But when midnight came, the storm still hadn’t broken. Disappointed, Thea went to bed. Instinct prodded at her to sleep in the guest room rather than her own and, thinking of her dream with trepidation for the first time, she obeyed.
When she woke up, she was outside.
She wore just a thin cotton nightdress and the rain had already plastered it to her skin. Soaked and shivering, she hugged herself and stared around the storm-lit garden. She had no memory of coming out here, and no history of sleep-walking, but she felt as eerily composed as she had that morning, waking from her dream. Perhaps that was madness. Perhaps that was how it would manifest in her, not in drinking or suicidal urges, but simply in accepting everything that happened to her without worry.
Thunder rocked the night, loud enough to make her believe in Zeus and Thor. She gazed up, watching lightning flick and flash through the iron clouds and wondered when the fireball would come. It seemed impossible, now, that it wouldn’t.
It struck suddenly and brilliantly, illuminating the darkness as if Hell itself had exploded from the shadows. Thea was far enough from the house that she could watch without fear as the white-hot orb crashed into the roof, sending a shower of molten drops cascading down the ivy-ridden walls. She smelt smoke and heard sizzling, but the rain was heavy, so heavy, she knew it would quench the flames before the Old Clayton House burned. Still, her heart raced at the sight of flames spouting from the roof, sparks flying, and the ugly plume of smoke punching up into the storm. Was she scared or excited? She wasn’t sure. They felt about the same; adrenaline pumping, mouth dry, body coiled tight and tense.
This was it. Something had finally happened.