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At the edge of night, a giant clap of thunder tore through the silence, its deep reverberating rumble like a dark omen. The rain came down heavy and dense, battling and winning against the howling wind. It encased the house in watery bars, and she curled up in bed, small and helpless in the face of this sudden onslaught. In the relentless darkness she sensed a presence, shadowy silhouettes slowly taking familiar shape, long unseen. She held her breath as they circled around, her heart enormous and heavy, beating painfully against the ribcage. A stifling curtain descended upon her, large heaving bodies close by, sucking the air from the room, from hope, that disappeared in inconsolable defeat. She lay without moving, as they growled and snorted, nuzzling her in their morbid, insistent affection. There was no point in struggling. There was no point at all, as dark thoughts picked up their danse macabre, churning and churning, boring deeper all the time, down to the very pit of her being. She lay like this for an eternity, she may as well have been dead. Dawn rose slowly somewhere outside the window, somewhere beyond the insistent sorrow that now held her captive, its embrace like a tender vise…