Semi-short story by Ember~
The Wishing Well
This was the only thing that brought me pleasure.
It was only sitting in these branches that I felt at ease, like I could actually matter in the world. With the gentle breeze sifting my hair and the sound of the leaves and branches blowing in my ears. Every few seconds, the chirping of the crickets reached a shrill peak and then died down again, only to peak again. I could feel an ant crawl over my thumb, and flicked it away.
And then a plop, and I opened my eyes, shielding them from the sun shining through the branches of the tree I sat in. I turned so that I could gaze down at the group of children that had just approached the ancient well beneath my tree. I watched them unseen, as they tossed coins into the well in exchange for wishes that would never come true.
I hated those children for thinking it was as simple as tossing a piece of shiny metal in. It wasn’t that simple. You could not get something from nothing. If you wanted something to happen, you’d have to do it yourself. Wishing on stars and at wishing wells wouldn’t help anything.
There was a slight pause in the sound of the children’s shuffling feet as they made their lost wishes, and then they scampered away.
I was again in the peace of my solitude, and closed my eyes again.
Those children really were so foolish.
CHaPTeR . one
When I next opened my eyes, the sun was setting. I rubbed my bleary eyes and shook my head to wake myself up. The groggy waking vision slowly cleared and became the crystal clear vision I had had since birth. Better than twenty-twenty vision had its advantages.
But I could see just how ugly things were. I could see the wrinkles on a woman’s face, the hairs sticking out of a man’s nose or ear. I could see all the little blemishes on humanity. Never had I met a person without flaw. I knew it was not possible.
I jumped down from the tree, stretched, and made my way leisurely back toward my home. Though really, it could not be called a home. The Clearview Orphanage was where I slept at night, where I ate my meals and took my lessons; but it wasn’t my home. I didn’t have a home. The closest thing to a home that I had was that tree. The tree didn’t judge me or call me names, or expect the impossible.
One of the Sisters met me at the door and fussed over the hems on my shirt; I’d ripped it a little on my way down the tree. I stopped walking and stood without expression to let her fix it. When she was done, and started ushering me to the dining room, I didn’t protest, just let her lead me. There was no point in trying to resist, so I’d given that up long ago.
I sighed as I sat down at the table. The same spot as I always sat at. On the corner, at the end of the room. Though children sat next to me, I paid them no heed, and they ignored me. It was best that way.
I picked at the food on my plate with my spoon, vaguely wondering if there would ever be anything better to eat.
Meals at Clearview were nutritious and readily available, but no one could say that they were tasty. The carrots always had a slightly past ripe taste, and the meat was runny, while the bread was harder than it ought to be. Many of the children saved the bread some days, and played ball with it during recess.
I ate my food silently, and was the first to finish, as usual. While other children used the meal times to converse with each other and play games, I just sat and ate the tasteless food in front of me, then went straight up to my room for bed.
As I sat there in bed that night, I couldn’t help but think about what life could have been, would have been, if it hadn’t been for that night I decided I was too bored to heed my parents’ warnings. They'd told me every day.
“Einan, don’t play with matches.”
CHaPTeR . two
I awoke the next morning to my roommate shaking my shoulder violently. “Einan, wake up! It’s almost time to be in the dining room for breakfast.”
With that, the boy left. His name is Honi, and he got here about three months ago. He was a few years younger than me, orphaned when his parents were hit by a car. They’d just moved here from Hawaii. What a way to start off your life in Wisconsin.
I got dressed rather slowly, feeling sluggish today for some reason. When I finally did make it down to the dining room, there was a group of children gathered around something. Most likely a new orphan come to join our despondent ranks.
“Einan, come and say hello to Mua,” Honi urged, pulling on my sleeve. Not wanting to attempt resisting, I let him lead me over to the crowd of children. I didn’t like crowds. I didn’t even like people.
I kept my head down as Honi pushed through the people in front of me, and when we stopped moving, I looked up.
And there stood an angel.
She had short blond -nay, almost silver- hair and gray eyes. They gazed at me clearly, as if she could see right through to my very soul -if I even had one anymore. For the first time in my twelve years of life, I could not find anything at fault. Her skin, so perfectly smooth, was fair and rosy at the cheeks, her posture was superb, and not a strand of hair was out of place.
And then she smiled, and it felt like suddenly, the world was a good place.
“Hi there! I’m Mua! Who’re you?” She asked. Her voice was musical, and eager.
“Einan.” Was all I said. It had to have been the first time I’d spoken in over a week at least. I rarely talked. Honi grinned at my side.
Mua smiled again, and I felt my bitterness melt away. “Einan, I hope we can become good friend from now on!” The way she said it, said everything, sounded so simply guiltless.
And then another little girl took Mua’s hand and pulled my sun away. Once again, I stood in darkness and bitterness. Amongst the ugly faces and the feeling that nothing mattered in the end.
I sighed, and went to eat my tasteless breakfast in my usual uncaring mood.
CHaPTeR . three
A few times that day, the new girl passed through my mind. I wanted to see her perfection again, to feel that warmth and optimism.
But in the end, I decided it wasn’t likely I would meet her again –for the boys an the girls do almost everything separately-, and made my way to the edge of the woods on Clearview’s property. In those woods was the old well that many neighborhood children frequented, and my tree.
It was neatly tucked into a ravine, hidden from the smells and sounds of the nearby town. It was my little piece of solitude and rest in a world full of activity. I did have to deal with children making their wishes, but they never bothered me by shaking the branches, or calling names. It was as if this tree made me invisible. No one could see me when I sat in these branches.
It was in these branches that I saw my Angel for a second time.
I was sitting up there, listening to the crickets and the trees and the birds, when there was a crunch below as light feet met the ground. I shifted in the tree and peered down, and that feeling washed over me once again.
The woods were bright with the light she seemed to fling out, and all the sounds seemed to be somehow more musical to my ears.
“Surely…” She must be an angel.
Mua looked up at the sound. “Hello?” She peeked up into the tree. “Is someone up there? Would you like to play? Oh please, do come down and play!” She spotted me and waved up.
I blinked, and my arms and legs moved on their own, on some signal my brain had sent them, bypassing thought. I heard my feet hit the ground, and stared at Mua, not knowing what else to say or do.
“Well, don’t just stand there! Come and make a wish with me!” She took my hand and pulled me to the well.
“… Those wishes don’t come true…” I managed to mumble.
Mua looked over at me, shocked. I could see that she was hurt by the words, and I immediately wished I could take them back. To hurt this girl seemed to be like a sin.
“How can you say something like that, Einan?” We were at the base of the well now.
I looked down, frowning. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings again, but I couldn’t lie to her even if I wanted to. “Th…there’s nothing out there to make them come true…” I kicked despondently at a rock on the ground. “If… if people want their wishes to come true, they have to make it happen themselves… coins won’t help anything..”
Mua tilted her head and looked over at me for a long time. The longer she looked, the more I felt like what I said had been the lie. I found that she was having that affect on me.
“I don’t think that’s true,” she said with another cheerful smile. She fiddled with a nickel in her hand. “I think that when you make wishes on stars, and at wishing wells, you’re asking God to help you, to give you strength. I don’t think you’re all on your own,” she said, turning to me with the purest smile I’ve ever seen. She tossed the nickel into the well, and peered over the edge until we both heard the plop as it reached the surface of the water.
A faint breeze blew through our hair, and I couldn't help feeling like it was blowing parts of my old self away. I could almost feel the bitterness and the hate and the negativity slowly being shed.
“What… what did you wish for?” I asked.
She looked over at me, smiled, and said, “That’s a secret, Einan,” and skipped off back to the Orphanage.
I stood there in the darkness that flooded in again for a long time, wondering what had just happened.
CHaPTeR . four
I didn’t see Mua again until the next day, during breakfast; it was the only meal the boys and girls had together. She was sitting with a group of girls on the other side of the room. Of course, she had made friends fast. It was impossible not to love her. The food was still tasteless, but on the other side of the room, it shone.
After lunch, I went to sit in my tree again. I had this bizarre feeling that I would see her there again.
I sat, and sat longer, listening for the gentle footfalls as she would come. But it was getting late now, and she hadn’t come yet.
I sighed, and knew it was bound to be this way anyways. What had I been expecting?
I was climbing out of the tree to head back to the orphanage before the Sisters went to find me, when there was a crunching as of leaves under shoes, and I looked up again. Mua parted a bush and stepped up to the well, not seeming to notice me. She held a nickel in her hand, and had her eyes closed. After a few seconds, she smiled that angelic smile and tossed the coin in, peering in until it hit the bottom. Then she looked up, right at me. As if she’d known I was there the whole time. “Are you going to make a wish, Einan?”
I shook my head. Even if I had a nickel to toss in, I would not waste it on a false hope. I would have bought something more material.
She tilted her head, and shook it sadly. “Why do you think there’s no one out there watching over us, Einan?”
The question startled me, and I looked down. “Because… Nobody was watching over me when my parents died…” I looked away.
If I had looked into her eyes I know I would have seen an exact mirror of my own. So far, Mua’s eyes had always reflected the things I’d been feeling; always empathetic. Her ability to feel just what another was feeling and those clear gray eyes perfectly mirrored everything I felt.
“Are you sure you just weren’t looking hard enough?” She asked, leaning on the well’s rim.
I leaned on it next to her and looked down, seeing clearly to the bottom, where more would just see black. “I can see better than anyone I know. I didn’t see anyone looking over me…”
Mua sighed sadly, and rested her chin in her palm. “I’m sure there was someone there. You just… couldn’t see them.”
I didn’t say anything else, and after a while, Mus sighed again and stood up. “Well, I think I’ll be heading back now. Would you join me?”
I nodded slowly, and we went back to Clearview, where the Sisters prepared us for supper and lead us through the evening prayers. I only mouthed them, even with Mua sitting next to me.
We separated into the boys’ side and the girls’ side, and I stood there, surprised that the warmth and the light stayed with me for a few minutes before I was cast back into darkness.
CHaPTeR . five
I saw Mua every day for the next year or so. I spent less and less time by myself. Less time in my tree, and more with the children around me.
At first, it was just Mua who accompanied me. She sat with me and she talked to me, and the other children were awed to hear me talk back to her. After a month, there were other children that would talk to me and invite me to play games. I refused them most of the time, but if Mua was with me, I felt the need to accept, so that she would be happy for me.
She told me about her family, how her mother had died giving birth, and her father had been a drunk. She’d been beaten, and she showed me a scar on her hip from when her father had thrown a lamp at her. I wanted to find her father and scream, hit, kick; do anything to make him regret hurting the Angel that thought I was worth something. She must have known how I felt, for she smiled her usual cheerful smile and told me, “I don’t hate him. He was upset when Mother died, it wasn’t his fault.” But her words didn’t ease the pain in my heart.
One day about three months after meeting her, I told her about my family as well. About the day five years ago, when my parents were still asleep early one morning. I’d known it was a bad idea. I had seen the matches sitting near the fireplace, and heard all the warnings my parents had told me. But I’d picked up the box, and struck a match. The fire had been so appealing to me, that I’d lost track of time and it had burned down to my finger tip. And so I’d dropped it, and the rug had caught fire. It spread abnormally fast, and I ran.
It wasn’t until I made it outside that I thought about my parents. I’d screamed for them and stared up at the house, by then blazing. The Nanny held me back from running back into the house. She scolded me, and I could see in her eyes that she blamed me. The next day, I’d been driven to the Clearview Orphanage, and had been there since.
When I finished telling Mua my story, I looked up at her and realized she was crying.
“M-Mua…!” I frantically tried to think of something, anything to make those tears go away.
“I’m so sorry, Einan!” She hugged me around the neck. “It must have been so hard! You must have felt so guilty…!”
I froze, because she’d hit the nail on the head. I did feel guilty. Just like my Nanny, I blamed myself for the death of my parents, the death of my life.
I cried for the first time in years that day, hugging Mua by the old well.
CHaPTeR . six
After that day, Mua and I were inseparable. Even I noticed radical changes in my personality. By that time, Mua’s warming and lighting effect stayed with me for hours after she left my side. But it was rare that she did leave my side. After lessons, the first thing either of us did was to find the other. Only at meals and lessons were we separated in the waking hours. And even though we were in opposite wings of the building as we slept, she was always with me, in my dreams.
She truly was an angel, to be able to turn the dark and despondent me, who never spoke to anyone unneeded and kept to himself, to a boy who laughed and smiled just like the others. I make no mistake when I say that it was solely Mua who made it possible.
That next summer, a year after I met her, I told her how I felt.
We were leaning over the edge of the well again, talking about what our favorite animals were. She said, “birds, because they can fly. They’re free to go wherever the skies will take them.”
I had staid silent for some time, and then looked over at her. Her smile had not changed from her twelfth year to her thirteenth, and she was smiling then.
“Mua… thank you for everything,” I said, looking down again, peering into the depths of the wishing well.
She tilted her head and looked at me. “What for, Einan?”
“Um… for helping me see the beauty in the world… and for always smiling…”
She giggled, and hugged my arm, and I could see in her eyes that she knew just how I felt.
I said it anyways. “Mua… I l-love you…” Those were the hardest four words I’ve ever said for some reason.
I could feel her smile as she hugged me and nodded. “I’m happy, Einan.”
At supper that day, I must have been glowing, because Honi and the other boys I sat with asked me if something good had happened that day.
“You look like you’ve won a million dollars, Einan!” Honi’s dark little face had grinned.
I nodded slowly, smiling dumbly. “Have… have any of you ever noticed how Mua glows when she smiles?”
The others tilted their heads in confusion, and shook them. “No?”
Then I must have been the only one who saw it. I was happy in a way; if any other boys saw her glowing like that, they would love her too.
CHaPTeR . seven
Half a year after I confessed my love tor Mua, we stood at the well yet again. The crisp winter air bit at our cheeks, and yet we stayed there. It had become routine; We met up again after classes, and Mua took a nickel to the well, to make her wish.
She still wouldn’t tell me what she wished for. “But it’s always the same one,” she’d whispered one time after the plop was heard at the bottom.
I still hadn’t made a wish, because there was a tiny part of me that still believe it was pointless. I sang the songs and said the prayers now, not merely mouthing them as I’d done before, but there was a part of me that still, no matter how happy I was now, would not let me believe that there was someone watching over me.
As we stood at the well, and the cold air condensed the water in our breath, in clouds in front of our faces, Mua was still smiling. Her smile never failed. When any other living thing would have cried, she still smiled. She only ever cried when I couldn’t cry for myself. Only when I felt like crying, and would have cried, did she cry. And then I would join her, and we would cry together until it was all out and we could smile bashfully and wipe the tears away.
I took her hand in mine and looked over at her, smiling. She looked over at me with that never failing smile, the smile of an angel.
Neither of us felt the cold in that moment.
CHaPTeR . eight
The next day, I stood waiting for Mua outside the girls’ classroom. When all the girls filed out, and still there was no Mua, I knocked on the door. “Sister Anne, where’s Mua today?”
All the Sisters knew of the love Mua and I shared. And they approved of it, begrudgingly, because we never did more than hold hands. As long as we stayed within the bounds of what the Church allowed, the Sisters allowed us to be together.
“She stayed in bed sick today, Einan. I believe they’ve moved her to the infirmary, so you may visit her if you wish.”
I was in the infirmary in minutes, and spotted her glowing in one of the beds. She was still smiling as I stepped up next to her bed, and sat down in the chair that sat there.
“Mua, are you feeling well…?” I asked, taking her hand.
She nodded and continued smiling. “Yes, it’s just a little fever. Sister Mary said I’ll be out in two days tops.”
Her smile was too infectious, and I couldn’t help the upward curl of my lips. If Mua said it, it had to be true. She was okay.
But I didn’t know what to do with myself aside from sitting at her side and reading with her, telling stories and talking.
Around mid-afternoon, she frowned though. It was very rare for her to frown.
“I need to make my wish…” She mumbled, and sat up. “The Sisters won’t mind if I just go out for a little bit, right?”
I held out my arm to help steady her and frowned myself. “Are you sure…? It’s just one day, isn’t it?” I tried to convince her, but she just smiled and shook her head. In the face of that smile I was completely powerless.
“A… Alright, let’s go. Quickly though…”
We got our coats and boots on, and made our way to the well.
When we stood there, Mua stood with her eyes closed, rubbing the nickel in her gloved hands, then smiling and tossing it in.
The sound of the plop as the coin hit the water coincided with the thump as Mua slumped to the ground.
CHaPTeR . nine
I carried her back to her bed in the infirmary, and called for help.
“Some one come help! Mua fainted!”
When someone did come, they took Mua from my arms and made me leave the room.
“There is nothing for you to do right now, Einan. She needs rest more than anything right now.” The Sister closed the door on me, and I hung my head.
I made my way to the dining hall for supper with conflicting feelings. No matter how much I told myself I needed to be upset, to worry about Mua, I still felt Mua’s warmth and her light. It wouldn’t allow me to worry. But I thought of her every moment, and dreamed of nothing but her that night.
During classes the next day I couldn’t concentrate on my studies, only thinking about if Mua was okay. The first thing I did when class was out was to go to the well, nickel in hand.
I would make my first wish for Mua. I held the nickel to my heart, and thought over and over my wish. Let Mua be fine. Let Mua be fine. Let… I think I really could feel something sitting in the tree above me, watching me with an infectious smile.
I tossed the coin in, and gazed over the edge until I heard that plop.
I stood for a few seconds, not knowing what to do next. I fidgeted, and then rushed to the infirmary. One of the Sisters met me at the door.
“How is she?” I asked.
The Sister looked down and said, “She’s fine… for now.”
I stared at her in dismay. “What…?”
She didn’t answer, but opened the door wider. “She said you would be here about now. Go speak with her.”
The Sister left as I entered. It was just Mua and me in that large hall for the sick.
It wasn’t until I got to her side that I could see how sick she was. Her complexion was pallid, there were bags under her eyes, and she looked somehow so frail. And yet still, she was the image of perfection, complete beauty. I took her hand and held it tight.
Her smile was just the same. Sickness could not change her smile, and it brought with it all the warmth, light, the security it always did.
“Einan, I love you. I've always loved you.” She said. It sounded like the prelude to final words.
I smiled weakly, and hugged her. “I love you too.”
It was some time before Mua spoke again. “Einan… do you know what my wish all this time was?”
I shook my head. And I didn’t want to know. It felt like, if she told me, she was telling me she knew she was going away.
“My wish was, ‘Let Einan make a wish from the bottom of his heart.’ It came true, didn’t it?”
I nodded. I was crying. Men shouldn’t cry, but I cried. Saying that the way she did, I could see in her gray eyes that she was dying, and she knew it. She was ready for it even. She would meet the Grim Reaper with the same cheerful smile she met everything else with.
She reached up and took my cheek in her hand. “Einan, don’t be sad. I’m always watching over you. I always was, and always will.”
And I knew it was true. All along, she’d been my guardian angel. She’d been with me in my dreams, making sure they stayed happy and warm, and she’d been with me when I made that wish.
But it really wouldn’t come true this time, would it?
I laid my hand over hers, and kissed her gently on the lips. She smiled, and said again, “Don’t be sad for me, Einan.”
She died within the hour. Pneumonia had torn her from me.
But everywhere I looked, I saw her sitting and smiling, always watching me. Every day, I made a wish at the wishing well, and every moment, Mua’s warmth was with me. My dreams were warm, and her smile occupied my mind.
I was never adopted, but life wasn’t so bad. I left the orphanage at eighteen and went to college, and became an astronomer. I never married, never had a family. I couldn’t, after Mua.
And just as she promised, she was always watching over me. She had been right all along.
FOOLISH LITTLE KIDS >]
mwahah idk why.
But wen i read that i thought ; "WITCHHHHH!"
Im sure your chara ISNT a witch tho =w=
Lol good so far <3
i likey teh details wiff teh chirpin' of teh crickets & such
lol thanks XD
Who said the main character was a girl? XD
SO WHAT, HE BURNED HIS PARENTS HOUSE DOWN OR SOMETHING??
That's not really a laughing matter Koko-chan T___T
i didnt mean to D:
i was just askin.
then i was like, "Orphanage. So he burned the house down and now hes here" =w=
and i figured that out like, after i posted o-o
-does like angelo and hides- o_o
Please visit my story afterwards.
There will come a time, when I must teach Catholic doctrine. O:)
lol no need to hide XD
I just thought you were joking or something?
I don'tevenknow XD
This story really SADDENS ME TwT BUT in a good way!
Im glad Mua can make Einan feel all those things and stuff T_T
These kind of stories just make me all sad, BUT hopeful or something T_T
Yeah I know what you mean!!
Like with Ef T____T
That story was like sooooo beautiful but I was crying half the time =w=
Adding more now :3
<3 this story already owo
Maybe i should start watching it, if its anything how this storie makes me feel~ then ill love it owo
wats it stand for again? XD
Ef IS the title :3
The full title is Ef A Tale of Memories, and then the sequel Ef A Tale of Melodies.
They both have a VERY MUCH THE SAME feel as this story
ESPECIALLY the second one, Memories TwT
I read teh chaps you added <3
WAH BEAUTIFULLNESSSS <3
& mmkay ima try and watch it one day =w=
MuaXEinan forever <333 >W<
>w< YEAH YEAH I KNOW <3333
Almost done with this!! AAHH!!
It's getting to the OMFG part now D: I'll add the next chapter, still working on the stuffs after that though =w=
Typing speedy-like >:3
Why do i get teh feeling something ish gonna happen to Mua...? T.T
Like, maybe her drunken dad coming back to take her or something...