She was naked again.
The cold wind blew Cameo Stone’s long hair away from her shoulders and back. What was displayed below, as she floated above the danger, commanded her attention. Cameo was used to the form and sensations of her dreams. Dreams that were a sign of things to come—of illness, impending danger, or looming horrific events.
In her heart, she believed it was up to her to warn the person or persons in her nightmares that bad fortune lay ahead. A process that caused people to think she was whacky, dangerous, or someone simply to be avoided. It made for a lonely existence.
From her dreamy viewpoint, a silver compact like hers sped down a curved mountain road. A man wearing a black knit hat and black puffy jacket ran out of the woods.
Action slowed to a snapping movie frame of motion, which typically meant important clues were coming. He had a rifle with a scope. A hunter, perhaps? A more sinister reaction gripped Cameo. Part of the barrel had been sawed off his gun. His green-eyed gaze in a face dotted with tattoos shifted to the driver. So did his weapon.
An emblem was on the cuff of his black hat. Orange. Round. Edged in blood-red. In the center were bold black initials HSS.
The driver sped up, trying to go around the menacing man before he shot her. She hit a patch of ice and spun out of control. Out of her right peripheral vision, a policeman followed with his handgun drawn. The driver braked hard, swerved, tires squealing, but she still hit the officer. He rolled over her hood. As he bumped across the windshield, golden glowing eyes stared at her. His badge read Bowie Matheson. Sounds of him spinning and scratching her roof made her shudder. It was like fingernails on a blackboard. To her shock, a bear slid off her trunk giving chase to the man with the rifle.
Where had the damn bear come from? How had she missed that part?
By now, Cameo realized the driver was her. She zoomed silently from the sky to the interior of the automobile. As soon as she had it stopped, she jumped out, fully dressed somehow, and looked for the officer she’d struck. There was nothing on the road behind her compact. She dropped to her knees and peered under the vehicle. Nothing there. With her gaze shifting, she slowly circled her car before walking along the ditches on both sides of the narrow road.
Where was the man she’d struck?
She woke with his name on her lips, “Bowie Matheson.”
Her feet slid from under the pile of covers and slipped into her bedroom slippers, or baffies as the Scots called them. Cool air hit her and she reached for her robe mid-shiver. Her clock displayed three-forty-two and a cup of hot tea called her. All she had to do was shuffle downstairs to the kitchen in Matheson Lodge and heat a pot of water.
Cameo had been a guest at the castle converted into a hotel for five nights. She’d traveled to Matheville for an interview and was waiting for a response on a job as a solicitor at the law firm of McGuire and Dunn Associates. During the rest of the time, she drove and walked the narrow streets of the picturesque small town, acquainting herself with the businesses and places to rent should she get hired.
She tiptoed down the steps, wondering again why so many citizens bore the last name Matheson. The beautiful clean bay and the town, itself, bore part of the name. When she’d asked Fiona Matheson, who handled the reservation and staff of the lodge, the woman had informed her Mathe stood for bear.
Until the dream she’d just had, she hadn’t seen any bears.
Once in the kitchen, she turned on a light and filled a teapot with water. It would take her several cups to work through the meaning of the dream and settle her nerves. This had been the first time she’d ever been a player in one of her prophetic nightmares—and it had her especially rattled.
Her tea made, she stirred in two cubes of sugar. It would be a long while before she’d take her car for a drive in the mountainous segments of the Highlands. That much she was sure of. Parts of her dream were understandable. A cop chasing an armed man for whatever reason. Hints of the two men’s identities. This was typical in her night visions.
But where had the policeman gone? How had a bear replaced him? And why had that change been kept from her? Usually, she saw every gory aspect. Why not with this dream? Really, she ought to be relieved she’d been spared some of the details. And she would be if the driver of the car hadn’t been her.
Two cups of chamomile tea later, Cameo returned to her room and placed several logs in the fireplace. She crawled under the pile of covers, thankful for her flannel pajamas. Although the tea had soothed her, it hadn’t helped her to analyze the dream. She pulled the quilt over her shoulders, closed her eyes, and began counting backwards from one-hundred.
She was naked again…