Short Stories > Well Digger

Well Digger

© Daniel Verastiqui

Charlie sat on a makeshift chair at the side of the well with his chin in his hands wondering what was going on down there. For several hours, he had not heard a single sound, nor had there been a tug on the rope indicating that a bucket of dirt was ready to be excavated. Instead, there was silence, not a beep or a hiss or a sigh or even an off-color non-sequitur to lighten the mood. And with the moon being so low on the horizon and no other light to see by, it was anyone’s guess as to what was happening at the bottom. He had already asked several times, but heard nothing in response.

It had sounded, before, like a heartbeat. A sharp fftt as a shovel-like implement was plunged into the hard dirt, a pause, and then a swoosh as it was deposited in the bucket. This would happen ten or eleven times before a voice called out or a tug came at the rope. Then Charlie would turn the handle with his calloused hands and bring up the bucket....

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