Lucan Cooper tapped his fingers on the steering wheel of his midnight-blue Porsche as he navigated twisting mountain roads by rote. Though he should pay more attention to the familiar route, his mind lingered on the intimate scene he'd played out with Meda that morning after he'd woken from that horrible dream. She'd made that awful foreboding go away.
God, he loved her. Every day with her seemed the greatest gift a man could be given.
The love they'd shared this morning surpassed any other. He wanted to turn around and get another dose of that perfection.
That was his life. Perfection.
Great job. Fantastic woman. Wonderful home. A promising future... And hopefully soon, a family on the way. Not bad for a man who'd started out with nothing as an abandoned infant.
He navigated another turn which would take him east toward town. The sun was beginning to break the horizon, the glorious beams of dawn promising another balmy, cloudless, blue-skied day. Maybe he and Meda could eat outside on their deck tonight. It might be slightly chilly, but he was aching to use his new grill.
Absently, he pulled his sunglasses from the visor before the growing light blinded him.
"Man, it's hot this morning," he muttered. He rolled down the window, wondering why he was so warm when the forecast had called for sixty-degree weather. The fresh air rushing past the car did little to help cool him. As he went around a slight curve and sunlight filtered through the open window, he bellowed in pain.
On fire! He was on fire! His skin bubbled under the sunlight. Tongues of flame erupted down his arms, and he screamed, his voice a higher, more terrified pitch than he would ever have imagined. Almost immediately, his clothing ignited, and the scent of scorched skin and hair filled the vehicle. He clawed at his garments to get the material off his body and slapped at the blaze engulfing him.
Unable to recognize anything through the blinding pain and the desperation to make it stop, he couldn't avoid the guardrail designed to keep travelers from plummeting down sheer cliffs as they navigated hairpin turns. The screech of metal ripping metal melded with his shrieks as the car tore through the barrier.
Even through his terror and pain, dread and desolation filled him, empty finality filling his soul. As he fell and blackness overcame him, he knew he'd die. Just like in his dream. And he'd never hold his beloved again.