Matt was pleasantly surprised to find Alex was home. It meant that Alex could bandage his cuts and he wouldn’t have to do it himself.

“Hey, Al. Say, would you mind…”

Alex looked up from his studying, revealing that he had a black eye as well as a swelling bruise on his jaw. Matt sighed. “For gosh sakes, Al. Did you get into another fight?” Alex shrugged, which meant yes.

Matt and Alex had been roommates for the past 11 months. And it wasn’t a bad set-up. They were both specializing in genetics. They were both relatively neat people, they took turns cleaning the apartment, and they were both allergic to cats. But Alex… when he wasn’t in the class room or in the apartment, he got into fights. At least, that’s what Matt assumed happened. Alex never specifically said and he never denied Matt’s guesses.

Matt just shrugged it off, usually, and helped Alex with bruises and cuts, but he wished he knew what was really going on. It was beyond him how such a nice, quiet guy like Alex managed to get into so many fights.

“You were saying?” Alex prompted softly.

Of course, Matt had his own secrets, too. “I need you to take care of a nasty cut, if you don’t mind. I… fell. And landed on something sharp. Glass, I think.”

Alex smiled and nodded, then stood up and went to go get the First-Aid kit. Matt pulled off his shirt–the cut was on his shoulder. He winced; having superpowers didn’t mean that wounds didn’t hurt.

What hurt worse was having to lie to Alex about this. Yes, he had fallen. In a way. More accurately, he had been thrown through a window by his nemesis, the evil Rigor Mortis.

It had been a pretty good fight up until that point. Matt, under the guise of Light Speed, had gotten a few punches in. At one point, he was pretty sure he had even broken Rigor Mortis’s left foot. But then he got thrown through a window. And when he got back to the fight, Rigor Mortis had disappeared. He pushed through a crowd of reporters and people, both grateful and ungrateful, and walked to the nearest (but well-hidden) place he could find to become Matt again.

No one could know Matt and Light Speed were the same person. Especially not Alex. It was too dangerous.


Alex looked at the gash on Matt’s arm and tried not to show how bad it was on his face. “You need that stitched up.” he said quietly.

Matt nodded and sat down on the couch. They wouldn’t go to a doctor for this. Matt never went to a doctor for his wounds, even when he had broken three ribs. Alex figured that was because Matt was scared of doctors and wouldn’t admit it. Alex didn’t want to go to the doctor because then there would need to be information given and then… well, radiation poisoning didn’t look good on the medical records.

It’d happened when Alex was 15 and helping his uncle with some science experiments. Something got knocked over and then exploded and his uncle died. Yeah, it was a big mess.

Alex shook away the memory and started stitching up his best friend’s shoulder. The past didn’t matter. Only the present. He concentrated on the job, mentally blocking the thought that Matt was in pain and that he was causing it. Matt hid his pain well, but Alex knew what was going on in his mind. He’d been in this exact same position before with Matt stitching him up.

Stitching job finished, Alex put the First-Aid stuff up. They needed more bandages. When he got back to the living room, Matt had turned on the evening news.

Same old stuff. It was depressing. Always reporting on the latest antics of “Rigor Mortis” and how many people had been injured and how “Light Speed” had swooped in to save the day.

No one got it right. No one had ever gotten it right.

He wasn’t Rigor Mortis. He wanted to be called Rigorous. He hadn’t planted that bomb in the orphanage. That crazy girl who called herself Vendetta had. He had found out about the bomb, tried to move it, and had the bad fortune of someone getting it on film.

And then he accidentally dropped it.

No one had gotten killed, but a few kids had been seriously hurt. And then he got blamed, like always. And then he ended up having to fight Light Speed again. That only ended when he had thrown Light Speed and then made a run for it. That was after the “superhero” had broken a bone in his foot.

Alex winced. It still hurt.Β It wasn’t a serious break, so he could probably just ignore it until after Matt was asleep. Then he’d wrap it up and it’d be fine.

But what hurt worse was having to lie to Matt. He wish that he could tell Matt that, yes, he got into fights, but good fights. Sort of. And that he was a… well, everyone assumed he was a villain. But he wanted to be a hero. He tried to be a hero.Β The media had twisted everything. He could save a kitten from a tree and the 6 o’clock News would say he kidnapped the kitten. Or that it was part of an evil experiment.

He couldn’t tell Matt that he was Rigor Mortis. Not until things were made right.


Hey, reader-peeps! Hope you enjoyed that. There wasn’t much editing done to it, but I’d still appreciate any feedback you may have.Β 




16 thoughts on “Roommate

  1. *This is Lily J. commenting on the wrong computer so it says it’s her mom.*

    Coolness! I’ve seen this prompt on Pinterest too, and have wanted to read a story based on it. πŸ™‚ I really like the twist of Alex being not-really-a-villain. So cool.

    • *okay*
      Thank you! I don’t even normally like superhero stuff, so this was interesting. (I think I’m still excited after having seen Age of Ultron. That plus the fact I’m procrastinating editing…)

    • (Thank you.)
      I thought of you when this guy told me his name was Matt. And then I realized that I couldn’t have possibly named him after you, even subconsciously, because you’d obviously be the villain instead of the superhero. Must be some other Matt he was named after. Not including you, I know of four others.
      But it is a rather nice name. And my parents have told me that if I had been a boy, I would’ve been named Matthew.

  2. OH COME ON. You have to leave it on a cliffhanger? Really?

    Honestly, though, it was awesome. Some very interesting twists there. The way you were able to make us sympathize with both characters was great! Love it!

    • YES. *insert evil laughter here*
      But in all seriousness, one of the tips I’ve heard about writing short stories is to come in late and leave early.

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked it and that it turned out so well.

  3. Funny bit of irony you have going on here. Poor Matt and Alex…

    Personally, I was a bit skeptical of how they didn’t figure this out at all. How do they never realize they’re both out at the same time? But then, I told myself that even if one of them started to suspect something like it, they’d probably just deny it to themselves. So I think you’re good. πŸ™‚

    It’s a bit on the “telling” side of things, which I definitely understand, because that’s my eternal struggle with short stories. I’m hardly in a position to suggest how to improve it…

    The cliche-busting of having Alex be a nice, quiet guy and a misunderstood villain was very good. It provides an extra bit of tension–rather than just the two being “enemies,” Alex is a nice guy, who, inadvertently, Matt is actually injuring…of course, he’s injuring Matt too, but anyway. I think I lost that train, but perhaps you get what I’m saying somehow.

    The only other thing I noticed was a bit of repetitiveness between the two of them. Your sentences about “it hurt more” were almost identical and that kind of stood out to me. Of course, they’re similarly structured on purpose, but I guess maybe the sentences could’ve been a bit more varied?

    Good job! I enjoyed it. I’m curious as to how the two guys worked things out…but I think you chose a good place to end. πŸ™‚

    • I’m sure they eventually figure it out. I don’t know when, but they do. πŸ™‚

      Yes. The tell-y stuff. I’m not sure how to fix that either, yet…

      Yes, the sentences were similarly structured on purpose. And Alex actually being misunderstood instead of everybody’s “Misunderstood Villain” cliche was fun.

      Thank you. I’m glad you liked it.

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