Bitter

Submitted into Contest #160 in response to: Set your story during a drought.... view prompt

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Drama Suspense

Day 780

11:20 PM

Norman from up the way told me it might rain today. I always liked Norman. It’s too bad. Of all the people that decided to stay, he was my favorite. I thought he was stronger. If I’m being honest, I believed him to be the strongest amongst the remnant. Now he’s going the way of everyone else. Letting his mind sink into a slow delirium. Dumb bastard. Now, what am I going to do? I was counting on him to fix my pump. The water is too bitter. 

3:30 PM

First Norman and now Peter down in the valley. He said a caravan rolled through with news of rain in the West. The party cut through a pass in the mountains yesterday. They claim to have seen rain clouds while way up there. 

It’s one thing to tell stories to entertain. It’s a whole other thing to tell complete strangers lies. Why would they say that? I told Peter I bet they are scouting out our land. Seeing if we have any working wells. Of course, we have working wells! But we cannot tell outsiders that. You tell one group and before you know it, we’ll be swamped with outlaws. Desperate to suck the last bit of life we have here. 

This place was once a paradise. Flush with wide rivers, lakes, and ponds. Of course, I don’t remember any of that. My grandfather told me everything I know. He told me stories of a time when people had pools in their backyards; but not for drinking. No, for swimming in! They even dumped chemicals in the water to make it even less drinkable! Damn fools every one of them. If only they knew what would come. 

5:45 PM

I’m in trouble. First, Norman, then Peter. Now Reyna is talking crazy. She said she smelled rain in the air. What kind of crazy witch smells rain in the air? I’ve heard stories of people going mad, but what happens when everyone around you goes crazy? 

I know what's really going on here. Norman came by here last week to check on my pump. That's when he told me the regulator was going. I’m onto his tricks. 

And Peter, he came by a day later with some medicine. It’s only a stomach bug I told him, but I understand now. He and Norman have been talking. They said they were worried about me. My maladies. I keep telling them like I tell everyone. My stomach is sensitive is all. It's the worry. The constant fear of running out. Some days it overtakes me so I can’t get out of bed because I’m so weak. And my fingers tingle so I can’t feel them. 

If only it would rain. It’s been so long. 

9:00 PM

I never told you what Reyna did. After she ranted about smelling rain, she asked how I was faring. She is going to take everything from me. She’s always been jealous of this place. And my well. I wish I suspected her sooner. It may be too late. She’s trying to weasel me out of my own property. I don’t know how, but she’s crafty. 

It’s been a hard few years. Even harder alone. Some days I wish Claire was still here. She would know what to do. She’d have a plan to keep Reyna from getting my well. She used to say, “Wilson, you mind the farm and I’ll take care of the rest.” It’s funny, I always liked Reyna. Claire did too. It goes to show, that you can never trust anyone. Especially when it comes to what matters the most. 

It’s just so hard to keep up this place. I can barely stand more than a few minutes. And my stomach, the pain just doesn't stop. 

1:30 AM

I can’t sleep and I know why now. It's the well. I figured it out. So stupid of me. Norman, Peter, and Reyna: all three of them are in the same predicament. Their wells are dry. We always talked of that day. I imagined it far in the future though. Not now. Not so soon. I don’t think I have the strength to fight off all three of them. I can barely breathe while walking to the bathroom; which often. I wish Claire were here. She’d know what to do.  

8:30 AM

Norman came by early. He fixed the regulator and left. Or so he said. I bet an Indian head cent he didn't fix it at all. He was just checking to make sure the well is in good order. The next part of his plan is in motion. He said Peter and Reyna are going to come by and check on me. I’m onto his tricks. I’m just going to lie down for a bit. I need a rest. Then I will figure out a plan. 

12:00

If only I could sleep. Just a little while. An hour? Thirty minutes? It’s my stomach. I can’t keep anything down. Not even water. Take a sip and up it comes. I understand now. It’s so clear. They poisoned the well. It’s the only explanation I can figure out. But why? Why would they destroy the only good well? I need to rest. 

3:00 PM

Liars. They're all liars. I caught them in their trickery. No one fools old Wilson. Not so clever now. Peter and Reyna came by. Peter said they called a doctor. They’re worried about me. What a laugh. Reyna says it might be the water. Something might be in the water making me sick. 

Of course, it’s the water! They of all people know this! I discovered their plot too late. They poisoned the well. They’re going to take my land. It’s what they always wanted. The water. Something in the water. What did they put in it? Why?

5:20 PM

It’s raining. How long has it been? A year? Too tired to count. They were right. Maybe it was me? Bitter water—

I’m tired. 

Sick to my stomach. 

It hurts. 

It’s.

Hard.

To. 

Breathe. 

August 25, 2022 22:05

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2 comments

S. A. Jackson
21:17 Aug 31, 2022

Very interesting format! It read very well, especially with how the short sentences made everything feel urgent.

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Ian Matonti
14:57 Sep 02, 2022

Thanks!

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