Chapter 1

Written by: Lrennes
The ride to work was even more miserable than usual. In a strange coincidence, the train that Art caught to work left at 6:40am, exactly twelve hours before it would depart to take him home. It made for long days, but that was the industry, and that was the commitment it required. Still, after days like the one before, he couldn't help but wonder if it was worth it. He couldn't remember the last time he had seen the sun on a work day.
After exiting the train along with the other earlybird commuters, Art grudgingly made his way through the foyer of the building and into his office. He was not looking forward to dealing with the fallout from the day before, not the least of which would involve the gloating from Paul. 
He was there before both his boss and Paul usually arrived, and he was grateful to have the time. It would help him settle in and steel himself before things got unpleasant. He poured himself a cup of coffee from the small shared kitchenette, hoping he wouldn't run into anyone who wanted to make conversation, before returning to his office and burying his head in some mundane tasks. He didn't have the focus for anything more involved. 
After some time, his boss arrived. She walked past Art's office without looking in and continued on her way. Art hoped that he wouldn't have to deal with her today, but he knew that was a fool's hope. Eventually the knock on the door came. She stood at the door, a cup of what Art presumed was coffee in her hand. 
“Can I have a word with you, Art?” she asked before letting herself in and closing the door. Her over-practised office demeanour did nothing to disguise the sombre tone of the impending conversation. 
“Sure,” he replied, as if he had a choice. 
His boss then proceeded to explain that, despite Art's efforts and his commitment to the firm, the promotion that he had been hoping and working for was to go to someone else. His mistake the day before had been an expensive one, not only for the firm, but now also for Art. It had essentially knocked him out of the running. In an attempt to remain professional, he remained mostly silent throughout the conversation. She wouldn't say who was to take it, but Art suspected it was Paul. Hopefully it was just paranoia, but his gut told him otherwise. 
She stood to leave the room, but as she walked through the door, she ran into a man who rounded the corner simultaneously, almost knocking her coffee into her.
“Excuse me,” he said politely as he let her pass before entering the office and closing the door again.
Art was surprised to see Clarke's face. He had almost forgotten about him. 
“Hello Art. Have you seen Paul today?” he asked rhetorically before answering his own question. “No of course you haven't. It's good to see you again.”


Very good. I love a story that implies by the author's deft narrative, slowly building tension, that something bad is going to happen in the next chapter - or the next? I had a wonderful feeling that there is a touch of Alfred Hitchcock here. This work is smooth and polished and yet, whilst written in a relaxed style, is beginning to tighten the nerve ends of this reader. This has the feel of another great serial. Great idea, Lrennes.
I agree with Ray. Nicely done Leif. You write as if it was effortless, with flow and gradual build up. But I know that writing like that takes skill and is the result of a lot of thinking and work. Deceptively simple is the phrase that comes to mind. It's a good first chapter because you have involved the key characters and hinted at where the story could go.