Storm in a Teacup
In the midst of a heatwave, while the rest of the city enjoys the peak of summer, west London is wracked by strangely sudden storms. At the same time each day for almost a week, Hammersmith finds itself shrouded in thick clouds, torrential rain, thunder and lightning. Believing there to be a supernatural cause behind this inexplicable weather, Sam Hain heads to the heart of the storm to investigate. However, the occult detective discovers that there is something more than a thunderous deluge waiting for him. Something beyond belief...
The second story in Sam Hain - Occult Detective: Volume II, Storm in a Teacup sees Sam facing a thunderous temper of godly proportions.
They say that once is happenstance, twice is a coincidence, and that thrice is a pattern.
For the people of the Royal Borough of Kensington, it didn’t really matter. All they knew was that it was a bloody nuisance.
While the rest of the city had been in the grips of an increasingly sweltering heatwave, in west London there had been a series of sudden and inexplicable storms. When the sun was shining warm and bright above the city, torrential rain was pouring down over Kensington. When the rich blue skies across London were tranquil and clear, thunder and lightning would rage in the thick grey clouds over Hammersmith.
At first, no one paid any thought to this other than a simple, “oh no, I should have brought an umbrella”. After all, British weather has a habit of being frustratingly fickle. The storm seemed to come and go with the same tempestuous temperament of a tantrum-prone toddler; as swiftly as the clouds had gathered, with the rolling of thunder and a volley of rain, they cleared, giving way to the sunny blue skies beyond.
When it happened a second time, when the swirling storm clouds gathered and quickly blotted out the sun, and when lightning struck and thunder boomed and the rain soaked the streets, people thought it a little odd. It seemed unusual – almost vindictive – that such weather would manifest exclusively over Hammersmith and Kensington twice in just a couple of days, while only three miles away people were laying in the grass and getting sunburned in Green Park. But then, this was no usual storm.
The third time it happened, the people of West Kensington had had quite enough of this nonsense, thank you very much, and could really do without being cold and soaked to the bone in the middle of summer. In spite of their complaints, the storm clouds still circled overhead, rain poured in a seemingly endless torrent, the winds blew and thunder rumbled and lightning streaked the sky.
If one were to take a walk through Hyde Park at this time, one would be able to see the divide which separated this localised weather phenomenon from the rest of London. Almost exactly halfway along the park, the storm simply stopped. Thick black cloud met bright blue sky similar to how the sea meets the shore. On one half, the sky was heavy with clouds, veined by lightning and pouring with rain; the other, it was clear and vibrant, the sun shining bright. It was almost unnatural how precise the edge of the storm was. Even the rainfall seemed to end along a straight edge, more like a watery veil than a natural shower.
According to the weather forecast, this was all due to an unstable pattern of air, with wind currents creating low pressure pockets. Many chalked this up to another strange and unpredictable effect of climate change, and thought little more of it. It seemed like a reasonable enough explanation for the sudden inexplicable storms which frequently left two entire boroughs shrouded in rain and darkness. For the people of Hammersmith and Kensington, however, this answered nothing, and ignored two main things which stood out in their minds.
The storms were too precise, too specific, to be the effects of an unstable air pattern. For firstly, they always engulfed Hammersmith and Kensington only, coming to an abrupt stop at the edge of the boroughs. And secondly, at precisely three o’clock in the afternoon each day, a bolt of lightning would strike Hammersmith’s King’s Mall with remarkable accuracy.
The soaked residents of west London were not the only people to pay close attention to the unusual weather. In the north of London, down in a basement flat on Constantine Road in Hampstead, Sam Hain watched the weather forecast with increasing interest.