Creative Writing - A short story - 'The Angel in the Well'
The Angel in the well – Part One
Angela was employed by the Jones brothers to be a companion for their elderly mother, Gladys. Gladys is dying. They live on a remote farm in a Welsh valley in Mid Glamorgan. Angela has been working at the farm for about three months when the old lady begins to ramble. She tells her there is something she must tell her before she dies.
Angela listens intently to secret the old lady is revealing about her husband. She tells her that once she was ‘an angel in a well’ and had only been allowed out when she convinced her husband that she would never leave him. Over the years she grew to love him but hated the ‘Angel in the well’ stories, his father and grandfather had raised him with, stories that he in turn told his sons.
Gladys had been suspicious some years earlier when a young girl from a nearby village disappeared and she tried to investigate the barn but each time she got to the well someone knocked her out from behind and she always ended up back at the house. Gladys thought it was all over when her husband died but then a girl hitchhiker had gone missing and Gladys believes that the legacy lives on. She believes the hitchhiker is the new Angel-in-the-well but she is not sure which son is carrying it on. She believes it could be Jack because he is daft enough to believe his father’s stories about the farm’s prosperity and success being helped by an Angel-in-the-well. Gladys wants Angela to go to the barn, ‘but be very careful the boys do not catch you otherwise heaven knows what will happen’.
Angela asks why Gladys believes that the girl is in the well in the barn and the old lady passes her a photograph of herself when she was a young girl. She places the photograph next to picture in the paper of the missing hitchhiker; the resemblance is quite remarkable. The girl, although apparently in her late teens looks about twelve. Angela catches sight of her own reflection in the mirror and wonders if she might have been next all those years earlier when Mr Jones offered her a ride on the tractor. The fair hair, blue eyes, the angelic features and…oh god…her name. Angela thinks about the way Jack pronounces her name. The way he looks at her sometimes. She thinks about Jimmy’s sullen behaviour, his aloofness, surely not, surely Jimmy couldn’t…no…it has to be Jack!
Angela attempts to get to the barn but each time one or the other see her and ask her where she is going. She tells them she’s just having a walk and they tend to veer her away from the barn. At one stage Jimmy asks her why she is so interested in taking the pathway towards the barn, she replies that it’s the prettiest path. He tell’s her that it is riddled with hidden dangers and she should take the river path instead.
Angela beings to think that Jimmy is probably responsible for carrying on his forefathers legacy because he is so concerned with keeping the farm going at all costs. Jack never seems that interested in the farm. In his mind, he’s still a little boy and wants to play. She discusses her theory with Gladys one morning when she takes her some breakfast.
Gladys isn’t sure. She trusts neither of them. Her only concern is getting the Angel out of the well. She becomes almost hysterical with fear for her remembering her own time in the well. She warns Angela about the dangers she herself faces and tells her she must leave the farm at once before it is too late. Angela thinks the old lady is just a little bit out of her mind and that all she has been told is actually a figment of Gladys's overactive imagination. Angela decides that none of it is true.
Deep dry well
The Angel in the Well - Part Two
Following the old lady’s death, Angela moves into the farm permanently to look after the two brothers. It is some months before she becomes suspicious about the barn again. Jimmy keeps spending long periods in the barn and she notices that he is taking food from the kitchen.
Late one night after the two men have gone to bed, she steals out of the house and heads for the barn. Once inside she searches for the well. She hears someone humming faintly and follows the sound. Hidden behind several bails of hay, she sees a small round trapdoor and checking that she is still alone, she opens it and looks inside. The stench is the first thing that hits her. A putrid sewer smell, old toilets and as she looks down a face looks back at her, dirty, pale and almost skeleton like. A voice whispers ‘Help me’.
Unable to believe what she has seen she falls backwards and touches a man’s boot. Angela looks up and realises she is in trouble. She edges away from Jimmy. His face is contorted. Fear fills every crevice of her shivering body. She shouts at him that he is an evil monster and should die for what he has done. He moves forward. She backs away and somehow manages to scramble to her feet. The girl in the well is crying.
Angela looks around quickly for something to protect herself with and spots the hayfork. Jimmy moves swiftly forward but she just manages to slips from his grasp. He says something about the farm becoming richer if two angels were in the well. Angela reaches for the fork. It falls and she misses it. Jimmy by now is on top of her. She screams. He tries to muffle her cries with his hand and reaches under her nightdress for her panties. She tries to bring her knee up to protect herself but he is too heavy. She fears he will rape her before he throws her in the well….
A loud shout comes from the doorway of the barn. . Jack is stood brandishing a rifle. ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, NOOOOO_MORE, leave ANG-GEL-AAR alone’. Jimmy backs off telling Jack to remember what his father told him about the farm and the well. Jack shakes his head and tells Jimmy that it is all lies, ‘I’ve SEEN in-side the WE-EL. She-eeze scruf-fay and dirt-tay and cry-eyes ALL the time, she-ee wants to-ooo go-oo ho-me.’ Jack then tells Angela to get back. Jimmy moves forward and the rifle goes off. Jimmy falls to the ground. The bullet has pierced his heart. Angela runs to Jack. They both fall to their knees and cry, hugging each other. Jack keeps saying that he didn’t know, didn’t know it was bad. Angela tell’s him it’s OK but they must get the Angel out of the well. He shakes his head, unsure.
Eventually, he lies full length on the floor so that his hands can reach inside the well, he asks the girl in the well to reach up and grab his hands. He pulls her free of the well. Angela wraps her in a warm blanket and calls the police. Angela repeats the story Gladys told her. The police check and confirm that Gladys is on an old missing persons list.
What do you think?
Should I turn this short story into a novel?
Before you go...
Did you enjoy reading this story?
What happens next?
The girl is taken to hospital and spends several years overcoming her traumatic experience. She goes on to become a 'Trauma Counsellor' specialising in young women who have escaped from their kidnappers/abductors.
The police search every inch of the farm and discover the remains of several missing girls over a fifty-year period.
Jack spends the next few years in a special hospital. Angela visits him regularly, vowing to keep looking after him for the rest of his days.
Nobody attended Jimmy’s funeral. Nothing marked his grave.
The local people ritually burn the farm and all its outbuildings. No-one ever goes there.
To this day the local people tell the story of the Angel in the Well and how it all came good again in the valley once the Joneses had gone. It still surprises them how no-one knew about Gladys.
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