An edited and improved version of this story is now available for purchase as part of the ‘Prophecies of the Drowned Oracle’ collection.
Somewhere, unbound by the laws of time and space, exists a wishing well. You probably haven’t heard of this well, but not because it’s a secret. It’s just that most people who encounter it aren’t around to tell the tale.
You might encounter it on the side of the road one day, or on the very top of the highest mountain. It’s boundless, endless, traversing time, space and other universes effortlessly. It can exists in multiple places at ones, and it can cease existing at all if it so desires.
Most people will never hear of it, even fewer will ever encounter it. You might see it flicker in the corner of your eye, only to find emptiness when you turn to look. You might stumble upon it on a holiday in a distant country, or it might one day stand in the middle of your yard. You might only ever see it in your dreams.
Don’t be fooled, even in your dreams the well is very real.
If you ever encounter the well, have a good look, talk to it for a bit, give it a pat on those worn old stones. The well is lonely and there’s no reason to fear it.
So long as you don’t make a wish…
Don’t make a wish. Boredom is the bane of the well’s existence. It seeks entertainment. It knows exactly how many loopholes exist in a one-sentence contract and it will use every single one of them.
You ask it for a mansion and you find yourself a blood-thirsty creature, your mansion neighbouring a small village and its occupants brandishing torches and stakes, advancing steadily. You dream of having magic at your fingertips and suddenly you’re in a small hut on a rock, a storm raging outside the leaking walls and a large man grinning at you, the words ‘Harry — yer a wizard’ ringing in your ears.
The well isn’t kind, it won’t give you time to breathe. It takes pleasure in your panic, in your frantic efforts to figure out what’s going on and what to do. That’s what it lives for. From the moment your coin hits the deep waters of the well, your life is at its mercy.
Don’t expect to live long beyond that point.