Quinn downed the last of the watery remains of Jack over ice. He set the glass directly on the bar pushing it and the soggy clump of napkin toward the bartender. Leaving the tip for his happy hour numbing at his seat, he gathered his jacket and walked back into the fading daylight.
Riley would either be enraged or oblivious to his tardiness. She’d asked him to meet her at the jack-and-jill hill at six. He’d gotten out of work a little early and entertained himself past their appointment. If she’d packed a book that morning, he’s absence would go without comment, if not there’d be hell to pay.
Trudging up the steep hill, Quinn could see the silhouette of the crumbling well. Pieces of the field stones broke off leaving a jagged rim. The shadow of a young woman leaned against it. Riley held a book but her gaze shifted from it to the skyline and back. Absently she chewed on her fingernail.
“Are you ready?” She called, seeing him.
“For what?” Riley had provided no details for tonight’s adventure, yet another reason he’d dawdled. Sometimes they went on hikes or spent evenings on photography expeditions, other times he ended up helping her pick out a dress or advising her on cable companies. Friendship can be a drag.
“I’m taking you to Dreamland.” She stood, tossed her book aside, and grabbed his hand. Her palm wet with sweat, quivering a bit, did not inspire confidence.
He started to physically pull back. In every way this crossed the line. “We are not huggers” was practically their mantra. And Dreamland? What the hell?
Riley saw the fear and displeasure flicker in his eyes.
“You want to experience my dreams, the stories I tell you about, you want to see what it feels like. I’m taking you. Tonight. Now. But it’s dangerous, both the trip there and the destination. So hold tight.” She glanced at the well. “We’re going to jump.”
“No. No I’m not.”
Placing one sneaker up on the ledge, with a grip much stronger than Quinn expected her capable, Riley pulled him towards the well. She glanced down and disappeared over leaving only her hand visible for a moment.
Quinn yanked on her, trying to save her from the crushing and drowning she was so intent on. Instead, the more he struggled to pull her back, further he went into the black. Until he lost his footing on the slick grass and tumbled over the lip of the well.
The blackness closed around them. As they fell, cool, dank air surrounded them giving the sensation of a psychical object itself. Their bodies struck the water.
The Daily Post: Black