Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, yes, Murray thought, but when the sky turns to blood it can’t be a good sign. The very air carried the tang of iron and salt, and the moon cowered behind a scrim of cloud like a virgin bride behind her veil.

In the grim orange glow of the mercury lamps, the first drops of rain looked black on the pavement. The evening breeze turned to a demon wind, sending a discarded wax paper coffee cup skittering across the parking lot like a top that still has just enough spin to keep it from falling. A drop of rain struck Murray on his upper lip, and he tasted it, almost afraid. But it was only water, and the blood was all in his mind.

A murder of crows flapped across the sky, easily a thousand strong, and he imagined each one of them carrying a human soul in its talons. He shuddered, then fished in his pocket for his car keys.

The first bolt of lightning lanced down, lighting the dusk like it was noon, and the torrent began in earnest.

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