Bethany (1995-2013)                        By Varya Reutov

“It was supposed to be one of the most remembered days of my life, and trust me, it was.” Bethany said, with a cold stare.

Mike shivered, maybe I should go home, he thought. I’m sure mom is very worried. He looked at his watch, but his idea was taken away from the voice in his head, “Mike,” it said, “stay, and listen. Because you and I both know you’ll regret it if you leave.” Mike nodded; he knew it was true,

“What happened?” Mike asked, as if giving the 18 year-old permission to continue her story.

Bethany smiled, which made Mike’s knees buckle, “It was my high school graduation,” Bethany said, “my parents were so proud of me. We were all so excited to get ready and go to my school. Even my boyfriend came to it; he was in college you know. He was everything I ever wanted. Jake is,” she paused, “was smart, funny, cute, and knew exactly what he wanted in life. He was perfect.”

“Oh my gosh, shut up about him already,” Groaned one of the ghosts sitting on a dark stoned headstone, which read “Christine Bowe 1996-2012”.

Bethany gave her a cold ghost stare. Mike felt a chill run down his spine.  Christine lowered her eyes and smoothed down her baby blue dress, “Sorry,” she said, “please continue.”

“Anyways,” Bethany continued, “I put on my favorite yellow, ruffled dress, and the pearl necklace my great grandma gave me. Jake on the other hand looked gorgeous in his new black suit that he got just for my graduation. It was only 2 o’clock when we were all dressed up and sitting in our kitchen drinking iced tea. You see, the graduation only started at 3:30, so we were a bit early.” Bethany thought back to the moment and smiled. Sadness rolled over Mike as he saw her smile. He knew that she wanted to go back to that moment.

But Bethany didn’t stop her story, “Before I could finish my glass of tea, Jake called me into the living room. He kissed me on my check and told me that we should go for a short ride together before we went to the graduation. I loved the idea, so I agreed.  As we hit the main road, I opened the window and let my hair run free. It felt good, I felt free and happy.”

Mike saw a tear run down her cheek. He stood up and walked towards Bethany, but as he reached towards her face to wipe away her tear, his hand went right through her and he fell. Everyone in the graveyard laughed. Mike quickly stood up, embarrassed,

“Well you sure don’t see that every day!” Hollered one of the male ghosts, as he kept laughing uncontrollably, “You…you…I can’t…” and he kept laughing. He even fell to the ground.

Mike folded his arms, frustrated, “Shut up you…you corpse.” The ghost went silent. He looked Mike straight into his eyes and said,

“If I could, you would be gasping for breath under my arms right now.”  Mike shuddered at the idea,

“Connor!” yelled Bethany, “Stop threatening the guest. He is here to hear us out, not be threatened by you. Be quiet.” Connor huffed, but backed down.

Mike frowned, “Sorry about that bro.”

“Whatever man.” Replied Connor.

As Mike was sat back down to continue listening to Bethany’s story, he accidently sat on one of Carol Anne’s black and white saddle shoes. He flushed and quickly set the shoes back to their place and moved over. One of the younger ghosts giggled, and looked away.

As if nothing had happened, Bethany smiled and with a dreamy look in her eyes she said, “The sun seemed extra bright that day, and the birds seemed extra chirpy. I remember thinking that in that one moment in the car with Jake, my life was perfect. I had the perfect boyfriend, my parents were always good and supportive towards me, and I was just about to start a whole new life with the man I loved. But my thought was interrupted as I heard a thud against Jake’s car’s grill. Jake slammed on the brakes and the car came to a stop.”

Mike looked around graveyard and noticed that all the ghosts were all ears for Bethany and her story. They all had their eyes wide open and sat there, holding their breath, waiting to hear what happened next.

Holding their breath? Ha! Mike laughed at the idea, but in his head of course. He didn’t want to get Connor all worked up again. God, that guy needs to get over the fact that he’s dead, thought Mike.  And he kept on listening to Bethany,

“We slowly got out of the car, waiting to find out what we hit. I could see the horror on Jake’s face. I knew we were thinking the same thing, please don’t let it be dead.  But when we finally reached the front of the car, I saw that it was a bird. We both sighed with relief as the bird jumped off the grill and wobbled off the road and slowly flew into the forest.”

Bethany smiled, but then her smile faded, “as we got back into the vehicle Jake took my hand and told me that he loved me no matter what. At first I was kind of freaked out, because the way he said it scared me. It was as if he was planning on breaking up with me or…” she paused, “dying.”

“So when’s the part you die?” Connor interrupted. All the ghosts hushed him at the same time, and all turned their attention back to Bethany.

Ignoring Connor’s question Bethany shifted to a more comfortable spot and started again, “After Jake told me he loved me, I asked him what was wrong. He just smiled and said nothing. Then he kissed me on the forehead and started up the car. After what seemed like a long drive we stopped at a one lane bridge.” Bethany smiled, as she thought of how beautiful the river looked on the summer day, “We both got out of the car and went to the edge of the bridge. The view of the deep valley looked beautiful with all the fluorescent colors, and the sound of the river way in the valley was peaceful. I closed my eyes and took in the warmth of the sun and I smiled as I felt Jake’s hand weave into mine. And as if Jake had planned it, our song started playing on the radio. I laughed, and was about to tell Jake what a coincidence it was. But when I opened my eyes…” Bethany smiled.

“You got shot?”

“Jake pushed you off the bridge?”

“A car smashed you like a pancake?” The entire graveyard of ghost guessed at once.

She just laughed, “No I did not get shot, or squished, and Jake would never in a million years push me off a bridge.”

“Well…” Mike chimed in “what happened?” Even he was at the edge of his seat. So many ideas raced his mind.

Then the voice in Mike’s head came back, “Ha!” It snorted, “told ya’ you should have stayed.”

Mike waved his hand, as if shooing the voice away.

“Well when I finally opened my eyes I saw Jake, kneeling on his right knee with a diamond ring in his hand, and a smile on his face. And boy, at that moment I swear to you my heart stopped.”

“Is that how you died?” asked a little girl that looked about thirteen or fourteen, “you had a heart attack?”

Everyone laughed, Bethany giggled but then sighed, “No Sarah, I was just so…you know what? I don’t even know what I was feeling at the moment. I felt like I was feeling every emotion there is at the same moment. It was beautiful, I was in love.” A single tear ran down Bethany’s face,

“What did you say?” one of the ghosts asked.

“I said yes of course!” Bethany exclaimed, “And as Jake was putting the ring on my finger I saw a red sports car racing towards the bridge. The driver didn’t seem to notice us, and there wasn’t enough room on the bridge for both cars to fit. I yelled out Jake’s name then as if struck by lightning, I froze. Jake, being the smart one he is, dove towards his car and honked the horn non-stop. But the car kept getting closer and closer. I could hear the revving of the car’s motor, as it inched forward.”

Mike’s eyes widened, he stopped breathing, “Interesting isn’t it?” said the voice inside him, “doesn’t that just make you wonder?” Mike imagined a solid figure to that voice at that moment, he saw a tall man in black with a wicked grin. But Bethany’s voice dissolved the image away,

“Looking closer towards the car, I noticed that the driver was leaned down to the floor of the car, as if picking something up. Then at the last minute, the driver’s head miraculously popped back up. His eyes went straight towards me, and his foot slammed the brake pedal. The red car skidded towards me. I didn’t move. I felt like my feet were super glued to the pavement of the narrow bridge. My eyes widen.”

“Just likes yours.” Mocked the voice in Mike’s head, Mike cleared his voice and shifted,

“Shut up.” He said back to the voice, “Go away.”

As if knowing that Mike was having another conversation, Bethany gave him a dirty look. Mike smiled and mouthed ‘sorry’ and shifted all his attention back to Bethany.

“I felt myself being pushed away from the trajectory of the sports car, and against the hard stone pavement. And as I lay there on the floor of the side of the bridge I saw Jake standing in my place right in front of the car, then I blacked out.” Bethany stopped talking and sighed.

Everyone in the graveyard sat there, quiet, waiting for Bethany to finish her story. Not one word was said. It was silent, dead silent.

“Two days later I woke up in the hospital blank, completely blank. I didn’t remember a thing. I didn’t remember where I was, who I was, and what I was doing there. I was so scared and lost. The doctors told me I had hit my head against the pavement and that’s what had caused my memory loss. But whenever I would close my eyes to rest I kept seeing a handsome man in a suit being hit by a red sports car. I didn’t know what it meant, and I was just too scared to mention it to anyone. Because everyone was a stranger to me and I didn’t feel close enough to anyone to tell them anything, and I felt like that image was just too personal to share, but I didn’t know why. But on the third day of being in the hospital I remembered a name ‘Jake’. I asked my mom who he was and she just sat next to me and started crying.”

“He died?” whimpered one of the ghosts. Bethany smiled weakly and nodded.

“Thanks for ruining the story Heather.” Chimed in Connor, “I was looking forward to finding out from Beth.”

“Sorry.” Heather replied and slowly crept behind her gravestone, ashamed.

Bethany gave Heather a warm smile, “Don’t worry about it sweetie, I don’t think I had the guts to say it out loud anyways. But yeah, my mom told me everything. That he was hit by the car and instantly…”she paused, “died.” Another tear,

“So, I was wondering, whose death story is this exactly, yours or Jake’s?” Mike asked, wanting to find out the ending of Bethany’s story, and life.

“Well his death had everything to do with mine.” She wiped the tears from her face and smiled, “my story is like the play of Romeo and Juliet.”

“Romantic but tragic.” Everyone turned around and saw the scrawny, pale boy sitting against the gravestone that read “Timothy 1994-2009”. Mike smiled at the thought of a fifteen year old boy reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

“How would you know that?” asked Connor.

Looking down at his small hands, Timothy softly replied, “Well unlike you, some people did enjoy reading in their teenage years.”

As if embarrassed Connor turned away from the small boy and back to Bethany, “Are you going to finish your story or what?”

“Well after mom told me everything about Jake I got a horrible heartache and started crying. Because of that the doctor thought that maybe if I saw Jake that my memories could come back.”

“Did they?” Asked Connor,

“Yes, as soon as I saw him lying in the morgue everything came back to me. My graduation, the accident, and the…” she stopped, “the ring. I asked my mom where the ring was but she just freaked out and got all jittery about the thought of Jake and I being married. I asked everyone that was at the scene but no one saw it. I wanted that ring, it was the last thing I had of Jake’s. It was too special for me to not have. At the time, that ring was all I wanted.”

That’s when Mike noticed Bethany playing with a diamond ring on her engagement finger. He smiled, glad that she got the ring after all.

“But no one knew anything about any ring. So the day I was released from the hospital I went to the bridge alone to look for it. I parked the car a couple feet from the bridge and walked towards it. The sound of screeching tires on pavement and the image of the red sports car flashed through my head I stopped, unsure. But soon the image of Jake’s smile and his beautiful eyes, came to mind I smiled and kept walking. Scanning the pavement for my ring I looked down towards the deep valley that the bridge was built over, I would’ve been down there if it wasn’t for Jake, I kept thinking. Butterflies filled my stomach, but then something shiny caught my eye, it was my ring. It was lying right by the edge behind a railing, that’s why no one saw it before.”

“How many karats was it?” asked Christine.

Bethany smiled and showed everyone her hand, “I never cared, all that mattered was who it was from, and that I had it.”

Everyone oohed and awed over the beautiful engagement ring. Mike saw how much Bethany was enjoying the attention, he didn’t want to ruin this moment but he really wanted her to finish her story. He was so curious in how she would die.

“Anyways,” Bethany continued, “after I found my ring I put it on my finger, sat on the edge of the bridge and daydreamed of how my life would be if Jake and I got married. Every thought made me smile more and more, I almost felt like life was not worth living without Jake in this world with me. I dangled my feet off the bridge and wondered of how it would feel to just fall 300 feet. I closed my eyes and shifted closer to the edge, telling Jake I would see him in a minute or two. But then I felt a hand on my shoulder, I turned around and saw my mother standing there. ‘Is that the ring?’ she asked me. I showed it to her and she smiled. ‘You two would have been very happy together.’ She told me, which made the jump more tempting. But I scooted away from the edge and got up. My mom took my hand, looked into my eyes and smiled, as if saying everything was going to be okay. I let go of my mom’s hand and started for my car, but then I stopped and looked at my mom. I was going to tell her that I loved her for being there for me but then I felt myself being hit by a strong force, then I flew. I had been hit by an ongoing car with an intoxicated driver. And the last thing I saw alive was the face of my beautiful mom, crying.”  The End.

2 Responses to Varvara

  1. Katya says:

    I really liked it. It was really clear and the details were very discriptive. I had a clear picture of all the ghosts sitting there listening to her. I especially like the little details she added to the ghosts. That really made me picture them more clearly. But one thing is, I think the ending was a little weird to me. Out of no where she was hit by the ongoing car… I think the ending should be changed a little to make it sound better. Other than that, I really enjoyed the story. It was very well written. Good job Varya. 🙂

  2. Ksenia Reutov says:

    It is a very fasanating story i loved how the whole story flowed. It was almosot just like romeo juliet but a little better. Everything was perfect the topic sentance defenatly hit my interest it was well out throught the whole story. It wasnt over detailed it was just right i loved it.

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