10 January 2014

Published January 8, 2014 by rochellewisoff


May it be a good year, filled with prosperity, happiness and publication dreams fulfilled. 


Henry David Thoreau said it best.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

In 2014, as in 2013, writers are encouraged to be as innovative as possible with the prompt and 100 word constraints.


Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going a few words over the count.)


Make every word count.


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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


            Like a frightened animal, she huddled in the darkest corner of an abandoned shack on the beach. I offered her refuge in my winter home in Bridgetown.

            “The reverend promised us Paradise,” she whispered over lunch.

            “We saw the bastard on the news. How did you escape?”

            “I told the guard ‘Father’ wanted flowers for the meeting. I hid under bushes all day, ran all night and then stole a fishing boat. Floated for weeks.”

            She licked her blistered lips.

            “Scorcher today.” My husband burst onto the patio, pitcher in hand. “Kool-Aid anyone?”

            “No, thank you.” She choked. “Not ever.”  



Jim Jones

“Reverend” Jim Jones

The following link is a bit lengthy if you’re only in the mood for 100 word stories. But if you have some extra time and  want to read a true survivor’s story:

click here.

120 comments on “10 January 2014

  • That interview was a very thought-provoking way to start the day – thanks for bringing into the light of day once again. And your story captured the essence of the link in an arresting way. Well done once again Rochelle.


    • Dear Victoria,

      I’ve encountered one or two would-be Jim Jones types. Very charismatic men who could sell air conditioners in Antarctica. As for Kool-Aid…I’m not too fond of it myself. Thank you for coming by and commenting.




  • indeed, i’ll never forget that incident. true horror. it will forever send chills down my spine every time i read something about it and i hope it never happens again. thank you for sharing the link to the survivor’s story. it’s amazing how you were able to capture this in 100 words, you left all the right cues here that i understood even before i saw the ‘reverend’s photo.


    • Dear KZ,

      I know you’re not old enough to remember the incident first hand.Nonetheless, I understand the lasting impact and chills. Unfortunately there have been others.
      Thank you for your comments that will send me to work with a smile this morning.




  • Ah…those terrible cults like the Jonestown incident…it’s really so incredible how people will surrender their life in such a way. Well written, it would have been good if someone had escaped…


    • Dear Georgia,

      it was a horrible thing and I’m baffled at how people surrendered they way they did. But then, look at Nazi Germany. A nation of sheep led to the slaughter.

      Unfortunately there were few escapees from Jonestown. But I had to entertain the “what if” for this one.

      Thanks for your comments.




      • Yes…Nazi Germany was another as were the Khmer Rouge and so many others…there is this strange streak in humanity…we just kind of follow to our death or to killing others…scary really if one reflects upon this strange aspect of our species.


  • Many years have passed Jonestown and Waco and yet cults such as this still exist and thrive in most countries. Have no lessons been learned? As always, the children are the real victims , led by brainwashed parents into a living hell. I am glad your m.c. got away.


    • Dear Patricia,

      Jones was a true Narcissist, as was David Koresh and countless other charismatic leaders. They’re incapable of feeling anything but love of self and a sense of entitlement. There’s something about these magnetic personalities that draw haplessly searching people. We’ve all known them and some of us have been caught in their webs. If we’re lucky, we wake up and flee. (I speak from experience).

      Unfortunately, only a handful woke up and smelled the cyanide. Thank you for coming by.




  • I didn’t read the link; didn’t need to. This story has haunted me for years. The images from that horrible place, and the stories of families separated or all dying under the spell of Jones. Amazing where these photos take you, Rochelle. Your stories always and the stories behind them, always impress!


  • Rochelle,
    This is great and the ending is perfect. I can see why she would never want to see Kool-Aid again after something like that. The memories would be too deeply ingrained. One of my former co-worker’s parents were in North Korea during the war and made their way south. All they had to eat was kimchi and she said they never ate kimchi after that experience because of all the memories associated with it.


    • Dear David,

      Mr. Jones certainly gave Kool-Aid a bad name, didn’t he? Horrible piece of history. The images are indelibly etched in my memory. I remember looking at those pictures of the bodies…of children. At the time I had a four year old and an eight month old. It’s enough that people willingly committed suicide for that maniac, but to murder their own babies as well…unthinkable.

      Thank you for your compliments and comments.




  • Hi Rochelle, you always come up with excellent story. Thanks for the link. These charismatic men and their cult.There are many in my country. How they get the followers is surprising.


  • I was pretty sure I was right about this, based solely on the Kool-Aid reference. I am old enough to remember this and there are still references to “don’t drink the Kool-Aid” even today.


  • As always another great story from you Rochelle. I was little kid but I remembered the newspaper headline from that time. True fact – Flavor-Aid not Kool-Aid was the main flavoring used, but some Kool-Aid was used and because it was more popular it gained the stigma of the disaster.


    • Dear Subroto,

      I did know that it was Flavor-Aid as opposed to Kool-Aid. However, in researching there were references to both. Also the White Night meeting was not a one time thing. There were “rehearsals” leading up to the final mass suicide. Kook-Aid was also used. At any rate, they’re both obnoxious “drinks”.

      Thank you for coming by and glad you liked my story.




  • I’ve always been fascinated with that whole story — morbid, I know, but it’s just such a strange, sad story — a cautionary tale, as the survivor says. You captured the moment well as always!


  • I will never forget when this happened. I was just a kid, but I remember being horrified by the news reports. It is very interesting that “drinking the kool-aid” has become part of the American lexicon, accepted as something everyone does in one way or another, without much thought to the fact that this was the largest mass murder/suicide in recorded history. A horrific event led by a charismatic figure carried out by ordinary people. Creepy doesn’t begin to describe how easily this can happen. Very well done, Rochelle.


    • Dear Honie,

      I was a young mother with two little ones at the time. I couldn’t fathom parents murdering their children at the say so of a maniac. It is frightening to see how people can be drawn in like that.

      Thank you for your comments.




  • Really haunting interview, glad I took the time to read it. Sometimes you spend so much time reading fiction where there is this kind of environment, you forget it actually happens in real life.


  • I remember this incident too and the aerial footage shown on the news. Horrific. I think what shocked and confused people at the time was the use of the everyday iconic Kool Aid as a means of administering poison.


  • Oh yes, I remember the Jim Jones incident. What a lunatic. A few brave souls managed to escape that insanity. I can imagine someone never wanting to see Koolaid again. Another great historical piece, Rochelle. You always deliver.


  • Rochelle, this was so chilling. I didn’t realize there were any survivors at Jamestown. I think I have just tried to never think about it. But of course you did this justice as you do everything you write about.


    • Dear Sandra,

      To semi-quote Mel Brooks, “It’s good to be the queen.” 😉

      Seriously, it’s nice of you to say so. For someone whose history grades were abysmal in high school, I find it ironic that history is now one of my passions. Thank you.




      • It’s a little like spinach and broccoli. We often hate them as kids, but then after we grow up, they become favorite foods. I was even that way about pumpkin pie. I hated pumpkin pie as a child, but now I LOVE it. And when I saw on Andy Griffith’s show that pumpkin pie with ice cream was his favorite dessert, I thought that sounded a little weird, since we always ate ours with whipped cream. But then I tried it. OH MY GOODNESS!!! A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN BROUGHT DOWN TO EARTH. If you’ve never tried, you should.


  • Thank you for sharing that interview. We should never forget so that maybe we can prevent such acts. It is unfortunate that such people prey on people in need of someone to follow. I remember when I first heard this story by way of a TV movie called “The Guyana Tragedy” and I used to think how are people taken in like that. I think people want to belong and feel they are loved and fall prey to where they find it. I recently made a post about this tragedy http://mholloway63.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/what-happened-on-november-18th-drinking-the-kool-aid/


  • I knew I would have to read the link to really get the full impact of your story, and though I remember the event, the details in her story were rivetting.
    So then I came back to your story, and I thought it was brilliant, every word had impact, beautufully done.


  • Hmm, not sure what happened to my comment or even what it was now, but I remember this sordid story and even though I never liked Kool-Aid, he gave it an undeservedly bad name. Deftly done as usual, Rochelle.



    • Dear Janet,

      I checked my spam folder…not there. Must be somewhere in cyber space. .I never cared much for Kool-Aid either. 😉 And the images on the front of TIME magazine will forever be indelibly etched on my mind. Thank you for commenting. 😉 Have a safe trip and wonderful visit with the fam.




  • Wonderful story, and thanks for the link. I was vaguely aware of the incident but needed the link to get the references (I was only a kid at the time, and we don’t have Kool-Aid here so it never “caught on” as a saying connected to the massacre).


    • Dear Ali,

      One of the most endearing things about Friday Fictioneers is the cultural exchange. As a young teen I had a penpal in Cardiff. it was great fun sharing Rock and Roll magazine articles, etc. Now, with the internet and FF, I have keyboard pals around the globe. Great fun.
      I’m glad the link helped. Thank you for your comments.




  • Your story was wonderful as usual and your link was very enlightening. I had never paid much attention to this awful incident – except as a passing horror story of my generation. Reading this detailed account was amazing. There was so much I didn’t know about his total madness and control. So sad…


    • Dear Lindaura,

      At the time, I was horrified by the photos and news stories, then quickly returned to my world of cookie baking, breast feeding and diaper changing. It wasn’t until years later and, then, with this story, that I did any in-depth reading.

      Thank you for coming by with lovely comments.




  • Hi Rochelle,
    Thanks for buying my book. That was so nice of you. Your story this week is a grim reminder that we still live in a world where religious fanatics convince people to do unspeakable things. I just heard a story on the news about a 9-year-old girl who was caught wearing a suicide vest because her older Taliban relative wanted her to sacrifice her life. Religion, if your partake at all, should be about making your life better, not about ending it. Ron


  • Dear Rochelle,

    I’d be the husband in your story. Clueless but caring. Love how you mixed the Kool-Aid but didn’t force the issue. The strength of your writing is what compelled us to drink. Your promises come true, though, so thanks for that.




    • Dear Doug,

      I can only promise to dig for a story and then write it to the best of my ability. Thank you for stopping by to share a cool drink and making me smile. But I’d have to say, “C.E.” While I agree you’re caring, I can’t imagine you being clueless.

      Shalom-aloha and go low,



  • Dear Roberta,
    I guess that explains the history of the saying, “don’t throw the kid out with the Kool-aid.” Another option for Jim Jones would have been to feed his followers pinto beans and raw onions, or maybe sweet potatoes and broccoli – then lit a match.
    Just a thought – Virgil


  • Oh my! You got me so side-tracked that I didn’t write a flash fiction story! Very, very good. I remember when the Jonestown massacre happened. I cried for months every time I thought about it. I always wondered what made people follow this man. Got involved in a discussion about it with my sisters and aunt via email. That story of yours took a long trip. Thanks for writing it!


  • your story and the link to this horrible event brings such sadness. many of the victims already suffered a hard life before they arrived to the compound and this man took advantage of them. sometimes it is so hard to understand the purpose for these inhumane events. thank you, Rochelle.


  • Dear Rochelle
    I’m a little late catching up, but your story was worth the wait! I have to admit I had forgotten about ‘Rev’ Jones and the mass murder he instigated. Others have commented on the how and the why, I feel that we who are lucky enough to have the love and emotional support we need, will never understand those poor unfortunate people who try and seek theirs with someone as warped and evil as Jim Jones.
    Take care


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