It was a silly thing to do and Emma knew it, but two days after she found the book in the gutter she drove back out to the well and sat by it for a long time, as though if she waited long enough it would tell her its secrets.
She'd say it reminded her of her childhood, when fantasy and reality still sometimes overlapped, but that part of her life was so small that instead she only thought that the whole thing reminded her of Henry. A magical well was right up his alley.
It also made her think of August, which brought a crooked smile to her face. He was exactly the kind of man that tended to get her into trouble – a mysterious handsome stranger with a motorcycle might as well have been the apple in Eden. And he'd definitely been to Storybrooke before, and wasn't telling her about it. Better keep an eye on that one, she thought dryly, pulling her jacket closer around her as the wind picked up.
She'd never been the type to seek solace in nature; she was a city girl at heart, and sometimes Storybrooke seemed so small that she wanted to just drive until she was somewhere else.
And speaking of people that had tried to do just that, Kathryn was still missing. The gym teacher at the high school had found her wrecked car at the town limit. They'd been combing the woods for her for two days, but the land was fairly wild and out here, the next town was far away enough to be impossible. Emma had called over there anyway and found nothing.
If she was honest with herself, she didn't like the way people seemed to have a hard time getting past the edge of town. Frankly, it was kind of creepy, and once again Henry came to mind, insisting that no one ever came or left. Which was ridiculous – a whole town with a totally static population was nearly impossible, and besides, Henry had left to meet her in Boston, and both she and August had entered Storybrooke after that.
But it was, perhaps, a little too strange to be a complete coincidence, and a little too strange to think about without freaking herself out, so instead, she stood and dusted off her pants to head back to town.
Before she climbed back into her yellow bug, she stopped by the edge of the well and glanced down into the shadowed depths.
If she raised the bucket and took another drink, what would happen then? What lost thing would she find?
Her mind flashed on Kathryn as the obvious choice, and she had the winch in her hand before she thought of Mary-Margaret, who hadn't left her bed in two days, and of David, who'd started drinking in the afternoon before Kathryn even left and hadn't stopped since. If Emma drank from the well and actually found Kathryn, what then?
What made up her mind was a separate memory from just yesterday, when Regina had given a speech on the steps of town hall about the search for Kathryn, and how they needed to come together as a community and not lose hope.
It was a good speech, but when the mayor had turned to leave the podium she'd gone right by Emma, and Emma had seen then what she always saw in Regina's face – the smug, calculating coolness that no one else ever caught.
And Regina had known, and the corners of her red lips had curled in an almost imperceptible smile, meant for Emma alone.
Emma stared into the well for a long moment before slowly lowering the bucket back down into the darkness, and drove back into town with a slight frown and strange thoughts.