Nibbling her way through the packet of cookies, the rain lashed against the window as if it were being bombarded by giant waves reaching from the sea. It also sounded like the crashing of drums. Not the drums themselves—the big barrels that reminded her of beer kegs—but the sheets of metal suspended above. Symbols? The entire room filled with their noise. It soothed her immensely, and although not as satisfying as the taste of chocolate, it went some way to ease the nameless fears that whispered to her from afar. She was cocooned, like in those dreams where she dreamt of being a grubby insect wiggling around in a matchbox stuffed with cotton wool. Those were her favourite dreams. No faces. No places, just the soothing sensation of softness as she existed in a state of blindness. Without sight, she didn’t have to see what she didn’t want to see, and so the cotton wool swallowed her the same way she swallowed the mushy cookie in her chewing, chomping gob. Gazing at the window, entranced by the rain lashing against the flimsy pane of glass, her eyes moved to the imitation log fire. Glowing like a pink moon, the heat pinched her toes to such an extent that the sense of pleasure wasn’t far from that of pain. The threat of it brought with it a strange sensation that triggered a distant tickle in her tummy. The sensation wasn’t intense, but the longer she kept her toes where they were, the more it grew until it snaked its way up her spine until it itched her brain. The itch was like a thousand tiny feet, picking away at her senses so she didn’t know whether to wince or bite her lower lip.