All the windows are locked. Curtains closed. Blinds pulled down all the way to the sills. Even so, its chilly breath hisses through the tiny gaps and reaches my knees. There is an occasional tremor in the candle flames on the coffee table. The nervous awareness of the force outside. The normally vocal pigeons on our roof are silent. The shapeshifting dragon is letting rip, giving a spectacle of its histrionic power. Now it soars into the skies, its tail lashing the dark clouds, sending crackling rain to slam against the window panes. Now it's a tiger roaring in the night, sending a rumble rippling through the air. Now a witch slaloming between chimneys on her broomstick, her impish giggle tickling the stars. Then a gigantic owl, screeching in the roof, its wings whooshing in the air. Then it swells into a tempestuous sea, foaming lips gnawing at the cliffs, then ebbing away before gathering into waves rising tall, fearless, tossing ships like juggling balls. All of a sudden it retreats, quietens down, vanishes, like a memory you doubt. Odd phrases of a tune that haunts you but which you cannot quite remember. But, just two minutes later, it's a dragon again, spewing flames like a Venetian glassmaker's furnace, the bewitching fire of an Andalusian gypsy – spinning, swirling, lunging, turning raindrops into needles of ice, the supersonic speed of its flight making the windows quiver. I am king, the dragon says. I am emperor. And you've seen nothing yet.
"It sounds like everything's about to come crashing down," H. says, looking up at the high ceiling of our living room.
I feel electrified, a thrill stroking my skin, like fingertips running up and down my spine, a sense of excitement and joy swelling inside me. That and the unwavering sense that the power outside is choosing to keep me safe.
"I love – I've always loved the wind," I say.