Writing Prompt: That Didn’t Work

Writing Prompts on Tumblr:  You just broke the first rule of being a mind reader, never read a mind readers mind while he’s reading yours.



“Elias … Helsing.”

The nurse stilled.

“….have a seat, the doctor will be out shortly.”

Her tone, now carefully void of any intonation, let him know she was older than she looked. It was usually only the older generations that took the stories so seriously.

A few moments after he was seated, the doctor – a man he knew intimately, but had never met, stepped into his field of view.

“Mr. Helsing” He said with a slight bow.

Falling back easily into the customs he’d be taught all of his life, Elias stood and gave the doctor his hand.

“Hello farbror.”

The doctor took Elias’ hand and seemed to hesitate a moment before bringing it up and kissing the rings on his hand.

“I was about to say there’s no need to call me uncle anymore, but I guess old habits die hard eh?”

Dr. Soderstrom’s family had been in charge of serving the Helsings until only a few generations ago, prominent members of the main branch still served Elias’s family, but the formalities were not so readily dismissed. None of the Soderstroms felt comfortable distancing themselves from the most powerful family in existence. And the Helsings had not been happy to let their most loyal allies go. It had been a purely political move, something to appease the public and assure them that the two most powerful families were not in a position to enslave them … again.

Elias smiled, happy that at least this Soderstrom was not afraid of him.

“Now then, why don’t we head into my office.”

As they walked, he noticed that the doctor – perhaps without realizing – slipped into a subservient role, escorting him protectively, ignoring all of the other hospital staff.

Elias also noticed how the nurses averted their eyes if he turned to face their stares. The nurse at the front desk must have quite a mouth, Elias thought to himself. 

Dr. Soderstrom offered Elias his personal chair, and Elias took it, to avoid the awkwardness they’d feel at ignoring the training they’d received their entire lives.

“How are the uncles at the main house? I can’t see any of them refusing you medical attention.”

Uncle, or farbror, was a term used by the younger members of the Helsing family to address any Soderstrom respectfully. It was meant to show gratitude for their many generations of subjugation. 

Elias shifted uncomfortably, “I haven’t been to the house, I actually came here to avoid the uncles. You see, I, I did something I wasn’t – … I think I broke …”

Dr. Soderstrom stiffened. He had found it strange that the second son of the main Helsing family had come to his hospital instead of seeing their own private doctor, another Soderstrom. Avoiding his family doctor was one thing, but if Elias was at all hurt, in any way, Dr. Soderstrom would be in serious trouble with his own family.

“Elias I think this is something you need to bring to your house, I’m not from the main family and I shouldn’t be-”

“I broke the first law.”

Dr. Soderstrom stopped breathing.

“I- I didn’t realize I was doing it, and- I, I was angry. I just wanted …”

“You broke the first rule? Are you sure? Are you absolutely certain?”

“Yea I- I, I’m sure I-”

“I can’t have you here. We have to get you back to your father.” Dr. Soderstrom pulled out his cell phone.


Dr. Soderstrom froze at the absolute authority the simple command had conveyed. Turning slowly to face Elias, he noted that the nervous young Helsing who had stuttered through his confession was no longer present, in his place now sat the second son of the main branch of the most powerful family in the world.

“Lars Soderstrom” Elias called him to his side.

As if driven by all of the generations before him, Dr. Soderstrom turned to face Elias, bowed and spoke, “Bemästra.”

Dr. Soderstrom instinctively kept his gaze lowered and waited for Elias to speak, trying to remember all of his training as a child. 

‘Never betray a Helsing. They are not to be crossed, under any circumstance’ 

‘But grandfather they are our beloved masters, they cannot hurt us.’

‘Just because they cannot hurt us does not mean they cannot hurt everyone else.’ 

‘I don’t understand … am I supposed to be afraid of them or not.’ 

‘We are not afraid for ourselves Lars, we are afraid for everyone else. We are the only thing keeping them in check.’

“I found a book in my father’s house once, about the three laws. I’d always been told that if I broke them I’d die immediately, but this book said something else …” 


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