Jill crouched, stunned, her hands in the cool, dry dust of the bottom of the well, her head against the rough side, her breath coming in ragged sobs. Ignoring the pain in her ankles, she forced herself to stand and reached high over her head. A small, pale circle of light shone down from above, eclipsed by the dark, round shapes of heads. They were black and faceless against the bright sky behind them, moving in and out, crowding each other to see.
“LET ME OUT!” Jill shrieked. The scream ripped from her throat, leaving it stinging, burning.
The heads grew more still, only a few watching now.
“Please?” Jill croaked, groping with her fingers against the rock wall.
Overhead, something blocked the light, and at first Jill hoped they were sending something down to lift her out, like a bucket or rope. Then her shawl, covered in dirt, fell lightly onto her upstretched hands.
The dark shapes above faded away, leaving only a round light like a pale blue moon gleaming down on Jill’s tiny prison.
Jill threw down her shawl and struggled to find hand-holds in the wall, to climb back to the light, but the smooth stone wouldn’t bear her. Her shoulder and arm began to sting. Her head ached, and when she fingered the sore spot she found blood trickling down the side of her face.
Slowly around the side of the well she moved, feeling in the darkness, until in one spot she tried to put her toes against the wall and her foot met nothing.
Jill bent down, feeling with her hands and seeing with her eyes a low, black opening at the very bottom of the wall. If she pressed herself against the opposite wall, it was just large enough for her to squeeze in head-first and crawl on her elbows.