Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Prompt: Escaping the Well

Faryn crouched in the fetid water, leaning against the well’s stone walls. A glint of silver light drew her eye, and she lifted her head to welcome the moon’s cool light. Blessed relief after the heat of the desert sun’s unrelenting harsh glare. She had lost count of the days. Six? Seven?

The water began to rise. Feeling it soak through her heavy boots and pants, she stood, stretching her arms wide and pressing her palms against the worn stones. When the water reached her chin, she stretched on tiptoe and tilted her head up to the sky. A whimper escaped her lips. They heard.

“Do you request our aid,” the voice she had come to hate drifted down. Stern, even, judging.

In answer, she spat into the filth of the water. It carried worse. Her toes lifted of the bottom, and she tread slowly, bobbing with her chest arched to keep her mouth above the surface. If it would keep rising, she could swim all the way up. Her hands slipped on the stones, and her head ducked under the water. She pushed up, spitting and swearing.

“Do you request our aid,” the implacable voice asked again.

She bit her lips closed until she tasted blood. She would never give them the satisfaction. She would die first. Or perhaps they would. Fueled with a burst of rage, she pushed her back against the stones and stretched her legs across. She had tried before. Before she was exhausted, starving, and soaked in sewage and her own filth. She tried now.

Her legs trembled, pushing her body against the wall. Her hands scrabbled for any purchase on the smooth, slippery rock. Her feet inched up, her back scraped against the stone. The water swirled around her, dragging her down. She cried out as she lost her grip and slipped under the surface once more.

She left herself drift all the way to the bottom and thought of opening her mouth to end this torment. She looked up through the murky water and saw the moon’s silver glow streaming down. Saw the hands reaching down toward her.

She stood. Once more, the voice asked, “Do you request our aid?”

Injustice. Fear. Defeat. A fiery rage swept through her. She lifted her chin and cried through her raw throat and swollen lips, “Ghods damn you—never!”

The water rose again, rushing over her head before she could push off the ground. This time, it as clear and sweet. She bent her knees and pushed with the last of her strength. As she crested the surface, she drew in a mouthful of the clean water and spouted it out, although she wasn’t sure she would ever feel clean of the filth again. The water rose like a fountain, carrying her to the top of the well in breath. She felt the energy of that power surging through her.

Without pause or thought, Faryn grabbed the edge of the well and vaulted over. The men surrounding it staggered back in surprise. One reached out a hand. “Faryn,” he said. The voice.

She pulled back her first and punched him square in the throat. He fell like a tree, hands at his neck. She stood over his feet with her fists high. His eyes were round with shock, but he looked up at her and smiled. He smiled! He looked past her shoulder and nodded.

Faryn spun and faced a man her father’s age, worn by the desert sun and the years of fighting. He bowed to her. She held her fists steady, refusing to bow in return.

He rose with a smile. “Yes, Faryn. You will lead us…”


Dogs in House
Houdini, Brindle

Glenn Miller, “In the Mood”

Time writing
~30 minutes

March word count

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