Lost in a fog

I’m sharing an excerpt from my book ‘The Stalking of Rosa Czekov’; it is available as an e-book but I’m going to be making all my published books available as actual books. The main theme of the Rosa Cczekov story is there in the title, however the main character is her cousin, Tyche who is trying to find who the stalker is. Rosa herself was lost in a train crash over a year before and now Tyche is on the trail of the person who caused Rosa so much misery.

In the scene I am sharing Tyche is at a club; it seems strange in a way to read it now because although it is a contemporary story there is one massive change – the smoking ban. When I wrote this story pubs and clubs were not the healthiest places to visit, the air full of noxious fumes – and coming home clothes and hair reeked! Disgusting!! However, that is the way it was!

Tyche has met several people she didn’t want to meet but after they left she stayed on listening to the bands. She has drunk too much and sits in an emotional, drunken fuddle.

A long mellow note cut through the smoky air like a beam of sun through filthy smog. Tyche turned back to the stage. Another group had set up and standing slightly off centre and turned at an angle to the audience, a sax player was sending a cascade of liquid notes sweetly tumbling from his horn. It was something modern, something melodic and simple from a boy band, and yet he transformed it, gave it a haunting, yearning air so that tears flooded Tyche’s eyes. There was an aching loneliness in his tone, a nostalgia that was almost painful.
Tyche recalled Rosa’s description of the first time she had seen Swank when another boy had been playing the saxophone, Luka still on guitar. Rosa had been transfixed and had stared compulsively at him, unaware of Luka, ignoring him completely.
Tyche stared at the player now, turned away from the audience. She watched him, sometimes swaying as he played, his long silky hair hanging down his back. The tempo changed and the pain of loss was more acute, the player turned completely away now, his eyes shut, lost in his music. Tyche too was lost, swept far from the dingy smoky subterranean rooms, and it was as if she loved the man who was playing such bitter-sweet sounds. It finished and the sparse audience applauded more enthusiastically than the larger gathering earlier. The bass guitarist stepped forward and mumbled something into the mic and then began to sing.
Tyche sat bereft. She was drunk and maudlin and the previous number had caught her emotions when she was feeling both aroused and annoyed by Rudi. She shouldn’t drink any more but she wove her way to the bar for another double whisky. She sat waiting for the saxophonist to play again. She couldn’t see him now, the last of those present were clustered about the stage and she hadn’t the energy to stand.
The next number he played really swung and Tyche’s fuddled brain was stirred and elated and she wanted to dance but an inner sense of the state she was in kept her seated. Over the next hour Tyche sat entranced, moved in a variety of ways by the equal variety of numbers they played.
The last number was ‘Summertime’. It was played slow and mournful and the tears began to trickle down Tyche’s face and she was too drunk to realise she was crying.  The saxophone held its notes clear and pure and long and the sound tore at her heart in a way which would have affected her however much she’d drunk. Sometimes the notes were so gentle they dropped like velvet, other times they brushed her skin like feathers, and her heart ached and her soul wept.

She sat on after they had finished, as the musicians began to pack away their instruments, laughing and almost ecstatic with their success. Tyche stirred and looked around. The club was nearly empty a couple of weary men slowly gathered glasses as the lights came up, dim and hardly penetrating the gloom.
She had to get home. She stood and knocked over her stool and as she tried to right it she stumbled against the table so the empty glasses slid off and rolled across the dark and sticky carpet. She couldn’t pick them up so she staggered in the general direction of the stairs. She crashed into a table and someone caught her arm.
Her eyes were still blurred with tears but she could see who he was by the case in his hand. It was the saxophone player. She wasn’t really in love with him, of course she wasn’t but embarrassed she turned away so he couldn’t see her face.
“How are you getting home?” he asked, his voice hoarse.
“Walking… walking. Drunk too much to drive,” she giggled, stupidly tearful.
“Do you want me to get you a taxi?” he asked.
She lurched towards the stairs.
“No, better walking,” perhaps the night air would sober her.
It was so stupid to get so drunk; if she was in danger she was helpless now. He walked with her, his hand on her elbow, helping her up the steep steps to the vestibule, in darkness now, the neon strip at the pay desk turned off. Into the dark night and the cold air hit and Tyche breathed deeply, the smell of sea stronger than river now as the tide rushed in.
“Let me give you a lift,” the man said.
Tiredness hit her like a blow between the eyes and she capitulated and he led her down the alley onto the High Street and opened the door of a car parked near where Rudi’s had been. Tyche fell in and slumped, eyes shut.
“Where to?” asked a voice beside her.
“Beach Hotel.”
He drove round past the Coastguard Cottages and stopped by the hotel.
“Is this where you want to be?” he asked.
Another car came towards them and illuminated his face and with a shiver Tyche knew who he was. She opened the door and tumbled out, sprawling onto the pavement. He helped her up.
“I’ve been wanting to meet you for some time,” she said. Her voice was steady, she was suddenly almost sober, her head ached but her mind was clear. “My name is Tyche Kane, I’m Rosa’s cousin.”
With a bitten off exclamation he stepped back from her. He was Rosa’s lover.

© Lois Elsden 2018

‘The Stalking of Rosa Czekov’ is available from the following link. I would love to know your opinion of my book and would be really grateful if you would leave some comment. Thank you – and I hope you enjoy chasing the stalker!



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