This was something I wrote as a writing prompt for my college English class (2008). I believe it was for my final. I edited a chunk of it some time ago (August 2015) but I believe it is still pretty rough. I was doing a lot of drugs at the time of originally writing it.

I originally had a plan that spanned tens of thousands of years and included intergalactic space travel. This is yet another world in my head that has been abandoned and stagnant since the last word I put down.

Let me know your thoughts.

{Goldschmidt, Eldredge, Pinker}

1

“Ouch that’s friggin’ hot!” 

I had just burned my hand on a fresh mug of coffee. My palm felt the painfully cool sensation of a new burn. It slowly transformed into the nag that is a lingering tingle of pain.

The perfect cherry on top of a wonderful week! I thought to myself as I scratched at what was left of the saggiest, wettest, most boring pile of scrambled eggs I have ever ordered. Why did these crazy diners excite me so much as a child? I looked up from my disgraceful plate to see a young man walk in, he stumbled a little as he got to the counter… seemingly addled.

Taking a sturdy seat next to me to support his shivering shins the man ordered a glass of lemonade. I didn’t mean to judge, but I thought it odd that a man with his… style would order anything less than a beer in his condition. It may have been 7:38 a.m., but were I in such a condition I would order heavier.

He sported a dusty, sweaty dark blue cap, which was supported by a mat of unkempt light brown hair. He had a few scrapes and shiners on his face. His clothing was covered in dirt, the button-down dress shirt was tattered in awkward places all over his chest and back. His Khaki jeans seemed to have seen better times. However, what truly caught my attention was the look in his eyes. He was drenched in the gaze of complete and utter shock. When I took the last bite of my plate I looked up at the cute girl behind the counter and asked for my bill. She had a smile I feel I’ll always remember.

My coffee still had a ways to go, so I took the opportunity to try and spark up a conversation with the man who sat down recently. I picked up my mug and sipped from it. I looked at the clock and said “I knew someone had a rougher night than I did, care to share?”

I had only begun to speak the first word when he jumped in surprise. He was obviously still on edge so I spoke as calmly and monotone as possible. I’ve found speaking like this is best when dealing with someone who’s not entirely in reality. They don’t feel patronized or attacked.

The man slowly turned his head towards me and said quite excitedly, “Man, I would love to tell you, really, but it would take way too much time — and honestly, I know I look crazy as it is… but this will only make you think I’m fuckin’ insane!” He exclaimed this in an unexpectedly jubial tone, and I was reaffirmed not to assume anything in life.

“Well, I don’t have a single obligation to fulfill today and I’m just driving my truck to wherever roads take me at the moment. We’re kind of in a barren, useless stretch of land. I see you have no mode of transportation. Going anywhere?”

“Nope, not going anywhere… don’t know where I am really, that’s a part of the story. Would you mind a tag-along adventurer?” After this I turned from looking into his eyes back to the clock. 7:46, eight minutes and my coffee was gone?

I played with the coffee spoon in my hands, twirled it finger by finger thinking to myself. I didn’t normally do anything this spontaneous. Strangers, most people bothered me incessantly. I finally swiveled back into reality and responded.

“Actually, no. We both have stories… and I could use the company.” He smiled and went back to drinking his lemonade grasping the cup with both hands. I came to the decision at that moment that he was an odd fellow, but I liked him. The girl had dropped the bill off earlier and I hadn’t given a thought to it. 27 cents… I threw in two quarters just for the smile. I felt a better about myself.

Next, I looked over and the odd man was on the last few sips of his drink. “I’m Remy by the way” I said extending my hand towards him. He hunched over a little more and tilted his cup to drink even faster; wiped his lip with his hand and then grasped mine with the same. I felt a wet lemonade embrace and he bellowed

“I’m Gep! Nice to have a direction!”

“Well Gep, I believe it’s time we head out, did you pay your bill?” He nodded so we started to walk towards my truck parked outside. I pointed to it and mumbled “It’s not the best beast but she still fires up and goes wherever I need her to.” Gep just looked at the dark green Chevy 3100 and once again nodded. I figured he was deep in thought, so didn’t comment on his recent silence. Reaching the driver’s side I pulled open the rusty door and plopped down into the seat sighing heavily. I looked to my right and noticed what Gep was doing. Moreso what he wasn’t. He just stood there – staring at the door. “Gep, you okay man?” he looked up at me instantly but it took him a few seconds to process the question.

“Yeah… yeah! I just, I don’t know how to proceed from here.” This took me off guard completely. Who in their right mind doesn’t know how to open a truck’s door? It’s not like they were recently invented. It’s 1955 for God’s sake!

With his attention still focused on me through the dusty car window I replied, “Just push in the little silver button on the right of the handle, and pull on it.” Gep did this and jumped back in surprise as the door swung outwards towards him.

I couldn’t help but chuckle at his actions; his oddities grew on me every minute I spent with him. I motioned him out of his daze and into the truck so we could get a move on. Once inside the truck he didn’t close the door until I explained why it had to be closed in the first place. I turned the key, fired up the engine and rolled away from the diner. Gep rode quietly next to me for a short while before he commented.

“I like this thing, it’s rugged and I can feel the ground moving quickly beneath me, what do you call it?”

I had to use all of my self-control to not give him a confused look and just replied without thinking. “It’s an automobile, more specifically a 1953 Chevrolet 3100. It’s brand new actually. Well, to me it is.”

“Automobile huh, and you take this anywhere you want?”

His questions reminded me of a small child, perhaps it’s why I enjoyed his company so much.

“Well, anywhere these roads go. I could take it off-road, but it would be pointless and against the law.” I knew answering this would only lead to more questions, but I might as well. The added company took my mind off of more depressing matters.

Gep turned away from me to stare are the road ahead, his head cocked a little. I saw him rise suddenly to ask a question but he stopped himself. I took the opportunity to turn on the radio for a little time to process all that happened to me in the last 72 hours.

Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes was playing… not really my kind of music but it was background noise. I noticed, and should’ve guessed that Gep would be staring at the radio intently. I didn’t bother him for a time. I felt like a little silence in the drive would be soothing.

As we continued on I was deep in thought for a good ten minutes before I looked over again. He was still deeply focused on the radio, “What’s up Gep?” His reaction to sound was always so instant. Then it took him a little longer than I’m used to for him to to respond.

“…Oh, just surprised by the technology present is all.”

“You can change the station if you’d like, I don’t have a preference to what is playing” as I spoke I turned the knob on the right a little to show him how, the station changed and Mystery Train by Elvis chimed in from the static.

“No need, I like this one”

After this, Gep laid back in his seat and closed his eyes. I thought he must be tired so I drove on and let him sleep. We were driving east towards Boston, almost as far I could get without flight. So I quietly drove on with “Mystery Train” leading the charge. It was fitting, for I had no idea what was in store for the future. I was doing what I always did. Living in the present.

I was hoping to reach Denver sometime tomorrow, so I kept my foot on the gas and hoped for the best. I found it interesting that between songs on the radio I couldn’t hear Gep breathing. He was so calm and quiet as he slumbered. The complete opposite of his coherent self.

It started to get dark on I-15, and I had to get to Fishlake national forest at some point to take a rest. I would’ve handed Gep the keys and told him to drive. It was just with his reactions to just about everything car related  I wasn’t up for the mental stress it would cause me.

As the road continued on it was straight, empty, and boring. An ever growing black line that shoots off into the distance.

I fell into a zombie like trance. Foot – steady, unmoving on the gas pedal. Eyes – locked and focused on the darkness in front of me. My mind was empty for the first time in days, regardless of all the odd happenings that occurred since I left San Diego. It was blank, and content.

Then I heard it. BOOM! Like a sawed-off shotgun had gone off directly under my front right tire. In that moment Gep snapped out of his slumber instantly. His arms flailed and went straight to the dashboard in front of him and he screamed “Ack! Nuclear blast! We’re doomed!”

I of course, knew both that we weren’t doomed and that my tire had just popped from a bit of bad luck. So I pulled over to the side of the road and stopped slowly. The brakes of my truck screeched a little as it came to a stop. I coughed and looked over at Gep for the first time since his outburst. He was wide-eyed and panting heavily, absorbed in absolute fright.

I snapped my fingers twice in his direction while saying his name and he slowly turned his gaze onto me. “Gep, Nuclear war? We’re the only ones with A-Bombs, and we dropped one on Hiroshima and Nagasaki nearly ten years ago. What’s got you so freaked out?” His face suddenly grew calmer and more relaxed. He turned away from me, shook his head and didn’t even respond. I took this as a cue that he wasn’t ready to tell me too much about himself yet. So I opened the door and went to take a look at the tire.

I was lucky to have a spare in the back, otherwise I wouldn’t have been nearly as cool-headed at the time. There was a chill in the air as I walked around to the back of my truck, back in California I rarely saw my breath, so I zipped up my brown flight jacket and flipped up the collar.

The bed was rusted shut so I had to grip the side with my hands and hoist myself in. My jack and tire were laid out in the scratched up bed like they had been sliding around for months. Though I had only put them in there recently. I picked up the tire and felt my fingers begin to numb from the weather.

I gotta get this shit done with quickly, I thought to myself as I tossed the tire to the ground. It bounced once and landed with a thud on the pavement. I had to be a little more careful with the jack so I knocked on the window behind Gep’s head to get his attention. I think he was starting to get used to the way I would interact with him because this time he didn’t jump so badly. He turned to look at me and asked “Yes, Remy?”

“Could you come help me get this jack out of the back of my truck? I need to hand it to someone. ‘Cause getting out of this thing is kind of a hassle.” He immediately had a bit of a trial with getting out of the truck, but this time he just figured it out for himself.

After finally popping out of the door he walked to the side and held out his hands as if he were accepting a present from a god. I smirked at him and placed the jack in his waiting arms just to see them drop quickly from a weight he wasn’t expecting. It took every fiber of my being not to laugh at him when I asked the question “Did you not expect that hunk of metal to weigh anything, bud?” This time he responded instantly without looking.

“Guess I’m just not used to this gravity.”

As he mumbled he was intently inspecting his hands. Now, I knew when I met him, Gep was different. However, his answer was a little more startling to me than anything else he had ever said. I better confirm I heard correctly

“Did I hear you right? Did you just say you’re not used to gravity?” There was a long silence that followed after the exchange where the two of us just looked into each other’s eyes. It was the first time I noticed his eye-color. A light grey, they almost glowed in the moonlight.

I could sense him thinking around in his head for an answer and had the feeling my night was going to get a little weirder.

2

The expression on Gep’s face gave me the impression that he was conflicted on how to reply. His brow finally un-furrowed and he spoke to me like I had to him for the whole day. “Okay, so you know how I said in the diner that if I told you my story, you’d think I’m crazy? Well here goes — I am not from this time period. Where I come from radios don’t exist anymore, they are obsolete pre-apoc technology. I do not live on the planet Earth, and I’m not used to its gravitational force. You could not possibly understand the type of trouble I could cause for telling you what I just have.”

It was at this point I dropped everything I was doing, jumped out of the back of the truck, determinedly walked to the passenger side of the car, ripped open the glovebox and opened my wooden lockbox. Inside was a pack of Lucky Strikes I had saved for when I just couldn’t handle it any longer.

I knew when she left me I’d eventually start back up, I guess now is prime time to do so; I thought as I lit up the first butt. Immediately satisfied from the head-rush and body buzz of extra nicotine flooding into my system I leaned up against the wheel well and turned my head to look at Gep, who was still watching me intently for my reaction.

“Okay… okay, okay okay okay, so… so assume I believe every word that just came out of your mouth.” I was stumbling from not knowing where to proceed with the conversation. “What year, exactly, are you from then?”

He sighed and said “The year 3422 A.D. as you would understand it, but it’s more the year 1410 Terrestris Divexo, or T.D. After the destruction of earth.” Before I asked him the next question he answered it “No, the homo species has not created time travel technology yet, I am here by coincidence only, and before I get into the whole story of how I got here or what I plan to do, lets finish getting this job of yours done.”

I looked at my still-burning cigarette and saw that it was already halfway gone. Another one would find it’s way to my lungs shortly after I took my last hit from it. Not only did I have some labor ahead of me, but I had just been hit by a ten ton truck of crazy and I wasn’t sure of what to believe. There was something behind his demeanor that gave me the feeling I was caught up in what was truly history in the making.

After applying the spare and an awkward long silence between the two of us I made my way back to the front seat.

Replacing the tire had given me time to think on the events that had transpired. I had decided that Gep was a raving madman, maybe one of those hippies who ate too many drugs and lost his grip on reality. There was no way in hell anything he said had any actual substance. Though, since he seemed very convinced of who and where he came from, I decided to not delve any further into his personal life. I wanted to show him I still enjoyed his company by telling him a little about myself.

I looked over at Gep subtlety to get insight on his mind before grabbing his attention. He seemed closed in and quiet – resolved. Almost as if he was punishing himself mentally. His eyes were closed, and he stood very still with a grimace upon his face. His breathing was far too erratic and and untimely for him to be sleeping. Something about what happened earlier in the night had affected him greatly. Was he speaking the truth?

He suddenly snapped out of his introspection and spoke up. “Sorry, to ask this of you, but may I inquire, where we are headed…” he paused for a moment then continued “…and if I’m not probing, why?”

I pulled out another cigarette. I sparked it up and blew out my first hit; things are shitty enough without inhaling butane. After taking my first real drag I responded.

“So, we’re about to get to Fishlake national forest to rest for the night. You know I’m driving a far distance but I haven’t told you why. You see, I’ve been living in San Diego for the past few years with my Fiancé. We were happy… for awhile. She did all she could to keep me on track in life. I was healthy for myself, so I could live a long life with her.

And then it happened, she was ripped out of my existence. One second I was assured on where my life was going, and the next thing I knew, she was just a body I had to identify at the morgue.” I could see a tear roll down the right side of Gep’s face from the reflection in the window beside him.

“And so, I sold everything I owned, bought a decent rig to carry me where I wanted to go, and I’m headed for Boston. I don’t know why, I may find a reason before I get there. Or, I may get sidetracked on the way. All I know is, I don’t plan to stop until life gives me a sign that it’s not all pain, persistence, and punishment for past deeds done.”

Sadness welled up inside me after the last sentence, I had to hold the tears back even though I could feel the hard shock through my body to just burst out in wails of depression. Now was not the time, gotta keep composure until he’s asleep.

I had refused to look Gep in the eyes the whole time I was telling him my story. There was something within them that pierced me. Like he could feel what I felt. it was an odd connection that made me a little uncomfortable. It was something that took me years to develop with my fiancé, or any person for that matter.

What was so different about him? When he turned to look at me we finally locked our gazes and he responded softly. “You should not blame yourself for the natural.” Gep blinked and then turned to stare at the road through the windshield.

We passed a sign:  “Fishlake National Forest 15 mi.”

I was relieved to see it, I felt it was time to stop for the night and rest. It was one eventful and tiring day. “See that sign Gep? That’s where we’re headed to rest for the night.”

I drove the next 15 miles with hopes that my dreams would sort out the puzzle within my sub-conscience.

When we finally pulled into the national forest and parked. I turned off the car and realized that neither of us were going to sleep comfortably. That night we had a truck, in the cold, with nothing but clothing to keep us warm. I wasn’t sure if Gep had figured this out for himself so I turned to him and said “Hope you’re ready for a long night, it’s gonna be cold.”

He just nodded, closed his eyes and immediately grew calm. I was jealous of his body’s self-control, and still chilly from earlier in the night after changing the tire. For some reason my hands just refused to get warm, and that made the rest of my body frigid. Maybe I was just focusing on it too much. My mind  then wandered to less negative things. The warmth her smile would always shower me with, the calm nature of her touch, and the energy that filled me from her laughter. My breathing grew more relaxed, and my eyes began to stay closed without effort. Maybe I’ll see her there…

When I woke up to the sunlight beaming on my face in the morning, I looked to see if Gep was up. He was still in the exact same position as before, and once again I could not hear breathing. Though the stillness of death was surely not present.

My dreams were… surreal to say the least. I could not label them as a nightmare. Though I did have to re-live multiple dimensions of the same scene, repeatedly. Most was a blur, but what I remembered was the general idea. I had to keep moving forward.

I opened the door slowly and as quietly as possible to not startle him. My feet went one after the other to the gravel crunching beneath them. There was still a chill in the air, the oxygen I breathed was crisp and seemed fresh. Well, I am in a national forest.

I shook my head and continued to pace away from the vehicle. I reached into the front pocket of my flight jacket and fiddled around for my pocketwatch. I had to see what time it was, regardless of not having a plan, I had shit to do that day. 7:38… why did that have a familiar ring to it? Well, at least I knew the sun would be out for awhile.

My hand went to the cigarette I had left in my ear the night before, and there was nothing. I grasped naught but a few pokes from my buzzed hair. The next thing I knew there was a presence behind me. I didn’t hear him, but Gep had come to my side and brandished a worn, sweat stained cigarette in my peripherals.

“Looking for this?” I turned my head slightly to focus on the cigarette, grabbed it gently and popped it in my mouth. “You know. When I come from, those things don’t exist anymore. They have no point but to diminish your health.” My eyebrow raised in response and I looked Gep in the face.

“Ha! You know, if these are what kills me, that’s the last thing I’m worried about. At least they keep my mental health secure. This when you come from, where do you live? What do you do?”

His eyes closed and he breathed deeply while thinking for a response. His arms raised in direction of the sun and he uttered boldly and proudly. “Well, in the Year 2012, four years into the tenure of the first African American president of the United States of America. World War III broke out. The civilized world as we knew it, was blown off of the face of the planet. Only the tallest peaks, and the most secluded islands were saved. Billions of people’s lives were swiped clean of nature’s soil, and the Human race as it was known was reduced to tribes.

People would scour the planet’s ruins to come together as one, just to survive. When it came to it, we all gathered in the place where humans themselves started — Africa. The dense jungles and arid deserts were one of the few places left where life didn’t necessarily thrive, but it endured.

For a few decades people gathered, gaining strength and numbers, intelligence and order. When the collected population of the known human race grew to about a thousand strong, they moved. North from Africa they traveled, their destination? What you know now as the U.S.S.R.

They were trying to get to the space center. If there was any hope for survival of the human race, it was no longer on Earth. They had to get to a space-faring ship and similar to your Pilgrims sail into the black abyss of the universe hoping for the best.” It was at this point I was finally snapped out of my awe-filled stupor and had a question to ask.

“Wait, hold on. Spaceship? We haven’t even gotten one man in Space yet. How do you expect me to believe a thousand people were just going to fly out into space and hope for the best, what are they to survive on? They can’t bring food or water for a thousand people that can last for years. Show me this spaceship of yours.” When I rebuked Gep’s eyes jarred open, he looked at me for the first time since he started his monologue, sighed, and continued .

“I was going to get to that if you would let me explain. 1467 years of human history is a lot, and this is extremely condensed.”

He paused again, I must have made him lose his train of thought for a moment. “Due to radiation mutation, water no longer sustained the people who survived on earth’s crust. It was a catalyst for gross mutations of the human body, people had to survive off of the material that was left behind, metals and soil. Water as we knew it became a liquid of death.

Some wildlife existed to be eaten, but it was few and far between. These new humans had changed. Their teeth were stronger than anything before and could cut through steel. Their bodies were rough and agile from traversing the ruins and living off of barely anything. Chemistry of the human body had changed.

However, their minds had not. Intelligence still grew, and evolved just as fast as their bodies. When they arrived in the U.S.S.R. they gathered all the materials they could, and spent another 30 years developing new technology – preparing a ship that could fit all those gathered, and sustain them for however long was needed.

Luckily there was enough raw metal around to sustain those people for thousands of years. Something positive about the destruction of the iPod age I guess.” iPod age? What is he talking about? “When the ship was built they set off not knowing where their decision would take them. Just hoping that our species could survive to continue the chronicling of our existence, to be eternal.”

This explanation of the planet’s future had me taken aback. It all sounded far too much like story-books and radio-shows. I had to wonder why Gep didn’t look like the beings he described.

“Why don’t you look like those humans, Gep?” I stared intently at him, probing, hoping for some sign of dishonesty.

“Because Homo-Sapiens no longer exist. I may look similar to you, but I am wearing a guise. The Homo base still exists, but races as we know it, are nothing. The Homo genus has rapidly evolved into multiple separate species in 1300 years. That ship, the H.S.I. Darwin, stopped at different planets within the Milky Way galaxy. Those thousand beings, came off the ship, 50 to a hundred at a time, wanting to carve out our existence on multiple stations. So what happened to our Mother Earth, may never happen again.”

Just like when I told the story of losing my fiancé, I saw a tear roll down the side of Gep’s face. I felt like there was a lot of deep thinking I had to do, and that it was time once again. To move on…

3

We had left the National forest hours before. Not a word had been said since the future of the human race had been explained to me. I personally didn’t know what to believe.

It all sounded scripted and way too well thought out. Too much like one of those science fiction novels. There was something about his demeanor, it gave me that one bright nagging thought in the recesses of my mind. What if it’s all true? If it was, I could live to see the day of Earth’s destruction. It was 1955 and I was 24 years old, I would be 81 when shit hit the fan. Even if I do decide he’s crazy, this reality of his is going to screw with me forever.

The road had been nothing but canyon and switchbacks for miles, it was hard to not go into a trance. The back and forth repetitive nature of the trek began to wear on me. I had passed a sign a few miles before, I was only 130 miles from Denver. It wouldn’t be too long now before I could relax in a bed, and have true alone time to gather myself.

I most definitely did not regret picking up a mysterious eccentric stranger at the diner. Yet I still hadn’t had time to escape into myself fully.

There wasn’t an awkwardness between Gep and I, but I could feel a conflicting energy. I felt like he understood my emotions. Why at times I wouldn’t respond, or even truly acknowledge his presence. Though I knew like me — there were times where his thoughts would cross into wondering what gears truly were turning in the other’s head at the moment.

Just to have something to do I tried turning on the radio. Static, just as I thought.

These mountains gave a very secluded, commanding presence. Back in California I rarely visited the peaks to the north, so visiting a different aspect of the nature within the world was enlightening. Even though I didn’t fully, or even really remotely believe the information that flowed from his mouth, there was a strong message within it that I took to my advantage.

Respect this planet, love it for the things it brings into my life, because one day, it might not be around to bring everyone their personal joy.

We reached Denver sometime after noon of that day. I was relieved for I could find a place to sleep comfortably, and by my lonesome. There was something about the state of Colorado that I was drawn to. It may have been the majesty of the mountains in the west I had driven through, or the calm plains in the surrounding area, but it had an energy to it that I fell in love with instantly.

Gep had been quiet the rest of the drive. We had not spoken since the time at Fishlake. There was a small motel on the outskirts of the city that I felt was the right place to post up for the night. The parking lot was empty except for another truck. I couldn’t tell the make or year by the rust encrusted over the whole body of it, but I assumed it was owned by whoever was running the desk at the time.

I turned to Gep and smiled “Well, here we are. Denver, Colorado — this is where we’re going to stay for the night.” All the response I received was a nod, I felt like there was something going on that Gep wasn’t telling me. As I stepped from the car I lit up another butt. Gep did not follow immediately and for the first time, I truly didn’t care. I was on a mission, and it was going to be accomplished.

The sign above the door read “Motel, 6c a night” it was plain, and straightforward. There was no name to be seen or any commercial likeness attached to it. I may have lived comfortably with my wife, but when male instincts kick in, I really just want instant gratification.

The door was covered in old cracked green paint and when it swung open it gave a loud creak, there was no bell to acknowledge the man at the desk that someone had entered.

I supposed the door itself was warning enough, for the grungy man behind the counter was staring in my eyes before I noticed him there. He obviously liked his tobacco, for there was a spitoon just inches from his reclined chair beside him. “Can I help you?” the man asked with a grisly tone, had he not attempted a smile I wouldn’t have noticed the missing teeth in his grimace. What teeth left were rotting out of his skull.

My disgust must have been apparent on my face because he frowned immediately after.

I lowered my gaze to recollect myself and responded when I reached the counter. “Yes, I Would like to rent two rooms please, smoking.” The man spit and spun around in his chair to face his back to me. I heard him rummaging through an iron lockbox and the rattling of several pieces of metal being tossed about. Next thing I knew, there were two keys thrown on the counter. One had a diamond shaped wooden keychain with the numbers 738, and the other a square with the numbers 696. Is that number following me? I thought to myself as I grabbed the room-key out of superstition.

My right hand started towards the other key when the pale hand of Gep snatched it up himself. I looked to my right and there he was. I never even heard the door creak when he came in. The man behind the counter pointed to the cup to my left without looking from the novel he was invested in. I took this as a cue to drop two nickels and two pennies in it. When I turned to leave the main building to head to my room, Gep had already left the premises. I was starting to wonder if I had somehow insulted him earlier.

Once outside I flicked the finished lucky strike to the ground beneath my feet, the ember exploded into a firework of sparks. I reached the door to my room and turned the key to walk inside. There was a musty air to it, like no one had taken refuge inside for years.

Why I was assigned to the room farthest from the main building was a wonder to me, though maybe my reaction to the man behind the counter was good enough reason. Either way, I could finally relax in peace. I looked at the clock on the bed stand and it read 3:15. 738… 7+8 = 15… 3:15. Maybe I was thinking too much again, when it comes to numbers, if you’re looking for something, you’ll find it. I decided that since I hadn’t slept so well the night before, and that I was still emotionally drained, that I was going to turn in early for the night.

I went to the bathroom and splashed some water on my face. As I looked up into my reflection, I saw a figure in the shadows behind me and spun around instantly with my left hand raised in a fist to protect myself. Though I almost immediately realised it was Gep leaning against the wall beside my door. “Jesus Christ, man! You have to stop scaring me like that!” Gep frowned and responded.

“Please, don’t call me that, it’s been a common misconception ever since a band of fools decided to record what my people have taught, they changed names and interwove their own stories and teachings of a false GOD”

Now this, was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, I believed in God, he may have taken my Fiance from me. However that was for my past sins, and I was paying for them now. “Excuse me?! God is not false, and you are not Christ, he will return to usher all good to the heavens.”

Gep just smirked, I felt like he was laughing inside… it made my stomach turn and I almost felt a hatred for him.

“If by heavens, you mean outer space, then he has returned multiple times in the past to teach the one true religion on this, our Mother Earth. Peace, intelligence, and self-preservation through acts of self-sacrifice. Do not fool yourself with the teachings of an omnipotent being that has a plan, the only plan there is, is to stop the coming apocalyspe. Which won’t happen. However, you my friend are a piece of the puzzle that will save the human race.”

With this last response Gep left the room as quickly as he entered. Which was all good with me, because at this point I was seething in anger. If there isn’t a God, then why am I paying for what I did in adolescence? I sat myself in the chair on the far end of the room and lit up another cigarette before I laid down to sleep that afternoon.

4

I woke up to a thunderstorm hours later, the wind was blowing heavily and it was raining outside. Lightning crashed all along the horizon and I could not go back to sleep. I flicked the switch in my room to turn on the lone lamp on the bed stand, it enveloped the room in a slight hue of yellow, and I could see the dust floating all around me. Oh, isn’t this healthy. I looked over at the clock expecting it to be somewhere around midnight, but it was 7:38 P.M. I thought back to all of what Gep had spoken, from the time with the tire, to his absence of knowledge about automobiles and the altercation we had just before I went to sleep. Just a few hours ago. I decided I should pay a visit to him and apologize.

I had taken off my clothes before I slipped into bed so I dressed myself in a thick pair of jeans, my flight jacket, and covered my head with a towel from the bathroom. The door to my room had swung open from the wind, so I was lucky I had awakened at that moment before rainwater began to ruin the carpet. Gep’s room was a good hundred or so yards away, so I moved at a brisk pace to keep from getting drenched by the storm.

When I arrived at his door I went to knock and it swung open with his figure standing straight ahead. He beckoned me inside and I went for the chair in his room. Either it was in a different spot originally, or he had moved it beside the bed, expecting a conversation with me. I felt like I wasn’t ready for what I was about to experience.

Once he closed the door, Gep walked silently and gracefully to sit in a Half-lotus position on the bed in front of me. He stared deeply into my eyes for a moment, that greyness. Piercing was truly the only word to describe their essence. “Tell me, Remy, what is that short for, anyways?” As he inquired I could see that his demeanor when I first met him was the guise he spoke of. I didn’t understand why he asked the question, but I responded immediately.

“My given name is Datorem – I prefer Remy”

“What is your full name?”

“Datorem Biblia Vitae”

After this, Gep smiled for the first time I had met him… an array of sharp metallic teeth shone in the dim light. Why had I not noticed this before?

“Tell me, Remy, do you know any Latin?” I shook my head and his smile vanished. “Well, were you to, you would know that in latin your name means New Giver of Life. Your seed is the one that will bring humankind to its resurrection after Nuclear War tears this world to pieces.”

I could not believe the nonsense that was spouting from Gep’s mouth. Then again, just like when he told me he was not from this time period, there was something about him that made it very convincing.

“So what, what is it you’re telling me Gep?”

“I’m saying that you have a responsibility to fulfill on this planet, you will die before the apocalypse, those things you smoke are going to kill you before the age of 81, however, you will have a child within the next 3 years, and he will have a child at the age of 30. This grandson of yours will be the savior of the Human race, the one who leads them to the U.S.S.R. To shape the universe, in a peaceful image.”

“So what do I have to do? If what you speak is the truth?” It was then I began to believe in the words this other worldly being was speaking.

“You, Remy. Datorem Biblia Vitae, will travel to Boulder, and wait there for the woman in the diner that you gave an extra quarter to today. She’s fallen in love with you and knows where you are headed. From there, only time will tell if you have saved the human species.”

I woke up in a cold sweat, frightened. What happened to being in Gep’s room? Why did I wake up in my bed? I ran outside and bolted towards the direction of Gep’s room. I passed each door from 737, all the way to… 697… there was no room 696… Where could it have gone, I was there just last night! Since I was so close to the main building I walked inside and saw the same man sitting behind the counter, the clock above his head read 7:38 A.M. Panting heavily I asked “Excuse me sir, but where is room 696? My friend was staying there last night.”

The man now gave me an odd look and responded. “Look, I don’t know what mental state you’re in stranger, but you came here alone, talking to yourself. I gave you only one room, there is no room 696.” After this I ran to my truck and on the hood was a wooden square that read:

G.E.P. # 696

©2008 Trevor Elms

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