reached the top of the well with. I jumped off the well to the most dry land my feet has ever touched. I lyed on my back appreciating the dryness precious earth gifts us, and closed my eyes to comprehend what had just happened. The pigeon came again knocking my forehead’s door. It gave me a shorter stare by then and walked away in a similar way a human would walk on two legs. Creeped out by what I saw, I wanted to leave the place as soon as possible.
Resting peacefully by the entrance of the land, I found my bucket full of water too clear you’d think it breeds diamonds. I noticed a note sticked to its side as I bent to carry the bucket. It read as follows:
The road back home has shifted the moment you peeked into the abyss