The south of England has been battered by a ferocious storm, named St Jude; it was supposed to have been really bad where we are, by the sea, but fortunately, all seems well. The wind has dropped, the rain has stopped and the sun is shining between the heavy grey clouds. In other places it has been really dreadful, trees down, roads and railways blocked, and sadly some people seem to have lost their lives.

In ‘The Stalking of Rosa Czekov’ a violent storm features towards the end of the story. Tyche and Ira Chambers are being pursued by a man with one thing on his mind, eliminating them to conceal the fact that he has already murdered on innocent woman and has tried to kill Tyche. They have driven down to tiny Opal harbour in an attempt to escape the man who is pursuing them, a gun ready to murder them as he has already murdered Ira’s brother Japheth. A storm is raging and the tide is surging in…

There was a noise like thunder, but it was Ira leaning out of the car, firing across her at the big Volvo heading straight at them. Terrified she rolled onto her knees and from somewhere found a reserve of energy and sprinted away and leapt over the little wall as the big car hit the Ford. She crouched down and light tore across the sky, and a huge explosion of actual thunder cracked directly right above them.

She ran to the cottage and banged on the door, screaming to be let in, thumping her fists against the shuttered widows but it was silent, uninhabited now.

She was grabbed by the hair. “Got you, bitch! Kill her, kill her!” he screamed thrusting her towards Ira.

“I want you , I don’t care about her!” Ira shouted “You put me away once too often, you’re not going to do it again! Let her go, it’s you I’m after. One of you cops killed Enoch, and now you’ve killed Japheth!”

There was another blinding flash and thunder rolled above as if cascading rocks down from heaven.  The woman tore herself away and ran for her life.

Barefoot she raced across the gravel without looking back, expecting the thud of a bullet or the clutch of a hand in her hair or round her throat. She reached the lime-kiln and cowered among the tumble of debris and broken bricks and stone.

The rain was falling in curtains and she could see nothing in the foul miasma, hear nothing above the howl of the wind and the rage of the sea. In another brilliant flash the world was illuminated in neon radiance under a sheet of lightning that seemed spread from horizon to horizon. In those dazzling seconds she saw two figures locked in a murderous embrace pushing each other up against the seawall as the waves rolled over them, crashing down and hiding them.

She blinked, blinded by the streaming rain and the lightening and then it was dark and there was a strange earth-shaking, dragging roar of noise, a howling, anguished, tearing sound. The ground seemed to tremble and heave and something seemed to have happened to the shape of the land.

Lightening sheeted for a third time, brighter than day and the wall had gone, collapsed into the sea, and the two men were no longer there.

You can buy ‘The Stalking of Rosa Czekov’ here:

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