Emily had really only meant to teach Roger a lesson. That was it, honest. He was nothing but a bully, constantly picking on her at school and making her life miserable. Her father always said that people eventually got what they deserved and that karma, whatever that was, caught up with them. That was all she’d intended, just show him that every bully got their payback, but then things had gone just a little bit too far. Much too far to go back, that was for sure.

The old well sat on the far reaches of Emily’s family farm, in a stand of woods that they just left to grow wild. The well only kept a few inches of water these days, and it hadn’t been used since the public works had run the water lines all the way out here to the boonies. It was left forgotten and crumbling, and Emily had always been told to stay far away from it. It was dangerous, the wooden cover rotting and weak, and it was a long fall to the bottom.

That old well gave her the perfect idea for revenge.

At twelve years old, Emily was on the chubby side and hadn’t yet hit a growth spurt. She was short and round, with a mop of red curls and a pair of wire rimmed glasses that never quite stayed up on her nose. She and Roger had been in the same class since kindergarten, and ever since that very first day of school she had been one of his primary targets. He loved to pick on others, belittling them every chance he got. He often commented on her weight, her hair, her lack of stylish clothes, and the fact that her family were one of the poorest in town. It was his favorite hobby to make her feel small, and despite her complaints to her parents who in turn complained to the school, little was done about the issue.

She had endured it for as long as she could, taking the daily verbal beatings for years before she had enough. After her last talk with the principal had yielded no results, Emily had simply decided to take fate in her own hands. The hardest part was getting Roger to come out to the farm, that part had taken some real planning.. Her birthday presented the perfect opportunity though, and she had taken care to invite every kid in class out for a day of games, cake, and gifts. Unable to resist the chance to destroy her on her home turf, Roger had sent his RSVP along with the rest of the class.

It was absolutely perfect timing.

The day of the party dawned cloudless and sunny. Everyone arrived in the early afternoon, streamers and balloons hanging from the trees in the yard and a long table set up with plates of hot dogs and hamburgers and fixings. As soon as he arrived Roger began his tirade, complaining about absolutely everything. Emily didn’t say a word, she just let him carry on, her plan tucked securely in the back of her mind. They ate and drank punch, and then played tag in the yard before deciding to get in a game of hide-and-seek.

The day was getting late, the shadows growing long as Emily selected Roget to be it first. As soon as he closed his eyes and began to count everyone scattered, and she watched them all carefully. Most hid near the house, beneath tables or under porch steps. One or two ducked into the nearby barn, and a couple of others hid behind low bushes and tree trunks. Once they were tucked away securely Emily jogged off, disappearing into the edge of the woods.

She skirted around the edge of the well, and hid herself rather poorly behind a fallen log. It was done with absolute purpose, her plan now set in motion. She listened as Roger finished counting out loud and then began to search, finding a couple of their classmates almost immediately. One by one he tagged them each on the shoulder, a triumphant gleam in his eye.

“This game is too easy, and it’s such a babyish thing anyway,” he crowed to them all, pleased with himself for showing them that he was better than their childish games.

Finally there was only Emily left to find, and he kept prowling the yard and barn while the other kids occupied themselves playing with all the new toys she had received. Emily didn’t care if they played with her things, because the greatest gift of all was heading her way. She heard Roger crash into the woods, calling out her name as he walked deeper in. She held her breath, hearing the creak of old wood being stressed as Roger walked over the cover of the well.

“I see you,” he called out, having spotted her behind the log. “Come on out, fat ass! It’d take more than a log to hide you!”

There was a scream then as the wood gave way beneath Roger, and he plummeted into the darkness below. She heard a faint splash as he landed in the murky water at the bottom, and only then did she finally move from her hiding spot. She crawled on her hands and knees to the edge of the well, peering into the dark. She could make out Roger’s shape at the bottom, could hear his shaky breaths echoing off the rock walls.

“Are you okay?” She called down, sounding eerily calm despite how pleased she felt inside. Her plan had worked! It had really, truly worked! “Roger?”

“I-I think I b-broke my wrist,” Roger called up then, sounding small and scared. It was music to her ears, hearing that quiver in his voice. “Get help, E-Emily! Get me out of here!”

Emily pretended to think about it for a moment, laying on her stomach now and kicking her feet back and forth in the air. “Hm, maybe,” she decided, wanting to get him nice and scared before she went to fetch her father and the ladder from the barn. “I think maybe though you could spend some time down there thinking about how horrible you are. If I leave you in there long enough, maybe you’ll decide to not be so mean to people anymore. Especially me.”

Roger sounded like he might cry then, sniffling a little. Emily only wished she had a camera and a good light, so she could get pictures of him sniveling down there at the bottom of the well. “Emily, please! I promise I’ll never pick on you again, ever! Just get me out of here! I want my mom!”

Oh this was rich! He wanted his mommy! Emily laughed out loud then, clapping her hands in glee. This was better than she had ever expected! It had taken so little to break him, to make him cry and beg! If she had known that it would have been this good, she would have done it ages ago.

“Alright, Roger. Just sit tight,” she told him after a few more agonizing moments of letting him weight in silence. She got to her feet and left the well behind, heading back to the house. The other kids were putting on jackets and gathering up goody bags, their parents on their way. Several of them asked where Roger was, and Emily found herself telling them that she didn’t know. That he hadn’t found her, and that she had assumed he’d left for home.

One by one they left, and Roger’s father arrived to pick him up. Emily told him that she hadn’t seen him since they’d been playing games, and had assumed he’d already gone home. Hours later Roger still hadn’t been found, and the police were called. They came out to talk to Emily, but she denied having seen him after they’d started playing hide-and-seek. She’d been hiding in the old ice house out back, the one they used for storage now, but Roger had never found her. She’d finally broke for home base, and that was all she knew. None of the other kids could seem to remember any details either. Hadn’t Roger left before finding Emily?

Afraid of being caught, Emily waited three days before she returned to the well. She peered over the edge and saw a lump at the bottom that could only be Roger. She called out to him, but was met with only silence. Carefully she gathered up long sticks and leaves, camoflauging the hole that Roger had made in the middle of the cover when he’d fallen through, hiding the evidence of her crime.

Life got better for Emily after that. She thought of Roger now and then, still at the bottom of that old well in about six inches of muddy water.

She regretted nothing.