Andrew walked down to Mia’s well with his head held down. Sweat grew from his forehead and dripped down his weary face. One hand was pressed against his ribs while the other held onto a blood-stained sheriff’s badge. He carried a slight limp with each step and his bare feet left clear imprints in the sand path.
“Hello, Andrew,” said a voice.
Andrew stopped walking and looked up.
The bucket of the well gently swayed back and forth before coming to a stop. Andrew proceeded to move closer to the well. “I’ve done it,” he said as he held up the sheriff’s badge. He walked to the base of the well and threw it into the water below. He took in a deep breath and let out a sigh of relief, baring a smile across his face. “I’ve done it.”
Andrew went over to the crank of the well and lowered the bucket into the water. Sploosh. He turned the crank in the opposite direction and the bucket raised to the top. The bucket was empty. “Mia?”
“This was not my request,” said a voice from the well.
“What? What do you mean?”
“You may drink when you have learned what it is that I want from you.”
Andrew looked down, shaking his head. “No, Mia, please.” Tears formed in his eyes as he dropped to his hands and knees. “I’m exhausted,” he said as he beat his fist against the sand. “What more must I do?”
“Please get up,” said the voice.
“Do you know how hard this is for me?”
“Yes, it pains me as well. But you must–”
“Shut up!” Andrew picked himself up and wiped his face. He kicked at the foundation of the well.
“Andrew, you must learn–”
“I said shut up.” Andrew continued to kick at the well, each kick with more intensity than the last. “I’m done with this.” He pulled out a switchblade from his pocket and grabbed onto the well’s rope.
“What are you doing?” asked the voice.
Andrew pressed the blade to the rope and moved it back and forth. As he cut at the outside fibers, dark clouds moved across the sky.
“Think about this, Andrew,” said the voice.
Andrew briefly stopped his actions to look down into the well.
“You could always go back into town tonight. Clear your mind. I’ll be waiting for you tomorrow,” said the voice.
“No, I don’t need this,” said Andrew as he went back to cutting the rope, making steady progress. “I’ve thought about this long enough.”
“Andrew, you’re clearly in need of water. Why don’t you just–”
“Damn your water,” said Andrew, now cutting at the rope with greater force. The rope had only a few threads holding it together.
“Are you sure about this?” asked the voice.
Andrew cut the last thread of rope.
The bucket of Mia’s well fell into the waters below. Sploosh.
Andrew fell onto his back, eyes fixed on the nighttime clouds.
“Goodbye, Andrew,” said the voice.
The sky rained down upon Andrew’s body.
DayVaughn McKnight is a writer from the DC metropolitan area. He has works that have previously appeared in Ursa Major Literary Magazine and Adelaide Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @DayVaughnTweets.