The Night Stalker (DCI Erika Foster #2) - Robert Bryndza Page 0,1


Hatred rose in the shadow. It was intoxicating to see the man inside, knowing what was about to unfold.

The man in the kitchen programmed the microwave and placed the meal inside. There was a beep and the digital countdown began.

Six minutes.

The man took another gulp of his wine and then left the kitchen. Moments later, a light came on in the bathroom window directly above where the shadow crouched. The window swung open a few inches, and there was a squeak as the shower was turned on.

Heart hammering, the shadow outside the window worked fast: unzipping a money belt, pulling out a small flat screwdriver and easing it into the crack where the window met the sill. With a small amount of pressure, it popped open. The sash window moved up smoothly and the shadow slid in through the gap. This was it. All the planning, the years of angst and pain…

Four minutes.

The figure stepped down into the kitchen and moved swiftly, pulling out a small plastic syringe and squirting its clear liquid into the glass of red wine, swirling the wine around before gently placing the glass back on the black granite counter.

The shadow stood for a moment, listening, enjoying the cool waves from the air conditioning. The black granite countertop sparkled under the lights.

Three minutes.

The shadow moved quickly through the kitchen, passing the wooden bannister at the base of the stairs, and slipped into a pool of darkness behind the living room door. A moment later, the man came down the stairs, wearing just a towel. The microwave gave three loud beeps to say it was finished. As the man padded past barefoot, the smell of clean skin wafted through the air. The shadow heard a clink as the man pulled cutlery from the drawer, and a scrape of a stool on the wooden floor as he sat down to eat.

The shadow exhaled deeply, emerged from the shadows and quietly climbed the stairs.

To watch.

To wait.

To exact long-awaited retribution.



The night air was close and humid on the quiet South London street. Moths fizzed and bumped in the orange arc of light cast by a streetlamp illuminating a row of terraced houses. Estelle Munro shuffled along the pavement, arthritis slowing her progress. When she drew close to the light, she stepped down from the pavement and onto the road. The effort to step down off the kerb made her groan, but her fear of moths outweighed the pain in her arthritic knees.

Estelle eased her way through a gap between two parked cars and gave the streetlight a wide berth, feeling the heat from the day’s sun radiating off the tarmac. The heatwave was in its second week, pressing down on the residents of London and the south-east of England, and along with thousands of other old people Estelle’s heart was protesting. The siren of a far-off ambulance blared, seeming to echo her thoughts. She was relieved to see that the next two streetlights were broken, and slowly, painfully, she edged between two parked cars and rejoined the pavement.

She had offered to feed her son Gregory’s cat whilst he was away. She didn’t like cats. She’d only offered so she could have a good nose around the house, and see how her son was coping since his wife, Penny, had left him, taking Estelle’s five-year-old grandson, Peter, with her.

Estelle was out of breath and pouring with sweat when she reached the gate of Gregory’s smart terraced house. In her opinion, it was the smartest house in the whole street. She pulled a large hanky out from under her bra