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THE TERRORIST,
Harvester Press, Sussex, England, 1979.
Second edition, 1995.


THE voice that connected him to what he had done faded, but before he lost it he heard the news. The music stopped with pips like those that used to interrupt programmes during the war. The announcer's voice sounded controlled, but David was sure it was frightened too. Boom. His was no distant act of sabotage. They knew that his act meant real danger to them. The voice, hiding its fright, said, 'The area around the station has been cordoned off' Ha! They were taking notice now. Police and ambulances were being rushed in. joy made his hands tremble. He gripped the steering wheel more firmly. Nothing was known about the cause of the explosion. Ha, Ha! he shouted to the voice. The police suspected a bomb. I did it. I did it. The city was trickling away behind him. The voice gave way to crackle and static. He switched it off At last. He had done it. It had been done. Boom. At last the dam of tyranny and pent up rage had been blasted. Water would flow over all the land. When he had phoned The Star, he had said, 'This is the beginning.' Now they would all wait for more acts of terror. They would not sleep their fat and insolent sleep. They would know that the misery they poured every day on the suffering and the poor was about to be poured on them. They were being brought to justice. And he was the one who had done it.

The sunny road sped under him. He started to sing a passage from the Messiah. 'Thou shalt break them. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron.' Crash, the cymbals met. Boom. He heard this joyful act. Boom. 'Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. In pieces. In pieces.' The deep male voice would sing that promise of justice. Joan would be sitting there in the orchestra, ready to bring her cello to voice too, to sing the praise of justice. 'In pieces. In pieces.' He had no truck with Joan's God who never got round to doing the job, all promises. He, David, had started it. Boom. He had made the bomb and planted it. Now it had burst, and now the seed was scattered, flashed in terror over the whole land.

Cumulus clouds were gathering over the green fields of mealies, building high baroque structures in the blue sky. They matched the grandeur he felt. Their majesty calmed him.

He would reach the border by evening. He would meet Philip. He hadn't told Philip. There had been no time for discussion. But Philip would see it had been right. Once they had François and Trevor anyhow, it was right. There was no more time for patience.

The villages he passed through looked peaceful, as though the news hadn't touched them yet. It would. A slow dust stirred the stoep of the Grand Hotel, the reflection of his car in the window of a cafe where there might be a customer drinking a cup of coffee at this hour, or blasting a pinball machine. Everything looked as though nothing had happened. But it had. He had started the end. Boom.

He passed a single African walking it seemed from nowhere to nowhere. The man wore his shoes dangling at his shoulders, the laces tied around his neck. He wanted to stop and confide in him. For your sake ... So that it would not in future be only whites who could own and ride cars. So that there would be some other lot for them than this barefoot trudging in the heat, the emptiness, breathing in the dust of the white man's car that swept past him. Curbing the pity and joy that welled in him, he drove without stopping. He must get to the Basutoland border by night.

It would probably take some time to arrange the security measures and the manhunt they would set up after him. If he could make it to the border in good time there would be no problem. He would go to the house where Philip would be waiting for him. Once out of South Africa it would be possible to get to England.

The clouds had piled up, and the south he was driving to looked dark. It would rain before he reached the border.

New Fiction Society Choice, October 1979.


Reprinted as THE SCHOOLMASTER, Ravan Press, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1981.

"Rose Moss communicates not just the emotions of one man in an extreme situation but the feelings and impulses of everyone who has ever stood, helpless and enraged, in a situation where injustices were being done and felt he could do nothing to change them or help the victims."
Hilary Bailey,
New Fiction Society, OCTOBER CHOICE, 1979

"This novel is exemplary in every way: in character, plot and the fluency with which it is written."
Heather Lawton,
OXFORD MAIL, 1979

"...the author's insight...is excellent..."
THE GLASGOW HERALD
Novemer 1979

"...Rose Moss's achievement...giving words to action,making it enter living history, which is fiction." 
Peter Nazareth, WORLD LITERATURE TODAY
Autumn 1980

"...delves brilliantly into the heart and head of a man tortured by... privileges." 
YORKSHIRE POST
29 November, 1979