30-Day Flash Challenge, Day 20
Other monolith stories I’ve written:
- Monolith 2
- Monolith 3 – Tammy’s Choice
- Monolith 4 – Many Miles Away
- Monolith 5 – Wendy’s Well Part 1 (the prequel to this story)
“Yes, sir, the stairs just sort of went away. I can’t explain it any better, Sheriff. I’m sorry, sir. I mean, they were still there, but you could see right through ’em like they were made out of light or air or something,” Wendy says, pushing the hair back from her face.
“And the light in the well? Was it still pulsing from underwater?” Scooter says.
“It was, and I could feel my brain filling up with that madness that had infected everyone in the well. It told me to throw rocks down into the well at the others. It told me it would be fun.”
Wendy stops talking and starts shaking, tears running down her face.
The well was a deep, perfectly cylindrical hole in the earth with stairs leading down to a semicircular deck that wrapped around half its interior. It was forty feet down to the deck and another two to the water’s surface. There were five flights of stairs down into the well.
By the time Wendy had wandered back to rejoin her group, the stairs had already turned translucent. Even if she wanted to join the others, the stairs looked insubstantial.
Then, she heard the voice.
“Jump, Wendy. Dive. Dive like the proud woman you are. The others will be so jealous, and no one will call you four-eyes ever again.”
This detail nearly caused Scooter to cry.
But Wendy knew what was happening. Madness. Madness was happening, and she felt tempted to jump, tempted to hurl stones down into the well. Especially on Jimmy Cricks and Bobby O’Boyle, the pair of them had tortured her endlessly she started grade school four years ago.
I had wandered away. From the moment I saw it I didn’t like that place. No, sir, not one little bit. So I thought I would sneak into the woods while they were swimming and splashing. I was going to pick some wildflowers for my ma, you see?”
“You already told us that part, Wendy,” Sheriff Miller says, smiling sweetly at her.
“Sorry,” she says, looking downcast.
“It’s okay, sweetheart. You’ve gone through an awful ordeal, and can I say you were very courageous not to run away. I bet many grown men would’ve bolted. They wouldn’t have thought twice; they would’ve just skedaddled away like nobody’s business,” the Sheriff says.
She looks grateful for the praise, pushes her hair back, breathes deeply, and continues retelling her story.
“When I looked down at them, it looked like they were having fun, at first. Everyone was running around the deck. But, I noticed no one had got in the water yet. I thought that was, how does Misses Cornell put it, noteworthy? Yeah, I think that’s the word.”
“And then?” Scooter says.
“And then that’s when the yellow light that reminded me of mustard started shining from the water. It smelled like sulfur; I swear on the holy bible it did.
“And was that when the children started attacking each other,” Sheriff Miller says.
“It was. At first, they all just gaped at the mustard light like a bunch of fools. Then, in a second, I swear, they just all went crazy. Tom Parker smashed Brian with his lunchbox. Tom fell in the water and sank. I never saw his body again. I guess no one has, right, Sheriff? Miss Shirley never recovered any of the, um, bodies?”
The two men share a quick look.
“You finish telling your story now, Wendy. Let me and the coroner worry about details like that, okay, hon?”
Wendy nods once.
“So after Shelley Winston did what she did, was that when Mr. Fluke went crazy?”
Wendy nods her head several times slowly as she remembers every sordid detail.
“And you said that while the children attacked each other, he did nothing, is that right, Wendy?” Sheriff Miller says.
“Yes, sir. I mean no, sir. Wait, no, I mean Mr. Fluke did nothing the whole time. He just looked like he had been hypnotized like he was asleep, but his eyes were still open.”
I have no idea how that pile of rocks got down on the deck, sir. All I know is that when Phillip, err, I mean Mr. Fluke jumped up, he began rounding up the kids, getting them to stop their fighting and whatnot. Then he lined them up in a line. Each child approached him, and he’d fill their pockets with some of the rocks from the pile.”
Wendy stalls, She’s having a hard time getting the memory out of her.
“And then what, Wendy?”
“Then he guided each child in like he was helping tend the lunch-line mind you, and he gently pushed each one into the well.”
What the hell, thinks the Sheriff.
And none of them resisted him? The teacher, I mean,” Scooter says. “None of them tried to keep Mr. Fluke from putting rocks in their pockets?”
“No, sir. Not a single one of ’em,” Wendy says.
“It was huge, the rock thing. It floated out of the well after Mr. Fluke did that thing with his knife and fell into the water.”
The three of them look at each other for a few seconds, no one speaks.
Scooter says, “And then? Which way did the mono, I mean the rock float?”
“Oh, that’s easy. It went towards the lake, sir. Anytime anyone in Oswego said ‘the lake,’ they were only talking about Lake Ontario.
Ordinarily, when I talk to journalists, I end up asking them to be discrete, Sheriff Miller says. Usually, most of what I say is off-the-record, but please, Scooter, print this story. Folks need to know; there’s evil here.”
(to be continued...)