The Abandoned Well is a scary story about a child who goes to a village on holiday and is warned to stay away from an old well on a hill.
When I was 8 years old, my parents sent me to stay with my grandmother for a few weeks. She lived in a small cottage on the outskirts of a little village. It was a boring little village and there were no other children my age. There was not very much I could do to keep myself amused.
One day, I was wandering through the fields behind my grandmother’s cottage, when I came across an old abandoned well. It was on a hill that was overgrown with thistles and nettles. Someone had placed wooden boards over the top of the well and they were screwed into place.
One of the boards was loose, so I pulled it off and peered down into the darkness. I wondered how deep it was so I found a stone and dropped it into the well. After a long pause, I heard a distant… Plop!
It seemed like fun, so I gathered up a bunch of stones and started dropping them in. One of the neighbors saw what I was doing and came rushing out of her house. She grabbed me by the arm and pulled me away from the well. Then, she started shouting at me and told me to stay away it. She didn’t say why, but it scared me so much that I just ran off.
That evening, I told my grandmother what had happened. She got angry and lashed out at me, giving me a clip around the ear. She told me to stay away from the well, but she didn’t explain why. All she said was that it was a “bad well”.
A couple of days later, I started having strange dreams. I dreamed that I was walking through a field, but it was covered in a thick mist. I was barefoot and when I looked down at the ground, there was no grass, just black ashes. There was nobody around and I was all alone. I kept walking and out of the mist, I saw the old abandoned well emerge.
I stopped at the well and peered over the edge. I couldn’t see anything, but I could hear bubbling water. All of a sudden, a pair of gnarled hands appeared from the well. I recoiled in horror and turned to run away, but the hands stretched out of the well and followed me.
Horrified, I tried to escape from those grasping hands with their long, horrible fingers, but as often happens in nightmares, it felt like I was running in place. The hands kept stretching more and more and I felt the disgusting touch of those long fingers grabbing me by my bare ankles.
Just then, I woke up in a cold sweat. Even after I was awake, I could still feel the sensation of those wretched hands gripping me by the ankles. Terrified and speechless, I just sat there for a few moments, trying to catch my breath. Outside, it was raining and I could hear the raindrops pounding against my window. When I looked up at the window I was shocked by what I saw. On the wet glass were two long prints, as if made by a huge hand with enormous fingers.
For the next few days, I was afraid to leave the house, but after a week had passed without any more bad dreams, I finally relaxed. I even worked up enough courage to go back to the old, abandoned well. I pulled off the board and looked down into it. Far below, in almost complete darkness, I could make out the black water at the bottom.
All of a sudden, I saw something moving in the water. it was some sort of black shape. Terrified, I jumped back from the edge and ran all the way back to the cottage. When I got there, I told my grandmother what I had seen. She flew into a panic and hurried from house to house, telling all of the neighbors.
By nightfall, the whole village was in a panic. Everyone blamed me for playing around at the well, but nobody told me why. Every house had a crucifix hanging above the front door. The neighbors shut themselves in their houses. They locked their doors, closed the shutters on their windows and kept their lights on all night.
My grandmother placed a crucifix above her door too and we spent the night sleeping on the kitchen floor, with the front door locked, the windows shuttered and all the lights on.
The next morning, my parents arrived to collect me. My grandmother took them into the kitchen to talk to them and I was told to wait in the car. They were in there a long time and when they came out, their faces were grim. Without a word, they got into the car and we drove back to the city.
It wasn’t until years later that I learned what my grandmother had told them. She said that, many years ago, there had been a woman who lived in the village. Her cottage had been on the other side of the hill. She was extremely jealous and she was convinced that her husband had been cheating on her. One day, while he was at work, she decided to take her revenge.
She took their children and, one by one, she marched them up to the well and chopped off their heads with an axe. Then, she tossed their remains down into the well. She waited until her husband arrived home from work and when his back was turned, she attacked him with the axe. After she had chopped him into little pieces, she set the house on fire. Then, she went back up to the well and jumped in, drowning herself.
For years afterwards, people would disappear from the village and no one ever knew what had happened to them. My own grandfather had disappeared one night when he was out for a walk and he was never seen again. he villagers believed it had something to do with the well, so they boarded it up and stayed away from it.
Sometimes, I still dream about those horrible stretching hands. At night, I’m still afraid to leave my feet out from under the blanket in case I feel those cold fingers around my ankles. And whenever it rains, I still look at the window and expect to see, outlined by the drops of water on the window, the prints of those huge hands…