I had never felt night's grasp squeeze so tightly around me before. That murky October evening swallowed moonlight and starshine, like the gaping maw of a black hole. The streets of the neighborhood were barren and cold; the streetlamps flickered here and there, splotching the fog with off-white stains easily washed away by an ephemeral shower of sparks from exposed wiring.
I wandered, stumbling over occasional debris and near-invisible curbs, reaching out with my arms to feel for solid salvation. I felt nothing, though, except for a chilly autumn wind that slipped indifferently between my fingers.
Then the sky flickered, much like the streetlamps had before. A distant, but familiar rumble of thunder echoed around me. Frigid drizzle followed. It was only a storm.
But the thunder quickly grew louder. Rain poured. Within seconds, I was drenched from head to toe, jacket to bone. I felt like I was turning to ice, like I was being numbed with every step. My feet splashed in the rain – water soaked through my shoes. In despair, I clung to a street sign that miraculously came into arm's reach.
Then I heard a terrible, terrible noise. It roared like a locomotive thundering down a canyon with dozens of loaded boxcars following. Its deafening drone seemed to conjure a tempestuous swirl of wind. I nearly blew away.
With the help of the street sign, I regained my footing and blindly began to run into the darkness and the rain. Fear fueled me, and drove me against the storm. It didn't fuel me long, however; my lungs burned, my chest begged me to stop breathing. I took a bad step and slipped (inevitably so, from all the rain) into a ditch. The grass was unfriendly and freezing, but my body refused to rise when I heard the sound of houses being ripped apart.