6 Nights of Midnight: 5 – Midnight Storms

When rain falls on Midnight, it never wants to stop.  It comes in torrents, and rushes down the mountainsides in normally dry waterfalls.  Lightning dances between the mountaintops, a dark, electric ballet.   Thunder rumbles and roils until it’s one ceaseless note so deep it hurts your teeth.

When rain falls on Midnight, it flows into storm water runoffs underground, weaving beneath subway tracks, through residential districts, around sewage lines and access tunnels and forgotten catacombs and dusty basements and subbasements and vaults.

Rain sluices off the rooftops, washing them clean, displacing secrets sometimes, upsetting crows’ nests, disturbing the entire culture of roof dwellers.  They hide in air conditioning ducts and canvas tents and, sometimes, sacrilege, seek shelter indoors.

Storms awaken emotions in even the stoniest of hearts.  They encourage fear and inspire; they weaken the weak and embolden the strong.  And storms, sometimes, when perhaps the stars are improperly aligned, or an incantation has been inadvertently or unadvisedly uttered–sometimes, under those kinds of circumstances, the sheer power of storm unleashes something.

Day and night, the City of Night burns with a million lights, tiny diamonds on the streets and in the windows, visible even from homes in the very mountains themselves.  Streetlamps and headlights and urban Will-o-the-wisps, neon and fluorescent and halogen, and–except for during storms like this–the constellations.  Sometimes the moon.  Never the sun.  The City of Night glows and sparkles and twinkles and burns.  Ominously.  Dreadfully.  Beautifully.

The city between two mountains opens onto forest in the north, dense and ancient woodland filled with ghosts and gypsies and ghouls.  The storm clears dead limbs from the treetops and adds nobility to the streams and feeds the monsters.

In the forest, something awakens.

It is old and huge and hungry.  A million hearts beat within the city.  A million voices entice and implore and invite.  It has a million reasons to pull itself from the ground, from the depths, from the abysmal nightmares of wretches and sinners.  When it breathes, Midnight trembles.

At the gate, which cannot properly be called a gate, a man alone stands and looks to the north.  He feels the chill wind.  Falling rain like spikes pummel him.  The city lights are at his back; he peers into the gloom.  He sees what has awakened.  He knows what it is.  He has read books of prophecy, of apocalypse, of sulfuric deluges and demonic gales.  He dares the old, huge, and hungry to come nearer to his city.  He breathes calmly.

When the storm finally subsides, the creature, the beast, the otherworldly behemoth, retreats back to its slumber.

At the gate, satisfied, the Wandering Reverend returns to his city.

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