It’s happening again.
Can you feel it?
Tension in the air and storm clouds gathering. Birds are quick to flight, seeking shelter as best they can, while other beasts have gone to ground, and are huddled together, still and all but holding a collective breath. Lightning builds up, beneath the surface.
Not all lightning comes from the clouds. Sometimes it’s from well beneath us, far below us, boiling in the belly of the earth, crackling and singing, getting ready for its explosive escape, its ascent into the clouds, where it can join its counterpart.
The thunder in its wake will feel more like an earthquake than anything else, and anyone nearby will be lucky to survive, if they were close enough to see the silverblue fingers screaming upwards, the throb of their flash burning a pulsing afterimage onto the backs of wide eyes.
The sky darkens, and the wind that had picked up goes still, a tentative inhalation, and the last leaves skittering across the meadow go still, not even fluttering, as if the world were holding its breath along with the animals. The sky grows ever darker, closing its eyes as the birds and beasts do, waiting for the moment to pass.
They know what’s coming.
The whole world knows.
This is a night when the shadows will walk. While the wind is stopped and the moon and sun cannot see the earth, the dark will take its shape, and creep with silent feet along the borderlands, looking for ways to get into the light, into the safety of homes and sacred places, to find the shadows beneath the pillows of those who are lost in dreams. This is the night the dark will look for the deepest sleeper, and puddle near their dreaming selves, and be breathed in. This is the night the dark will seep into the blood of those with the furthest-seeking dreams. It will lie in wait, there, making itself one with the Dreamer.
When the storm passes, and the night passes, and the sun comes, the Dreamers will not wake alone — the Dark will wake with them, too.