Short story: Betty Came by to Say Goodbye


“It was about a month ago, I can’t be sure. Said she was going on a road-trip. Hitch-hiking Route 66. No, at the time it didn’t seem odd. Seventy you say? Wow. Her rucksack was real heavy. Now that I do remember… Well, let’s see, I suppose I must have picked it up. No, my wife wasn’t home. Sure, you can ask the neighbours, but I’m pretty confident they were at work. You want to take a look in my cellar? Go right ahead, just watch out for that second step, Officer; I’m gonna get it fixed one of these days.”


This is a 100-ish flash fiction piece for Friday Fictioneers. Click here to read more stories inspired by the picture, or here to join in.


This week I wrote a letter to my husband’s dead first wife: Dear Jane…

68 thoughts on “Short story: Betty Came by to Say Goodbye

  1. Dear Claire,

    This is positively wicked. And I mean that in the most complimentary sense of the word. It doesn’t bode well for the officer, does it? Well written as always. Love the voice.




  2. Dear Claire,

    And you tell me I left unanswered questions in my story. Hah! Your story is full of them.

    You’ve illuminated everything around the edges and revealed the mystery with the deft touch of a masterful painter. Were I his wife, I’d be sure to remedy that soon and from long distance. Were I the policeman, I’d call for backup before venturing downstairs. Were I Betty, I’d say goodbye via telephone.

    Perfect pacing and dialog (I can hear all the unspoken questions. Way to get a 175 word story in under the wire at 100) and a killer ending. Or so it would appear…

    Well done.




  3. Great frantic narrative voice – the one-sided conversation is sometimes difficult to master, but this worked very well. You’ve produced this week’s first dead body and yet you did it with such subtlety it was a delight.


  4. I really like the voice you chose to tell a cryptic story with so many questions that we immediately manufacture answers. I am sooo jumping to conclusions! Yeah, it’s deliciously creepy.


  5. I love the gradual reveal of the situation, Claire, as if the camera is slowly pulling back on the man talking. It leaves one wondering, which is how I like to have a story like this end. 🙂 Great dialogue.


  6. Very cleverly done Claire. It is always great to be able to fill in the gaps, funny how we almost always got for the worst possible scenario.
    I do love reading your work and am eagerly awaiting your novel.
    Best wishes



  7. And the game is afoot! Sounds like a case for Sherlock–he’d get to the bottom of it! It is interesting to see a story doesn’t need every detail spelled out, it allows the reader to piece it together. Nicely done!


  8. Pingback: In the Media: 11th January 2015 | The Writes of Woman

  9. I agree, Claire, that the officer made a “big” mistake going there without backup. I also think his wife is probably in denial, and it may cost her her life. Well done as always. 🙂 — Suzanne


  10. Wow Claire! This is written so well! I can see the creepy house – I made an image in my mind of the creepy guy who lives here and yuck – he is suspicious! Your story is excellent and I have been in a house with a creepy owner (acted like I was on the phone to make a hasty exit). Wow!


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