Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Jacob's Well by Adriana Noir
I can’t help but regard Jacob with disgust. He’s everything vile about this world, an abomination. Even now, watching him scuttle to the center of the well, one hand lifted to shield his eyes against the sudden intrusion of light, I feel nothing but determination. Jacob must die.
His voice is a mere hollow rasp. The sun falls across gaunt features, revealing the layers of filth and grime encrusted into his skin. I wonder what his mother would think of him now—what she would think of both of us.
“I’m not alone down here. Please let me out.”
Loathing surges through my veins. It spreads through my system, roiling like molten lava, destroying everything in its path. Any semblance of love and sympathy died long ago along with that traitorous bitch I called my wife. I suppose all of the emotions that made me weak and blind now lay rotting beside her. She stole everything away, including my dreams of having a son.
He whimpers. The pathetic sound almost breaks through the fortress I’ve built around my heart. Jacob scratches the moldy cobblestones of his prison. Some of them break and crumble beneath his efforts, plopping into the shallow depths below. His nails split and rip down to the quick leaving crimson streaks in their wake.
“I’m not your father, boy.” The cruel reminder hangs heavy between us. Rage ices my voice. “You’re the devil’s spawn, sprung from the depths of your mother’s rotten womb. I wish you were dead!”
He sobs. The anguished noises pouring from his throat almost sound human. His mother used the same tricks. Clever ruses meant to bewitch and beguile. I will not fall for them again. Hardening my heart, I make the long trek back to the barn. Jacob’s pleas carry on the warm autumn breeze.
Moments later, I return. Hose in hand, I stand poised over the well. Jacob glances up, his eyes illuminating with a brief flicker of hope until he sees the green tube clenched in my grasp. Horror registers within those wide blue orbs and his jaw goes slack. The sight of him stunned stupid brings a satisfied leer to my lips.
“It must be done, boy. Your mamma brought this on you with all of her spells and tricks. Her womb was rotten, spoiled, and no amount of trying was ever gonna bring us a baby. The doctor told us so. That bitch made a pact with the devil. It was his loins you sprung from, not mine. Now I got to end it all.”
I laughed at the notion. Of course he would say such. What did he know about crazy anyway? “And you’s a bad seed!”
Dropping the hose over the rim, I listen to Jacob cough and sputter as the icy torrent rains over him like the wrath of God. The notion to pray for his soul comes and passes without action. There’s no use in wasting my breath on something like him. He’ll be where he belongs soon enough. Soon, this whole mess will be over and I can forget all about babies, Meg, and the hell she brought.
Shaking my head, I make my way back to the house. I doubt Jacob’s screams will ever reach beyond the sixty acres of land Willowscape boasts. The once vibrant tobacco farm now sits dead and vacant, poisoned by my wife’s blood. I should have buried her elsewhere. As I step inside, I make a mental note to not make the same mistake with the boy.
Dusk caves beneath the burgeoning press of night. Ink colors the sky, erasing twilight’s golden hues. Jacob’s screams are faint now, weak. They remind me of the whispered promise of a lover, a sound so fragile you wonder if it is real or a dream.
“Help me! Father, please! Help me!”
I smile. Soon there is nothing but the gentle, rhythmic symphony of crickets wafting beneath my window. Sleep comes without struggle. Slumber wraps me in her comforting embrace and pulls me into sweet oblivion. Dreams are where the day’s previous burdens are transformed into new potential. I welcome the metamorphosis, confident that Jacob’s demise will bring relief to my tragic existence.
I awake with a start, cold sweat trickling down my spine like the fingers of death seeking a victim. Shivering, I scan the shadowed recesses of my room, certain there is something sinister lurking in the darkness. My gaze flickers over the worn wooden planks of the floor, and my heart seizes into a painful knot.
No! It can’t be.
A sickening splat breaks the silence. It reverberates through every particle of my being. My nerves grate, grinding like raw steel cables, but I cannot tear my gaze away from the narrow puddles shimmering on the bedroom floor. The moonlight glints off their murky surface in menacing waves. They ripple and distort with invisible quivers.
The malevolent whisper brushes my ear. It carries a gurgling undercurrent, something inhuman and angry. I clamp my eyes shut, praying the voice will go away, but it grows louder, more insistent.
How did he get out?
Squish. Squish. Squish.
It’s the sound of rot and decay moving across the room. Fear collapses my lungs. My heart beats so fast it barely registers. “Please, son.” I open my eyes, hoping to reason with Jacob.
A fathomless chuckle vibrates through my core. It wrests away the last shred of sanity, leaving unbridled despair.
“You aren’t his father, Braden. You admitted it yourself.”
The stench of sulfur fills my nostrils and burns my throat. A keening mewl works past my lips. I understand now. Jacob’s frigid hand snakes out of nowhere and seizes my wrist. Trapped, I experience his final agonized moments, hear him calling for his father, summoning the shapeless beast beside him. His colorless eyes lock with mine and I feel them pulling, dragging me down into an endless, watery abyss.
God, forgive me, please.
Copyright 2010 ©Adriana Noir 2010© All rights reserved.
Adriana Noir © has granted Knight Chills non-exclusive rights to display this work.
I offer a huge thank you to the lovely Adriana Noir for sharing her extraordinary talent with us. I consider her one of the best writers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Her use of imagery puts the reader inside the story. She is a great storyteller and I’m proud to call her friend.
You can visit her blog here. For more of her stories visit her at Writing.com here