Wells with Deep Water

17 Dec

By Cassie Howell

“Wisconsin?”

“No.”

“India?”

“No!”

“Central Park?”

“C’mon Amelia, try.”

“I’m trying!” she whined.

Amelia and I were testing each other on our field trip tomorrow. You may ask why two people would test each other on a field trip, but Amelia and I are just weird that way.

“We need to study for this field trip!”

“No… Clearly not, considering we are visiting a castle and you are testing me on the location of the first McDonald’s!” she snapped.

“It serves a purpose. See McDonald’s really –“

“The invention of food that has more hormones than a sixteen-year-old girl serves no other purpose than increasing the risk of food poisoning and doubling worldwide obesity!” she shot back.

She was always touchy when it came to fast food, which complicated our friendship considerably, because she refused point blank to touch a hamburger, and hamburgers were my downfall. Amelia and I were now so different than before, that it was hard to believe we were actually friends.

“Well I’m leaving,” she said, grabbing her bag off of the bed and walking jerkily out the door in what she supposed was a heated fashion. “You are clearly too stupid to realize that no matter how hard you study, your life will still suck. Just because you know the states in alphabetical order doesn’t mean you have a boyfriend, or a guy who likes you, or a sense of style, or that your chest is no longer as flat as the prairie.” And with that, she stormed out of the room.

“Fine, go!” I yelled. What was up with her lately? She had never made fun of me like that before, and the worst of it was that what she said was all true. I had no boyfriend, no sense of style, and my chest was as flat as the prairie. But had Amelia ever said that? No. At least, she had never said that to my face.

Troubled and angry, hopeless and boyfriend-less, I hopped into bed without dinner, without even undressing, and fell asleep.

BEEEEEEEEEEEE-B-B-B-BEEEEEP! My alarm clock sounded as shrill and annoying as ever. Who had given me the dang thing anyway? I paused to think and, just as I remembered, all the memories from last night came flooding back. Amelia. Amelia had given me that alarm clock. Amelia had chosen that shrill beep to wake me up in the morning, saying that it had always worked for her. Amelia had wrapped it up in golden paper and smiled as she handed it across the table at my thirteenth birthday party. And Amelia had insulted and humiliated me last night.

I dressed in warm clothing, because fall in Boston is highs of thirty-six and lows of ten zillion below zero. I clambered down the stairs, kissed my mom goodbye, and slid into the seat of my car. I jammed the key into the ignition and backed out of the driveway. The rest of the way to school, I turned the radio up really loud and tried hard to forget about the night before.

The next thing I knew I was boarding the bus to get to the park where our field trip was taking place. There was much shoving and pushing, and the throwing of a burnt out cigarette that was sprinkling ash all over the crowd. I searched the crowd for a white-blonde head, and almost immediately located it. Amelia was right ahead of me. I made my way through the crowd and caught up with her.

“Hey Amelia,” I said awkwardly

“Hey.”

There was a silence that seemed louder than any other silence I had ever heard. Not that you can hear silence. Or maybe you can.

My pointless thoughts were interrupted by Amelia’s voice. “Blockhead.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re a blockhead is what I mean. Go away.”

I felt horribly betrayed. “Amelia, that’s not fair… what… how…” I spluttered.

“Listen, over the years, I’ve been growing. For instance, I’ve been getting taller. You are a baby. You’re really short. If I want to look good, I need to have a person to look good with me. You are not that person. You’re a good friend, but I need to be popular. I need to be seen. It boosts my confidence. If you care about me at all, you will let me lead a new year. I don’t want to be invisible forever.” And she turned away.

We were finally there. After two long hours on the bus, two long hours of being forced to sit next to Amelia by a chaperone, we were there. I looked up at the castle we were visiting. It was surrounded by dead trees. The moat was dried up and full of brown, rotting leaves. Chunks of the castle walls were missing, and to make the scene even gloomier, the castle was set against a dreary gray sky. Funnily enough, the sight was oddly pleasant in my eyes. It seemed to describe my mood perfectly.

“This is the Kunaqua Castle,” said the tour guide, leading us up to the rotting, mildew covered drawbridge. “As you can see, it is very old, and due to aging and vandalism, which we here at Kunaqua Castle try very had to prevent I might add, it has become quite dangerous to go across the drawbridge. One person at a time, please.”

We lined up in single file and, one by one, the people in front of me crossed the drawbridge. Finally, it was my turn. Slowly, I began to walk. When I reached the middle of the drawbridge, however, I came to a halt. I had felt a bizarre urge to look up at the castle. But when I looked up, I didn’t see a stony wreck. I saw a beautiful castle, set against a blue sky, flags flapping in the wind, birds calling, and heard a voice whispering in my ear, “There you are now, Your Highness. Going to fall one of these days, of that I am certain. And where have you put your shoes? Made them myself. Shame. They were such good shoes.”

I opened my eyes. I was kneeling on the drawbridge and everyone was staring at me. I got to my feet and stumbled to the other side of the drawbridge.

We made our way through the castle. The tour guide led us into cavern-like rooms and explained all about how he had no idea what room we were in and got us lost several times.

“Here we are,” he said, finally getting us out of what appeared to be a dining hall. “The water tower. This is where the princess went missing.” I pushed my way to the front of the crowd and read the sign nailed to the gate: Water Tower. I squinted at the letters. They seemed to be vibrating. All of a sudden, the sign went completely blank and new words appeared: Go up, Ella. Ella! That was me! Suddenly I knew what to do. I jumped the gate to the water tower.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” someone was shouting, but I was no longer paying attention. I ran as hard as I could up the crumbling staircase, and even though I could hear someone thundering after me, I kept running. I skidded to a halt in front of the well at the top of the tower. I looked over my shoulder and saw Amelia clutching her side. I looked back at the well, and then dived into its depths.

I knew I had done the right thing. I knew because I was not cold, or wet, or clutching for air. Gold light blinded me as I spun around and around and then went shooting up like a cork. I exploded out of the well and landed on the stone floor, which was no longer cracked. I turned to the right, and saw Amelia, dressed in an old-fashioned leather dress, sprawled on the floor. “Amelia?” Amelia coughed and rose from the floor. “Nice dress,” I said quietly. We looked at each other and then embraced. We hugged for a long time.

“So where are we anyway?” she asked.

That I knew. “We’re in the medieval ages. That well caused us to travel back in time. We are in the ruin when it wasn’t a ruin.”

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