View Full Version : For Beth

September 11th, 2010, 08:00 PM
I thought everyone did it. I was only trying to get closer to him—to see what he was really like.

I remember when I was young, how it felt so natural. I had a friend. She was always there for me. I pretended she was real. She was the one that had the idea first.

She told me to do it. She said it would be fun. So I did. And at first it was, but after months went by it all back-fired when I met him.

“You can be anything…or anyone,” my imaginary friend whispered.

I was now twenty, living alone in a bad neighborhood and had bought a gun for protection. I still had Beth to comfort me too. I imagined her with dark long hair and black eyes. Her porcelain skin was that of a doll. I would draw pictures of her and put them in frames all around my apartment.

“Just do it, it will be fun,” Beth said again.

I signed on to the computer and searched for pictures that looked like Beth. Right away images popped up of women with raven-like hair and the same black eyes. After scanning the pictures, I found her standing on a balcony dressed in white under a full moon. I named the file “Beth” and saved it.

Once I created her file on Facebook, she now came alive. She had lived in Denver, Colorado and had many interests like reading and writing. Her news feed was of her life living as a single woman and working as a teacher. I built up her file methodically, choosing everything for her right down to her birth date—February 28, 1974 and finally giving her a last name: Wheeler.

After days had passed, I checked Beth’s page again and noticed a message in her in box. I didn’t think it would happen so fast. His name was Nate Daniels. I was nervous to open the personal message but something inside me compelled me to open it—it was Beth that told me to do it.

Beth, it’s been a while, but I am so glad I found you. Please let me know how you are, I miss you~Nate.

He must have gotten Beth mistaken for someone else. But I couldn’t help responding back, what if he did know her? What if she wasn’t just my imagination? I had to find out.

Nate, it’s been so long, I can barely remember.

I left the message at that. I didn’t want to ruin it for Beth.

As the days passed Beth received another message:

Beth, please I am begging you, you must remember. All the times we spent together, how is the child now?

The question was jarring. I didn’t know who he was referring to. How is the child now? I thought. Who was he speaking about?

Through the course of a month messaging Nate, I found out that the Beth he knew was his high school sweetheart. After he got her pregnant, Nate left. He couldn’t take the thought of being a father so he made a new life for himself somewhere else.

Beth, I must see you~Nate.

The thought interested me, but how could I go through with it? He would know that everything was just a lie and that I made her up. He would stop talking to me and never want to see me again. I had to think of something.

“You are her now, meet him,” Beth whispered in my ear again. “He will understand.”

I wrote back, agreeing to meet him. I had now transformed myself into Beth. I wore a long dark wig of hair and dressed in a white gown—just like the photo of her Facebook.

There he was standing in the middle of the park as the trees swayed shadows of leaves on the ground.

It was too dark to actually see his face, but I knew it was him.

“Beth, is that you?” he called out as I walked into the park.

“Yes,” I called back.

I walked closer to him. He was an older man, in his late thirties wearing a long black coat and hat. Once I caught a glimpse of his face, I knew it was him—the man Beth was with years ago. I believed it all. It was finally coming together now.

“Beth? It’s me Nate.”

He drew in closer, wrapping his arms around my shoulders, holding me tight. I heard Beth whisper to me again, “It’s time, do it now.”

I slipped the gun out of my pocket and pulled the trigger. His shirt began to bleed as he held onto his stomach.

Instantly he fell to the ground. “But why?”

“Don’t you know who I am?” I asked, taking off the wig and showing my face in the light for him to see.

“But how?” he said letting out a sigh of pain. “Please help me.”

“That’s for leaving Beth.”

It was then I realized Beth was real at one time. And all these years I thought she was just my imagination. She had a life before me— before she died giving birth to her only son.

September 11th, 2010, 08:10 PM
Great short story, loved to read it. :)

September 11th, 2010, 09:59 PM
I thought it was a pretty good read. :D

Olly Buckle
September 11th, 2010, 11:02 PM
The framework was good, but seemed a bit bare to me.

September 12th, 2010, 01:36 AM
I wouldn't say bare, but definitely spare. A nice twist to an old theme, and well put together.

The only problem I have is the sudden appearance of the scalpel, and the fact that she stabbed him with it. She needs to be shown with a weapon almost from the beginning, perhaps a small calibre revolver she carries for protection and introduced when she says shes 20 and living alone. That would be logical and the weapon would be available when needed without surprising the reader. Beth could give her the idea for that, as well. A scalpel would be good for slashing, but would make a poor stabbing instrument, I would think.

The Backward OX
September 12th, 2010, 02:14 AM
The intent was good but Iím sorry, it just didnít hang together.

Hereís one example of why:

The question was jarring. I didnít know who he was referring to. How is she now? I thought. Who was he speaking about?

It was then I realized Beth was real at one time. And all these years I thought she was just my imagination. Beth had a life before meóthe mother I never knew.

And hereís a small thing:

After he got her pregnant and had a girl, Nate left.

This reads as if Nate had a girl.

I agree about the scalpel being an unsatisfactory weapon.

September 12th, 2010, 02:27 AM
Thanks everyone. I thought of that too after I posted it, about the weapon. I like the idea of the gun instead. I will have to change. Thanks for commenting.

September 12th, 2010, 07:25 AM
This is my first critique, so let me know if I do this wrong in any way.

I looked up "back-fired". It wasn't recognized with the hyphen.

"Once I created her file on Facebook, she now came alive."
--"Once" and "now" don't seem to jibe.

"After days had past"
--Should it be, "passed"?

"I was nervous to open the personal message but something inside me compelled me to open it—it was Beth that told me to do it."
--This makes it seem like the MC views Beth as merely part of her own phyche in the first part, but a separate entity in the second part.

"But I couldn’t help responding back"
--"Responding back" feels redundant.

"you are her now, meet him"
"it's time, do it now"
--Is the comma the correct punctuation for separating those things?

"wig of hair"
--Feels redundant.

"It was too dark to actually see his face, but I knew it was him."
"Once I caught a glimpse of his face, I knew it was him"
--Either she did or didn't need to see his face to know it was him.

"I slipped the scalpel out of my pocket and with one swift move, I rammed it into his stomach."
--Either place a comma before before "with" or remove the one after "move".

“Don’t you know who I am?” I said
--"Said" should be "asked".

'“But how?” he said letting out a sigh of pain.'
--Comma after "said".

I'm not very well educated, so most of this was just earballing. Anyone out there, please feel free to correct me.

At the end, is the murder her way of killing her own absent father?
I really dig that.
Nice shorty! :-)

September 14th, 2010, 04:59 PM
I'm not a big fan of Facebook, but I enjoyed how you took a mundane topic and added a level of suspense to it, with a nice twist at the end as well. It seems like an occurrence you could come across watching the evening news.

Jessalynn Barnum
September 15th, 2010, 01:59 AM
wow, I loved it. I read it FIVE times. I really liked it.
Nice work!

September 15th, 2010, 05:49 AM
I wonder why my original comments were deleted. I must have offended someone's delicate little world. Golly.

So, I'll just re-post the fact that I thought this was an excellent story. Well-written, engaging, and I loved that little surprise at the end. I did NOT see that coming! I'm usually good at spotting those kinds of twists a mile away, but you got me.

I have only one suggestion for improvement: when the dude gets it in the gut with the knife, make it more agonizing. Being stabbed hurts like hell -- I know that from experience, unfortunately. And getting it in the guts is the worst. Trust me on this one.

All in all, good work! In my opinion, truly excellent!

September 15th, 2010, 02:57 PM
Yes, the weapon thing was weak here. I changed it, so I'll have to post the revision for those who are interested. Thank you so much everyone. I didn't think it would be such a hit. I appreciate all the help.