fiction friday

Wanted: Roommate

Denise stood in her living room and looked around her.  The white IKEA futon.  The pale wooden coffee table and end table (both from the same matching IKEA set).  The still-life art prints on the wall.  These objects had all come with her roommate.  Despite all this around her, the apartment now had an empty feeling to it now that her roommate was gone.

One year ago, almost to the day, Denise had suddenly found herself in need of a new roommate.  After placing a detailed ad on Craigslist, Denise had received several responses within the first hour: a porn star who had needed a place to rest between her scenes, a man who sounded over email as though he might be some sort of animal torturer, and Chelsea.

Denise and Chelsea had bonded almost instantly over emailed discussions on their favorite television soap operas and small dog breeds.  Chelsea had moved in later that same week, bringing with her the beige collection of IKEA pieces and a slew of Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel catalogs.

Soon after they had become nearly inseparable.  They worked in a similar section of the downtown area and had formed a habit of meeting for lunch to dish on the latest gossip in their offices.  Each evening they would take turns cooking dinner, and would eat together then as well.  The men in their lives would joke about being in a relationship with both of the girls.

But now Chelsea was gone.

Denise looked down at Chelsea’s body, sprawled out on the floor in front of her, a large pool of blood slowly spreading into the rug from the large gash in the side of her head.  Denise dropped the bloody Pottery Barn cement candle holder next to the lifeless body.  She could get rid of Chelsea later.  Now it was time for another roommate ad.

I grew up reading a lot of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, so I’ve always enjoyed a gruesome story.  I also like things with a great twist.  Hopefully this story made you think “WTF?”  That’s what I was going for, at any rate.

Did you think WTF?  Would you like to submit a WTF story of your own?  Feel free to email me at comments©commenteri•com and I may feature it for the next Fiction Friday.

One thought on “Wanted: Roommate

  1. It’s difficult to “surprise” the audience these days because we’ve become accustomed to twists and turns, and it’s actually unfortunate, because we no longer trust anyone. When I watch TV or read a book, I find myself constantly thinking, “Oh, I wonder if this person is the bad guy!” I feel like the only time a twist is really effective is when your characters spend a great deal of time giving the audience clues that they are one way so we learn to accept it and then turn it around on its head.

    I admit that I immediately (in the first paragraph) thought there was something darker to this Denise character, but it’s also because these are the types of stories I write; *I* would have made her a devious person too, so I was waiting for it. I’m sure there are many, though, that were surprised. Not everyone’s minds spiral down the rabbit hole like ours do! 🙂

    I think to pull off a twist in this short scenario, more clues to the contrary are needed early on. Show Denise lovingly look at a picture of her parents, or squeeze her stuffed childhood bunny rabbit. Give us the WRONG first impression instead of a vague first impression.

What do you think?