When the tempest blew in the big picture windows, spraying the customers with broken glass, the tea rooms emptied in a gale of screams and the undignified flurry of black coat tails. Within moments, no one was left except the big man in the fur-collared cloak who seemed to find the whole scene amusing. She was transfixed by his gaze, the laughter in his eyes, and was ready to cling to his huge frame as to a life raft. He beckoned to her and strode outside to where the ocean swept over the promenade and the boulevard was just a memory.
At the door, she blanched and leapt backwards, waves curling over her shoes. A sharp cry escaped her. “It’s coming, just like the prophet said it would. Nothng can stop it. The world is ending!”
He laughed, a rich, deep laugh that drove back the night, the fools and the monsters. And he took her hand.
“Come with me,” he said and stepped out into the foaming, swirling flood. She hung back in fear and shook her head. The horizon was barred by the jagged white mountains of icebergs and they sailed, frozen battleships, closer and closer. No human voices were heard over the whine of the wind. The world had disappeared beneath the raging waters. Mute, she shook her head again until his laughter worked its magic. His face was red with the cold, and his lips, pulled into a brilliant, white-toothed smile
“Is this a dream,” she asked.
“Perhaps,” he said. “Who knows? Shall I show you where the black pearls grow and starfish light their lamps?”
This time, she laughed with him and took the offered hand. Together they stepped into the flood and he led her to where the waves became wild white horses and the icebergs the misty shore of a green island.