Chapter 1

Written by: debbie

Watching Hugo in her rear vision mirror, Vivienne started to formulate a plan to get even.  The first date had to be unique.

Fiddling with the ring, Hugo thought back to the customer who brought the ring into his life.  Dressed in a black skirt, silk chemise and boots with sheer black pantyhose, she was a mixture of beauty, sadness and danger.  The ring had belonged to her late husband who was the target of a mob hit. Passed down through the generations’, the ring carried bad luck for anyone who touched it.  She hoped this was her chance to break the curse.

Hugo sighed as he climbed up three flights of stairs to his one bedroom apartment.  Dominated with a double inner sprung mattress on the floor and a faded moth eaten camouflage patterned duvet beside it, the sparsely furnished room was a mess.  An old tattered brown suitcase lay in the corner, holding the meager clothes he owned. He grabbed a cold beer from the fridge and relaxed into the well-worn lazy-boy. He started to remember the woman.  Her features were indistinct behind the lacy black veil that fell from the wide brimmed hat.

She held the ring between her gloved forefinger and thumb. It caught the fluorescent light above them in the shop and shone. There was something about the ring that fascinated Hugo. He reached out to touch it. She drew it away and his hand followed.

“No, you must hear me out.”

Her voice was soft yet anxious. A tear gathered in her dark lashes.

Her late husband had received it from his mother, who’d passed away when he was eight years old.  Natural causes according to the Medical Examiner, but the family knew better. Everyone who had worn the ring had met with a suspicious death. Of course now that it was no longer in the family surely the curse was broken.

Hugo removed the ring from his finger and let it rest in the palm of his hand. Under the single light bulb that swung from the ceiling, he could see that there was history.  The chip on the side.  Was it from the mob hit or from the ring’s deeper history? A deep gash on the surface had a green tinge to it. The unnaturally flattened base added width.  The woman just smiled at him not offering answers.  When Hugo looked up from the counter, she had gone.

After grabbing another beer from the fridge Hugo pondered his reason for taking the ring when he suspected its troubled history.  A wiry smile crept up his rugged face.  Danger was the answer.  He liked danger. Who wanted to go through life without it? 

Vivienne was the key.

As Vivienne flicked the switch, light washed through her tidy two bedroom villa. She walked to her wardrobe and lifted down a black hat. She took the veil in her hands and let it glide through her red painted fingernails.

Debbie Stuart (NZ)



Our 'slice of life' drama has taken off in a mysterious direction. Debbie has written her first chapter in this her first public showing. Here, a new writer is letting us see the surroundings behind the action as well as an insight into the characters mental make up. I love the way this is broken up with just one short line of dialogue that seperates the narrative into two parts - and a really good hook at the end. I look forward to reading more of Debbie's work.
This is more like it for me. An intriguing twist on this story. It's adult drama that will only get better. Good take on the initial preface Deb.
Thanks. It was lots of fun to write. And a big thank you to both Raymond and Suraya for their help.
It had to be a fun experience to make it a worthwhile putting the time in. I found that doing something new will bring skills to the forefront and engaging the reader through the whole piece. That is why my first take is that you've done really well/.
thanks for that Ken. It is really neat feedback.
I enjoyed your chapter. I have one comment that might or might not even be appropriate, as I am a reader, not a writer. The preface ended with 'She would get even.' Therefore, that phrase was not needed in the first line of the first chapter; in fact, it seemed to 'youthenize' (yes, read that every way you will) the sentence. I would have preferred 'Vivienne started to formulate her plan.'
I found this chapter intriguing. Nicely written as well. I would watch for POV change as per the end of the preface (and first to second para of your chapter). Sometimes it can be jarring.
Lastly is a character recalling events too often and swapping from now to the past then back again etc. sometimes that can lose people (readers).