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Old 07-01-2017, 03:11 PM   #1
Braden
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Default Manhattan (by Braden)


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The moon glistened in Manhattan’s night sky, and there would never be a dinner party spoken about as much as The Bondell’s. The occasion was important to Rachel Bondell since her reputation depended on it. She was introduced to an elite group of women earlier in the year, and took turns visiting each person’s home for their social gatherings. Now it was her time to impress. though her husband was not enthralled by the ordeal. Samuel Bondell never accompanied his wife to any of these extravagant parties, and enjoyed having the apartment to himself whilst he wasn’t at work. Having so many people in his home was uncomfortable for a professional albeit reserved businessman. More importantly, the party brought attention to concerns that were sure to make him uneasy throughout the night.

*

Rachel gently took another cleaning wipe – her face stoic. Her left hand was wrapped around the stem of a wine glass, caressing the circumference of the rim with the wipe held in her right hand. She concentrated on the plate of half-eaten canapés on the other side of the kitchen island, but suddenly her eagle-eye caught a spill of golden liquid upon the grey-toned marble countertop. It surrounded the wire footed cake stand, so she immediately placed the wine glass down. Her stilettos clacked as she walked over to rip several sheets of paper towels. Rachel had been serving Dom Pérignon champagne, so presumed that a glass had been knocked over whilst she was busy attending to other guests. She flattened one towel against the surface, and in its damp state she manoeuvred it around.

“Darling, where’s my red wine?” asked someone with pride in their voice.

Rachel paused, a statuesque female stood with one hand on her hip forming a perfect arch with her arm. The woman was accompanied by a male who was nearly half her size. Rachel peered over to the immaculate wine glass. Her reason for returning to the kitchen abruptly shot back in to her mind, as if someone held a pistol directly to her head and pulled the trigger.

“Ah, I’m so sorry, Katherine. I’ll pour that for you now” Rachel proclaimed with an overbearing grin.

“No need to worry,” Katherine responded in a somewhat condescending tone. “You’re aware that it’s the only beverage I enjoy, and I’m flattered that you bought a bottle especially for me.”

Rachel inhaled deeply, and exhaled before observing the table for a bottle of Château Canon Magnum 2005. She had told Katherine a week prior that she bought this red wine custom for her needs. However, the wine had been bought whilst Rachel and Samuel celebrated their five-year anniversary in London. It had been left in their pantry for no less than three years, as they both wanted to wait for an appropriate time to open it – Katherine Richardson was that appropriate time.

Out of the corner of her eye, Rachel glanced at a dark bottle. She was overwhelmed with relief, as for a moment she was convinced that the Château Canon Magnum had already been opened. The crimson-coloured collar and neck of the bottle distinguished its identity, and she pounced upon its location in the corner of the kitchen. “Would you like a glass, Evan?”

“I’ll be quite alright with sparkling water, Rachel” Evan replied.

****! Rachel screamed internally. She forgot that Evan didn’t drink alcohol. He was an enigmatic character, the reason for his sobriety was never disclosed but was once the centrepiece of gossip within Manhattan. As a well-respected attorney in the area, his reputation suffered due to reports of speculation regarding alcoholism. Mainly in the New York Post. “Oh, of course, yeah.” Rachel stuttered.

Rachel’s manicured nails unwrapped the neck of the wine bottle. She then placed her thumb on the cork, jolting it in the direction of the window just by her side. Her face scrunched with worry. Evan and Katherine met each other’s eyes with reluctance, as a form of hiding their embarrassment for Rachel. She continued to push the cork with the bottle grasped in her hand, evidently struggling with the task.

“Let me.” Katherine announced whilst marching over to Rachel. Katherine was an intimidating person, though she was someone with good intentions. She’d always been pleasant to Rachel, and would tend to make her welcome under any circumstance. A woman with confidence in abundance, but her boasting attitude was sometimes bothersome to her fellow peers.

A succinct squeak confirmed that Katherine had effortlessly opened the bottle. She then poured the drink herself. “A nice glass of red wine to complement my red Chloé dress.” She giggled.

Rachel conjured enough optimism to display a faint smile, whilst glaring at Katherine’s well-structured face. She then double-checked the label on the sparkling water to ensure it wasn’t alcohol, grabbed a long glass and emptied what was left from the bottle before handing it to Evan. The Château Canon Magnum had a flamboyant stench that was slightly aggressive to a few of Rachel’s senses, “Come through to the parlour” Rachel stated in what was a peremptory manner.

Walking into her living area full of people was a surreal experience for Rachel. She’d only ever had one or two dinner parties before, mainly with family when they flew over from Vermont to stay for the odd weekend. This time around she was surrounded by so many unfamiliar faces: A sea full of strangers, and was expected to interact with these individuals – ‘networking’ as Allison would often refer to it as.

Allison was a kooky woman with a desire to be a renowned figure. Attention was what she coveted most, though this desperation would never translate well. The only person more eccentric and off-putting than Allison was her husband, George, who had a fondness for gossiping and was far more effeminate than his wife.

“Such a terrific place you have here, Rachel” spoke Allison in a faux high-class accent.

“Manhattan has such a different atmosphere to Brooklyn. There’s a lot of culture specifically attached to the Upper West Side too” George added whilst gesturing wildly.

The pair of them were wearing matching emerald-green garments (gown dress for Allison, tuxedo for George), which literally twinkled in a room full of simplistic yet stylish outfit choices. “Thank you. It really is fabulous here,” Rachel gushed. “No complaints yet” she added with forced laughter. Disingenuous reactions of amusement ensued from her guests, and in that moment, she perceived that she was in company of people she knew: Her ‘circle of friends’.

A lady stood quietly within the group. Rachel knew her as ‘Ana’, but her full name was ‘Anastasia Bezrukova’. A Russian immigrant who moved to New York to develop her modelling career. Ana was void of emotion, or chose to guard herself from other people. She had been included in the group shortly before Rachel had been introduced to everyone – a friend of Katherine, who was mentoring Ana and helping her book castings. Ana had an ice-cold exterior with short platinum blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, but never revealed much about herself other than what fashion shows she’d booked – and that was usually because Katherine had brought it up first.

“New York is an entirely different world to Saint Petersburg. Our cultures could not be any more different” Ana brusquely exclaimed with a thick Russian accent.

Rachel couldn’t hide her astonishment to the force that those words came out of Ana’s mouth. She observed other people’s reactions and discovered that everyone was also taken aback. “Two beautiful cities though.” Katherine marvelled, attempting to restore a state of tranquillity that hadn’t even been of existence throughout the night.

“I haven’t been to Russia! I don’t really see the point, like, what’s there!” blustered a woman who was yet to speak.

Jualianne Bradt – the infamous Julianne Bradt. An incredibly boisterous yet tactless person, with barely any consideration for others around her. However, she manages to be the soul of a friendship group that includes a variety of personalities of different backgrounds. It is uncertain as to what is endearing about Julianne Bradt, as she is horrendously honest, lacking manners and has the grace of a stray Rottweiler. Much older than the other women, her glamorous lifestyle acts as compensation from her duplicitous husband, Jose. A retired tennis player who ranked number eleven of professionals in the United States of America.

Ana snarled in retaliation to Julianne’s remark. “Well, when you’re not a well-travelled person you don’t feel the need to understand the depths of other countries history.” Katherine sniped with a matter-of-fact tone.

Katherine and Julianne’s relationship consisted of put-downs and petty squabbling. Rachel was perceptive to the fact that it was obvious the two women were not compatible, but were content of keeping each other in their lives almost as a cruel form of punishment. Not to mention how dependent they were on each other. Their confrontations were illustrations of validation within the world of Manhattan. Without an enemy, you were nobody – but even better, a frenemy would enable you to become a well-talked about and well-connected individual.

Julianne snuggled into her husband’s arms whilst grunting obscenities.

*

As the night progressed, the numbers of guests dwindled. Rachel had allowed her close friends to stay longer than those she didn’t know. The parlour immediately cooled due to the lack of people contained in the room. She wondered if Samuel was okay; he’d gone for a walk after claiming to have a migraine. Rachel was aware that Samuel didn’t cope well with recreational events, which is why they lived such a peaceful life.
Nonetheless, Samuel had left the apartment no less than two hours ago, and Rachel hadn’t received a response to her text asking when he would be coming back. She remained in the kitchen with Katherine.

“I’m surprised you handled all of this by yourself tonight, Rachel. With all due respect.” Katherine commented.
“Thanks. It was stressful, but I’m glad I got through the night,” replied Rachel, exhausted. “and it was really sweet of you to stay and help clear up. It means a lot.”

“My god, you’re too sweet,” Katherine gleamed. “which cupboard do the plates go in?”

“Just under the sink” replied Rachel nonchalantly.

Katherine crouched in front of the sink. Her fingers held onto the pristine brass knob, and with no hesitation she opened the cupboard door looking for an empty space for the plates. “Oh my, there’s some broken glass in here.” Katherine declared quite bemused.

Rachel joined Katherine but sat on her knees instead of crouching. Her skin touched the hardwood, as she elegantly poised her hand to pick up a shard of glass. She brought it out, and expected it along with Katherine. Traces of blood were apparent, which agitated Rachel.

“I didn’t put that in there!” Rachel shrieked. Katherine studied Rachel and the shard of glass. She appeared to be rather anxious, but primarily as a result of her squeamish nature at the sight of blood.

“It’s fine, honey. Just put in the recycling bin along with the other glass bottles”

Rachel carefully took each shard and put them in the bin. She was embarrassed by the fact that Katherine may insinuate that this had something to do with her. Whilst tying a knot, she observed that one of her nails had broken. A mirror presented Rachel with her reflection – the night had undoubtedly taken a toll on her. Her sleek, concisely-styled hair was now unkempt. It flustered her, so she decided to take the bin out to her local recycling area to get away from everyone else for a few moments.

However, she turned back to Katherine abruptly, “You know, someone spilt a drink in here earlier. Some moron might have just put the broken glass in the cupboard instead of clearing it up.” Rachel revealed enthusiastically.

“Ah,” Katherine responded, though a look in her eye and her enclosed body language proposed there was a story beyond that. “that would make sense.“

Rachel smiled. She walked through the parlour, ignoring anyone who may be there. Two flights of stairs awaited her, and as she side-stepped down one by one she ended up at the front door.

The bitter Manhattan weather was paralysing to Rachel. She walked down the street towards an open area that contained the blocks recycling bins. Her pace sped up to a simple jog. Once she arrived to the area, she entered the passcode that permitted her access to the skips.

The wooden door creaked as it opened, and she was aware of the fact she was in pure darkness. She used the hand that wasn’t holding the bin bag to turn on the light to her right. Disturbance travelled through the air as Rachel’s teeth chattered. There was a deplorable smell that was provoking her gag reflect.

Rachel switched on the light with her forefinger. The light was captured by a dingy lightbulb in the middle of the room. Rachel dropped the bin bag, causing the collection of glass to clunk against the ground of stone. Her face was vacant of any of any expression, although her mouth was open slightly. This was enough to capitulate her bewilderment.

Her husband, Samuel, lay on the ground. An open gash from ear to ear was prominent, his body motionless, his face exhibiting nothing as his eyes were empty of any life that once was. A blood-curdling scream followed.
There was a killer among them, but everyone had a motive.

So this a short story I wrote for a competiton I entered. It's actually only a first draft, but I thought I would send it in anyway.

They say that the best thing to do with your work as a writer is to publish it, so I thought this forum would be a good place to start. Feedback would be appreciated (though I doubt many people will even read it (or this thread ), you can be as brutal as you want).
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Old 07-01-2017, 03:38 PM   #2
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will cosy up with a nice glass of red to read this later
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Old 07-01-2017, 03:48 PM   #3
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I shall perch to read this later when I'm not in such a rush
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Old 07-01-2017, 06:29 PM   #4
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I liked it, the only thing I've got to say is take a look at your descriptions, detail is always good but too much can disrupt the flow, less is more.
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Old 07-01-2017, 06:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dezzy View Post
I liked it, the only thing I've got to say is take a look at your descriptions, detail is always good but too much can disrupt the flow, less is more.
Thank you, Dezzy

By description do you mean in general, or specifically the characters? I felt I went a bit too far with character description
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Old 07-01-2017, 06:58 PM   #6
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Thank you, Dezzy

By description do you mean in general, or specifically the characters? I felt I went a bit too far with character description
Your character descriptions serve a point so they're fine. I'm talking more about how you described how Rachel cleaned up stuff, it was a little excessive at times.

A minor criticism however.
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Old 07-01-2017, 07:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dezzy View Post
Your character descriptions serve a point so they're fine. I'm talking more about how you described how Rachel cleaned up stuff, it was a little excessive at times.

A minor criticism however.
Okie Dokie. Thanks again I really appreciate your comments because I don't think I've won, and the prize is feedback from a publishing house in London.

TiBB can be just as good for these types of things though
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Old 07-01-2017, 07:20 PM   #8
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miss katherine did that!

i really liked it

why didn't sam want people in the house btw like what were the concerns that made him uneasy

alseaux was the killer going to frame someone else for it? like sam and rachel seemed like the nicest people in the group so idk why someone would murder him unless they only did it to frame one of the nasty hoe's like ana
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Old 07-01-2017, 07:34 PM   #9
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miss katherine did that!

i really liked it

why didn't sam want people in the house btw like what were the concerns that made him uneasy

alseaux was the killer going to frame someone else for it? like sam and rachel seemed like the nicest people in the group so idk why someone would murder him unless they only did it to frame one of the nasty hoe's like ana
Well(), because this was an idea for a novel that turned into a short story, I had to compress my plot.

Basically, Samuel is someone that seems quite harmless, but has ties to the others (he's cheating on his wife with one of the other ladies, was the person who provided intel that Evan was an alcoholic, etc) that all provide reason for his murder.

Maybe so I was actually going to end it by saying that Rachel did it, but then I thought that wasn't true to what I wanted. Also, I wasn't really able to transgress that through my story-telling (as I thought portraying Rachel a someone with a mental illness would be quite interesting albeit a tad difficult) She would definitely be a suspect though in the novel version though, along with everyone else. Ana too, there could sub-plots, like, why is Katherine such a mother to Ana? That sort of thing.
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Old 07-01-2017, 08:07 PM   #10
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katherine interests me the most
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Old 07-01-2017, 08:13 PM   #11
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The whole foundation of this story is based on Real Housewives (in my head I wanted the whole idea of the 'novel' to be a mix of Housewives, Murder, She Wrote and Scream

Katherine is based on Luann from Real Housewives of New York. I'm sure you'd like her
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