Note: This is a short-story that I wrote for my high school creative writing class. I decided to write about Beth's life post-Maggie Chen shooting up until Sarah first sees her. I'm thinking about making it into a longer fic that has a longer time span on my other account. Let me know what you think and thanks for reading. :)
"What are you going to do?" A hushed, collected voice spoke on the other line. Beth sighed, questioning herself. What would she do? Call the police? Hell, she was the police. She was supposed to uphold the law. She was supposed to promote justice. And yet she had just killed a woman. Granted, it was a woman who was seeking her out first, but that didn't matter now that she was dead. Maggie Chen was dead and cold on the ground in front of her and there was no easy solution. Calling the police would mean admitting murder. Hiding the body would mean that she would have to do a pretty damn good job, or risk the same thing.
"She's going in a ditch, or a lake. God…" She ran a shaky hand through her hair, attempting to collect herself, to keep her voice from trembling. "I need your help, Art."
For a few moments, Beth glanced down at the dead body. Her black hair framed her face, nearly completely hiding the bullet wound. What it didn't do; however, was keep the woman from looking dead. Her pale skin seemed almost blue, even in the harsh sunlight. It was the middle of the day and it wouldn't be long before someone entered the courtyard. She took in a long breath, bending town to pick up the woman's small body from the ground. With a large amount of effort, she was able to carry her to the side of the building, propping her up on the ground against a marble column. Without looking back, she ran to pull her car over. Getting the body out of sight was the most important goal.
By the time she returned to the body, Art stood in the shadows. He quickly stepped forward to confront her, his voice still remaining that collectiveness.
"Before you say anything; I'm not going to tell you what happened."
"The Hell you aren't. Whatever's going on that made you kill a woman, you're my partner, Beth. I'm just as much a part of this as you." His voice grew more serious.
"Fine." She crossed her arms, trying to seem calm, to not let him know just how much effort it took just to keep herself from trembling. "I'll tell you," She said, the lie flowing smoothly from her lips. She sighed, glancing over at the courtyard, at the place where Maggie had been shot. "We need to get this cleaned up."
"I've got it."
"I said I've got it." His eyes were cast downward, obviously with disdain for what he had gotten himself a part of. "You get her out of here."
Beth didn't say a word in response, her eyes just watching him steadily. Art was loyal, as loyal as a fellow detective could be for his partner. But now that he was involved, there was no way she could tell the truth now, at least in saying that the death was no accident. They would have to play it off now, and do it as quickly as possible. She averted her gaze, her eyes moving back to the body at her feet. Popping the trunk, she picked the woman up, carefully setting her in the trunk atop a blanket.
"Alison, I need your help," Beth's voice spoke into the pink phone softly.
"Sure, what do you need?" The other woman's voice was high pitched and unconcerned.
For a few moments, Beth didn't answer, plugging a series of numbers and letters into her phone. "Look, I'm sending you an address. Be here as soon as you can." For a few minutes, Beth just stared at the ground. She had begun to dig a hole, but there was no way she would be able to finish before dark. Getting the body hidden was her first priority, removing DNA samples, she could work on later. The forest around her was dim, slivers of sunlight shining through. Grabbing the handle of the shovel, she continued to dig.
Within about twenty minutes, a series of footsteps began to sound through the forest. The hair on her arms prickles, anxiety beginning to register within her. "Beth?" There was a pause, and then the same high voice as on the phone spoke, sounding slightly offended. "I would like to know why you dragged me into the forest without- what is that?"
Beth glanced up from the hole briefly, and then focused back on her digging. "You know what it is."
Immediately, Alison's eyes widened, her muscles tensing even more than they usually seemed to. She shook her head, taking a step back followed by a few more. "I'm leaving. I am not going to be a part of this."
Beth stepped from the shallow hole and grabbed the woman's hand before she could step further away. "You're already part of this." She paused, letting go and crossing her arms in front of her. "This woman is Maggie Chen. The one searching for us."
Alison lowered her voice, even though they were the only two people in the area. "You mean they're actually sending people now?" She didn't speak for a few moments, her eyes growing flooded with concern as she came to a realization. "If they know about you, they likely know about me too."
"Thanks for the information, genius." Beth said, though her voice held an amused undertone. "Look, I promised when we got into this that your family would be safe, that you would be." She paused, glancing down at the body again, which was laying in the shadow of a tree, covered by a red cotton blanket. "None of you will be safe if I'm in prison for murder."
Alison didn't say anything straight away. Her eyes were cast toward the ground. Picking up another shovel from the ground, she began digging. Again, the brunette's voice was tense and high when she finally spoke. "You're right. Though I don't see why you needed to kill her. You could have had a rational conversation, like any normal human being."
Beth didn't speak. Once Alison had finished speaking, all was quiet. She couldn't bring herself to speak. She barely could bring herself to pick up the second shovel and help dig a deep enough hole for the body. Alison was right, and she knew it. She didn't need to kill that woman. She could have confronted her. It would have been the right option to go with. That way, they could have gotten more information on whoever was following them, or maybe who created them. For a few seconds, her gaze moved to the other woman, her clone. Their resemblance was undeniable. Identical twins, as blood tests revealed. But the idea of twins didn't make sense, not when there were at least four others that they knew of. They were clones. They were the same. And they were being hunted. And the decision to kill Maggie Chen lost them access to information that would have been vital to their search for answers.
"Why did you do it?" Alison questioned after about twenty minutes, taking a large step out of the hole. Beth didn't answer, because she didn't have one. There wasn't one that she wanted to reveal, anyway. She did it because she snapped, because she was sick of these people hunting them down. For over a year, she had known that she was a clone. She was a copy. And as time went on, she found that more of her life was connected to the situation. Her boyfriend was sent to keep an eye on her. She was losing her grasp on what was clone business and what was her previous life. And now, she had no grasp on reality at all. For the past few months, Beth had been holding on by her fingertips, only pausing to pop enough pills into her mouth to numb the instability.
Why she killed Chen was too complicated to explain, even to someone who was naturally an extension of herself. "I don't know," Beth whispered.
"Come on," Alison said finally, finding something in Beth's expression that seemed to spring her into action. "Help me get her in there. You can come to my house after this." Beth only nodded, feeling a numbness take over her body. She didn't always need pills for that to happen. Moving over to the body, she grabbed the ankles. As Alison lifted at the woman's shoulders, they managed to carry her over and into the makeshift grave. Alison quickly moved to start placing more dirt on top in small, swift movements. Beth moved to place more dirt onto the body, an act that was finished much more quickly than it had taken to dig the hole. (MORE THOUGHTS HERE?)
"Shit.." Beth mumbled, closing her eyes as they finished covering it up, the soil above looking very much like the rest that was packed around it.
Alison moved over, placing a hand on Beths arm. Opening her eyes, she turned to face the other brunette. And though it was almost as if she was staring into a mirror, there were things that were completely different. Alison's hair was pulled up into a neat ponytail, her sweater above dress shirt outfit looking uniquely suburban. "Beth, are you alright?"
"No. I'm not fucking alright." Her voice came out quickly. "We're clones. We're being hunted and killed. You've been able to process that, Ali. I haven't. I've been taking drugs and-" She gestured to the ground. "I've been killing people!" Without saying anything further, Beth began pacing in short, quick lengths.
"Beth, you need to calm down." Alison's voice was collected, but her eyes followed the other woman back and forth nervously. "Look, we're going to get through this, but-"
"We? I'm the one who killed her. I'm the one who got you and Art into this. If someone comes after us now that they're minion is dead, do you know who they're going to come for? Me and then you."
Alison's voice grew upset. "I'd rather know that I'm going to die rather than having a strange assassin show up at my home!"
"My point is, you can handle this. You've been able to handle it all. Me? I'm not cut out for this." She paused, looking straight ahead at the other woman. For a few seconds, she was quiet. "I can't protect you, Alison. I can't protect your family, but you can." Her hand moved to the holster that was strapped to her belt. Pulling out her hand gun, her eyes moved to her clone. Tears began flooding her eyes, but refused to fall.
"What the Hell are you doing?" Alison quickly questioned, her voice gaining a sharp edge to it.
"I'm not shooting myself, if that's what you're asking." Beth's voice was blunt. She flipped the gun in her hand and handed it over to Alison. "You're going to need to protect them." She frowned very slightly, her voice serious as she continued. "It's only a matter of time before they find out about me. Even I can't cover up a murder that easily.."
Alison took the gun, her hand dropping to her sides. Her tone was quieter now, more confused as she looked up at the other brunette. "Just blame it on another one of us!"
"I can't do that." Beth shook her head quickly. She picked up the shovels from the ground, a few tears falling down her cheeks as she spoke again. "I need to go." For a few long seconds, Beth's gaze settled on her clone's. Then, without another word, she turned around and headed back toward her car. Unable to bring herself to glance back, she drove away.
Beth's gaze was cast downward as she waited for the train. It would be coming soon, the time of arrival only minutes away. The subway platform was nearly empty at that time of day, only a few people passing by on their way to other places. Why she had driven there hadn't come to her right away, not until she was standing, facing the tracks that sat vacant for the time being. She felt her phone buzz in her pocket, but made no effort to answer it. Whoever was on the other line would be better off without another conversation with her. They could move on, especially if that someone was Alison.
Hundreds of feet away, Beth could hear the steady drumming of the train, making its way toward her. She took a breath, her mind feeling more and more numb as time went on. She pulled off her long tan coat, folding it up neatly and setting it down. On top of it, she lay her heels and bag. A few people lined up nearby, waiting to board the train. As it came closer, she let her hair fall out of a bun and hang loosely on her shoulders. Beth looked ahead, the moment she killed Maggie Chen replaying in her head. The words of Alison, and the bright laughs of her children. She heard the other clones that she had met, their voices sounding so much like hers. And she heard Art, telling her that he had he back. Dipshit, she thought and as the train was approaching. Gazing to the side, she noticed a woman staring at her. She looked the same as Beth, her eyes the same shade of brown, her hair down in messy waves that flowed onto her back. The woman was her. And she made no move to stop her. Beth took a few steps forward. She moved in front of it just in time for it to take her with it, wherever it might be going.