Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Well

"How did you do it?"

"I don't know."

It was dark, long after lights out, surrounded by their cellmates' snoring, sleeping forms.

"Do you think they didn't notice?"

"Do you think they did?"

"What do you mean?"

"Sarah, I think there's a very good chance that nobody is watching us. Dank hallways, dark rooms, dreary lighting... is all adds together to be a low-cost installation. Wherever we are, it's somewhere long forgotten."

"So our conferences..."

"They're excessively secretive."

"If you've put this all together, why do we keep meeting in that murk?"

"Easier for everyone else to take it seriously. Collude on the down low to keep everyone in the down low mindset. Not everyone is intuitively conspiratory, but if you put on a show that that's what you expect, they will too. Steven, I suspect, and Sylvia need the extra nudging. Sharon..."

"Has she said anything to you?"

"Not a word. Not to anybody, as far as I know. You?"

"No."

They lay silently for several long seconds, before Sarah whispered again.

"Do you know how you're doing it?"

"Not yet."

"Any guesses?"

"Speculation? Subconscious, if it's even me. Maybe it's a resonance or dissonance with whatever I do, whatever I can do, with whatever it is that stops us from..."

"Oh. ...Do you mind if I ask-"

"I don't mind, but even if I knew, I don't think it'd be safe for me to share. I've been here as long as I can remember, and I can remember your first day, and Sylvia's and Steven's.  Too many shapes of slumbering forms, and who knows who could be listening, lying in wait, wondering the very same thing."

"What about Sharon?"

"What about her?"

"Do you remember her first day?"

"No, I don't. Goodnight, Sarah."

"Goodnight, Seuss."

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Well

Sarah ducked her head under the low ceiling. She'd shot up too many inches in the past few months, and had found her head bouncing on the top of the door frames. But it was smiles all around when she stepped into the room, Steven, Sylvia, Sharon, even little Seuss, who if anything, seemed to be growing shorter with every passing visit.

"What do we have here?"

"Oh, let it rest, Steve. Don't keep going on like it's my fault."

"Why not? Our little Sarah's getting to be all grown up. Maybe you'll be leaving us soon."

"You know nobody leaves but feet first," squeaked Seuss.

"If she's not careful, she'll not herself out on the bunk next time she gets out of bed."

"Come on, Steve. Let it go. It was the one time."

"Yeah Steve, leave her alone." Sylvia patted the empty chair next to her. "Sit by me?"

Sarah stuck her tongue out at the awkward boy and sat down beside her best friend. "Thanks, Syl. So, any news?"

"No news." Seuss shook his head. "We're still stuck in this dingy rat-hole, no sign of a weakness in the warding, or whatever that's keeping our wells from overflowing."

"Damn."

"Sorry."

"No, Seuss, it's not you. It's just..."

"It aches."

"Yeah."

"Well, I suppose there is one thing worth saying."

Everybody slid forward to the edge of their seats.

"You're done growing."

"If I had something I could throw without maiming you, I would. If anybody else had said it, I'd throw you."

Seuss grimaced, uselessly smoothing his wrinkled orange suit. "Sorry, but I'm serious. I figured out where you found your extra foot, and the fact is, I want it back."

"Wait... you... You really are getting--"

"Shorter. Yes."

"And how are you... wait, no, please, not--"

"We're switching bunks."