There was a dull rumble that permeated the atmosphere. The sound was so pervasive that it blocked out everything else. When Victoria awoke, the noise faded into the background, leaving her to wonder what was going on.
It took a great deal of effort, but Victoria managed to pry her eyes open. She found herself sitting on a wooden bench in a train station, surrounded by a world devoid of colour. This was oddly familiar, reminding her of a scene featured in a movie produced well before her time.
Victoria forced herself from the bench using her weary arms for leverage and explored. The tracks were well maintained from what she could see, since the dim glow from the gaslight was quickly swallowed up by the night. Above, she saw the stars shimmer, dancing in that wave of distortion.
She was momentarily mesmerised by the dancing flame, reminding her of the fire she kept going back home. In a way, it was her kindest critic, the one who cheerfully burned away the worst of her work, never judging or critical.
Victoria snapped back into reality when the sky illuminated with lightning. Two separate discharges of energy made the ground tremble, generating a rumble so loud that Victoria hoped her ear drums would not burst.
Victoria collapsed onto the bench and held her hands against her ears. That seemed to help, minimally, but a small part of her questioned why each instance of thunder produced a distinctive musical note.
The sky lit up again, creating another spectacular light show, one that displayed a wide range of colours. This time, every flash of light corresponded to a sound, and Victoria needed time to realise that these sounds formed vowels, which, in turn, became recognisable words.
“Next,” the sky rumbled.
While the words echoed between the buildings, Victoria’s mind struggled to process all of this stimuli. The situation was more like a memory than a dream. In addition to the sights and sounds, she could smell and feel the rough surface of the bench. Never had a dream been this vivid, and she thanked God that this was the exception rather than the rule.
“Next?” Victoria asked. “What possible meaning could that word have?”
There was an infinite number of combinations that could include that word. Her mind struggled to find common phrases or sentences but came up empty. Exhaustion was her constant companion now, one she would rather do without. She wanted nothing more than to put her head down for a while. Would that do her any good in this environment?
Victoria sensed that the wind was beginning to pick up. Clouds began to form into a funnel cloud, one large enough to encompass the entire sky. Victoria searched for cover but realised there was nothing suitable to weather a storm of this magnitude.
This time, when the sky lit up, the lights were so powerful that Victoria was blinded. She shut her eyes as hard as she could but still saw red filtering through her eyelids.
“Is this the end?” Victoria wondered.
Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!
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