This week we're continuing with the theme of the season of reflection

The Judge

This week's judge is the lovely and talented Stacy Bennett-Ho​yt.  Find out more about her on her site:
I’m a single mother of two wannabe-teens and two delightful rescued pets.  My current WIP is a fantasy romance, The Black Keep, which is nearing completion of its final revision.   (Querying hell may commence at any time.)  I love nature hikes and actually do my best thinking/plotting/crafting in the woods.  By day, I’m a medical transcriber, typing endless line after line of the worst English known to man, often by non-English speakers.  My favorite food is chocolate, which also happens to be my illicit drug of choice. At Starbuck’s, I always have a tall café mocha with whip which I like primarily because it doesn’t sound like some obscure secret society code.  I do reiki, cast spells on occasion and turn into a wolf only on the bluest of full moons.  Recently, I’ve become addicted to #flashfiction and, if you like to write scenes more than novels, you should definitely try it out.  Yes.  Here. Today.  Right now.

The Prompt

I should have been nicer to him
  1. The story must start from the prompt.  This means the prompt must be the first words in the story.
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the prompt).  No less than 100 words.
  3. Any genre (in fact an unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be invited to judge the following week and post the winner's badge similar to the one on the right.
  6. Have fun!

3/5/2012 01:51:13 am

"I should have been nicer."

"To him? Or to her?" Moixa gave the impression of only half-listening, and I looked like I wasn't paying any attention at all. Both of us, of course, were listening intently. We'd learned through long practice that people talked more freely when they were mostly doing it to think with their mouths open.

"To everyone, probably." Erzabet sighed and looked at her bracelets, probably envisioning plasti-strap cuffs that wouldn't have done as much to restrain her movements as her presence on board the station was doing already. "I was such a bitch, especially to Vlad." She gestured absently at the 'bot that was currently decommissioned on the workbench.

::Nobody gives a fuck about what the 'bot thinks.::

The fact that I'd thought that so often that I didn't even give a shit any more was an irony that was so old, it had rusted through.


3/5/2012 02:15:36 am

I should have been nicer to him but then how would he learn? I didn’t remember ever reading a ‘How To’ book that ever said coddle the bastard until he choked on his own misfortune; then again that sounded like a book I’d like to sink my teeth into.
I did tell him that one should never interrupt a cult gathering unless that person was certain that every single follower could be caught and hog tied. John was just lucky that he wasn’t a virgin anymore. I made sure he took care of that disadvantage months ago.
The leader waved her hand around John’s face then pressed her fingers into his flesh. Prying, kneading, and prodding to evaluate what she would do with him for interrupting their initial sacrifice.
“We have a virgin!” She called out triumphantly.
My mouth went slack and I clasped my hand down to prevent a squeal of shock. I thought we talked about this. It was a requirement for being hired as my partner in anthropological studies of the occult in modern society.
I had to think quickly. He needed to learn a lesson about just jumping into a ceremony that we were only supposed to observe but he didn’t need to die; just yet anyways. I mean, I just don’t have the time to train another partner.
“STOP! He is my lover!” I stood up from the bushes and thought twice about that statement. Bile began to progress up my throat at the idea that he truly was ever even naked around me. I just repeated in my mind, “I’m not gay… I love boobs… women, I like women.”
The leader paused at this statement and sighed, “I suppose that would throw the reading off. Tie them both up until I can think of another use for them.”
I paused then apologized with my eyes towards John. I was out of there like a frog in quickly heated pan.
I’ll just have to train another partner.
325 words

3/5/2012 03:00:55 am

Psycho Babble
By Lisa McCourt Hollar

I should have been nicer to him. That’s always been a problem for me. If I hate someone, I can’t just make nice and pretend otherwise. I’m not a hypocrite and this is something I’ve always been proud of. Until now. Now, my animosity towards Richard could be my undoing. I’m the only one that hated him enough, to want to see him dead. Since he was now lying on the floor of my kitchen, with a cleaver through his head, it made sense that I would be the obvious suspect.

Okay, yes, I killed him, but does that mean I should go to prison for the rest of my life? The man was an asshole and a bastard asshole at that. And I’m not the only one that hated him. I’m just the only one that told him I would see him rot in hell. See, I’m not that smart. I should have just thought it in my head. But then again, they would have read my thoughts and known. There’s no place for private thought anymore.

Even then, it might have only been talk, but the man showed up in my kitchen. I was cutting letters out of a magazine, when I heard the door open behind me. First thing I thought was it was a home invasion. I had a friend that was taken by Big Brother. They sent her to some reprogramming center and brainwashed her. That’s the only thing that explains how she turned on me, testifying for those social workers and helping them take my kids. Told them I was crazy, she did. That bitch. Well, I showed her, ummm, I mean, she disappeared. No one knows what happened to her.

So Richard comes sneaking in my back door, probably planning on raping me, or tying me up and selling me to his alien friends…did I mention, he’s not human? So I reached for the cleaver…it’s always where I can get to it, turned and swung. Bye bye Richard.

But now I have a problem. At first I expected the mother ship to come swooping down, or to be beamed up into space. But nothing happened. I haven’t even seen any signs of the G-men and I know our government is working with them, subduing us all into submission. It’s working too. It amazes me how little anyone questions things anymore. But they will be here, unless I divert attention to someone else.

I finish cutting out the letters and paste them onto the paper, being careful to use water and not my own saliva. Then I put it in the mail. It is addressed to Santa Clause. He works for the government you know. I’ve told him Richard can be found at my neighbors, Suzie Carmichael. She’s an alien too, disguised as a little girl. Little cunt has the whole neighborhood fooled, except for me. But everyone will know what she is, once they find Richard’s head in her toybox. Heh heh heh.

Word Count: 500

3/5/2012 03:42:54 am

Life Of Reilly
I should have been nicer to him, but like all youth I took the spoils of my beauty. After all, it was my due. Reilly was the boy next door that you take advantage of because he’s the boy next door. Reilly loved me I knew that, but most women didn’t find him cute. Reilly hid his good looks and generosity behind a wall of arrogance and autocratic behaviour. He always told me what to do, which irritated me to no end as he was often correct. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The night it happened I had lost a bet to Reilly. Dressed to the nines we were off to the restaurant and theatre. The car sputtered and died in the worst part of town.
“You and your brilliant ideas.” I complained “How am I going to walk in these heels?”
“I forgot to fill up the gas tank.” Reilly admitted
“Why don’t you go get some gas while I wait here?” I pleaded.
“Okay lock the doors.”
Reilly moved only 500 feet from the car when he was seized by two men who moved as fast as lightning. I screamed and shouted but I had no weapon and to top it off my cellphone was dead. I saw a telephone booth .It was probably one of the last in the city. I ran to out the driver’s door hoping they wouldn’t glimpse me. Picking up the receiver I was relieved to perceive a dial tone and dialled the police. They begged me to stay on the line but I gave them direction hung -up and scurried back to the car locking the door.
They found Reilly the next day dead. I went to the morgue to identify him .I crept into the room lifted up the blanket and felt his blue eyes focus on me.
What was wrong with me? His eyes would never focus again. I nodded at the attendant agreeing that this was Reilly and started to walk away. Behind me I heard a gasp then a body falling when I turned back Reilly was standing there beside the body licking his lips.
“Hello precious missed me?” he asked.
“What are you?” I asked stunned.
“Really Kalista, you know what I have become! Come join me, we can finally be together. Forever!”
It was then I spotted the wooden crate the slate broken. I seized the slate and ran at Reilly scoring a bulls-eye hitting his heart. He disintegrated to dust before my eyes. I wiped away tears. I really should have been nicer to him.
439 words with title

3/5/2012 06:46:39 am

I should have been nicer to him. Sure the smart money had been on her; but the smart money hadn’t factored in being bitten by a vampire. Not just bitten either, it was a lot worse than that. It was really surreal hanging chained to the wall in the tattered remains of my clothing. The last temperature I’d felt had been cold, but that was hours ago now. They finally burst into the dungeon together, I assume with the intention of rescuing me; only it was obvious neither of them was happy to see me.

Weird things go through your mind when a paladin with an ogre’s great-sword is staring you down and you’re helpless to do anything. My only thought, my repeated insistence, was that I didn’t want to die. Weird, right? I mean, even I was pretty sure my body was cold and my pulse ancient history. My new hunger was overpowering. And yet the only thing on my undead mind was how I didn’t want to die.

I should have been nicer to the bard. He probably could’ve figured out some way I could live, maybe even a way to change me back. Not much chance of that after I practically stole his girlfriend.

207 words

3/5/2012 07:27:23 am

Caleb the Spy

I should have been nicer to him, I didn't trust him. They weren't the first strangers in town, certainly not the first to visit Rahab. Her "talents in hospitality" were known beyond our borders. Moreover, the drunkards and thieves would frequently come to my inn by mistake.

The older of the two men, the one who called himself Caleb, asked for lodging. He had a certain surety about him. Warriors often swagger around putting up a facade of bravado but turn tail at the first sign of changing tides in battle. Not this one, he seemed serene, carrying himself like a philosopher. With his swarthy tan, his rough and calloused hands, he might have been a farmer. but those scars didn't come from an ox. I wasn't about to house an enemy warrior.

"Do you know somewhere else I could stay?" he asked.

"No decent citizen will give you a room," I said.

He raised his eyebrow but said nothing. He simply thanked me and went out where that whore Rahab was waiting. She mumbled some nonsense about gods and ushered the two men into her "inn".

I ran as fast as I could to the king. "Sire," I said, "the harlot who lives across from me is hiding spies."
"You keep calling her that name without evidence." Hamrun, the king's counselor snarled. "Aren't you just stirring up trouble out of jealousy for her inn's success?"
I'd seen him visit her "inn" on more than one occasion, but pointing that out wouldn't help my case. "Sire, you know that the warrior tribe has been seen only a few miles from here. I have no reason to lie to you."
"We cannot be too careful in these times, the king said and sent his guards to question Rahab.
But when they arrived she said "Yes, the men were here, but they left."
The men checked but found nothing. I ran in myself after they left but there was no one in the house and only a pile of drying flax sheaves on the roof.
"Satisfied?" she asked. How dare a woman of ill repute look upon me with such contempt?
Three days later, I saw her walking with a red cord.
What sordid use do you have in mind for that rope?"
Rahab glared at me and replied, "Wouldn't you like to know?" She shook her head as she walked away.
For six days, the warriors have circled our city, drumming and blowing horns. All of our people tremble in fear -- except for Rahab who sits quietly in her house humming an annoying tune. Even now, she hums when it feels as if the very walls are crumbling down.
I wonder whether I would be so calm if I had welcomed them in.

463 words dedicated to my son for his recent birthday.

3/5/2012 07:33:35 am

For the record, the bible doesn't name the spies, I'm using poetic license. ;)

3/5/2012 08:01:30 am

I should have been nicer to him. Kids can be cruel - very cruel, and I was usually on the receiving end of that cruelty. That day was different, however.

Bullying is serious but childhood is a crazy time of not only trying to stand out but also trying to fit in. Most of the time, the issues were as small as we were, but even trivial things can seem monumental when you don't even weight 60 pounds, yet.

I really don't know how it started. Part of it must have been the butt-kicking a couple of older kids had given me the day before. I wasn't ready for another round, especially since I - the victim - was always the one who got into trouble when I retaliated.

So, with nowhere to hide and no desire to become a human punching bag two days in a row, when the other kids started calling him names, I just followed right along.

"Yeah, Pee Bomb, maybe you should still wear diapers! You're not ready for big-boy pants."

It didn't really make me feel good, but it did, temporarily, relieve the fear and nervousness with which yesterday's beating had filled me.

Then, that night, he was gone. His note said that when even I, who was always getting shoved around, myself, had joined in teasing him, he knew that his life was worthless.

I should have been nicer to him.

235 Words

3/5/2012 08:30:48 am

For the record, "Pee Bomb" really was kid in my elementary school. The other kids had given him the nickname because he had a bladder or kidney problem and always smelled like urine. In addition, he was in the "special" class for "slow" students, so the other kids also called him "retard."

On the other hand, the bullies always called me "Einstein" and "Poindexter" since I often knew the answers to the questions they didn't understand.

I never did tease John (his real name, but I never knew his last name), but was one of the few kids (other than his "special" classmates) who would talk to him.

No, he did NOT commit suicide. I just wrote the story that way because of the alarming rate at which suicide has increased among victims of bullying in recent years. As I said in the story, kids can be very cruel. Anyone who thinks that all children are just little darlings has his head buried in the sand and does not understand the destructive power that children's words and actions can have upon the lives of other children.

@DaniShay has some good information about (and against) bullying on her site:

3/5/2012 09:07:19 am

“I should have been nicer to him.”

The whine echoing across the dank, cold space made Chris want to gag the forlorn woman. Her hands were still bound at the wrists and she’d long since given up on trying to break the zipties.

“Nicer to whom, MaryAnn?” Lindsay asked, while Chris thought, Oh, don’t ask her that. You don’t really want to know.

“To Greg,” MaryAnn wailed. “If I’d been nicer to him he’d be coming to get me right now and we could go home.”

Chris resisted the urge to kick the woman. As if whining is going to help us get out of this. As if Bam-Bam isn’t working his ass off with the Team to come for us. Chris stopped the litany of angry thoughts. They’d get her nowhere she wanted to be and they’d suck up precious energy she needed to stay focused.

Anger is only a distraction. You can wallow in fury later.

“They’re coming for us, MaryAnn,” Lindsay insisted, her voice calm. “They’d never let this one just go.”

“Maybe not your husbands, but Greg isn’t interested in me anymore.” She sniffled and Chris’s molars ground. “He never spends time with me or compliments me.”

No, he’s just out saving the world so you can spend money freely on frivolous shit.

“I’m sure he’s just as worried about you as the rest of the Squad is about us.” Lindsay’s voice was full of compassion.

“No, no, he doesn’t care. He doesn’t want me–”

“Stop.” Chris rounded on MaryAnn, her hands clenched into fists to keep from strangling the whiney woman. “You can feel sorry for yourself later when we aren’t stuck with you, but right now you need to focus on helping us find a way out of here.”

MaryAnn’s lower lip trembled, but her chin lifted and her eyes narrowed with anger. “I’m not a SEAL, Chris! And neither are you. We’ll never get out of here.”

As her fury choked her, Chris tried to think of MaryAnn as a really green recruit.

Fucking pathetic green recruit. “With that attitude, it’ll become the truth. I’d prefer it doesn’t. The Team is coming, but we can make an effort to get out of here on our own.”

“Like what, Chris?” MaryAnn fired back. “Do you have any idea how to get out of here? Do you?”

Chris hadn’t found anything…yet. Failure is not an option, SEAL. The only easy day was yesterday.

“No,” Chris said. “I’ve spent all my time coddling you. Maybe if you’d stop whining, I could come up with some sort of plan.”

433 #WIP500 words

3/5/2012 01:19:26 pm

A Requiem For Hope

I should have been nicer to him. When viewed with that crystal clarity of vision that can only be attributed to hindsight, this seems so to me now. There are decisions I should have made differently and words I should have said to him. But, in truth, I know things between us could never really have ended any other way.

There was so much of his mother in him. My memories of her are the memories of warm summer nights, of sweet red wine and of surrendering my all to someone who was not me. She was all of the things I was not, at a time that I needed someone other than myself to obsess upon. Then…as swiftly and suddenly as she had claimed my heart, my mind and my soul, she was just as unexpectedly gone from my life.

I could have sought her out…begged her to come back. Yet, I knew that what we were and what we both had the potential to become were not the same things. What we were together was, and would forever be, something just a little bit less than what we MIGHT have been alone. I understand that now. I think I understood it even then. Whether I did or not has been rendered moot by time.

He came to me claiming to be mine, the fruit of that long-ago liaison. In his eyes and in his voice and in the gold of his hair, I saw a truth that I would not argue. He came to me not desiring money or privilege or even my name. He came to me with word of her passing.

The light that had lit and warmed his world had been snuffed out too quickly, too suddenly and altogether too entirely for him to believe that he could ever be whole again without it. So, he had come to me. From that one stolen summer until her final day, she took no lover, took no husband, took no comfort or solace ever again in the embrace of another man. For that reason alone, he felt he must come and learn of me…of the man who had so fully and lastingly imprinted himself upon his mother’s very soul.

Sadly, I could not give him that which he sought. The fire in my eyes, in my heart and in MY soul had cooled to the ashes of solitude and complacency long years before. I gave him a meal and a place to sleep and in the morning, sent him away still seeking comfort and solace that I no longer had it within me to provide. I should have been nicer to him but that would first have required me to have been nicer to myself. That was an indulgence I no longer desired or needed. So yes, I should have been nicer to him. But perhaps the nicest thing I ever did was to teach him that, in life, sometimes a happy ending just simply isn’t possible.

500 words @klingorengi

Ryan Strohman
3/5/2012 09:51:23 pm

“I should have been nicer to him,” remarked Chris with regret as he stared down at his shoes.

“Yeah, that’s what we all say,” commented Don, who sat beside his son in the waiting room.

“You don’t understand, Dad. I was a bully. I picked on him mercilessly. I’m responsible.”

Don patted his son’s leg and offered, “I’m sure he will be fine.”

Chris said nothing in response, and Don stood up, stretched, and walked out into the hallway for some fresh air. The weather had taken a turn, with dark looming clouds beginning to disperse overhead, and he couldn’t help but hope it was a metaphor.

This would not be easy. Of all the trials and tribulations he’d been through, seeing his son like this was tough. He’d tried offering words of wisdom, but how does one go about addressing a situation like this?

Dr. Burton rounded a corner, spotted Don, and made a bee-line toward him. This was it. There would be no denying or escaping from this point on.

“Hi, Don. Is your son ready?”

“Yes, he is, but he still feels terrible about Rodney. I’ve tried talking to him, but it’s no use.”

“Yes, well, these sorts of things are to be expected.”

They entered the room, and Chris stood up as he saw Dr. Burton approaching. They shook hands, and the doctor led him out and down a long hallway to a waiting room.

“He’ll be OK, right Dr. Burton?”

“Yes, I think he’ll be just fine.”

A nurse came in and handed a gown to Chris, telling him to put it on in the bathroom. When he came out, they had him lie down on the bed, and a few moments later the anesthesiologist arrived and injected him with the pre-anesthesia cocktail.

As his son drifted off to sleep, Don asked, “You’re certain this will help him with the delusions? I’m just concerned he’ll come out of this and still think he’s responsible for this make-believe boy’s suicide attempt.”

“We’ll do our best, Don. We’ll do our best.”

344 words

3/5/2012 10:46:30 pm

“I should have been nicer to him.” Jane gave a grimace as she sat down, cold beer in her hand.

There was a snicker as the faun stretched out on her couched sipped at some rum that he had brought in a dusty bottle. Curly blonde hair hid most of the horns that arched back from his forehead but they were still there, a darker color than the hair. Cloven hooves waved back and forth over the end of the couch. “You did what you had to.”

“You’re not helping. And punching an air elemental in the face is like kicking puppies and kittens.”

“Ah, that’s because Rasch is a player. He’s a lot tougher than you realize. What you did to him is nothing. “

“I see. And you know this how?”

“He’s my best friend. That and I know he likes to hang out and spy on those he’s trying to play. Right, Rasch?”

The curtains by the open window flared and shifted until an opaque body came through and settled in a chair. The air elemental gave his friend a sour look. “I almost had her. And you ruined my fun.”

The faun pointed a finger at him. “One, Jane is a good person. Despite being pulled between both sides, she’s a good person. Two, you don’t do that while I’m here or ever. Those of us who don’t play in the courts see her as help that we need. Getting her to owe you a favor by acting like your feelings were hurt is not cool. Three, she has really good rum and food. Now apologize”

A corner of Rasch’s mouth curled up in a sneer. He gave her a look before looking back to his friend. “What if I don’t.”

“then you don’t get to ask her for the help that you were trying to trick her into.”

“I’m right here and you’ve already irritated me. Don’t make it that I turn down the request.” Jane scowled. The more she dealt with some of the older fae, the more a pain in the ass it is.”

“Fine, fine. I heard what you did for the earth people. And I wanted to inquire about your services to help mine.”

There was a sputter from the couch.

“You spill the rum, I’m making you pay for it.” Jane tilted her head. As the Judicator, she was supposed to watch over and make sure people followed rules or bring the law breakers in. She wasn’t sure what the air spirit could want.

“What is it you need me to do?”

“Speak with the Great Wind or kill him. He’s been haunting our skies for centuries and those of us in the area are few.” Rasch beamed at her, levitating off the seat. “Simple, right?”

“Yeah, so simple.” She was going to need more alcohol. Was it too late to go back on her word?

486 words

3/6/2012 01:00:34 am

Title: Family Testing

I should have been nicer to him. He really wasn’t doing anything wrong. He wanted to help, I wanted him to go away.

I was bound and determined to complete the challenge without his help, especially since he had already done the same challenge and finished it in record time. I would not let him best me.

It went beyond mere pride. My family was depending on me to finish the task to ensure our place in the Circle. Rajkar’s completion last year had already elevated his family to their place of honor. Mother was green at the gills that Visara was above her in the Circle. They were also incredibly competitive, ever since they were young girls in the Daroon. Which made anything that I or Rajkar do, also a means of competition.

It drove him and me nuts.

We just wanted to be, and our mothers made everything in our lives into something more, sometimes ruining what would have been a pleasant experience.

Namely, the Shriste challenge that every child of age must attempt. The challenge wasn’t necessarily hard, but scoring was based on execution. My mother had been testing me privately for years, even more so after Raj’s test last year. I began to loath a challenge that originally I had been looking forward to doing.

Now, he was here only to help, but I was so frustrated that I lashed out at him.

I put down my syllus and looked up at Raj, where he sat across the room. He looked sad as he picked at a spot on the chair.

“Raj-” I began.

“No, Terica,” he interrupted. “I understand, believe me. My mother is just as bad as yours. Just keep working and pay me no mind.”

I sighed and smiled at him softly. His smile back reassured me that everything would be okay, at least eventually. I still had to score well on the Shirste, otherwise I’d never hear the end of it from Mother.

331 Words

3/6/2012 04:47:08 am

This story has not left my mind since I wrote this, which normally doesn't happen with my flashes unless they are a part of my WIP.

I may have to tuck this aside at another time and develop this.

3/6/2012 05:06:41 am

Excellent, then this contest has served it's purpose!

3/6/2012 06:08:18 am

I would love to read more of this complicated tale.

Leave a Reply.