Creativity Magazine

The Well Of Alki

Posted on the 18 April 2013 by Rjnielsen039 @RobertJ_Nielsen

Okay, so I totally promised to start posting some original works of fiction, and I’m not going to back down on that. This is an older piece, but still one I enjoyed writing, so don’t judge me (or do, I like criticism). Anyway, here it is;

The Well Of Alki

She was swimming in a sea of darkness, head pounding like the thunder storms from back home. The black was thick, as if she were swimming in ink. She could feel the rain, pounding her face in rhythm with the thunder. She wondered where she was. She wondered who she was.

I’m a convict. She thought.

The thought tore her from the black and brought her awake. She bolted to an upright position. A droplet of water fell from the stone above her and splashed against her forehead. She absently wiped at it and decided to take a survey of her surroundings.

She was in a prison cell, and a small one at that. The stone work that made up her small confinement was massive, and looked ancient. Each block must have weighed several thousand pounds, and looked as if it had been worn smooth by centuries of dripping water. The grating that served as the entrance to the cell appeared to be made of copper, because of the way that oxidization had turned the bars a dull green, yet she knew it to be unbreakably resilient. Probably some Ancient alloy.

The cell itself was barren. No furniture, no toiletries, no window. Just her and the drip from above. She couldn’t remember how long she had been here, or for that matter, what she had done to end up here. she couldn’t even recall her name, or her childhood. Her memories had slowly started to evaporate the second she was locked up, though she hadn’t known it at the time. She knew that soon she wouldn’t even remember that she was a prisoner, here against her will for a crime that she must have committed.

As she was pondering how long it had been since her last meal, she heard the echo of footsteps approaching. Two sets from the sound. After a short time, she saw two shadows growing longer across the wall. She briefly had time to wonder why the shadows didn’t flicker before the men were in front of her. She knew they were men from the Foundation of Alki from their clothing. That much she could still remember. They wore white hooded robes, with black symbols adorning the edges. Women would have worn black with white symbols. She could make out neither face, the hoods specially designed to conceal identity. Neither spoke, or even so much as acknowledged her.

They unlocked her cell, and stood to either side of the pale green doorway, waiting. She wasn’t afraid of them, yet she was hesitant, unsure. She wasn’t positive that she remembered what they expected of her. Cautious, she took a first, tentative step forward. Then another. At last she was a little more confident and stepped out of the cell, hers no longer. The figure to her left gently reached forward and touched her elbow.

“Come,” He said. “Follow.”

With that the two of them proceeded down the corridor with a slow gait, in the direction opposite of where they had come. She thought of running in the other direction, of fleeing, but what good would it have done? With her hands and feet chained as they were these men would surely catch her with no trouble. She turned after them and proceeded to follow.

As she walked behind the two, she realized why their shadows had remained steady. The torches were in fact not torches at all. Instead, light in the square tunnel was cast by small glass globes. Relics of the Ancient people, much like the metal bars. Such devices were forbidden by the Alki. As if reading her thoughts, one of the figures informed her that the Glass Suns, as he called them, were necessary because the air was so thin down here, and the torches were often snuffed out.

“The Alki forbid such devices that convenience society, for fear that they will bring ruin, much as they did to the Ancient Folk. Down here though, they are quite necessary, and therefore acceptable.”

After what seemed an eternity of walking, they reached the end of the corridor. They had approached a large door that appeared to be carved out of the stone itself. It was adorned with the same runes on the robes of the Alki. She had a heightened sense of anticipation from her two escorts, and couldn’t help but wonder what was on the other side. They each placed a hand against two patterns, on opposite sides of the door, and she heard a rumbling from within. Probably whatever mechanism controlled the door itself. She could see dust falling as the door slowly slid aside to reveal the large antechamber behind it. When she saw what was revealed, her breath caught in her chest.

The chamber was enormous. It seemed to her to go on forever. It was filled with thousands of the Glass Suns, yet even they paled in comparison to the light cast by what took up the center of the room. A dozen more men and women of the Alki were standing in a large ring around what appeared to be a giant, empty well or pit carved of smooth stone, such as that in her previous cell. The lip of the well was adorned with the symbols of the Alki, even larger than those on the doorway to this chamber. The Alki appeared to not even notice her arrival, and were chanting in unison in a language she was unfamiliar with. Her escorts lead her forward, and now she could see something else as well. There was a large stone walkway protruding out over the center of the well. They were towing her towards it. She had a sinking suspicion what it was for.

Thinking again that she might try and run, rather than be forced to fall to her death, she started to turn. That’s when the room roared with a heavy boom, deafening all present temporarily. There was an intense flash of white light as what looked like a flood of silver water leaped out of the well, straight up, almost to the high vaulted stonework above. It quickly fell back down and settled in the well, now full, rippling gently across the surface, just below the walkway. It swirled with light and seemed almost alive. Her escorts now grabbed her elbows and carried her to the walkway. They quickly released her from her manacles, and stepped down away from the well.

“Cara Vaughn Liett, you have been charged and convicted with High Treason and Conspiring against the Foundation of Alki.” It was one of the hooded men from around the ring. “For your crimes you have been sentenced to death by way of the Flur. It will be a quick death, not without honor. Do you understand this information presented to you?”

She didn’t understand, but knew that she didn’t have a choice. She couldn’t remember her previous life, and the name she had been addressed as didn’t bring with it any memories of her identity. She had surrendered to the idea of finally just being free to rest, even if in death.

“Yes. At least, I think so.”

The hooded man who had spoken just nodded and kept his gaze upon her. This was for her to do. She was being allowed to die with dignity, and she would not have to be forced. She slowly made her way out across the walkway, her heart thumping madly against her chest. She was determined to hold her head high, but could not help herself from staring at the silver fluorescence below her as she reached the end of the stone. She could feel the sweat on her palms. Standing here felt as if standing in a lightning storm, causing her hair on her neck and arms to stand upright. She felt her stomach flip inside of her. The contents of the well seemed to whisper to her, pleading that she jump. It would be so simple, and over so soon. No more pain. No more worry. No more wondering.

It was this last thought that freed her from the fear, the tension, and with that, she took her final step in this world over the edge, and into the silver gloss of the well. The Flur.

She fell maybe fifteen or twenty feet and felt herself sink into the liquid substance. It was warm, overpowering and she had to fight to stay conscious. She couldn’t see, it was too bright. She tried to breathe and couldn’t, although it didn’t occur to her that her lungs weren’t filling with liquid either. She felt buzzing so intense that she felt the very fiber of her being would be separated. Then came the pain. A billion needles pierced her body and amplified a million bolts of lightning into them. With that she succumbed to passing out. She could bear no more.

When she came to she realized two things instantly; She was still alive, and she could see the sky. Yet this sky was different. Where she thought she remembered hers as a velvety purple, this was a blue. She sat up expecting the pain and was surprised to feel nothing but a minor ache of the muscles. She was sitting on a small hill covered in lush, green grass. Trees dotted the land here and there. She saw lots of people walking through the grass and on little trails of stone set in the ground. Beyond the trees she saw something that she didn’t at first believe. Tall stone and metal buildings flecked with glass everywhere along the horizon. It looked exactly like the ruins of the Ancient Folk, yet these were clearly not ruins. She asked a man walking nearby where she was, and the look on his face cast the impression that he thought something was wrong with her.

“You’re in Central Park.” He said, rolling his eyes and walking away.

She didn’t know where Central Park was, but she did know that she wasn’t dead. She vaguely had a thought that the Alki probably didn’t even know what the Flur truly did, but even that was on the back burner of her mind as the memories of her old life faded away. She could make a new life here, and this time she wouldn’t waste it. She got up and walked in the direction the man had, following the stone trail throughout the trees, to explore her new world.

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