By: Mia L. Hazlett
“Daddy, Daddy!” I screamed. “Where are you? Daddy I’m scared. Where are you?”
I tried to move, but my body radiated with pain. I tried to push myself up from the cold wet ground, but I fell back down. I was able to turn my head enough to see the light above me. I must have fallen at least fifteen or twenty feet. I think I was in the old well in our backyard that my father always told me to stay away from. I’m not sure what possessed me to remove the cover, but now I wish I had listened to my father.
“Baby? Are you okay? Baby are you down there?” The light went away, and was replaced by my father’s concerned face. “I’m gonna get you out of there honey. I just need for you to be still. Don’t move.”
“Don’t leave me Daddy. Don’t leave.” Panic swept over me. I couldn’t face the thought of being left alone here. “I can’t move my legs Daddy. I can’t move.”
“Stay still honey. Don’t move. Just be still. I need to get you help baby. I need to go to the house and get help.”
“Daddy please don’t leave. Don’t leave me alone. Please don’t leave me alone.” I began to weep. Unfortunately, crying only made my pain worse.
“Sweetheart. I need for you to listen to me right now. I would never leave you alone. You are not going to be able to see me for about five minutes while I go get my phone. But know that I am getting you help. I need you to be strong for me right now. Okay? Be strong for Daddy. I’m going to get you out of there.”
“That’s my girl.” And in that instant his face disappeared and the light returned. How many times in my eleven years had he warned me about this well? And now I’m laying at the bottom of it, bruised and broken.
As I waited for my father, I slowly focused on my surroundings. I figured the cold was from the wet cement I was laying on. I could continue to shiver, which caused a piercing pain in the left side of my chest. Or I could try and sit up. There was no way this was going to be painless, but at least I wouldn’t be laying on wet cement anymore. I knew if I was going to be able to sit up, I would have to get off my back, face the ground, and push myself up with my arms. I just didn’t want to turn my back to the light. I finally garnished up enough courage and turned to my side. I screamed as my leg pulsated with an excruciating pain.
Instantly the light was gone. “Didn’t I tell you to stay still?” I heard my father’s voice boom. “I told you not to move. Why do you always have to do things your way? Your leg is broken.”
“How do you know?” I asked.
“Because I can see all of you from here. From up here, I can see that your leg is broken. So stop moving, help is on the way.”
“I’m sorry. I should have listened to you. You told me to stay away from the well and I didn’t listen. I’ll never disobey you again. Can you ever forgive me?”
“You don’t have to be sorry baby. This is exactly the reason I didn’t want you to move the board. I knew how long the fall was and that you would get hurt. And don’t worry honey, you will disobey me again, but as long as you ask, I will always forgive you.”
“Daddy, it hurts so bad. Please help me.”
“Can you sit up?”
“It’s gonna hurt, though.”
“Just for a little bit baby. Shift your arm underneath your side and push up.” I listened to my father and raised my torso. My arm wobbled and my back hit the wall. I cried out in pain, but I was now leaning against the wall. My father had tied a rope around his waist and begun to crawl down the side of the well, tip-toeing on the small metal rungs jutting from the wall.
I must have passed out from the pain, but as I opened my eyes, my father said, “Reach up baby, reach up.” My father’s hand was a foot away. With the pain searing through me and the light blinding me, I grabbed my father’s hand. And with a strength and might I never knew my father had, he pulled me to my feet, put me on his back, and carried me out of the well.