Even in her sleep, Mackenzie Kilpatrick remembers this is a dream she has dreamed before. She snugs her forehead against Sid’s neck and inhales his familiar scent. His strong arms clasp tightly around her, pressing his heartbeat through the thin cotton t-shirt. She strokes the back of his neck as her face nestles in the curve of his shoulder.
The dream shifts and changes. Sid’s husky voice comes from a distance. “Get out of L.A., Mac. Get out now.”
“Sid?” She strains with her dream-shout. “Sid!”
He stands in front of her, his close-cropped hair caught under his camo hat, his tanned forearms framed against his dusty uniform. Behind him, bare gray mountains rise high along the horizon. The armored Hummer sits several yards away bristling with weapons and antennae. Other troops duck as gunfire explodes around them. Sid stands there unflinching like he always does, staring at her from the shadow of his hat brim.
She knows he is dead.
Then she’s awake, gasping, tears on her face, her throat tight in the contortion of dream screaming. She throws back the covers and sits up in the dark room. The dream has never been like this. She draws a shaky breath. The digital clock readout says 5:40 a.m.
An hour later, Mackenzie’s parents call from Oklahoma warning her that overnight, the sun has ejected a massive solar flare that’s hitting Earth. Her phone stops working mid-call. The television sputters and goes to static. With Sid’s dream warning and her parents’ plea for her to come home, she throws things into her car, loads up her dog Captain, and starts out of the drive.
She’s halfway out of the garage when the ground shifts. Walls tumble, cracks open in the street, and she barely makes it to the other side of the freeway when a traffic jam from hell stops her. She sees a way out—if she can maneuver down the sidewalk. Then she’s stuck. And there’s this guy waving his arms, shouting.
This guy…David Evans…not a man she would ever want to know. But there he is in all his devastating, overpowering presence leaning in her passenger side window telling her what to do and here she is stuck between a fence and a light pole, and well, it could actually be the end of the world.