It’s time for Friday Fictioneers, when writers from around the world post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt provided on Madison Woods’ blog. This week’s photo is by Raina Ng. You can read other Friday Fictioneers’ work (including Raina’s) by clicking the link that appears below my story.


by Jan Brown

Walking into Sarah’s kitchen, I experienced simultaneous waves of nostalgia and nausea. In the sixties, five of us lived here. It was large and airy, with a relaxed feel and a perfect location near the university. When we welcomed a sixth roommate, things changed.

We thought Marty was merely a “Type A” personality who would help us get our shit together. But a near-constant rage sizzled just below the surface of his counterfeit charm.  Sarah fell under his spell and stayed with him all these years, enduring the narcissistic behavior and sadistic abuse. Some said death was a blessing. Hers wasn’t. His will be, at the hands of the state.



51 thoughts on “Roommates

  1. i really liked this – except for one thing – the very last word. i wouldn’t liked it better if it had finished with something like this instead: “His will be, as soon as the hole is finished.” or something to indicate that the narrator will get him, instead of the state.

    but that’s me.

    • Thank you so much for your comments, Ron! The touch of reality was a result of the photo prompt. It reminded me of several places that either I or my friends had lived circa 1970. So I guess the setting was real, but “Marty” is definitely NOT someone I know personally–thank the Lord!

    • To make a more dramatic story, I think your and Rich’s idea would work very well. But I think the idea of personal revenge wouldn’t fit her character. I imagine her to be a peace-loving, grown-up hippie that wants to see a rational infliction of karma, rather than another act of anger.

  2. Dear Jan,

    In the longer version of your stellar story, as long as she witnesses the execution, theere will be closure. I really enjoyed the way your tight prose moved things inexorably to their ultimate conclusion. By the end, my mouth was agape with awe at where you had brought us. Good job.



  3. I like the way you started this story, especially after I finished reading it. It says a lot about your character that she remembers there were moments when they thought life still held hope. Nice job.

    • Thank you for stopping by my blog, Daniel, and for your feedback on the story. I am fond of twists and surprise endings, especially in these very short stories, so I am glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Wow. .even though it was heading down a dangerous path by your portrayal of him, I didn’t expect that tragic ending. Reminds us of all the domestic abuse which takes place much too often in this day and age.

  5. If Sarah’s unnaturally neat and tidy kitchen was due to the demands of Marty’s compulsive type A personality, I’m surprised the five of you didn’t do him in years ago.

    • That would be great! I think you would have really creative interpretations of the photo prompts. The twist ending is often the best way to do these short stories, but I’ve used humor, too, as well as sci-fi or fantasy. Occasionally someone will even write a 100-word poem. The “100 words” is more of a guideline than a strict rule; mine have been between 99-110 words. Hope to see you in the Friday Fictioneers sometime soon, Bjorn!

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