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The Well House II: The Revenge

Author M. S. Matassa

Deep in a lush forest in the Pyrenées Mountains, in a rustic stone cottage, a glass orb sat on its stand inside an oak cabinet in a locked room in the cellar. The pine needles swayed back and forth in the darkness as a gentle breeze blew through the trees outside, making a peaceful swishing sound. The orb was at rest, its milky liquid barely moving under the cool surface.

About midnight a small dot of orange, no bigger than the tip of a pin, appeared deep in the center of the orb. As the dot grew, the milky liquid glowed with a pale orange cast, turning to a dark reddish—orange. The orb moved, ever so slightly, on its stand and then was still. Outside the cottage, the breeze grew stronger, and the peaceful sound became a howling gale.

Inside the oak chest the orb began to vibrate, slowly at first, and then faster and faster until it flew from its stand with the violence of a fired cannonball. It flew back and forth inside the chest, smashing against the sides of the hardwood with more and more force until it burst through the wood and smashed into the concrete cellar wall. The orb careened around the room, trying to get out, trying to find its keeper.

“Mother, what was that noise?” Penelope yelled from her bedroom, located in the rear of the cottage. There was no response. Penelope jumped from her bed, opened the door, and ran barefoot down the hall. She threw open the door and said, “Mother, wake up.”

“Who’s there?” Thelma said, still half asleep.

“It’s me. I heard a crash somewhere in the house.”

Thelma got up, put on her slippers, and followed her daughter into the hall. The crashing sounds grew louder and echoed through the house.

“It’s coming from the cellar,” Penelope said.

They ran to the door, unlocked it, and turned on the cellar light.

“It’s the orb,” Thelma said as she pushed her way past Penelope and rushed down into the cellar. When she got to the bottom of the stairs, Thelma saw the orb speed across the floor and roll up the far wall. She ran across the room and grabbed the orb. It was hot and vibrating wildly. Thelma tried to pull it off the wall, but it was too strong and pulled Thelma up the wall toward the ceiling.

Penelope screamed at her mother, “Let go of the orb!” but Thelma refused and the orb dragged Thelma across the ceiling. Penelope leaped into the air as Thelma flew past and grabbed Thelma’s legs, pulling her and the orb to the floor. Thelma held onto the orb as it continued to vibrate. The orb was out of control and threw Thelma across the room where she hit the oak chest with a sickening thud. Penelope picked up the orb and held it to her chest. The milky liquid in the orb was infused with red streaks and swirled violently under the surface.

“Calm down, please,” she said. “I’m here. You are in no danger.”

As it lay against Penelope’s chest, the vibrations slowed, and the orb became still. She sang a quiet lullaby as she lifted the orb up to her face. Bloody liquid flowed out of the orb, and she dropped it. The liquid flowed faster and faster, covering the floor around Penelope’s feet.

Thelma stood up and said, “Don’t move. Take what the orb is giving you. You are its keeper, its mother, and you have to take its fear. Something has scared it, and if we don’t handle this the  right way, it will explode and be gone forever.”

Penelope stood still as her mother had commanded. She watched the bloody liquid flow up her legs, around her abdomen, and over her shoulders. The red liquid continued up, covering her head, encircling her body like a shroud. She fell to the floor unconscious. Thelma ran over to Penelope and checked her pulse. Penelope’s heart was barely beating, but she was still alive. Thelma picked the orb off the floor and went to the oak cabinet. She opened the shattered door and removed the stand. She carried the orb up the stairs and into her bedroom. In the far corner of the room was an ancient iron safe. Thelma opened it and took out a velvet bag. She put the orb in the bag, tightened the drawstrings, and placed it on the stand. Thelma slammed the door shut and locked the safe. She hurried back down the stairs and found Penelope sitting up in the middle of the floor. The red liquid had absorbed into Penelope’s skin, and she was returning to normal.

“Mother, what just happened? I’ve never seen the orb react that way.”

“I’ve seen it a few times over the centuries, but not to this extent,” Thelma said. “We learned tonight you are now the keeper of the orb. You are like its mother. I used to be, but now it has chosen you. This is a great honor, but also a great responsibility.”

“What does that mean, I am the keeper?”

“You are responsible for its safety and its care. You are the only person who can do this. If you fail, the orb could be destroyed. Tonight it shared its inner thoughts with you. My dear, you are now one.”

“I feel different. I will care for it and I want to protect it. What caused the orb to lose control?” Penelope said.

“Something scared it. Did you feel what caused the fear?” Thelma said.

“I’m not sure. As the red liquid poured over me, I saw visions, but I couldn’t make them out. There were shadowy figures moving through a strange landscape, but their faces were hidden. I felt coldness, an indescribable chill. It made me sick. I think it was a terrible evil—I’m just not sure. It seemed familiar, like someone or something I had seen before.”

“Go back to bed. Maybe you will remember more in the morning after a good night’s sleep.”

The two women climbed the stairs and headed for their beds for a much-needed rest. The orb sat on its stand in the safe, trembling ever so slightly. It knew deep down in its milky core that something evil was coming for it, and it was scared.