Yes, we saw Swans last night

We’d heard the forecast: inclemency on Tuesday evening. A couple hundred townsfolk gathered outside the local church in anticipation. All of us had heard rumours of the impending phenomenon. Its might was legendary. Newspaper clippings from survivors in America warned of incineration, annihilation, and worse. But despite the evidence of destruction and land laid to waste, first-hand witnesses gave reverential accounts, fear and awe burned into their eyes.

The church doors opened and we filed in, the offer of bread and wine replaced by ear plugs. We said thanks, but we’d come prepared. The doorman smirked. Red light bathed the atrium, dimly lighting up a painting at the fore of Christ, with his arms outstretched, ready to embrace his followers. Ten candles flickered, patient as uneasiness grew. A church representative took to the front, clearly delighted by the turn out. What we will witness today… his words trailed off as his face brightened and morphed and fell as the full weight of fate became clear to him. He yelped and scurried off, and soon the first tremors took hold.

The phenomenon would be preceded by a separate, milder before-shock, we had been warned by the forecasts. It thrashed and howled, twisting before us. But we had seen its like before. No surprise. No fear. Calm settled again. We half-smiled at each other, complacent.

And then it hit. An attack on all sensations. Swirls of cacophony heaped on cacophony burst apart reason and possibilities of experience. Our bodies rocked cowed into submission, though our eyes were wide, wild even, desperately seeking some answer, any answer, any semblance of coherence within this maelstrom. But the storm continued unrelenting, oblivious to our measly worries. What perceptions remained simply registered more. Increase. Though it was more than there had ever been, it was still more. More. Forever revving up. Then the fear kicked in, it was true, there was only one way out: face the music. Try to survive.