Oh sorry, what? Oh you're finished, right.
As your story ends the flames grow dimmer. The fire darkens but its warmth persists.
Didn't mean to drop the ball just... I heard a loud thump back behind me.
Didn't mean to drop the ball just... I heard a loud thump back behind me.
It didn't sound like a branch falling Sandra, I think we should go home.
No Jennifer I know it would ruin the whole night and the ritual but...
Okay, just promise that you'll watch the woods behind me. I just have this terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that's something's out there, watching.
If anything moves back there, interrupt me. I don't want to be taken by surprise.
Let the still stars bless my words as I begin our ninth story.
Let the still stars bless my words as I begin our ninth story.
It's on an abandoned farmstead in eastern Washington. Coming from the west side of state you pass through the mountain forests and watch as the trees thin out little-by-little as you approach the long-gash in the ground where the Columbia river flows. Right on the lip of the canyon you pass by Vantage, a town that never seemed to break one hundred people. Enjoy the view as you cross over, it's the last variation in terrain you'll see for hours.
Trundling along the endless plains you pass through a few more towns and then they're behind you too. The land somehow gets even dryer, flatter, more desolate; a seemingly infinite plane of scrub grass and arid dirt. And then you turn off the highway, heading southward into that oblivion. You make a few turns here and there and you end up on a road called Lamont Rd from one direction and McCall Road from the other, watching for the crooked rusted marker declaring Reveree Rd. Somewhere along Reveree you'll find it, an old two-story farmhouse and barn with the well just barely visible from the road.
As far as I know it had once functioned as a well should. Water filled its reservoir and could be hauled up for drinking or crop irrigation. At some point though the bottom had fallen out. It sounds silly I know, but geological shifting over years and years finally caused a collapse of the reservoir into a cave system below it. And it was a deep hole. One could, although the certainly shouldn't, drop a coin down the well and never hear it hit the bottom. In fact, that's one of the first things the old farmer that used to own the place did. His kids found him staring down into the abyssal darkness a few weeks later, unable to talk or do much of anything really after they dragged him away.
For most people the story of an old man going mad, the isolated location, and the collapse of the only source of water on the property kept them way. However, my friend Ellen only found the stories of the maddening well intriguing. She bought the property for a pittance, the family was eager to get it off their hands, and moved in with a load of camera equipment. She wanted to collect video evidence of something supernatural; hoping, I think, to combine it with similar projects from other friends of hers to create a documentary of myths and legends. That project of hers probably saved her life, or at least her mind, and helped to fill in a lot of blank spots in the story she told me afterwards.
She spent the first few days acclimating herself to the region: where to go to buy food and water, where the property lines were, which way was fastest to get into town, and so on. On the fourth day she finally set up an all-weather camera pointed at the well to stream footage back to the house that she'd review at 6x speed every day for anything interesting. On the fifth, feeling a catalyst might be necessary for the well to exhibit its peculiarities, she tossed a penny down into its forever chasm. She waited for a splash or a clang or a clink as she watched the coin fade from her vision into a realm of eternal and utter darkness. She never heard it hit the bottom. The only sound for the eleven minutes she stood by the well, peering over its cracked stone edifice, was the sonic rumble of the wind picking up.
It rained the sixth day, leaving her time to edit together the establishing footage she had already taken and splice in some introductory narrative about the old well. On the morning of her seventh day there she drove into town to send off a copy of her progress so far to a friend as there was no internet out at the old farmhouse for sending files. She drove back and worked on assembling a rig to drop a camera with a light down the old well shaft and see how far she had to go before hitting the bottom. On the eighth day when she went out to start lowering the camera down the well shaft she found the penny sitting on the rim of the well. It was dimmer than before, not corroded or discolored, but implacably optically incorrect; it was as if the days it had spent in the deep underground had robbed it of a portion of its ability to catch and reflect light.
She set it to the side and slowly lowered the camera into the abyss, waiting patiently for the shifting weight on the other end of the rope to signify that it had begun resting on hard ground. She ran out of rope before that moment came. With a sigh she hoisted the three-thousand feet of rope back out of the hole, humming to herself for the hour-long ordeal. She headed inside with the penny and the camera, plugging the camera into her computer and transferring the video over. She dug another penny out of her nearby coin purse to compare to the dim one, verifying that it indeed was darker and hazier than the fresh one. She laid out the dim penny, the fresh penny, and another fresh penny alongside one another on a white sheet of paper and snapped a couple of quick photographs, hoping to repeat the experiment with the center penny as proof of unnatural, or at least interesting, phenomena.
She turned towards the computer as a soft bleep let her know that her transfer had finished. She fast-forwarded through most of the descent of the camera, not particularly interested in the goings-on near the surface. She saw the altimeter on her rig begin to slow in its downward count and played the file at normal speed. The camera continued downwards for thirty more feet and then stopped. Then as expected it began to rise again a few minutes later as she began hoisting it back up. She almost closed the video playback when something caught her eye, a smidge of shadow that wasn't there before. She rewound the video to the camera's last few moments of descent and played through to its ascension again, more sure this time that the shadow she saw wasn't something there on the descent. She replayed it again, noting the altimeter readings and taking stills from the descent and ascent. Something had changed between the two shots nearly three thousand feet below ground. That was very exciting.
That night she tossed another penny down the well, scurrying back inside to watch the video from the outdoor camera from the last two days to see how it wound up on the rim of the well. Knowing what she was looking for, it didn't take long. She started in the middle of the time period, seeing the penny on the rim of the well already, and refocused her search on the earlier half of the video. She cut that one in half too, finding its midpoint showed no penny on the well rim so she could infer it happened between those two established points. Cutting the footage in half time and time again she rapidly narrowed down the video to the point where it appeared on the well. Unfortunately, it was rather disappointing.
It was still raining in the early hours of the morning when you can see a slight glint of copper peek out from over the lip of the well. It slowly slides up, as if it's crawling up the well wall, and then tips towards the camera to fall flat on the rim of the well. In that moment, for a few frames, you can see the dark outline of something behind it, something that looks like the dark tip of a finger, before it slides back down the well again. The camera wasn't in the right spot to get a good view of what creature or force had done it.
Ellen rushed out to adjust the outdoor camera to get a better angle and closer shot of the well. It only took her five minutes but just as she was about to return to the house she heard a humming echoing out of the circular abyss. On camera to this day you can see her approach, her body crouched to flee at the first sign of trouble. She looked over the edge and was struck with the spinning sensation of vertigo. She staggered backwards and fell to the ground, twisting and writhing on the ground as she struggled to rise to her feet again. Eventually she managed to hobble back inside, locking the door and throwing herself on the bed, exhausted.
That night she dreamt of a dark, wriggling shadow. It was crawling up the walls, its form a blackness that was easily distinguishable from mere lack of light. The humming sound returned, the waves vibrating along its plasmatic body. With a blob of itself that served as an arm it pushed a penny onto the rim of the well. Then it kept rising, the blobby darkness that constituted it swishing and roiling as it neared her. It stopped only an inch away from her face, humming excitedly. Over its surface the penny skipped towards her until it hovered right between her eyes. With a trembling hand she plucked it from the pulsating plasma as her other hand raised of its own volition to proffer something else. She pressed a pure white egg into the side of whatever shifting appendage was bouncing before her and the humming grew louder. The creature bounced in place almost happily before it vanished back down the well in one fluid, swift movement. Ellen awoke in a cold sweat.
The next morning she bit her lip as she saw the third penny already laying on the table beside the other two, dark and faded like the first. She braced herself as she opened the fridge, not sure she wanted to verify her theory. She checked the egg carton and found that one was missing, the sinking feeling in her gut telling her she knew exactly where it had gone. She resolved to stay away from the well for another day or two until she could get a grip on herself.
She distractedly checked the footage from the night before, so lost in thought that she almost missed her sleepwalking form trading an egg for a penny to the creature from the abyss. She looked out the window at the well and let out a sigh, resigning her self to staying for a little while longer. She just had to be more careful. She spent the rest of the day inside, casting nervous glances towards the old well as she assembled and edited footage.
That night she dreamed again. She was waiting expectantly alongside the well, an odd eagerness coursing through her. She nearly jumped for joy when she heard the heralding thrum pour out of the abyss. Her hand brushed back her hair and gave it a playful twirl. The buzzing plasmid spilled out of the well again, more than before, and stretched itself towards her. A tiny tendril stuck itself out towards her and then hung limply. She moved her arm to scratch her head and the tendril mirrored her movements, lagging by half a second. She waved at it and watched it wave in return. Curiously and cautiously she stretched her arm forward, the tendril of humming black doing the same. She extended one finger and pushed gently on the creature, feeling its form jiggle slightly.
Suddenly the blackness coated her hand. She dug in her heels, afraid the creature might try to drag her down into the darkness, but it only buzzed and vibrated over her hand. It was actually quite pleasant. She wondered what it would feel like on other parts of her body. Carefully she guided the tendril up to her cheek, dragging it pleasurably along her face. She could feel that hum in her bones and in her brain, melting away her fears and worries. There was something else too, a feeling of curiosity and kindness, like a kind-hearted person feeding a stray cat. She dragged the plasmatic ooze to her lips and kissed it, the abyssal creature rollicking with joy at the touch. Soon after she awoke, flush with heat and out of breath.
The remaining days Ellen admits her memory gets kind of spotty, like her memories had become dim and hazy. She said it was like drifting through life on autopilot, that she wouldn't have known she did anything at all during those days except for the tape she sent that saved her life. She didn't even bother editing the footage of the last few days she sent to her friend, just copied it onto a big old harddrive and priority shipped it to them. It was disturbing enough that they sent someone out to check on her.
The first couple of days were Ellen just meeting with the creature at night. She'd stagger out there like a sleepwalker and rub against the creature from the abyss when it arrived. One of the nights it returned the egg to her, its shell a blurry grey. She brought it a fistful of flowers the next night, which it happily carted away down the length of its being. Then she guided its tendril down to her pants, slipping them underneath. While I can't say definitively that she used the thrumming plasma as some sort of chthonic vibrator, watching her buck and squirm and moan against the creature on the video makes it seem pretty likely.
The next night she got right into it, she wasn't even wearing pants as she plodded across the arid ground. She caressed and kissed the plasma as it danced and roiled around her, both of them melding into a blurry shadow as the night went on. This time, when the humming plasma retreated back into depths she fell to her knees. Her hand plunged itself in between her legs and she sat there on ground, rocking steadily as her unfocused eyes bulged and crossed. Her mouth lolled open and she crawled towards the well on her knees and one hand, the other still working furiously between her legs. She hoisted herself up on the well wall and stared over the edge into the eternal descent as her hips bucked and her ass twitched. She moaned down into the abyss, her voice echoing off the stone walls. Suddenly she stopped and stepped back, an exhausted and confused look on her face. She stumbles back towards the house, off camera.
When they found her the next day she was in a similar position as the one on the final day of footage. She had built a small platform by breaking furniture in the house that allowed her to kneel with her naked legs splayed out while her head could peer over the edge of the well wall. She was masturbating slowly, her fingers circling her slit and forcing little groans and moans to echo down into the dark. Janice had to practically force her away, Ellen's senses only returning when they'd made it back to the house. When Janice asked her what she was doing out there, Ellen looked at her confusedly and muttered out "I had to sing to it." Janice drove her home within the hour and only returned briefly the next day to hammer a wooden covering over the old well.
After a week more of random episodes of dizziness and dazed-ness, Ellen was mostly back to normal. She insists to this day that the creature meant her no harm and that it was actually quite sweet, but will admit with a blush and downturned eyes that she might have sat by well masturbating until she died had Janice not stopped her. She retracted all the footage given that the latter bits were too lewd to fit into her friends' documentary project and the former bits... well she was worried that someone might find the old house and well and share the same fate she almost got trapped in. Worryingly, there's a hint of jealously when she expresses that sentiment.