It starts slowly.

A wisp of cloud across the sun, so faint you don’t notice it. Not the first time. Not the tenth time. After a hundred times it’s a bit more than a wisp, and you think, “When did this start?”

But you don’t know. Can’t know. You didn’t notice it when it started and by the time you did notice it, the start is long past. Too far gone to be recalled. A month? A year? No more than a year, surely.

And even when you notice, you think that it’s nothing. A faint cloud, so faint you hardly see it. It doesn’t dim the sun, not really.

Over the month and years those clouds become more frequent, and thicker. The light is definitely dimmed. The sun is in a haze. The light is faded, but then the cloud is gone and everything is back to normal and you try to convince yourself that the cloud doesn’t mean anything.

Each time the cloud comes back it is larger. Darker. Thicker. Bleaker. Soon it is a storm cloud, but you convince yourself it’s not. It’s temporary. It’s not that bad. Sure, there’s the haze of confusion nearly all the time now. The bright sun you remember you nearly never see. But sometimes. Sometimes there is the brief parting of the mists and the full light of the sun shines through, a beacon. A shaft of golden light that reminds you for all too short a moment how bright the sun is.

The storm is coming.