Chapter 10

Written by: Vatsal Shah

"You tell me the whereabouts of my husband Greg and boy Toby and I will sign the confession,” Stella shrieked at Brendon, the proprietor of The Ambassador Hotel. She stood facing him bravely across his gigantic mahogany table, after having suddenly barged into his chamber. 


She and Betina had returned from the grim wild-goose chase as soon as Stella got the brilliant idea that brought her back on her bearings. Her Mercedes burst into the glamorous carport and she entered the hotel full of energy, like the fire fumes which had once engulfed it. Betina as previously advised by Stella, sneaked into the lift and quietly disappeared. 


"Where is the CCTV footage?" she fumed.


"Lady! Cool down!" Brendon said calmly. "It seems that you are having another breakdown. You also seem to have escaped from the hospital. Let me call them up."


Stella threw the phone on the floor. With her other hand she snatched Brendon's mobile and smashed it on the Italian marble. 


"You are having a terrible nervous breakdown again. Calm down or I will call security. Why don't you admit, for heaven's sake, that you set fire to my hotel?" Brendon was still composed. 


"How about signing this little confession and helping me in my insurance claim? I think you at least owe me that much for the damage done,” Brendon said convincingly. 


Blood rushed to Stella’s head. She felt dazed and confused. "Did I really have a breakdown?" she reflected worriedly. 


"You came here all alone. Greg or Toby were not with you. Don't you recall that? Brendon persistently continued.


"For God's sake, shut up!" Stella screamed. "I was with Greg and Toby. I remember Greg saying something when I was in the shower and then the fire broke out. Where is Greg? You even have a signed declaration of his!"


"All in your imagination, my lady. Relax. Nothing is going to happen to you. No charges as this is a medical reason. Sign please."


"I won't!" Stella looked Brendon in the eye.


It was at that moment that Brendon, like a flash of lightening, came to the side of Stella and clutched her throat in his tight grip. "You bitch, sign the damn confession," he roared hurting Stella. Stella was now almost out of breath and scared.


"I won't, I won't, I won't" she repeatedly mumbled.


Brendon brandished a pistol from his coat pocket and placed it on Stella's temple, thrust the pen in her hands and dragged her to the desk. Her throat was now hurting terribly. 


It was precisely at that moment that Greg and Betina entered the chamber with Toby trailing behind. Betina said she had found them locked up in the fourth floor store-room. 


Greg swiftly snatched the pistol and pushed Brendon to the floor. He then jumped on him. Brendon's jaw bled as he was continuously thrashed by Greg. It was not long before sirens were heard and police cars pulled in. Betina had informed them. 




Hi Vatsal
I found your chapter a bit abrupt. It provides an ending that is complex without any supporting references in the previous chapters. How did she realize that her husband and child was still in the hotel? How did Betina know where to look for them? Your chapter tells more than show and I believe some of the dialogue could be cut.
Your dialogue still needs some work to become more authentic. As an example "You tell me the whereabouts of my husband Greg and boy Toby and I will sign the confession" would seem more natural as "Just tell me where's my husband and child and I'll sign your damn confession "
You capture Stella's emotions well through her actions, but then lets her emotional state swing from one extreme to another and back again.
I assume the Italian marble is the floor?
I would have added Betina's explanation in dialogue to keep her in character.
Greg and Toby are not well defined and except for Greg's actions you don't show anything about Toby's reaction. He is seeing his mother for the first time in months and that in an awful situation.
I think if you started the chapter with Brendon assaulting Stella, then giving a description of how she got to that point, you could add more description on the reuniting of the family and explanation of what happened from Greg and Toby's point of view.
I would have loved to have this final chapter more in sync with the previous chapters.
Thanks for the feedback Sumanda! I am usually looking for it to help me write better. In this chapter 500 words was the biggest limit. Also Chapter 9 was not conclusive towards the climax. Infact if you read all the chapters they are wonderful writing but do nothing to conclude the suspense. So the entire responsibility fell on me.

What more than a new character "Bredon" (the villian) having to be introduced in the last chapter? :-) To drive the story to an end... I could have left it incomplete. I never thought of that option.

I love to make my stories a little 'dramatic', hence the dramatic dialogue. In my chapter till the middle I was trying to confuse the reader that it was all in Stella's mind and she had a nervous breakdown... And suddenly the climax ends with the twist. I ran out of words in the end and it does seem abrupt. But I guess stories can end that way and savor in the mind of the reader. The reader here would then try to match the links of what could have happened.

If I wanted to 'tell' the story, I would have mentioned Brendon saying that he had Greg captive and was trying to blackmail Stella into signing the confession... and Brendon wanted the insurance money because his Hotel was running in loss. So he had himself set the fire and found scape-goats in Stella and Greg.

Some chapters are very different from my usual style. So they are challenging for me as well.
Good criticism and good reply. Sumanda makes very good points and if we wanted to include this serial in an anthology of serials for publication it would need a lot of work - as Vatsal points out. My own feelings are that all the more experienced writers should now be thinking seriously of writing a full length serial of their own. It is nice to see an exchange of criticism and points of view between writers without anyone feeling hurt. This is the best way for all of us to know each other and learn from each other. 10 out of 10 for both criticism and reply.
Would you like the sequel to The Infection, Ray? As you pointed out I should be doing a single author serial. And since your request on my chapter 10 on The Infection came to mind, I thought it might be the one to start with. :)
I would request Jasmine, Suraya, Roseyn, Gabrielle, Tulika, Anna, Donna, to give their views/ suggestions/ critique too. Ray your analysis would also be helpful.
The points Sumanda makes are completely right. I sometimes think your writing tries to be too clever and that leads to odd endings that don't flow from previous writing. Chapter 9 is not meant to be the climax as it is leading the reader to the climax and closure of all the points in chapter 10. As in debating the final writer gathers all the threads and ties them together. You do need to work on your dialogue to make it authentis and reduce the adverbs and adjectives. The writing needs to have flow. I know this is post Vatsal resignation and I apologise for not answering these questions earlier.