200 words or less: Holding Euphoria

When the child looked into the well, they saw nothing, for darkness had devoured it all.

A rope, in one piece that should have been two, looped around the pulley shaped lump of rust above the child. The child’s heart ached a cry so desperate that the child obeyed, extending the tips of their fingers to the paradoxical twine.

The child began to pull, coarse and dry caresses against their palms and fingers.

Through the nothing, something rose. The something rose until it rested on the well’s maw.

The something was a bucket. In the bucket was water as clear and clean as the air that the child held captive in their lungs.

Into the liquid, the child put their dry and raw hands, and their hands drank the water until the aridness was quenched and the roughness was smoothed.

The child tried picking up the water in their hands. They wanted to keep this feeling forever.

The water escaped through distracted and busy fingers, and was suddenly gone as the parched desert below swallowed it.

They ached again to feel the purpose and grandeur of the water, so they cast the bucket, to again quench and soften their hands.