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A Devil`s Path

by mip1980 

Posted: 03 July 2003
Word Count: 2856
Summary: This is a sample from the opening chapter of my book which i'm working. Please be brutally honest ladies and gents

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The clock was ticking slowly, it was a slow, constant ticking. The type that made you feel incredibly tired and relaxed, maybe that’s why it was here.

‘So why do you think that is then Sarah?’ came a voice.
Sarah looked around, it was Dr Klein. Her daydream had taken her away from the conversation in hand, it was the clock that had distracted her. ‘Sarah?’ Said the doctor again, Sarah focused on Dr Klein.

‘Sorry doctor, I got side tracked by the clock.’ Replied Sarah, she was incredibly beautiful. She was aged twenty-nine and had an absolutely stunning figure. Her blue eyes were very bright and shone like emeralds, they paid complement to her mousy brown hair which always hung long and behind her ears. Her lips were the envy of nearly every women, they looked like they had been worked on medically but they hadn’t. She was blessed with truly incredible looks and when she smiled, boy did her teeth glisten. Sarah knew how to look after her body, after all. Her body had been good to her, she had been a model for several years which had paid her handsomely. And now, even though she was near her thirty’s, she was still capable of earning a modest living from the same profession. Yet Sarah had the same drive for business studies as her late father had, she chucked in modelling to pursue a career as a chairperson for reputable clothing company.

The money was fantastic, the job was hard but more important than that, it was challenging. Sarah had an excellent sense of business knowledge, her father had guided her through university as he had had an excellent career span as well. Gerald as he was called had been the C.E.O of an international petroleum firm, placing shares in his company had been an extremely good investment for when they were cashed in, they received more then two point three million pounds. Yet even with this financial stability at her disposal (money she is set to inherit when her mother passes ), Sarah had always wanted to live off her own ends.

A standing ovation was required just for that, her private schooling had meant she had made lots of rich friends and none of them planned to work, they were content to wait around for their spouses to kick the bucket and obtain their money without so much as a days work. Not Sarah though, that wasn’t her style. However, things were not always as rosy for her. At the age of twenty-three she had entered into a marriage with an up and coming business man, Simon DeVere. He had been at Sarah’s university and was one of those pre-mentioned people, you know, the type that was content to sit and wait for their inheritance. His father however was having none of it and after years of colliding with his son’s views on life, he put his foot down and threatened to cut him from the will unless he pulled his finger out. Simon was quick to react and immediately acquired a chairperson’s position at the bank of England. They met again through accounts meetings at work and started dating, then after a year he proposed and the marriage was done on the Caribbean island of St Lucia.

For four years the marriage was great but lately Simon had changed, he had become distant and hardly spoke to Sarah. Daily routine had consisted of them both going to work, both coming home and then Simon going out every evening without so much of a hello. Even when he came back he always opted for sleeping in a different room, this made Sarah extremely upset.

She feared that he had found another woman, in her eyes Simon was extremely good looking himself. He always had female admirers when they were at university, he had been the captain of the campuses rugby team. I imagine that a lot women’s hearts were broken when news reached them that Simon, their dream man, was marrying one of that years most stunning models. Sarah thought she would be happy with her dream man but obviously not, was he happy with his selection? Sarah suffered from heavy depression and took to seeking counselling, her company valued her too highly to release her, so they recommended a good psychiatrist and told her that they would foot the bill.
Hence the reason why she was seeing Dr Klein, this was only her third session with him yet progression was already being made. Her insomnia was still present but her views on life had started improving, she was starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.
Dr Klein sat back in his chair and placed one leg over the other, resting his clipboard on his right knee. Sarah who was lying on the leather sofa swivelled her legs around and sat up, she looked around the office. It was a well-organised office with pine flooring and cream walls that had several paintings of the British coastline dotted at various locations around the room. It was a nice touch, Dr Klein believed that the ocean is the key to calming most peoples anxieties.
In between the two-leather sofas there was a glass coffee table, which had a vase of roses and a pot containing toffees, under the table was a nice cream coloured fur rug.
It was nice and warm inside this room as well as the rain continued to hound down outside, you could here the bitter wind wailing as it carried the rain against the window.
‘Does, the clock distract you Sarah? If so I could remove it for our sessions.’ Said Dr Klein as he peered over the rim of his glasses, his head slightly looking down but his eyes focused on Sarah in a caring manner.
‘Oh no Jacob,’ they were on first name terms with each other. ‘I was just thinking about how relaxing it sounded.’ Sarah smiled briefly.
‘Well, maybe we’ve found something that could help with your insomnia. Many of my patients believe that there is a calming sound for everyone, clocks might work for some people, travelling on a train could be another and of course, there’s rain.’ He said pointing to the window.
‘Sorry, but how does travelling on a train sooth anyone?’ Asked Sarah, she hated commuting on public transport and was intrigued that anyone could be that bizarre.
‘Sarah, what you’ve got to remember is that everyone is different. One of my other patients likes to go on long train journeys and just listen to the clickety-click of the track, he also likes the soothing vibrations given off by a train. Some people might find it bizarre but if it makes that one person feel happier, then why criticize or even stop them from finding well being.’ Sarah could see his point, everyone is different and doesn’t she know it. ‘Maybe the clock is your solace, your key to tranquillity. Your special something that soothes you off to sleep, it doesn’t hurt to invest in a small carriage clock and experiment.’ Continued Dr Klein. He jotted something down on his notepad before looking back at Sarah, she was nodding to herself in agreement with him. She hadn’t ever thought of that before, she had a friend who bought a CD of rain droplet noises to help her sleep.
‘Sarah, when I look at you I see a young woman carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders and it looks like your about to buckle under the pressure. Your far to young to be dealing with troubles like this, if your marriage is failing then there is only one thing left to do…’ Sarah’s stomach sank, as she knew the rest of his sentence before he’d even started it, she wished she could stop him from saying what he was about to say but she couldn’t. ‘Maybe you should consider a divorce, if Simon is as unapproachable as you claim. Then I’m afraid your making beds in a burning house, your still young and I see no reason why you can’t rebuild from here.’
Sarah could feel her eyes welling up, she was desperate to hold back the tears as she was desperate to hold onto her husband. For all the ways he was currently treating her and I refer to the bad ways, she was still in love with the man she married. It would be hard in her opinion to let go, why should some other woman get her man when all she has ever done is be true to him. Sometimes you can confuse love with pride, your not sure whether you wish to hold onto something because you fear being alone or whether you are worried about your friends always knowing that you dived head first into something with someone that could never be trusted. This is what constantly rushed around her head, was it genuine love or was it a fear of being the idiot for not seeing what was happening? These questions led to confusion, confusion to bitterness and bitterness to depression. Yet she could se Dr Klein’s point, she was still young and beautiful. She always had attention from other men but what if they all turn out to be like Simon, her confidence was dented in a catastrophic way.
Dr Klein handed her a tissue as the tears started to flow, there was no holding back now. She sniffed as she wiped away the tears.
‘I feel like such an idiot,’ Said Sarah amid her sniffing.
‘Sarah, your not an idiot, it takes time to gain confidence. You’ve always been true to Simon, therefore true to yourself. You haven’t got anything to be ashamed of, you are strong. Go out tonight, get your friends together and go and have a great time.’
Sarah nodded in agreement, maybe that was what she needed. To be with her friends and live for the moment, it was a Friday after all, why not see in the weekend with a bang.
‘Yes Jacob your right, I will go out tonight and have a great time in the process.’
‘Great, why not ay? You need to release your frustration’ replied Dr Klein with a satisfactory smile on his face, this was what his job was all about, making people happy. Sarah turned to look out the window, the rain was definitely getting heavier compared to when she had left home earlier that morning. It felt good to be in such a welcoming and cosy environment at a time like this, the fact that Dr Klein was making her feel better also helped. She ran the conversation through her head, yes it was depressing that Simon was so unapproachable at this point in time but why burden herself with his slack attitude towards marriage. She deserves better treatment, if not from Simon then she would have to find another willing man, a man whose loyalties were in the right place. She was unanimous in her verdict on going out later on that evening, maybe another man would bring Simon to his senses, Maybe another man wasn’t the answer, there was only one way to find out. Sarah knew the old cliché ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’, true but an eye for an eye would feel great!
Dr Klein placed his clipboard down onto the coffee table and placed his hands in his lap, his gaze was drawn towards the questionable look in Sarah’s eyes as she continued to look out the window.
‘I’m not the type of person that would actively encourage adultery, however. Your husband has refused my requests to attend any of our meetings and it draws just one conclusion in my mind, Simon has no interest in your well-being. Now I’m not saying go out and start an affair, just have a good time tonight and forget about him, he obviously has forgotten about you.’ Remarked Dr Klein as Sarah continued to gaze out of the window, there was that sinking feeling again in the pit of her stomach. She turned and faced Dr Klein who was now leaning back in his chair with his arms folded, his eyes were yet again focused on her from over the rim of his glasses. ‘Sarah, if it’s rejection or loneliness that you fear the most. Then you have to remember that a lot of people are in the same boat as you, it doesn’t hurt to join a support group and discuss your feelings with like-minded people. You may find it will help you overcome your anxieties with meeting new people, we must look at every angle to get you back on the rails.’
‘I’m not sure that I would be comfortable to tell all in front of total strangers, it’s hard enough in front of you.’ Responded Sarah as she reached for her coat Dr Klein nodded his head understandably.
‘Ok, if your not comfortable with that then that’s fine. But we will get through his together, no matter how long it takes.’ Said Dr Klein in a determined manner.
Sarah put her designer fitted leather jacket on and then reached for her handbag and umbrella, Dr Klein stood up so that he could see her out of the office. Sarah placed her belongings on the coffee table so that she could do up her jacket.
‘Good idea’ remarked Dr Klein, he was referring to the fact that Sarah was doing her coat up. ‘It looks extremely cold outside.’
Sarah smiled at Dr Klein as she picked up her belongings, she shook Dr Klein’s hand and thanked him for the session. ‘I think progress is definitely being made Sarah, so I need you to help me this week. I want you to jot down the first thought that pops into your head when you awake in the mornings, just use any bit of scrap paper, jot your thoughts down and then bring them in next Thursday.’ Remarked Dr Klein as Sarah opened his heavy pine door.
‘Sure thing Jacob, I’ll see you the same time next Thursday then yeah?’
‘Absolutely, have a safe journey home and I’ll see you next week Sarah with those thoughts.’
Sarah smiled and then closed the door behind her, as she left his office, a warm glow flowed through her body as she anticipated the night ahead. Getting friends sorted for the evening wouldn’t be a problem as her best mates Katherine and Susanna were always going out at the weekends, she had met and become best friends with them whilst doing her modelling. They hadn’t settled down and were always partying hard, party hard and die young was their motto. Sarah was always guaranteed two things with theses to animals, one, lots of alcohol and two, a right laugh.
She pulled her mobile phone from out of her Gucci handbag and proceeded to call Katherine as she left her psychiatrist’s on Great Marlborough street, the rain was battering down but luckily for her she had managed to park right outside the building.
She quickly scuttled to her car and unlocked the door, threw her bag and umbrella onto the passenger seat and elegantly sat down, closing the door behind her.
The rain was pounding the roof of her car, she placed her key in the ignition and then waited as Katherine’s phone started ringing.
‘Hello Sarah.’ Came the almost instant reply. ‘Long time, no see darling.’
‘Hi there Cat.’ Replied Sarah, stunned that Katherine had answered the phone so quickly. ‘I was wondering what you and Suzy were planning for this evening?’
‘Well, we got a nice little VIP thing going on at that new bar on Oxford street, Electric Square. Why, you fancy joining us for a girly night then darling?’
Sarah thought about it for a moment, she travels to London every day for work and even travels here for her therapy meetings on Great Marlborough street. Does she really want to go down London to unwind as well, you see getting back is a problem if she is drinking as she lives in Buckinghamshire. Why not she thought, she could always crash at Katherine’s.
‘Yeah babe, count me in.’
‘Great, if you drive down to mine at about five this evening. We can have a few drinks, catch up on the gossip and get ready down mine. I take it your gonna crash at mine tonight then?’ Asked Katherine, by the sound of her voice I think she was hoping Sarah would say yes.
‘If that’s ok with you Kat?’
‘Of course it is darling, I gotta go as I’m at work, I’ll speak to you later babes.’
‘Ok, see you later.’ Replied Sarah, she ended the call and placed her phone in her bag.
Then with a smile on her face she put her seatbelt on, started her engine and pulled away in her silver Aston Martin DB7, a car which she treasured more than her house.
She was feeling great and why not, she was about to have a really good weekend.

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Comments by other Members

Ralph at 11:51 on 04 July 2003  Report this post
Hy Mip
I like the idea of starting off in the psychiatrists office - it's a perfect way of establishing characters. I was just wondering if it would be smoother to use more dialogue, and rely less heavily on the narrator to give the reader an overview of Sarah's situation. She's there to talk about it, so it wouldn't seem unnatural, and it would make it easier for the reader to see things from her perspective, and to connect with her.

Other than that just a couple of things - "Her lips were the envy of nearly every woman, they looked like they had been worked on medically but they hadn't." I always think natural lips are much more beautiful than the ones that have been cosmetically altered, and I can normally tell ;-)
Thre other thing was why she is seeing a psychiatrist. If she's simply depressed due to marital difficulties I think she'd normally be referred to a counsellor - unless it's sparked a mental disorder in her, which would be a psychiatrist's domain...
Oh, and if he's a really good psychiatrist/counsellor he wouldn't suggest divorce, he'd get her to suggest it....There's a challenge for you!!!
I left this chapter with the feeling that things were about to go horribly wrong...looking forward to the next installment.
Happy writing

Becca at 18:51 on 05 July 2003  Report this post
Hello Michael, Ralph made some good points there. There is a tendency in this piece to tell not show, and I also wondered what the piece would be like if you did the entire thing in dialogue and saw how much info you could through this way, one of my reasons for thinking this was that as it stands there's hardly any action, it's all reflection, so it moves very slowly. Did you want the reader to have empathy with your central character? This could take some working on, you know, to not make her look drippy. There's a few places where punctuation takes a back seat as at '...such an idiot,'Said Sarah.' or '...forgotten about you.' Remarked.
How about looking at he said, she said parts of your dialogue lines? Maybe 'replied Dr Klein with a satisfactory smile on his face.' would read better as something like 'smiling warmly.'
Towards the end a narrator comes in where you write 'by the sound of her voice I think she was hoping Sarah would say yes.'
I'm sure this piece could be enlivened, taking the expositon out would help in this regard, things like 'they were on first name terms.' Or, 'and I refer to the bad parts.' Oh, I just realised you had a narrator in at the beginning. But do you need one? Another line where you tell don't show is at 'he was referring to the fact that she was doing her coat up.'
How about doing the whole piece from Sarah's POV? that could up the pace and you might be able to get more emotion in it? Just a suggestion.

Nell at 19:29 on 11 July 2003  Report this post
Hi Michael,

I have to echo Ralph and Becca here, I believe you could try this a number of different ways to make the piece flow more smoothly. And just to help the correct punctuation for the following is in italics below it.
‘Sorry doctor, I got side tracked by the clock.’ Replied Sarah, she was incredibly beautiful.
'Sorry doctor, I got side tracked by the clock,' replied Sarah. She was incredibly beautiful.
I wonder if Ralph's right about things being about to go horribly wrong? Keep writing and post the next installment soon.

Best, Nell.

old friend at 16:08 on 21 September 2003  Report this post

Above you will find some very good advice. It is quite painful to take one's work, remembering the many hours of hard effort and detailed thought, only to 'start again' or, at best to cut it into a lot of pieces and re-assemble like some jigsaw puzzle that doesn't fit.

I would suggest that you look at this with a thick blue pencil. You introduce many cliched ideas to describe Sarah...background, education, money, rich friends, top jobs, even down to the upper-class husband (Do, please change his name from DeVere!) There are many ways to 'inform' the reader of these facts about Sarah.

Look at your opening sentences. Perhaps 'constant' might be 'monotonous'or 'hypnotic' ... you repeat'ticking', then you refer to 'the type'... meaning clock or ticking??? A good starting idea but in need of improvement.

Should 'thirty's' not be 'thirties'? '...she was still capable. of...' should this not be 'she would still be able to...'(or 'capable of') since she now has no need for this 'small income'. Perhaps deletion..?

'Sarah had an excellent sense of business knowledge'... this should be either 'an excellent sense of business' or 'excellent knowledge of business'... I would also use 'keen' rather than excellent.

Only suggestions. Read it carefully.

I would have welcomed some idea of plot to have emerged. What comes through to me is that you can tell a good story but your pen runs ahead. You do leave out some necessary words and include a number of unnecessary ones.

Keep on, you have a lot of talent.

old friend, Len

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