The Well

This is an entry for Finish the Story Contest - Week #65.

Here is @Brisby's story:

The Well

Midnight barbs hooked Sedra's duster as she sped through the bramble underbrush atop Nox. Errant envy for her psi-meleon's iridescent scales fluttered within her mind. Perfect. I'm going to look like a bedraggled porcupine.

Beneath her legs, Nox's sides twitched in time to the clicks his tongue made. His right eye rolled back to meet her gray gaze, mirth shining within the amber orb.

"Har-Har, my impudent beastie." Sedra flushed, blonde brows furrowing with disdain while kicking a thrasher vine from her boot.

"I couldn't give a trotter's tail if Blayne has a thing for quills. He better have a damned good reason for trespassing into our Catacombs." It didn't take a psionic bond to interpret Nox's responding chortle of clicks. She snapped back with a huff, "Who taught you about that? See if I rustle up eels for you anytime soon."

Rumbling deep within his throat, Nox tensed and sprang to the left. Claws dug into the thick ochra bark of the tree before scrambling up to the outspread branches. His tail waved, readying for a leap before easing down to lie along its length. The frustration radiating from his rider ignored to admire the back of his eyelids.

Sedra clung to her mount, her excitement to be taking the treeline route thwarted by the lizard's love for his favorite treat. "Nox! This is NOT the time for a tantrum!" Snaking out, the psi-meleon's tongue hung limp from its mouth, letting her know that he could do this all day.

Bristling, she channeled a fine line of energy to the tuned topaz on her wrist. A bit of rezzing would get his stubborn ass up. Threading the loop with her mind, the aquamarine gem began to spark. Before she could release the resonation to zap Nox's toe, he slid from his perch to hang upside down from the branch. His smug clicking dared her to go ahead and try it while they were dangling a hundred feet above the forest floor.

The soft light dimmed within her topaz. Like hers, his was an empty bluff. Keeping her grip tight, her thumb rubbed Nox's hide in capitulation. "Alright!" she growled. "Three eels before bed if you can get us to The Well and back before they notice we're missing."

Triumphant pride purred within the air. Nox swung around to the branch's top, tensed and leaped the expanse to the neighboring tree. Thrilling from the feel of the wind in their faces, the two raced towards the forest's edge. Both girl and beast let the rush of the journey override their unspoken dread.

Beyond the green was a showdown with a man who had been their friend. Within moments, they'd be facing their betrayer. One who had abandoned them to fend for themselves so that he could take possession of The Well.

And this is my ending:

They were at the Catacombs. Below them, Sedra could see the cairns, sparse at first, intermingled with the trees. Soon, rough stone would prevail over bark and leaf.

Nox paused atop the last branch. From that vantage point, Sedra could make out the dark outline of The Well, as well as a flicker of lantern's light beside it.

"Once more unto the breach," Sedra whispered. She sent her full strength into the topaz, using her left hand to cover its deadly radiance. Sensing her intention, the psi-meleon descended to the ground and started sneaking around the tall cairns, a silent shadow in the night.

They were close to The Well when they saw the boy Blayne. He placed a stone on a small mound, paused to consider his work, then sat beside the lantern at the edge of the pit.

Is this a trick?, Sedra wondered, until Nox sent her the mixture of annoyance and pity that he associated with her secret crush. Among the boys her age, Blayne was quiet, kind, handsome, and didn't have an ounce of psionic sensitivity, which made him everyone else's gofer. It was hard not to like him.

Sedra interrupted her channeling and dismounted. Blayne seemed relieved to see her. "Sorry you had to come all this way," he said with a small, sad smile.

"Where is--" Sedra started, and Blayne looked at the pile of earth and stones. "Buried him. Seemed the right thing to do," he explained.

Sedra suddenly relaxed, as an old knot of hostility and fear in her stomach came loose. "You better have a damned good reason for coming here."

The sad smile again. "Had a theory about The Well, came to test it."

She snorted. "The elders will skin you alive." He chortled at that. "Probably."

Then, Blayne turned and looked down The Well. "My theory is," he said softly, "this reaches to lower layers of reality. The building blocks of our world. It's not a source of power, but of attention. Makes sense?"

Sedra and Nox shook their heads in unison.

Blayne spoke gibberish into the darkness: "You have unlocked bonus content. Change point-of-view character? [YES] [NO]"

Sedra was astonished to see glowing glyphs appear under her field of vision. Then they reversed, and she noticed [23Y] flash once before the entire thing faded from sight.

Yet nothing seemed to have changed. "What did you just do?"

I stole something you didn't know you had, thought Blayne in his first inner monologue ever. He shook his head. "Let's go home."

Blayne held on for dear life as Nox sped through the night and several bushes and brambles.

"Your enemy's dead," he commented, spitting a twig. "Peaceful times at last."

Sedra looked back wistfully at him. "I wish. Something bad always seems to happen."

Blayne smiled and said nothing. I know you're reading this. Let me continue in her stead. She's earned some respite. His gaze shone with determination. This is my story now.


I enjoy the direction in which you took the story. Blayne is quite secretive about what he is up too. Maybe someday I'll get to know what he is up too.

I very much enjoyed the direction you set off in here, Blayne lacking a psionic sensitivity, it is such a simple explanation for the way Nox viws him and it is so perfect, and then the way everyone views and treats him compounding Sedra's attraction to him. It feels so real, it just sets the twist here up perfectly. And damn, what a twist. A show stealing ending for sure ;)

Sedra looked back wistfully at him. "I wish. Something bad always seems to happen."

I just adore this remark on main characters and their turmoil filled lives, and although the twist should perhaps break the fourth wall, it doesn't feel like it does either. Just seriously well done!

Thank you. Fourth wall tricks are often cheap but not necessarily boring. I wanted to experiment with the deliberate change in perspective and a partially self-aware character offered a good effect/words ratio. Really glad you liked this one!

I remember S. King in the Black Tower saga with his 4th Wall tricks about himself. I wasnt bothered at all.. it all depends by a certain sense of measure I guess.

stole something you didn't know you had, thought Blayne in his first inner monologue ever.

You used The Well like a Fontana's cut. This was magic for me. Really awesome and I wont add more.

Cazzo devi metterti a scrivere, davvero.

Comincia tu! 😆

Partiamo insieme? Ho fatto un incubo ricorrente fighissimo ma non so svilupparci una trama intorno 😜 Tutto ok per il resto Ale?

Tutto ok, incasinato come al solito. Buttati sul nanowrimo, parte tra poco! 😈

Vero! Per adesso mi sto dedicando a cose più importanti: qua in ufficio ho creato degli stickers con la faccia dell'ispettore commerciale e intendo disseminarli per tutti gli uffici. Comunque scriverò i risultati di questa edizione perduta nel fine settimana (credo). Brisby é letteralmente scomparsa..

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