Notes From My Knapsack 3-5-15
A Body in the Well (pt. 3)
Hezekiah Mirk looked down into the stone-lined shaft. The rising sun was nowhere high enough to angle much light down into the depths, but there was enough illumination to reveal two boot soles facing up towards the ring of faces around the well edge.
"It's a kindness that you'd come out here, Mister Mirk" said a particularly worried looking man in a military style cloak, much stained around the hem.
"Benjamin Avery, if you think me a source of wisdom about men in wells, you would be mistaken."
Avery coughed and smiled crookedly. "Well, now, not so much the man being in a well as being, as it seems…"
"You hope for my knowledge of death and dead men, do you?"
"Ah, to the point as always, Mister Mirk," said Job Case in a heavy coat over two waistcoats, oddly contrasting where their cut did not overlap. He was not what one would call a frivolous man, but the tan and dark red corners peeking out under a grey blanket over his blue tailed coat gave him a variegated look contrasting with the somber colors of the other half-dozen men facing one another.
"You were a surgeon's mate at Lundy's Lane last summer," Case went on, "and your knowledge of the evil that men do is greater than our own."
Left unsaid was the general discomfort the men of Granville still felt over their misadventures under General Hull, his unexpected and unaccountable surrender to the British before Detroit, and the humiliating parole most of them experienced in exchange and return back home, having seen no battle at all, unless you counted Col. Cass' attack on a fence post with his sword, in a fury over Hull's capitulation.
Mirk himself was uncomfortable at their regard, and was perhaps a bit short in his response. "Evil is a subject we all know more about than any of us care to admit. So who is this poor unfortunate man?"
He sized up their baffled looks at each other as both their ignorance, and their hopes that he would help provide what they lacked, at least in part. "Has anyone gone down there to try and budge him?"
The silence and careful consideration of one another's toes gave him as clear an answer as was needed. Without another word, he reached down to the well's rope, gave it a tug to see how firmly it was tied to the nearby wrought iron ring in the capstone.
"Can we be of any…" started Case, and Avery jumped forward hesitantly as Mirk took two steps backwards with his gloved hands on the rope, and began to walk down the inner wall of the well.
After a pause, the five men standing nearby began to step cautiously to the curb of the well, and gingerly leaned over almost in an unwilling unison. The scuffed boot soles were no longer visible, blocked by the downturned head of Hezekiah Mirk and his broad shoulders, almost the width of the shaft, descending into dimmer and dimmer shadows some sixty feet within the earth.
"Hello, what is this?" echoed Mirk's voice back up the well. The men looked at each other, unsure how that comment was addressed, but his next statement was clearly to them all.
"Someone find and tie off a second rope, and drop it down to me. We'll have him out as soon as you can. No less dead than he is right now, though."
Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor in Licking County; tell him what you'd like to learn about Granville history at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @Knapsack on Twitter.