Here's the opening of the 2011 EPIC finalist novel - enjoy!
One - Vague Longings
Phoenix, Greater Hispania—May 25, 2061
In a dream, Angela huddled on hard ground. She heard a popping sound and looked up with a sense of dread. Yellow flames burst through the air. Something huge was on fire above her. Heat seared her skin. The stench of burning rubber sickened her. She felt the coarseness of the cloth in her dress.
Someone lay nearby. She reached out to help him. When she turned him over, his face was burned and blistered beyond recognition. Desperately she cradled him. She didn’t want him to die, but it was too late. She screamed for help.
The scream rattled in Angela’s throat and awakened her. She bounded out of bed then glanced involuntarily at the other side terrified that she would see the burned body lying next to her.
Her movement across the carpet turned on the lavender light recessed in the wall, allowing her to see and assure herself that she was alone in her bedroom. Her nightgown damp from perspiration clung to her skin.
The digital clock read two in the morning. What an awful nightmare. She’d never dreamed the same dream twice before that she could ever recall. And now for the past three nights this horror had been visited upon her in her sleep. Why? She pressed her hand to her rapidly beating heart and feared bad dreams could cause her to have a heart attack. She had to calm down.
Too exhausted to remain awake and unwilling to go back to her bed, Angela headed into the white-carpeted living room, grateful for the pale blue lights that welcomed her. She didn’t want to remain alone in the house. How comforting it would have been to have a man with her right now, the right man.
Her condo with its sleek styling and transparent furniture looked as lonely as she felt. The decision to remain single and focus on her career worked far better in the daylight than in the middle of the night. Intellectually she accepted herself as cool and focused and not at all needy. But beneath that persona seemed to dwell another, more passionate self, one capable of tremendous love and devotion, perhaps even obsession. Those feelings poured out of her for the dead man in her dream. That must have meant she could feel those emotions awake too.
Who was the man in the dream? Someone she fantasized? Maybe her intuition meant she would meet the man, but why would she want to meet him if she were doomed to experience such despair because of him?
Who was she in the dreams? Her clothes seemed old-fashioned and an ugly style she’d never choose. That detail present in all the dreams seemed important, but how she didn’t know.
Nothing made sense. She felt like she had a bomb in her mind that went off when she fell asleep. She understood herself less with every passing day.
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