Reddit

r/WritingPrompts Short Story #1: Blessed be the Waters of the Giving Well

[WP] There is a well in your village that never dries up, never freezes over and always has the clearest water that heals many ailments. One cold winter day, when you accidentally slip on ice and fall in, you find out why.

In the same moment that Kieran realized he was falling, he hit water. Hard. The impact made the air rush out of his lungs and caused a ringing in his ear that was most likely due to a ruptured ear drum. Kieran tried opening his eyes but discovered that the water may very well have been ink. Everything around him was black and he had no idea which direction was up or down. Desperate, he kicked violently, and, to his relief, Kieran broke the surface. He took in two, huge gulps of salty air, then cried out in agony at the pain shooting through his chest. As if things could get any worse, he realized that he must’ve cracked a rib or two when he fell.

Kieran paddled over to the well wall but found the bricks to slick to climb. His eyes darted around in search of anything that could help his ascent but alas, there was nothing. Unable to do much else, Kieran pointed his chin to the heavens and screamed “Help!” knowing full well that he would be frozen solid well before anyone came to his aid.

A feeling of dread washed over him and Kieran, just as any sensible person would do in this situation, begun to sob. His whimpers resonated of the walls and his sorrow quickly evolved to anger. Why had he been so stupid? He knew that it was a terrible idea to go this early in the morning. Especially after the chilly weather they’d been having. But, he was reckless and impatient. So, nagged his father and it turned out, as always, that the stubborn man was right.

But, he decided, that if this was how it was going to end for Kieran Corleau, then it would not be by him crying alone in the dark, waiting for the cold to take him. No, it was going to be on his terms. Kieran mustered whatever courage he had left, inhaled what he figured would be his last breath, and dove beneath the icy surface. Kieran emptied his lungs, allowing himself to sink. To his surprise, he felt his butt rest against the bottom of the well which had to have been no more than ten feet deep.

As Kieran stared up at the tiny light from the opening above. He did his best to ignore the burning in his chest and waited for the resounding peace that comes in the moments before death. At least, that’s how the holy scripture described it. He wondered if he’d lived a decent enough life to earn his place beside the King of Kings.

Sure, he got into his fair share of shenanigans, but he figured he was generally a good enough person to counteract that. Kieran recited his chants each night, confessed his sins to the village shaman, didn’t kill or hurt anyone that didn’t deserve it. All things a good-natured person was to do.

As he pondered this along with the fond memories and deep regrets in his short life, he came to the realization that a significant amount of time had passed without him feeling at all like he was dying. Kieran’s lungs had stopped burning, his ribs no longer ached, and he found that his ringing ears had since recovered. Not only that, but he found himself at a rather comfortable temperature in the ice-cold water. When he understood what had gone wrong, Kieran felt like bashing his head against the wall.

He was in the Giving Well. The well’s whose waters bring strength to the weak and vitality to the weary. Any damage or harm done unto him in here would be quickly relieved by these magical waters. His initial excitement that he had survived was almost immediately tarnished by the realization that he could be down here for an eternity. The well was much too dark for anyone to see him and the opening too far away for his cries to be heard. Even if someone, somehow figured out he was down here, how were they to pull him up? Kieran resurface and soon felt the tears return to his eyes.

But, before he could utter a sob, Kieran heard was sounded like rumbling in the distance. It was faint at first, but with each passing moment it grew louder until it was almost deafening. Kieran then turned just in time to be met by a wall of water that pushed him back below the surface and pinned him against the well’s bottom. Several seconds passed until the stream of water subsided and Kieran returned to the surface in a daze.

“Hello!” he cried out. Thinking that the water had come from someone above, but no one answered. Kieran heard the sound of dripping water behind him and turned to see a gaping hole in the side of the well he had not noticed before. It was close enough to the surface that Kieran could grab the edge and pull himself up with little effort. He then saw that hole was actually a long tunnel. Had he found a way out of the well? There was no way to know except to push further. Kieran took one final look behind him before charging into the darkness.

He only had to walk a few feet before a light appeared. This one was warm in color and grew with every step he took. Kieran found that the light came from yet another tunnel that travelled upwards. He peered up the tunnel and saw that the passage was lined with hand and foothold. He hoisted himself up and started climbing for what felt like a half hour. The light brightened with every inch until it was almost blinding. At the same time, he could hear noises coming from above him. They at first sounded like metal on metal, then he heard what sounded like someone speaking.

Was he nearing his village? Perhaps he’d gone far enough to reach the nearby city of Gloren. There was but one way to find out. He quickened his pace until the passage widened and was able to Kieran pull himself up and over the edge. He laid on his back, his chest heaving from the agonizing climb. The room was a dome of sorts, with six, rectangular windows that all led to an opening at the very top which let in the blinding orange light. Everything was wet to the touch, and Kieran’s nose crinkled at a pungent aroma that lingered.

He struggled to his feet and made for what looked like a doorway on the opposite side of the room. When Kieran walked through the door, the very first thing he noticed was the ground had turned from a gritty stone to something that was smooth and white as snow. Kieran’s eyes adjusted slightly to the brightness, he saw that he was standing on a ledge high above the ground, maybe a few hundred feet or so. On the other three sides, the white ground gradually sloped upward until it was near vertical.

Kieran was about to call out when he heard a loud bang which was then followed by voices.

“Oh, thank Jesus, there isn’t a line.” One said in an accent Kieran had never heard before.

“When does that every happen? I’ll meet you outside.” Replied another, perhaps he was the one named Jesus.

“Yah, sounds good.” Just then, a looming figure appeared to Kieran’s left. His eyes were still adjusting to the brightness, so he couldn’t make out exact details. But he knew that whatever this thing was, it was big. With each step, everything around him shook and it was soon, so loud, that Kieran had to cover his ears with his hands.

He heard a pop and then a rustle from above and when he looked up, Kieran’s jaw fell agape. In front of him was penis, hundreds of feet in length held by hands twice that in size. Kieran’s eye’s drifted upward to see, looking down on him, a man’s face. He then saw the penis quiver and just as he realized what was about to happen he was hit by a stream of yellow urine that sent him flying backwards down the tunnel.

Kieran screamed as he fell until he slammed against the tunnel floor. He was then whisked down the tunnel and out into the well once again. Once the urine had ceased, Kieran floated aimlessly, to injured to move and eventually passed out.

When he came to, he saw his father’s face above him, tears cascading down his face.

“My boy!” Bellowed his father before pulling Kieran into his chest. “You’re saved! Oh, thank the gods above and below you’re alive.”

Kieran blinked and saw over his father’s shoulder that almost the entire village had assembled.

“I thought I lost you,” his father whimpered as the village shaman place her hand on his shoulder.

“The holy waters of the Giving Well had preserved you long enough that we could rescue you.” The shaman then turned to the crowd. “Blessed be the King of Kings!” The villagers repeated this chant, as did Kieran’s father.

“Blessed be the waters of the Giving Well! Amen!” She shouted with the villagers echoing immediately after.

“Blessed be the waters of the Giving Well,” whispered Kieran.