My sister and I were close, and loved to hang out together. Even though Cassie was a few years older, we liked most of the same things. We rarely felt alone because we knew that we had each other, and of course, our Papa. He was a hard worker and took care of us, especially after our mama had left with someone that she fancied. None of us really understand why she left, but Papa says, “Well, it is what it is, and we will just have to go on.” So, the day came that Papa put us in the truck and then closed the front door to our little city apartment, never to open it again.
“Where are we going, Papa?” Cassie asked, while staring out the truck window.
“Somewhere that I think you girls will like. There is plenty of room to play, and separate rooms of your own,” Papa said with a small smile. This must have been a big deal for Papa—I guess he meant a change of scenery. I saw Papa smile just a little in the rearview mirror. It has been a long time since Cassie and I have seen Papa smile, even just the slightest. So, seeing him show a small smile made me feel happy and content inside.
I sat quietly as we drove out of town for a few miles. While staring out of my window, crop fields passed us by, then trees. Trees line the sides of the road, for as far as you could see. “We’re almost there, girls,” Papa said. The truck slowed down, and turned onto a driveway made of dusty dirt. It seemed to go on for a long way, even with some of the curves that we went around. As we went passed some trees, we saw a house. We rounded the curve of the driveway. The house was a two-story, painted light blue with white trim. There were two huge oak trees in the front yard, and one had a tire swing hanging from it. We all got out of the truck, and stood side by side. One giggle was heard, then a second giggle, followed by a deep, manly chuckle. Both Cassie and I looked up at Papa and laughed. Our new home was a farm, complete with a barn and plenty of land to plow for crops.
A month had passed, and we were all settled into our own rooms. Summertime was nice because when Cassie and I had all our chores done, we were ready… playtime. A new tractor with plowing tools was being delivered out to the farm, so while Papa was busy dealing with that, I went hunting down Cassie.
“Cassie!” I yelled out.
“What?” Cassie yelled back. As I turned, I saw her out by the barn, petting a rabbit she had found.
“A bunny. How cute,” I said, as I walked over and sat down in front of Cassie. “Where did it come from?”
“I don’t know. I saw it out here by the barn, and it let me pet it. Isn’t it pretty?” Cassie said.
“Yes, it is,” I said as I ran my fingers through its soft fur, which had a greyish blue color to it.
“You like Papa’s new tractor, Cassie?” I asked.
“Yeah, it is nice. I think he is going to plow the fields or something, so we can have crops to sell and eat,” Cassie replied as we both watched Papa fiddle with parts on the tractor. Cassie and I ran up to Papa to see if we could keep the bunny.
“Papa, papa. Can we keep the bunny we found?” Cassie said, as she held the bunny in her arms.
“Yeah, yeah… please,” I said while slightly bouncing up and down.
“I guess, as long as it stays outside,” Papa said with a smile. A joyous laugh and squeal could be heard, as Cassie and I ran back toward the barn carrying the bunny rabbit like it was a precious doll.
The days had become hot, and the nights were bearable but still warm. Papa let us sleep with a window open in our bedrooms, and the breeze that flowed through lifted the curtain from the place of stillness. They gently danced in the air before settling back down. I went from a solid, deep sleep to being wide awake, due to something waking me up. I sat up in bed and listened, as I saw the curtains lightly blowing up and down in the breeze. There was a noise that broke through the silence. I pulled the covers up to my neck, fell back onto my pillow, and stared at the ceiling, trying to put my mind on other things.
“Ahh-ahh,” the noise went, sounding like a lady’s voice. I jumped up and ran into Cassie’s room, diving underneath her covers on her bed.
“Cassie…” I said, with a scared tone in my voice.
“What is wrong, Maria?” Cassie said, as she sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes.
“Did you hear it? Did you hear the lady?” I asked, as I covered up with Cassie’s blanket.
“Hear what? What lady? You're freaking me out, Maria,” Cassie said.
“The lady’s voice sounded like she was moaning or something. It was scary sounding,” I said.
“I didn’t hear anything Maria. Go to bed, and go to sleep. I’m sure the noise is gone now,” Cassie said.
“No, I want to sleep in here,” I said. “Please...”
“Oh ok, just go to sleep,” Cassie said, as she laid down and rolled over. I laid there as well, and I was listening for that voice, and all was silent except for the breeze blowing through the open window. No voice was heard, so I fell fast asleep. For the next few weeks or so, the same voice was heard in the middle of the night, and Cassie finally told me to get out of her bed and go to my own.
The smell of bacon and eggs filled the air in my room, and the sound of happy chirping birds came through the window.
“Maria, Cassie! Breakfast!” Papa yelled upstairs to us.
“Coming, Papa,” Cassie replied, as she came out of her room and banged on my door.
“I’m coming, too,” I yelled as I got up out of bed, and grabbed some clothes to change into. That way, I could use them for playing in.
“Come on, Maria. Papa called us for breakfast,” Cassie said in front of my bedroom door.
“I said I’m coming,” I replied. We sat down for breakfast, and said our morning prayer. Once finished, we did the dishes and our chores, then we were free to play as we chose. Cassie sat on the tire swing, and I sat beside it. We talked about different things, never speaking much of Mama, knowing of all the hurt that would come back from where she left, and us not understanding why.
“Have you still been hearing the lady’s voice at night?” Cassie asked, as she twirled around and around on the tire swing.
“Every night,” I said, as I laid back in a grassy area next to the swing. I looked up at the clouds, and picked out shapes of animals.
“Why don’t you tell Papa?” Cassie asked, as she stopped the tire and got off. She walked over to the small apple tree and stared at it, as if inspecting which apple may taste better.
“I don’t want to worry him,” I said.
“I know, but still,” Cassie said, as she plucked two red apples from the tree and handed me one. I watched Cassie bite into the apple and walk toward the edge of the grass. She pulled one finger out from behind her, like she was a gunslinger from the Wild West, pointed it at a deer that was over in the field. “Bang! Haha,” she said, as she shot it. She bit into her apple once more, and ran to help Papa with the garden that he'd started. I got up and went exploring the area.
I went in behind the barn and into the wooded area. Trees were everywhere and so, at about every other tree, I broke a branch, kind of like a bread crumb trail. I kept walking, and saw a few squirrels and some deer. In the distance, there was something made of a greyish-colored rock. As I got closer, I could tell it was an old water well that was made out of rocks. There was a green mosh that was growing around the top.
“Now, why would a well be way out here?" I thought to myself, as I walked over and looked down inside. It was dark, and you could feel the coolness of the air, along with a dead smell to it. “Eeeww, that stinks,” I said as I turned to leave. When I turned around and started to walk away, there was the lady’s voice that I had been hearing at night. Chills ran all over my body as I stopped quickly. My breaths became short and quick, and I started to sweat and tremble.
“Ooooh,” the voice said softly, “ahhh.” Then, the lady’s voice began to cry. It scared me so badly that I ran all the way home, and didn’t stop until I ended up on the other side of the front door.
“Maria, honey, what is wrong?” Papa asked with a concerned tone in his voice, as he hurried over to me and placed both of his hands on each side of my face. I couldn’t say anything, I guess because I was breathing so hard.
“Are you ok? You look like you have seen a ghost,” a man’s voice said. I looked at him, not recognizing him. Papa took me into the kitchen and sat me down in a chair. I looked up at the strange man. “Who are you?” I asked, as my breathing slowed down to normal.
“Oh hi, I’m Samuel, but you can call me Sam,” the man said as he smiled while looking at me. I looked at Papa, as he smiled at us too. Papa seemed a little nervous, introducing some strange person to us. I guess he was not sure how we would take it, a stranger being in our house.
“Well, this here is Samuel, or Sam as he said, and he is here to help me out here on the farm with the crop and mechanic equipment and such,” Papa said as he introduced the man. Cassie walked up beside me and shook Sam’s hand, as I did out of politeness.
“Hey, you can call me Sam if you want,” Samuel said, seemingly nervous or something.
“You have said that already… Sam,” I said, as I turned around in my seat to face the kitchen table.
“Maria, I won’t have any sassy talk to our guests,” Papa said to me in a stern voice as he grabbed my shoulders with a firm grip, and shook me a little.
“Sorry, Papa,” I replied.
“Well, supper is ready, so let’s all sit and eat,” Papa said, as he pulled the baked chicken and vegetables from the oven.
“It is ok, sir, and dinner looks quite yummy,” Sam said, as he passed the potatoes and the salad to his left while staring at the girls, as if he recognized them from somewhere.
Once supper was done and dishes washed, Cassie and I both took turns taking our baths. We both went into Cassie’s room, mainly because she had posters and different pictures on her wall.
“So, what happened to you today? Why did you look so scared?” Cassie asked, as she flopped down on her bed and laid on her stomach.
“While you were helping Papa in the garden, I went exploring and I found an old well,” I explained to Cassie, as I sat beside her on the bed. She rolled over on her left side with her head propped up with her hand, and looked at me.
“A well? Where is it at?” Cassie asked kind of loudly.
“Shhh, don’t talk out loud,” I said in a whispering tone.
“Gee ok. Well, where is it at?” Cassie whispered.
“It is out in the woods. You have to go out behind the barn, and across the pasture. There is a trail that goes way back into the woods,” I said to Cassie, as I situated myself beside her so we could talk quieter. Just then, there was a creaking noise outside the bedroom door. Cassie and I both stopped talking and got quiet, while looking at the door. The door opened slowly, and Samuel poked his head around the bedroom door, and smiled a big smile—which was awkward.
“Hey, what you girls chatting about?” Samuel said with a smile.
“Uh… girl stuff,” I said, shocked that he would even open the door as he did.
“Yeah, you wouldn’t like it very much anyway. Make-up, hair, shoes, clothes...” Cassie said, while sitting straight up on her bed.
“Oh well, okay. Well, goodnight. Your dad put me in the spare room, so I’ll see you tomorrow,” Samuel said with a smile, as the door slowly closed.
“Papa,” Cassie said out loud. “Close the door, please.”
“Yeah, yeah, okay... night,” Samuel said as he closed the door all the way, then walked away. We could hear his footsteps going down the hallway, to a room that Papa made into a spare room.
“How weird. Okay, well I’m going to bed now,” I said to Cassie.
“You never finished telling me about you-know-what,” Cassie said.
“Oh shoot. Okay, so when I found the well, I looked down inside. It was dark, cold, and smelled bad,” I explained. “As I went to walk away, I heard the lady’s voice.” Cassie’s mouth dropped open as she made a small gasping noise.
“Yeah, it scared me bad, so I ran all the way home without stopping,” I told her.
“You looked really scared. I haven’t seen Papa that worried in a long while,” Cassie said as I leaned down, and gave her a hug. There were a few creaking noises outside the door again. We stopped whispering, and listened.
“You think it is Samuel again?” I whispered to Cassie.
“I don’t know, but that was strange,” Cassie whispered back. “Better get to bed.”
“Okay,” I replied as I went toward the bedroom door. I waved at her, and she shut her lamp off and laid down. I went to my room and did the same. After the crazy shock that I had earlier, I was just going to lay down and not raise the window tonight. I closed my eyes, and tried not to think of all that happened during the day, except for the good things. I drifted off to sleep to dream good dreams.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of "The Well," by RM Forrest.