We left our hospedaje and rode down to level land. We were on a beautiful, newer bypass road for a while, with no traffic. We left one set of mountains behind and enjoyed views of the wide open spaces for a time.
The bypass road is just one example of the road construction we have encountered. Colombia is undergoing a major infrastructure update. Again today, we could see major tunnels and elevated roadways being built in the mountains as we descended a steep grade into a river valley.
Late in the day, during our daily hunt for camping spots we found an abandoned house complete with a very deep, dark well in the kitchen. This, like other places such as an abandoned cattle yard and a dilapidated tourist hotel that the jungle was in the process of reclaiming, would make the perfect setting for a horror movie, especially because we decided to put our tent adjacent to the pit. I promptly named it the witch’s well in keeping with horror movie formulae. I’m sure the backstory consisted of a perfect suburban family who somehow met their demise at the bottom of the well because of an ancient witch’s curse on the land where they built their dream house.
Sarah and I set about doing all the stuff in the movies that wake the evil that you really shouldn’t poke with a stick¹. First we threw a rock down the well to listen for the splash to judge the depth. After counting off several seconds, the rock hit water. The well was deep and made continuous dripping sounds. We leaned over the well and peered in with a flashlight and could not see the bottom. As we did this a bat flew up out of the darkness and close enough to Sarah’s head that its leathery flapping wings, mussed her hair. It was a creepy well, inhabited by bats. It was a well imbued with evil.
Like all protagonists in horror movies we set about blissfully unaware, performing our well oiled nighttime routine of cooking, putting the necessities in the tent, checking the bikes for loose bits, etc.
Normally a days worth of riding makes it easy to fall asleep. It was hot and humid making it slightly uncomfortable but not unbearable. Strangely, neither one of us could get to sleep. The well continued to drip. The witch’s curse.
Next it started to rain, and the roof had a hole above our tent. We had to put on the fly, requiring us to pass near the well in the dark. The fly only made the tent hotter and more uncomfortable. It also blocked our view of the room (and the well) from the tent, isolating us. The well continued to drip. The witch’s curse.
My sleeping matt was slowly deflating and I was soon resting on the kitchen’s tile floor. It had developed a hole that was not there the last time I used it. I had to repeatedly inflate the pad. The rain continued to fall, now heavier on our tent, making it loud inside in addition to hot and humid. The well continued to drip. The witch’s curse.
The tile floor of the kitchen, unlike the permeable ground where we usually stake our tent, left nowhere for the rain to drain and it began to wick under our tent and pool near the center of the room and around the well. Our tent has small holes in the bottom after more than a year’s continuous use and the water was drawn into the bottom of our tent. It was past midnight. Neither one of us had managed to fall asleep over the past four hours. The well continued to drip. The witch’s curse.
I was restless, hot and uncomfortable. I listened to the rain pounding the tent fly which drowned out every other noise except somehow, the dripping in the well. It occurred to me that the runoff from the tile floor was slowly filling the well, allowing the evil that lived in the murky bottom to float to the top².
¹Like in the movies The Decent – not the theatrical release, but the unrated DVD version and Ringu – the original Japanese movie, not the blander American version The Ring
²Turn around very slowing, something is behind you.