There's Something in the Water
“It’s just the rain, it’s just the rain-“
The young woman repeated the mantra over and over as she ran homewards, as if it could ward her from the evil around her. The town of Alpenview was pitch-black, the opaque clouds overhead incessantly weeping that cursed liquid ever since she had made that wish. That damned wish.
She had wished the rain would come and wash this ugly little town away. All her family, her “friends”, her memories, her scars. She had just wanted nothing more than for pure, cleansing waters to take the place of all the pain in her life that day at the old well. Oh God, how she should have remembered what the elder citizens spoke of that old well! There were those who upheld that something unspeakable and unnameable lived at the bottom, stillborn within an eternal sleep, dreaming forbidden things that would raze a human mind.
Why, why did she have to do what she did and scream her wish towards the bottom of that old well, over and over again, and so loud she nearly passed out? But she couldn’t have known, could she? None of the old tales the elders spoke of said the thing granted wishes, and certainly not in such a jeeringly malicious fashion.
By now the rain had reached the level of a monsoon, but the tormented young woman had finally reached her family’s home. As she forced the water-damaged door open, she was absentmindedly beginning to wonder why she hadn’t seen anyone else on her way here when she heard a sound that made her blood practically freeze in her veins.
A slow, drawn-out gurgling coming from the basement.
She didn’t want to think about what might have happened to her family. But all the same, she felt a morbid compulsion to investigate the noise. The young woman made her way down the steps leading to the basement in total darkness, silently cursing the fact that her dad had somewhat oddly installed the light switch at the foot of said stairs instead of the top. At last, after what felt like an interminable eternity of blindly groping in the darkness, she located the switch and flicked it on.
Her father, mother, and two younger brothers were there. The pallor of their bloated flesh indicated death as though through drowning, but that wasn’t even the most surreal part. They were floating in the air, not as though they were flying, but as if the room were full of water, even though she could plainly tell it wasn’t and she herself was still firmly planted on the floor. Their slackened jaws and lolling eyes spoke of people who had perished witnessing truest dread.
The young woman staggered back, bracing herself against the wall as a wave of nausea threatened to make her lose her footing. It was then that she heard its voice, coming from someplace primal and dark. Very dark. But not from the bottom of some old well. The voice was coming from inside her.
“I am not a cruel creature by nature. I granted many wishes in a wholly positive fashion, but yours was the first I heard uttered in malice. You may deny it, but this, this is what you wanted. Truly, this is what you actually wished for.”