The Wishing Well

Categories Words

Smoke stung his eyes as William glared at the well standing impotent in the middle of the scorched field. He likely gave these fields more of his own sweat and tears than that damned well ever gave him water; he raised barely enough in that bucket to keep his crops alive, never mind save them from wildfire.

But Emma, she loved the well. She spent hours sitting at its edge singing, reading, sewing his shirts, playing with their baby son and dribbling cool water from the dipper onto his head while he squealed with delight…

Through the smoke, he recognized the blue of her bonnet on the ground just behind the stones of the well, saw the flowered sleeve of her ash and soot streaked blouse unbuttoned at the wrist where her hand rested gently open, as if waiting to take his hand.

“No, God, no!” William cried as he hurtled himself across the blackened earth toward her, stopped only by the sound of his tiny son’s cry coming from the bucket inside the well.


Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. 

The cue for April 27t AND June 22dn is WELL.

Click on the link right here to read more Six Sentence Stories from April 27th’s link-up.

Or click this link to join us for the June 22nd link-up and read another round of tales based on the word WELL.




Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

45 thoughts on “The Wishing Well

  1. Just like a mom to sacrifice herself to save her child. I hope William can revive Emma. The photo is a perfect visual for the story.

    1. I love the photo. It actually helped write the story. I pulled this one and a photo of a well surrounded by ice and snow. Just had to decide which one I thought was more interesting.

    1. Isn’t it a great image? You know there’s a story there. I also knew I wanted something other than the usual positive imagery associated with a wishing well and this fit the bill perfectly. Call me dark, I guess. 😉

      1. I think you did a bang-up job–you’re right that wishing wells are usually part of “happy” stories, but there have been some good “dark” stories made into films where the wishing wells were minor, but definitely dark images. Great job! 🙂

        1. I read Cold Mountain recently and one of the characters talked about looking down a wishing well backwards with a mirror to see your future. I was intrigued by the darker side of the wishing.

  2. Wow, Lisa, this one took my breath away! We could easily feel William’s frustration, and then agony. I loved Emma’s mothering instinct that led her to do the perfect thing to save the life of her son. This is one of your most impressive writings to date!

    1. Thank you, Josie, really. This is great feedback for me – good to know what feelings readers get, whether it’s what I’m going for, etc.
      Emma’s a pretty smart girl. 😉

  3. Engaging imagery, and (then) such an acceleration of the Reader’s involvement in the last sentences. All that would have made a good story, the blank canvas on the end makes it an excellent story.
    outstanding Six, yo

  4. Writing from a country well versed with wildfires (we call them bushfires in Australia) this is something we are quite used to here even close to the cities, although not the babies being safe in wells! What a great picture you had to go with the story.

    1. I can’t imagine living with that threat as a regular part of life. Not really a big concern here in the Eastern U.S. Not sure if the baby in the well would work in real life, but I figure a mom in that desperate situation might just try anything. The picture was a truly fortuitous find!

    1. Hey, Josie! Thanks for that. It’s been quiet here on the blog – was starting to think I’d gone dark or something. Summertime…quiet in blog land.

  5. Hey! I read that three times! Which is, btw, a compliment of the highest order. At first I thought I had the picture (the shade of Evelyn Wood passed over my desk for a barely noticeable second) then I thought, “forget about the kid! what happened to the mother?!”
    Same tragic outcome, alas. V good Six, yo

    1. LOL Funny…Josie had a similar comment. Thank you kindly. I kind of liked this one and, well, I’m a bit buried this week, so I opted to run an oldie.

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