Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Old Well From Hell

I've had this story in me for about 2 years now and for whatever reason I decided to write it out tonight. Been in a story telling mood I guess. This is a first draft so I'm sure it has a lot of cleaning up to do.

The Well From Hell

There's an old well that hasn't been used for ages. The stones used to build it have a strange carved pattern, worn away from the centuries but still visible. Under the right light you can almost make out hundreds of screaming faces in the stone. A large rusted iron plate covers the opening. At the center is what looks like a keyhole. One warm summer day two boys were wading through a small stream. The well was partly hidden behind large bushes but the curious children found it. They beat on the iron covering, tried to pry it off with large sticks that snapped in half at the effort. One noticed the large keyhole and stuck a variety of twigs in with no effect. They banged on the iron, hearing the faint echo of the bangs thundering down into the abyss below. Bored, they sat on the covering for a few minutes when a terrible howling came echoing up, causing the iron covering to vibrate from the noise. The boys, terrified of the sound, ran back to their homes. They stayed away from the well from then on.

A few weeks later one of the boys found a very strange thing in his backyard while digging in the dirt. It was a large ancient key with sculpted creatures decorating it. The head of the key resembled a monster with fangs protruding out. He ran to his friends house and showed him, both knowing what it was for. Although scared of the well from the sound they'd heard before, they couldn't resist their desire to find out what was inside. While walking down the shallow stream they talked about what they hoped to find, one boy thought of lost treasure, the other hoped for a passage to another world. It was getting late and they knew they'd catch Hell from their parents if they didn't show up for dinner. But neither cared, the endless possibilities of what was hidden inside that old well was too much to wait until the next day.

The sun was setting as they approached it. One boy with the key in hand ran towards the well while the other stood near, suddenly feeling a desire to turn and go home. The boy had to poke his finger into the keyhole to clear out the dirt and dust that had built up inside the opening. He leaned over the edge and pushed the key in, the sculpted monster head with fangs sliding into the hole. The boy turned the key with great effort, hearing a loud crack as it twisted around. They feared the key had broken but both shouted with excitement as the old rusty iron covering clanked open. The boys leaned into the dark opening trying to see inside. They were disappointed that glittering pirate gold or space aliens didn't appear inside. But a tiny light could be seen far below. They watched as it grew brighter and closer to the surface, the well began trembling and growing warm. The boys fell back from the opening of the abyss as it became hot to the touch. A ray of bright yellowish red light came pouring out like a search light into the darkening sky. Not knowing what to expect the boys crawled backwards from the well, anxious to see what would come out.

Then the sound of screams erupted from deep below, howls, squeels, laughter, strange shouts and groans, noises the boys suddenly became very afraid of. Then there was a deep grinding sound, like a giant bird was scraping its beak against the inside of the well from deep below screeching up with the bright fire colored light. Before the boys could turn to run, a vast array of horribly mutilated bodies flew into the sky alongside all manner of horrifying monsters. There were winged goblin creatures playing trumpets of terrible noise, horse shaped abominations with dragon tails ridden by armor plated devils. A giant flying thing resembling an owl with dozens of spider like eyes on its head flapped its wings skyward. A constant stream of endless varieties of nightmare life forms flew up into the sky. The boys hid behind the bushes, too scared to run away. Looking up, the boys saw the sky crowding with the dark shapes of all the things from inside the well, all of them flying higher and higher, their terrible noises like the crackling of thunder. So many came pouring out it started to resemble a storm cloud above, a plague of locusts rising.

There was an intense wind blowing as the stream of monsters from hell continued flying up. The children couldn't speak, they couldn't move or blink, frozen in terror and fascination. Then both were yanked into the air. It felt like an amusement park ride as they were pulled quickly into the sky. Far below they could make out the sparkling lights of the small cities below. They were both tangled in the sticky limbs of an octopus like thing with the head of a deformed pig and big black eyes dripping a black oozing blood. The last thing they thought before being torn to pieces was how fun it was to fly.


Robert Adam Gilmour said...

Again, there are elements of this that resemble something else... House on the Borderland might be my favorite book.

Uland said...

It all seems to be just surface to me. Why is this well like this? Why did the boys have this experience? Why should I care about them or about the well?
What does any of it mean? Is it only about cool imagery, or is something more going on here?

Paleo said...

Yeah, it is an early draft obviously, but what a wild satanic ride, doing this stuff as text stories will be a waste though, you should do a E.C. PictoFiction deal, short stories with illos ( both handrawn and digital) on every other page.

Paleo said...

And Uland, what "What does any of it mean?" means? what kind of specific guidances or answers or meanings obese with profundity you're looking for in this short horror story?

Anonymous said...

thanks, Robert I'm curious about the similarity to the story you mentioned?

Uland, it's more a sketch of an idea just jotted down in a few paragraphs. I was going more for the straight to the point concept of a direct portal to hell that two children accidentally happen across. It's not a finished work by any means and I was planning on adding another mini chapter on to it that takes place the next summer where those two children return and lure other kids to the spot. I love the idea of the world attacked by the hordes of a Bosch painting. Basically I love coming up with short tales that would be fitting in a Creepshow anthology, E.C comics collection, etc.

And David, yeah this absolutely needs some imagery attached to it. I need 8 arms so I can draw everything I want to, hah.

- aeron

Anonymous said...

Also, as far as what you should think of related to the events in the story, I liked leaving open the question of why the well was there to begin with. Kind of makes it more of a mystery?

- aeron

Uland said...

Paleo- Usually there is some kind of subtext to a horror story. It's usually not a matter of one incident after another. There isn't really a story here, in my opinion, there is only incident.

Aeron said...

I'm not much of a writer, I suppose I go more for the atmosphere, one strange idea onto the next. However I did have an idea for a short story on a drive the other day that does include subtext related to the overgrown stripmalls and Walmartization of our country. Basically a small town, mostly abandoned, each building comes to life and walks into a forrest to escape being turned into another starbucks/blockbuster/wallmartville. Legs snap open, baba yaga esque, they slowly march deep into the woods to rot. At the end some hunters find the small town ten or twenty years later confused as to there being a small abandoned town in the middle of nowhere. It will end with them talking about needing to go to walmart to get some more ammo.

Gaspard Pitiot said...

I’ve just read it. I partly agree with Uland. But I understand your fascination for hell here. It isn’t about punishment or some kind of rotten past. It is just a beautiful mortal experience.

Aeron said...

I've thought about this more and I think it isn't just incident, there is a story. Maybe if this were spread across 10 or 15 pages opposed to a few I could have worked in a deeper meaning. But I think it's enough to tell the tale of two children who through their natural curiosity, find something dangerous that leads to their death. And what a glorious death! And so far as why the well is there, the mystery of why it is there is far better than any explanation I could give.

Unknown said...

sorry, i intended to comment earlier on this, but, life you know..

Uland, again, are you sure you're asking the right questions to this story? who the boys are, subtext?!

There's a tradition of ultra short fantastical stories, Jorge Luis Borges "el libro de los seres imaginarios" (the book of imaginary beings? is that right?) and J. Rodolfo Wilcock later work are the first i remember cause, well, they're argentinian, but Charles Nodier's Infernaliana wasn't something along these lines? you can even make a case of Ovid's Metamorphoses as a short fantastical vignette after another, and that's a book who seriously kick ass.

Sorry, i have anything BUT a encyclopedic mind, anyway, i think calling this story (with all his early draft shortcomings) an "incident" its cheapening, the degree of imagination and the detail within that imagination ( AKA "Cool Imagery", thanks A.A.!) clearly take this above incident status.


Gaspard Pitiot said...

I’m happy that you write. Curiosity and fears… Are you going to use other themes in relation to demons and evil? I mean, rebellion against god, betrayal, treachery, perversion of the innocents, disgrace, temptation, trickery, pacts, and of course all the modern soul torture processes… Think about it; according to you what would people nowadays consider as disgrace and sin? What are they ashamed of? I mean our ancestors defined their paradise as gardens because they feared someday they would starve. Occidental people just imagine paradise as a gracious and artificial practice of something which they think our ancestors considered to be sins.