hotairThe Well

by Rebecca Harrison

Susan found the sky in the well. She heaved the bucket up and stared at the blueness and cloud wisps inside. It smelled of wing beats. She reached into the bucket, gripped a corner tinted with sunset and began to pull. It felt as cool as gull cries. She pulled the sky out of the bucket until it covered the field. Then she crouched by its edge and peered inside—the sunset bloomed and then dimmed into blackness and strange stars. She walked home.

The next day, she came back. She sat on the edge of the sunrise, dangled her legs inside it, and watched it turn blue. A magpie from the field hopped close and then dropped down into the sky. She lay on her belly to watch the magpie soar into the distance until he vanished from sight. Hours passed. The magpie flew out of the sky-hole: in its beak was a twig with leaves in odd shapes. Susan pressed her ear to the sky and listened for seas and lands below.

Every day, she visited the sky. She counted the hours of its days and nights. She guessed how far it stretched. She searched magpie nests for pieces of the world below and found stones in colours she hadn’t known. In the evenings, slowly, she made a hot air balloon. When it was finished, she lowered it through the sky hole and flew away.


Rebecca Harrison sneezes like Donald Duck and can be summoned by a cake signal in the sky. Her best friend is a dog who can count.
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