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The noise rouses me from my slumber. I open my eyes briefly, spying the shafts of light from the shattered moon cascading in through my window. Still too early… I drift off again, my mind’s eye wandering.
I roll over, covering my head with my pillow, drowning out the nagging drips.
I smile to myself, thinking about the barmaid who bought me a drink tonight. I hope she’s there next time.
Sleep comes again, slowly pulling me, spiralling…. welco–
My eyes snap open, seemingly of their own accord. That infernal well! Every night, every single night, I can hear it. More times than I can count, I’ve asked him to fix the drip, but he just rolls his eyes. And laughs to himself. Even now, as I lay here in the dark, I can hear his whispers. His condescension. His denials.
I rub my face, exhausted, and taste copper. Looking down at my hand, I can see the red lines in my palm, glinting in the moonlight. At least, I assume they’re red. It’s hard to tell, the moon is so bright, almost blinding. I have to shield my eyes as I walk across the grass.
Vaguely, I realize I’m outside. But why wouldn’t I be?
I turn quickly and see it, the darkness bubbling up inside me. The well just stands there in the grass, mocking me, as if its leaky bucket and coarse rope somehow make it better. The rope feels… strong. I like the way it feels when the fibers push into my palm. It makes me feel… alive.
I’m testing it now, judging it. Daring it to be as strong as it thinks it is. Looking closely, I can see the fibers forcing their way into his flesh. The supple and tender neck veins bulge excitedly as I push downward. Its fascinating, really, watching the skin expand and contract with the pulse. Slower, slower… just like falling asleep. So peaceful.
Back outside, I consider the leaky bucket, now lying harmlessly on the grass. Despite myself, I am impressed. I kneel down, gently placing the rope inside the bucket. You were right, I think. You ARE better.
I sigh in relaxation, pulling the covers up to my chin. I cannot help but smile as I think about the bucket and the rope, and how well they did. I feel proud. And I am tired… so tired.
I can feel sleep coming at last. Still smiling, I begin to fall…