There was a legend about the well in the garden. My mother had told us bedtime stories about the creatures that came out when the sun went down. The giggling and whispers of the creatures echoed in closets and from under beds. Once you stopped being scared, you would hear them again. You would see shadows in the lamplight and feel small fingers on your feet. As long as you feared them, they were silent. As long as you were afraid for the sun to go down, they left you alone.
Maybe that’s why we never heard them. Every night when we were little, our mother would tell a story about the creatures. One that involved a little girl our age who decided she wasn’t scared anymore. ”Never forget about the monsters in the well. Remember, they come out at night,” she would say every night when she tucked us in for bed.
Eight Years Later
I have not seen my mother in seven years. After the divorce, I was forced to move out with my father immediately. He didn’t allow me to communicate with my mother, or my twin brother, Peter. After our dad’s accident, I was sent back to my mother.
When the cab pulled up onto the three hundred-year-old house, the first thing I noticed was the well. I had forgotten it existed, despite my mom’s incessant badgering about it when I was younger.
Never forget about the monsters in the well. Remember, they come out at night.
The words echoed in my head when I saw my mom open the front door. I am now sixteen years old. It had been 7 years, I don’t believe in monsters anymore.
The reunion was bittersweet. The death of my father was the only reason we were allowed to see each other again.
“Sarah, I forgot how beautiful you were. You don’t understand how hard it was not being with you for so long,” Peter was always so nice to me, even though he was my brother. Brothers were supposed to be mean, but Peter was my best friend, and seeing him made me realize just how much I missed him. He was and still is the only person who understood how I felt in the whirlwind of our family.
Once the dust settled, I was finally able to take in the changes from the past seven years. The house was just as creaky, and the walls were just as gloomy. The paintings of long-deceased family were now covered with dust. The windows were dirty, and there was a layer of grime over most things in the house, like they hadn’t been home in seven years as well.
Peter was a whole other story. We were nine the last time we saw each other, and he was nearing adulthood. He now towered over me at about six foot. His dark brown eyes didn’t have the childhood innocence in them anymore, they had darkness. It was like he had seen something that scarred him. He had changed, and I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not. However, the one thing that had not changed was his hair; long, blond, and beautiful. It curled around his ears in a boyish way, making him look sweet. And just like usual, his toothy smile lit up his face. Seven years ago, that smile made all the moms in the neighborhood swoon. Now, I’m sure that it makes all the girls in the neighborhood swoon. Peter was the prettier twin. His face structure made him look strong, and his tall frame and broad shoulders made him look even stronger. He had gotten the good looks, and everybody knew that.
I have a handsome face. I’ve always thought that I looked masculine, so I have always been self-conscious about the way I looked. My hair is silky and golden and goes down to the middle of my back. My eyes are a piercing blue, a trait inherited from my father. I inherited most things from my father. My face structure mimicked his, and my frame was just as large as Peter’s. I’m not huge, I am a few inches shorter than Peter and my father, I just have wide hips and broad shoulders. “They make you look strong and unbreakable,” my family would always tell me. However, I never feel strong or unbreakable, I feel manly and ugly.
Our mother had changed the most over the seven years. There had always been darkness in her eyes, but now it was different. She seemed different. Everything she did, every move she made, she seemed to question. Her brown eyes had a hint of crazy In the familiar darkness of her brown eyes lied a whisper of ferocity, like a something lurking in the shadows. Her short blond hair stuck up on one side, and was graying quickly. Her small, short frame always made her look vulnerable. Now, her children towered over her and that made her look even smaller. She held herself with false confidence. The strength she had always pretended years ago had faded, and the truth was coming out. Something was affecting her not only mentally, but also physically.
The divorce was hard on my mom. Granted, the death of my aunt was also hard on her, but my dad did not seem to see that. A year before the divorce and a year before I moved, my aunt Kelly came to visit. She had used to live in the house when they were children, but she hadn’t been back in years. Everything was going well until one morning we woke up and found her dead in the well.
She had drowned. The police said she had killed herself, but my mother refused to believe it. For a year after that, she was always talking about the creatures in the well. How they killed her, and how they should all be scared. As children, Peter and I were scared also. However, we were scared more of our mother than the imaginary creatures who lived in the well in the garden.
My father fought for custody of both of us, but only ended up with one. So he took me and left immediately. I don’t know why he picked me. I did not want to leave Peter, but was given no choice. Like usual, my father got what he wanted. How this was legal, I don’t know. I think he had connections to the judge in charge of the case.
The car accident my father got in was a relief to me. I hid my feelings, but I hated him. How could he abandon my mother in her time of need? How could he tear me from my brother? How could he cut off my communication with my family? How could he say he loves me when he hits me whenever I upset him? It says something about a person who could do all of that. He wasn’t always like this. Only after we moved away did he start abusing me. He was superman to me growing up. I guess a divorce really affects a person.
That night I lay in my old bed, which was parallel to Peter’s, just as it had been seven years ago. Peter was acting weird, and had been since the sun went down. “Listen, you need to know about the—“ he was interrupted when my mom walked in, tears in her eyes.
“I’m glad you are home,” she said. “Never forget about the monsters in the well. Remember, they come out at night.” She slammed the door and we could hear her run to her bedroom and slam her door.
“She’s still on that?” I asked in aspiration.
Peter sat up in his bed. “You didn’t forget, did you?” He looked mad. “You can’t forget.”
“Oh, you too? What did she do to you?” I sighed. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight.” Peter said with fear in his eyes.
That night, I could not sleep. I kept hearing voices. A couple of times I thought I felt something touching my feet, but then assumed that I was crazy. I woke up from a nightmare about my aunt to the sound of giggling. I looked over to Peter and he was asleep. I thought about all the stories our mother told me as a child, but stopped myself. Monsters are not real. This is an old house, and it makes weird noises at night.