This is the first page of my first full-length novel, “The Inferno Corporation.” Beginning chapter quotations are taken from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s translation of “The Divine Comedy.” I hope you enjoy.
“Midway upon the journey of life I found myself within a forest dark, For the straightforward path had been lost.”
He had been staring at the door for several hours. He was waiting for her in an alley across the street, hiding behind a garbage bin. The rats kept him company as he looked on. He remembered the first time she came across his path in that Starbucks. He longed to have her. His imagination ran wild as he reflected on what he would do to her. He licked his lips with anticipation. His pulse was beginning to quicken. The door opened and a woman stepped out into the cold night.
Jennifer Brown sat down in the dressing room chair. She had been dancing all night. Her feet and legs ached. Jennifer counted the money; it would be enough for rent. Jennifer Brown’s parents were devout Mormons and her lifestyle was in conflict with their faith. They loved her, however, they did not going to support what she did. She grew up in a small town outside of Tucson, Arizona. She had taken ballet classes when she was younger. When she grew older she wanted to dance competitively. However her parents frowned at the thought of their daughter strutting around in front of everyone, so dancing was forbidden in her house. When she turned 18 years old, she left town and went to New York. For a few months she slept in her car. Jennifer was as tough as she was determined. Deep down she knew she would one day make it. Her rigorous routine never bothered her, nor did the stares of men. She stepped outside that cold night and noticed him afar off. She knew how to handle herself. He did not seem like much of a threat.
The day began as every other day started for Jennifer. The alarm clock did its usual job on time. However, there was no Jennifer in bed to hear the alarm and to click it off. The alarm continued to faithfully buzz along for a solid hour. Frustrated neighbors began calling the landlord and begging him to do something. The walls in the apartment complex were paper-thin. Abraham Silver reluctantly agreed to check it out. He received many calls each week about noise and he hated wasting his time this way. He slowly marched up the stairs to Jennifer’s apartment. The staircase was old and it groaned with each step he took. He stood before her door and noticed that it was cracked open a tiny bit. This seemed very strange to him. Jennifer was always careful to lock her door. He pushed the timeworn door open. The door screeched as it gave way to his push. The room was dark. He fumbled around by the wall for the light switch. The light revealed a room in disarray. There was no trace of Jennifer anywhere. Clothing was strewn everywhere across the floor. The kitchen was cluttered with dirty pots and pans. An exercise bike was in the corner covered in clothes. Rarely used it lingered there ever since Jennifer had bought it. She had hoped to one day get back into riding a bike. Something suspicious caught Abraham’s eye in the kitchen. He went back over and inspected the open microwave. The suspicious item was an open microwave. He had not noticed it before, because it was in the far corner. He went over to inspect it. Inside was a cup of noodles. It was lukewarm to the touch. He sighed. She had been there recently, but there was no sight of her. He scratched his head as he scanned the rooms. Abraham had never been in the apartment when Jennifer was not there. Therefore, everything seemed to be normal. The alarm continued ring and begging for someone to respond.