Nov 6, 2011

The Hotel

By Shumaila Abbasi

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.

“Ma’am, are you ready to order?’ the smiling waiter asked Jane.

“No, I am waiting for someone” she replied. The waiter walked away, looking annoyed.

Jane crossed her legs and then uncrossed them. After each passing minute she glanced at her watch, as she waited impatiently for her date at Sunset hotel’s restaurant. She was not early but was exactly on time. She had always been punctual.

“I knew this was a bad idea,” she said to herself as the sudden fear of being stood up enveloped her.

What was I thinking agreeing to a blind date? She thought. It was so unlike her to be on a date with someone she did not even know. But she was desperate. She would have done anything to escape the constant criticism of her friends.

Her friends had told her that she worked too hard. They feared that if it continued in the same direction, she would live a long, miserable, lonely life.

“Miserable life, yeah right!” grunted Jane under her breath. “I would have my money to keep me company.”

She felt uneasy when the waiter who had asked her for her order ten minutes ago, looked at her as he passed by her table once more.

What a waste it had been! She had put on a black, strapless dress with her lustrous hair tied in a tight bun. She had, unwillingly, on the insistence of her friends applied thick layer of make up on her face. Although her friends had praised by saying she looked gorgeous, but according to her she resembled a clown.

“God! I wish that man would stop staring!” she muttered angrily as she saw a man with his fixed on her.


Victor nibbled at the corner of the garlic bread, the only thing he was able to afford among the pricey dishes in the menu. His eyes moved around the restaurant. There was a wonderful aroma of freshly baked potatoes. Delightfully subtle music was being played, however, which was barely audible due to the clacker of plates, spoons and glass brought by the waiter. A wave of nostalgia hit him as he saw the happy couples holding hands and smiling at each other.

He looked at his reflection in the glass. Age had been to show its effects, he realized as he ran his bony fingers on the wrinkle around his eyes. He was upset that his youthful spirit was trapped in a mortal shell. He sighed at the sight of the increasing amount of gray strands on his head.

As he looked around he was shocked to see a young woman sitting alone on another table. She resembled his wife, who had passed away five years ago, remarkably.

How can this be possible? Victor thought.

“Could she be a relative?” he whispered to himself.

His wife, Mary, had been abandoned at birth. She never knew her family, nor did Victor.

Amazed by the striking resemblance, Victor continued to stare at her, even though judging by her expression, he knew she was irritated by it.

He wanted to talk to her, hoping that she might have answers to the mystery of his wife’s murder that had taken place at the Sunste hotel, five years ago.


Meanwhile, in Room 506 at the same hotel, Edward was getting ready for his blind date. As he stood in front of the mirror buttoning his shirt, the crisp grey coat lay on the untidy bed. It was beside a briefcase that had a job-rejection letter, bank warnings, two cigarette packs and a shaving cream. On the bed-side table, there were empty tea-cups and a broken lamp sprawled on the floor. The room smelled of rotten apples.

Edward flashed a perfect smile at his reflection as he thought about his date. His friend had said that she was a rich business woman and had described her as workaholic. He had been pleased to hear that as according to him such women were easiest to fool. He was a professional when it came to charming such types. He used his personality and quick wit to trap them in his web of affection. Since, these women did not date quite often there wasn’t much competition to be intimidated with.

“If everything goes perfect tonight, I have a good chance of becoming rich,” his coffee-brown eyes sparkled. “Oh! I am late!” he said as checked the clock. “Oh, no worries, I’ll just say I was taking care of my mom. Works every time!” he grinned to himself.

He sprayed perfume, looked at himself in the mirror one last time and said “Looking good!” and chuckled to himself as he left the room.


Farwa Haider said...

This sounds so interesting. Please tell me what happens next!! Please! =D It's brilliantly written (I have got to look up better more interesting words because almost all my comments now sound very boring)
It's a great idea, Shumaila.

Shumaila Abbasi said...

You'll have to buy my novel for that:PPPP

Farwa Haider said...

Can't wait ;P

Maha asif said...

Shumaila.. this actually makes one want to read the next chapter of the novel.. its great.. :).. i love the way you smoothly described the setting..

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