The Well House
Author M. S. Matassa
The specks floated in the sky, drifting in circles as if caught in a small whirlwind. The old Mustang convertible, traveling on Highway 85 below, appeared from the south, speeding by emerald-colored fields of corn. It was a beautiful day in Colorado, warm and breezy with high blue skies and wispy clouds forming over the front range of the Rocky Mountains. The vast cornfields reminded Ben Carson of his childhood family vacations in the Midwest when life was much simpler.
As the Mustang was about a mile south of the well house, the specks converged into a churning black cloud, drifting in a controlled, gliding freefall. Ben glanced at the mountains in the distance and noticed the strange cloud moving in the sky, a mass of black specks, circling and floating in the air, searching for something.
Ben pulled the car over to the side of the road and shut off the engine. He sat motionless behind the wheel, intently observing the approaching cloud. As the cloud drew closer he saw the shapes of the individual specks. Black wings flapping in a uniform rhythmic motion, glistening scales covering the quivering bodies. Birds or flying reptiles? He couldn’t be sure but his chest tightened with fear.
One of the creatures broke from the main group and dove toward the Mustang. Ben sat in the front seat, petrified, unable to move. He watched the body of the creature grow large, then small, pulsing in rhythm with it’s beating heart. A shrill scream split the silence and Ben’s head jerked to the left. He saw a small run-down well house on the edge of the cornfield with its door ajar, beckoning him to safety.
The scream again pierced his ears and Ben looked back to the sky. The black creature was no longer a distant object but flew directly overhead, circling to his right. Ben decided to get out of his car and run across the highway to the safety of the well house. The old Mustang’s door had once worked with precision but 25 years of use made the door stubborn on certain occasions and this was one of those occasions. Ben pulled the lever but the door didn’t budge. He pulled himself to his knees and jumped over the side. Luckily, the roof was down making Ben’s exit easy. He started to run but his feet slipped on loose gravel and his legs buckled. Ben put his hands down to break the fall and the gravel tore into them, leaving small craters of glistening blood oozing out of the cuts in his palms. As Ben stood up, a sharp pain traveled across the top of his head. His hand immediately went up for protection touching the warm sticky fluid matting his hair. As he turned around a large black blur struck him in the chest, knocking him to the ground. Ben fell on his back, striking his skull on the concrete surface. Tears filled his eyes as pain shot through his neck into his head. Ben lay still waiting for his mind to clear. He heard a ruffling of feathers and looked to his right. A large scaly winged creature stood next to him, peering intently at his face, a hideous grin on the parched beak. The black eyes of this hellish thing reflected the image of the well house sitting at the edge of the cornfield across the road. For an instant, Ben thought he saw Anne’s reflection in the blackness of the vacant eye. The winged reptile’s eyes started to burn with a reddish glow as it raised its beak to the sky, letting out a dreadful scream. Ben smelled the sulfurous stink from its throat as the shrill sound cut through his ears like a knife. The creatures circling in the sky heard the scream and descended in single file toward the well house. The creature sitting on the highway next to Ben flapped its wings, lifting off to join the others.
As Ben lay on his back, he watched the strange creatures drift down in single file toward the well house where they disappeared into the blackness of the open door.Soon all the creatures were gone and Ben lay alone in the middle of the highway. He felt the cold concrete under his back begin to vibrate. As he looked to the north, he saw two bright lights bearing down on him. As the brightness of the lights intensified, Ben heard a loud buzzing sound. He saw the chrome, and the rubber, and the word Peterbilt looming down on him. He tried to move but was unable to get up. He knew he was going to die.
Ben closed his eyes and prayed. He felt streams of sweat running down his face, his heart pounding in his chest. The buzzing sound grew louder, the lights more intense. The concrete beneath him began to shake, then grow soft. A mournful cry poured from his lips as Ben opened his eyes. The bright light blinded him as he heard his name called in the distance. Ben turned his head to the left and saw his son Taylor shaking the bed, calling to him. Ben tried to tell his son to leave but he couldn’t speak. Taylor continued to call his dad’s name. Ben sat up, looking at his son in bewilderment. The buzzing sound continued to ring in his ears. He looked to his right and saw his clock radio. Automatically his hand shot out and tapped the snooze button. The buzzing sound immediately stopped. Ben was drenched in sweat, his mind buzzing with mixed emotions. He was safe in his room but the dream was back!