Oct 31, 2011

The Hotel

By Afnan Imran.

Q. Write the opening chapter of a novel called "The Hotel". Introduce the reader to three different characters who do not know each other as yet, but will do so later. In your writing you should try and establish differences between them and possible reasons why they might meet.

The demon craved release.

The fact did not come as a surprise the man as his beady black eyes gazed, transfixed at the beautiful, young woman getting out of the red SUV. The demon had hidden inside him for two years, but now it seemed impossible to contain it. His sweaty palms clenched, yearning to feel the veins of a long, supple neck beneath them. Anxiety made his skin crawl and his lungs were burned with the need to scream. Was he losing his mind? No, no. He would handle it. He knew how to control the beast. One perfect strike was all it took to calm it down.

He licked his lips in anticipation as he watched the tall, slender woman walk by him. The scent of gardenia wafted through the air, making his nostrils flare. He grinned, watching her enter the building. Her thick, dark hair, pulled back in a pony-tail swayed with every step. His gaze swept down to her long, luscious legs accentuated by black stilettos. She would do.

He was a good man. He did not prey on innocents. It was entirely her fault that she tempted the demon. It would have to be perfect. No one should suspect him. This called for a few rehearsals before the main event.


Danielle Smith forced a smile on her face as she got out of her car. She just hated first days. She sighed, knowing that nothing could delay the upcoming torment. She had a new job to begin. She looked up at the grey, stone building of the Harrison Hotel, its tallest point seeming to touch the wind-chapped face of the New York sky . She shuddered and hoped to God that she never had reason to be up there. She handed her keys to the valet and started towards the revolving glass doors. She absently nodded to the two doormen outside as the scent of leather assailed her senses. She shivered, but it was not from the cool air-conditioning. The nape of her neck tingled as though burned. She felt as if she was being watched. But there was no one in particular concentrating on her. everyone seemed busy in their own buzz of activity.

Don't be foolish, Dani,

she thought, shrugging off her hesitation. It was now or never. She went to the reception at the south-end of the lobby, her eyes taking in her surroundings all the while. The hotel seemed to cater mostly to the upper-crust society. That was the only possible conclusion for a lobby full of gentlemen and ladies in elegant suits at eight a.m., either juggling files or sipping coffee. She nervously smoothed a hand down her own brand new suit. She hoped the grey suit and the black stilettos served their purpose of making her look older. It was galling when people thought her younger than her twenty-three years because of her annoyingly wide, blue eyes.

"Hi, I'm Danielle Smith. I'm Mr. Harrison's new assistant." she said to the pleasant-looking receptionist.

"Of course, he's been waiting for you," she replied smiling. "May i see some ID, please?"

Dani handed over her driver's license, glancing at the middle-aged woman's name-plate. Megan.

"Well, that all seems fine. The offices are on the fourth floor which can only be accessed by this key. " She handed back Dani's license along with a coded key-card. Sensing her discomfort, Megan asked, "First job?"

At Dani's nod, she made a soothing sound in her throat. "Don't worry, dear. Mr. Harrison is a kind employer."

There it was again. That sense of being scrutinized. Dani's hand reached up to scratch the itch at the back of her neck. This new job was getting on her nerves. The sooner this first day ended, the better.

Forcing another smile as she thanked the receptionist and began walking across the white, marbled floor, towards the elevator alcove. She very much doubted that Hayden Harrison was a kind man. In fact, the big, burly man portrayed in yesterday's newspaper hadn't even seemed civilised enough to be sitting behind a desk, let alone kind!

Well, here goes, she thought as she punched the number four inside the spacious elevator. The huge glass chandelier disappeared along with the leather upholstered sofas in the lobby as the metal doors closed.


She was late on her first day. That did not bode well for her punctuality. It was already five after eight. Hayden Peter Harrison fiddled with his pen as he awaited the presence of his new secretary, a dark frown marring his chiseled features. He knew he should not have let HR convince him to hire a fresh graduate. She would be unreliable as was the habit of youth. However, he had needed a young, unattached assistant who would be able to frequently travel across the States with him to monitor his scattered chain of hotels.

His fingers raked through his black hair in an impatient gesture and his sea-green eyes narrowed with irritation. The golden pen in his other hand rapped a constant rhythm against the wooden surface of his cluttered desk. He was just about to pick up his phone to ask the receptionist to call Ms. Smith when a knock sounded on his door.

"Come in," he called.


Farwa Haider said...

This is really well thought out. Great job!

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