What Dwells in the Well

Well Dweller

On a certain windswept field, on a certain night, a man dressed in rags carries a stained sack to a shallow pit. He hobbles as though in pain. The cloudless sky blazes angrily, a million eyes seething. The man pays them no mind. They cannot hurt him: he knows their true names, and has drawn their past and future in flesh, and in blood. They are not part of his agenda on this night. Behind him is a trail of dark tar.

The pit swallows the sack. The man puts his hand on it, whispers to it, as though to a skittish horse. Around the perimeter he places stones, all touching. When he is finished, they are flecked with tar. The wind dies. The pit and its sack are quiet. With even greater effort than before, limping and grimacing, the man departs the field. The night smolders.

It is said that a coin thrown into a well is a wish granted. But no one says by whom, or to what end. For the children of a certain housing development, there is a tale of an old abandoned well, far past the end of the last street, where dwells a monster. The most common theory is that in decades past a kid, egged on by his friends, climbed down into it and became trapped, where it now pulls other daredevils down to a watery end. Savvier talespinners say this first legend is a trick, and the real monster lives amongst us and repeats the story to lure others alone to the well, surely then to meet an even grislier fate.

Not often repeated, though, is the sight on certain nights of a man, dressed in a suit and tie, walking quickly and quietly past the gates and fences, with a patchwork sack slung over his shoulder.

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Archival Process

Animated image of the well-dweller in which colors gradually appear across different parts of the illustration.
Coloring process.