Steve and I went over to Kems’ place and found it totally dark. Travis had inherited the house from his folks after they were murdered, and a lot of people thought he might have killed them.  He claimed a stranger had come in and just killed them both. I never believed he did it. The man had a drug problem, not a violence problem. Travis was a soft spoken and shy young man, barely twenty-one, but he had a lot of issues related to the death of his family, and more demons than most. I had picked him up twice for possession, drugs not demons, but rehab hadn’t helped him at all. He lived alone in a massive two story house that had been built one hundred years ago, when building houses was an art. 

We knocked but there was no answer. Then the door swung open just a bit, and we heard a voice. 

“Come on in,” Travis said, “I’ve been expecting you.” 

Travis lit a candle and it revealed his face, unshaven, gaunt, and yet oddly clean. 

“How could you know we were coming?” I asked but Travis said nothing, and instead lit more candles. 

“Jesus,” Steve whispered. Covering the walls, from one side of the hallway to the other, extending past where we could see in the light, pencil drawings, life sized pencil drawings of the Peacekeeepers, covered every inch. 

“Travis, what did they tell you?” I asked. 

“They told me you could choose,” Travis said, “but I don’t think it means what you think it means. I think we’re getting a weak signal, someone or something is trying to tell you, me, us, something, but it has nothing to do with what we think we’re seeing.” 

“Tavis, they showed you something, what was it?” I asked. 

“The two of you having sex on the sofa, and wine, red wine, and that led you here,” Travis said. He pointed to a drawing of our living room. The detail was disturbing. 

“But you know about the Peacekeepers, all these drawings, when did it all start?” Steve asked. 

“Right after my parents died, I started smoking a lot of pot, doing mushrooms, and having nightmares, they came to me, and told me they were trying to help, but it kept being horrible, they did things to people, but none of it was real. As long as I was drawing, they stayed away.” Travis lit a joint and passed it to Steve. Steve looked at me and I nodded. 

“Imagine if you will, Wanda,” Travis began, “someone one hundred meters away, on a windy day, trying to tell you something, or trying to get you to do something, but they only have ten or fifteen minutes a day to try. If the two of you don’t speak the same language, then maybe that person draws pictures and sends them on paper airplanes. I think that’s what’s happening here. The violence and the gore is so you’ll remember it more clearly; trauma causes focus.” 

“But they do speak English,” I insisted. “I’ve spoken to them.” 

“I think the vision of them speaks to you so you can interpret the message they are trying to send.” Travis said and he picked up his pencil. “I think they are actually trying to help us.”

“That’s why we need a really smart person,” Steve said. 

“What?” Both Travis and I said at the same time. 

“According to your original vision, Wanda, all of this started with them telling us an asteroid was going to hit Earth in a year. Now that we know some of the things they’ve shown you is true, we need someone with a telescope and some brain power to try to spot the object they said is heading our way. I was an astronomy major before I went into engineering.”

“That’s part of it, Steve,” Travis said, “but I think at the end of the day, we have to think it’s too late to stop it. Even if we told NASA what was going on, and then they believed us, and the whole world decided to join forces to solve the problem, it would very likely take a hell of a lot longer than a year. By then, the world isn’t going to be wiped out, but if it’s the size they’ve told me it is, there’s going to be a city sized hole somewhere on Earth, maybe bigger. It’s going to mess up the climate for a while, kill a lot of people, but we’ll survive it. What we have to do is have time to prevent it. I think they’re offering us that.” 

“That’s not possible,” I said. “How can we get more time?” 

“By choosing loss,” Travis said. 

I fell backwards. A void opened up and swallowed me. 

“Good,” the Peacekeeper said. “You choose now, you can see.”

“Why me?” I asked. “You have to tell me that.” 

“I show you already. Your world ruined. Peacekeepers step in to save some, you choose some, but you choose time, we can help. But you lose.” The Peacekeeper said. 

“Lose what?” I asked, and I knew I would hate the answer. 

“Peacekeeper does not know, just know loss. Now, you know you choose. Many others choose, too. Your loss or lose all. I,” it stopped speaking. “I have no time now. You have less. Permission from you or not. It is now time to choose. Ask Peacekeeper to help. I ache for you, Wanda Louise Alexander Morrison, I wish some other choice. But now, only now.” 

“Please help us,” I whispered, and a roaring sound took the world away.

I woke up and was in the most familiar place I could have been, but it was as alien as the Peacekeeper’s world. Everything, to the very smallest detail was the same, as I remembered it, had lived it, but it was ten years ago. I was back home in my parents’ home. 

“Hey Lazy,” Karen walked into my room, “you smelled like beer last night when you came in.” 

“Karen,” I whispered. She was fifteen, still just a kid, and wearing that cast when she fell and broke her wrist. 

“You got to see this,” Karen said as she picked the remote up and turned the television on. “The world is ending, or is going to.” 

It was a surreal scene on the television. NASA was having a press conference, and the President was there. They had just discovered a large meteorite, a small asteroid, and it was heading for Earth. We had nine point seven three years to find a way to stop it.

“And this has been confirmed by several other countries, but as you know by now, the original sighting was made by a senior at Georgia Tech,” the announcer was saying. 

“Steven Morrison,” I breathed. “Oh Steve.”

“Steven Morrison, who used a telescope, he was logged onto remotely of course, in the ISS to see around the planet Jupiter,” the announcer continued. 

“We know Steven Morrison?” Karen asked. 

“Facebook,” I said, and I knew what I had lost. How many other people’s lives had been changed by this shift in time? How many others had made the same deal? Did Steven remember me? Did he remember us? No, I was betting only those the Peacekeepers spoke to were in on it, and I had just lost my husband. The man I married, loved, planned to have children with, wanted to grow old with, and have my ashes scattered in the same place in the mountains, was gone. 

End Part Six. 

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