Outside the wind howled and bats flew around the old cottage. Silas Ridgeway, drunk and afraid, slumped in his chair. Outside shadows loomed behind the old barn, trees shook and blew, thunder rolled and electricity flashed its evil signs across the heavens and bats screeched and sang sad songs as they lost their way in the dark.

The Red Scorpion, made his evil way through the thunder, lightening and rain. He raised his fist at the heavens. ‘I will win this battle,’ he cried, ‘all you puny creatures will become my slaves. I will rule the world. A day and a night and I will be in Otaki where my moated castle, The House of the Blue Sapphire, gleams through the stygian darkness of Tasman Road.’

Maria moaned, ‘Where am I?’ she whispered weakly. ‘Oh dear heaven, what has happened?’

‘I have you in my power,’ laughed The Red Scorpion, ‘you thought you could defy me but I am too strong and too evil for any human being to overcome my power, especially a weak, feeble, woman.’

Marta removed her shoe dealt him a heavy blow with the long black heel, right where the rubber hits the road.

‘Oh – oh – oh,’ yelled the Red Scorpion.’ He dropped Marta and jumped up and down in agony. ‘You will pay for this,’ he screamed.

Marta quickly replaced her shoe and raced down the hill and across the fields, the Red Scorpion in quick pursuit. Behind them, slumped outside the cottage, the black form raised its head. ‘Oh God, where is she?’ The black figure got to its feet and with a loud yell ran after the Red Scorpion. ‘Stop, you treacherous cur, stop.’

Down the hill the river weaved its way across the field. Marta dived in and swam across, chased by the Red Scorpion, cursing as he swam. Running up the bank, Marta tripped and fell and with an evil yell The Red Scorpion grabbed her, ran to the railway line, lay her on the track and tied her there with a strong chain.

‘Now, my pretty,’ he yelled, ‘that will teach you to defy the Red Scorpion. ‘The midnight train is due here in five minutes.’

‘Oh help, help,’ screamed Marta.

Round the corner, lights flashing, chimney belching smoke, came the heavy steam train. Wooo…ooo…

‘Help, help,’ screamed Marta. The screeching flash and the hissing lights of the train were coming closer. Thunder pealed and forks of lightning shot across the heavens. One hundred yards away the train stormed towards the woman tied to the tracks. ‘Help,’ cried Marta, ‘help….’

‘Coming,’ cried the black figure.’

The train screamed closer….

Will Marta be saved? Will the Red Scorpion win his evil way? Who is the dark figure? Read the conclusion of this gripping tale next week…