The Visitation – a short story

There have been theories that we on Earth have already been visited by inhabitants of other worlds. Part of the argument is that it is hard to imagine that, without outside intervention, the human race has advanced from simple cave dwellers to a species wielding the power to destroy ourselves. But do we really understand the degree to which these visitors may have shaped us?

Thanks to Samuel Peralta for believing in this story.

The Visitation originally appeared in the collection Alt.History 102.

If you’d prefer the Kindle version, get it here.


“Let me start by saying this. It’s not easy to look back and trace the steps that brought you to where you are. Reaching your destination in life is the result of many tiny choices, each one resulting in moving you farther along, each decision culminating in a life that you never could have dreamed of. This is true for most people and most situations.

“But this is not always the case. Sometimes you can look back and see an event so monumental that that one single thing can be seen as the thing that shaped everything, and has affected everybody. This was one of those events.

“I know you’re young, and the world is not the same as it used to be. You probably can’t even imagine what life was like before they showed up. Before the visitation of 1985.”



“My father fought in the war. The big one. The war to end all wars. The war that nobody thought would ever end.

“In the third decade of what had once been called World War II, my father received his mandatory service notification. He told me once that it started as something called a draft, but when they saw that there was no end in sight for the war, they shifted to a mandatory service system. Each male was forced to serve at least eight years in the armed services. If you were lucky to still be alive at the end of your eight year tour, you were free to return home. My father returned, twice as resilient as when he left, but with only one leg.”

I pulled out a money clip from my front pocket, peeled off a bill, and slid it onto the bar. The barkeep nodded and walked toward me, holding the bottle. He looked at me over his spectacles, studying me for a moment. I nodded back, never breaking his gaze. I must have passed his test because he poured my glass full again. But he was watching me. Judging me with each pour, determining if I’d had enough yet.

When the barkeep walked back to his station in front of the holo-vision at the end of the bar I continued.

I gently swirled the glass, not looking at my companion. “You probably don’t believe me. Hell, I didn’t believe it at first myself. But when he showed up at our farm that day after the arrival, I knew that the world would never be the same. I felt it in my bones. I felt it in my gut. I saw the future, and I knew my life was about to change.”

I held my drink up, letting the single dim light behind the bar shine through the amber liquid. I loved the way the beams distorted as they encountered the liquor. There’s probably an apt metaphor there…

The barkeep gestured with the bottle of unlabeled hooch to the young man to my right. My companion shook his head furiously. “No sir. Thank you, but I need to keep my head straight.”

The barkeep snorted an answer, set the bottle down and went back to his news program.

The young man interrupted my examination of the glass. “So this man… Where did he come from?”

I held the glass to my lips, but didn’t drink. The vapors wafted into my nose and made my eyes sting. I set the glass down. I traced the rim of the glass with my index finger, not looking at the young reporter sitting to my right.

“It started that day in August of 1985. The war had just ended and men were coming home and trying to figure out what was next for their lives. Times were hard.”

“How so?”

“Well, my dad had been home for about a year. When he lost his leg, they sent him home. Nobody wanted to fight in the war; hell most people fighting in the war weren’t even alive when it started. Still, the folks that were killed in action were looked upon as heroes. There’s something that happens to you in the head when war is all you’ve ever known. It’s like there’s an expectation that’s bred into you. I think most young men wanted to get married early and have kids right away because they didn’t expect to come home when they left. Most folks had a defeated mindset. There was no hope for the future.

“So when my Pa came home, he was happy that he’d escaped with his life, but he knew that he would be pitied. Being maimed is a tough thing to live with.”

“So, he was a hard man?”

I rubbed my face, brought the glass to my lips again, this time taking a sip. I held the liquid in my mouth, enjoying the burn. I slowly let it trickle down my throat.

“Yeah, you could say that. Not evil, but I guess he had a grudge against the world.”

“So when the man showed up, what was going on? Did he just waltz up onto the porch and announce who he was?”

“Oh no. Around these parts, he would have gotten shot. No, he wandered up looking like a vagrant. I was out in the pasture checking on the cows and I saw him walking up the dirt road. He flagged me down and asked if we had any work that he could do. Said he had come back from the war and was trying to make his way back home. I took him to the house and introduced him to my folks. He wound up staying the night with us and slept in our spare bedroom. The next day is when it all got weird.”

The young man next to me perked up. I could see his eyes spark. He gripped his pen a little tighter as he got ready for me to get to the good part. “What happened then?”

“That’s when he told me that he was an alien.” I took a long pull from my drink.

“Then he told me about their plan.”



The alcohol burned as it went down. The jitters subsided and as I set the glass down on the bar, I felt like I was fully in control. The third drink always did that. Three was my sweet spot, settled the nerves, and made me feel like I was firing on all cylinders. If I would have been able to stop at three, everything would have been OK, but I won’t pretend that I ever was able to stop when I should have.

Josh was his name. He was a reporter for a little rag called the Inquisitor. He was a real journalist, though. He just needed to break a major story so that he would be taken seriously. He had traveled the world looking for the right story that would be a game changer for him.  Everybody has to start somewhere, I reckon. I could feel the air between Josh and me charged with electricity. He was propped on the edge of the stool next to me, willing the story from me.

The reporter chased me for the better part of three years before I agreed to meet him at the roadhouse. I knew it would be a safe place, not because it was especially secure, but because everybody there thought I was just a crazy drunk. Not that I’m not a crazy drunk, but that doesn’t exclude me from telling the truth.

The roadhouse was a second home to me since I was old enough to leave my parents’ farm. I saw the hand full of regulars several times a week, and oddly enough I never knew any of their names. Names were not important at a place like this, as long as somebody’s willing to pour and somebody else is willing to pay.

Josh, the intrepid reporter, was getting antsy, but he’d never say it. I knew that I couldn’t stall forever. I took a deep breath and dug in.

“I was out in the pasture. We had a cow that was going to give birth at any time. I would go out and check on her several times a day; just to make sure everything was all right with her. There was a dirt road that bordered the east side of our property. I looked up from Bessie and saw a person walking down the road, which was a fairly odd sight. Our closest neighbor was over two miles away. It wasn’t strange to see a horse and rider on the road, or maybe one of the Ford trucks that were common on everybody’s farm, but rarely did you see someone just walking along the road all by themselves.

“I stood by the heifer for a minute trying to figure out if I knew the person walking. I didn’t, and when he came close enough to see me, he stopped and waved at me from the fence. I went over and said hello, then asked him if he was lost. He had this embarrassed laugh. He told me he guessed he was.

“We talked for a few minutes and he told me that he had been hitchhiking for days, trying to make his way back to where he was from. He didn’t seem to want to give me many details. I figured I should take him to Pa and let him worry with it.

“We walked toward the house and talked, but now that I think about it, I was the one doing all the talking. He never gave me much more of his story.”

Josh didn’t say anything; he would watch me for a sentence or two, and then scribble, the whole while nodding his head in the affirmative. When I would stop, he would patiently wait for me to pick the thread up again. He was a good listener. I liked that.

“You know what really stood out to me?” I mused. “His eyes. They were the darkest eyes that I’ve ever seen. Black. Inky. I couldn’t see any reflection in those eyes. I thought it was funny at the time, but what did I know? I was a kid still.

“He had those kind of eyes that didn’t tell you anything. You know how you can read people’s emotions by looking at their eyes? Well his weren’t like that. It’s like they only took in, and didn’t give back.”

I took another sniff of my drink, allowing the burn to hit me again. “I don’t know why his eyes matter. It’s just one of those things that sticks with you.”

Josh thought a moment. “Is that when you first suspected?”

“Oh no. I didn’t suspect anything at first. Like I said, I was just a young kid. Looking back, it all makes sense. Hindsight and all.”

“So what happened next?”

“Well I took him up to the house. Or actually to the little shop that my Pa had behind the house. He was working on sharpening some tools and I told him that this stranger was looking for some help. My Pa was a real pragmatist. He didn’t tolerate any foolishness, and he sure didn’t put up with laziness. He shook the fellow’s hand and told him that he was welcome to pitch in and work for a few days as compensation for a cot and some hot meals from Mama. The man agreed.”

“Did the man tell you his name?”

“He did. Sort of. Said his name was Marcel, and that was all. Pa didn’t seem to care. An extra set of hands for a couple of days was all he was interested in.”

Josh looked back over his notes for a second, scanning for something. “You’ve mentioned before about strange things that happened around your farm that summer. The summer of 1985. I’ve read through some of the early accounts. There was a time when you told the story to anyone that would listen.”

“I tried to. But that’s just it. Nobody would listen. Sure, I’d get some tabloids to listen, but they never reported the story the way I told it. They always embellished here and there and by the time their story was printed, it wasn’t my story.

“If you read through enough of those early stories, you can find a kernel of truth and maybe piece it together. But I’m getting old and I want to tell the story. And I want it told right.”

“I promise you. I’ll tell the story exactly like you tell it. Nothing more, nothing less.”

“That’s why I chose you.”



The barkeep walked over to check on the status of my drink. My glass was more than half full. “You sure you don’t need anything?” He asked Josh.

“Now that you mention it, do you have any coffee?”

“Of course. You have to always keep a strong pot made to help sober up the drunks before you can send them on their way.”

Josh snickered at the absurdity of getting them drunk then trying to sober them up before letting them drive away. That’s a battle for another day. He thought to himself.

The barkeep slid a cup and saucer in front of Josh along with a bowl of sugar and a spoon. Josh took a sip of the coffee and understood why they gave this to drunks. The barkeep smiled as he watched the caffeine hit Josh’s system and made his face flush. He slid the coffee out of the way and picked his pen back up.

“Nobody takes you seriously when you start talking about aliens. You immediately get labeled as a crazy person. But you know what? What I have to say makes a lot more sense that what they’ve been telling us.

“How is it that we spend thirty years fighting a war then all of a sudden we have a massive jump in technology? This run down roadhouse has a holographic projection of a ball game for Pete’s sake. I mean, when I was a kid, it was like we were in the Stone Age, and in just a few years here we are. Where did it come from? Did we just suddenly get smarter? And what about the money? How did we afford the research when the world had been ravaged by war? Nobody wants to ask those questions.”

Josh nodded but didn’t interrupt.

“Anyway, Pa put that fellow to work. He had him mucking out stalls in the barn. I went back out to the pasture and made my rounds. I went back to Bessie and petted her. I could tell that she was gonna have her calf soon. I just feel it, you know?

“I went on about my business just like any other day. As far as I was concerned, it was just any other ordinary day. It got to be supper time and I went to the house to wash up. When I went to the kitchen I saw that Marcel was sitting at the table with Ma and Pa. Like I told you, Pa was not sociable. He liked to keep to himself and would not go out of his way to talk to a stranger. I guess you could say he was from the old school.

“But when I walked in the kitchen they were all sitting together and talking like old friends. Pa was laughing at Marcel’s stories. I took my seat at the table, Ma smiled and scooped potatoes and meatloaf onto my plate. Marcel smiled at me and I looked from him to Pa. I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell was going on. Marcel had that weird look to his eyes. I still can’t explain what it was, but I swear I saw something flash in his eyes.”

Josh stopped me. “Can you try? Just try to think about what it was that didn’t seem right to you.”

“No. Like I said, it was just a flash, and I’m not sure that it was something I saw with my eyes, if you know what I mean.” I took a sip of my drink.

Josh studied me. I imagine he was trying to figure out what he was supposed to write down for that part. To his credit, he just listened. I could tell that he had a real gift. He knew exactly when to press for information, but anybody can do that, his real gift was knowing when to keep quiet and wait. That’s something few people possess.

“More than anything, Marcel made me curious. Pa wouldn’t talk to our neighbors any more than he had to, much less strangers. I was intrigued. We ate supper, and Ma and Pa sat at the table talking with Marcel for a couple of hours. I got up and cleared the dishes away and washed and dried them. That was the only time I could ever remember Ma not beating me to it. I didn’t mind, it’s just that she was very territorial about her kitchen and dining room.

“They sat and talked well into the night. I turned in knowing that the chores would be waiting for me when the sun came up. Problem is, I didn’t sleep. Not at all.”

I eyed the barkeep while tracing a finger around the rim of my glass. The drink was less than half full. The mental gymnastics kicked in as I calculated just how long it would take to get the rest of the story out while maintaining enough of the drink to keep my nerves settled. I took a small sip.

“I stared at the ceiling all night long. I counted every crack in the plaster, did a mental inventory of all of the animals, tools, and every inch of fence row on the farm, and when I could stand it no longer, I got up and looked out the window.

“I could see the horizon beginning to leak light ever so slightly and I knew that it was about time to get up anyway. I put my clothes on, went downstairs and slipped on my boots, and went out to the pasture. I had a feeling about that pregnant heifer and figured we would have a calf that day.

“I walked out of the house and looked for her, but instead of seeing the cow, I saw Marcel sitting cross legged in the pasture facing east. I stood back and watched from a distance, sure that he couldn’t see me as I peeked around an old Poplar tree.

“The sun rose and when the golden rays hit him, it was like a flower soaking up rain. I imagined him to be some sort of ancient sun worshipper sitting on top of a stone structure. I watched him as the sun came up over the trees and it was like he transformed. For a moment he didn’t look like the vagrant that wandered by the farm, but he looked like something more.”

Josh stopped scribbling. “Like what?”

I ran my fingers through my hair and exhaled. “Like he was not of this world. Then I heard his voice in my head.”

I had dodged this part of the story long enough. It was time to get down to it. Josh waited patiently, if not with a healthy dose of skepticism.

“What did you hear?”

“I heard him tell me he knew I was there. He told me to come to him. Then I heard him tell me that he had secrets to share with me. Secrets about the future.”



Josh took a sip of his coffee and flipped a page back in his notebook, skimming over all that he had written so far. I waited for him to process what I had told him, and used the opportunity to nurse my drink a little. The barkeep turned around and eyed my glass. I gave him an imaginary hat tip to acknowledge that I still had all my faculties about me, and to assure him that there would be no funny business like that time last year that got me banned from the watering hole for a whole month.

Josh spoke up. “I’ve read all of the accounts of your story that have been published over the years. Some of them have been incredibly hard to locate. But in all of them, I’ve never read anything about this part of the story. Why’s that?”

“That’s because I never met anybody that wanted to get to the truth. I admit, I was a little reckless in the beginning. I talked more than I should have, and did it indiscriminately. There’s a proverb about casting pearls before swine or something like that.”

Josh nodded.

I eyed the backpack next to him. “So what all is that you’re carrying in that bag?”

“Tools of the trade. Computer. Telecom devices. Mostly notebooks. I like to use paper still.”

I nodded at his notebook that he kept scratching in. “I noticed.”

“To say that I’m a little distrusting of technology would be an understatement.” He said.

“Another reason I chose you.”

“You were telling me that he called you over to him. If you were hiding and watching from a distance, how did you hear him?”

“I told you. He didn’t call me with his mouth, it’s like he was in my head. He called me telepathically. I guess that’s the best way to explain it.”

“What was your reaction? Did you respond?”

“You know, I’ve thought about that for years. I don’t remember, honestly. I heard the voice. I heard him calling me, then I was there, sitting beside him.”

Josh looked at me sideways as if waiting for me to clarify what I said.

“Yeah, I covered about a hundred yards in a split second. One minute I’m looking around a Poplar tree, the next I’m sitting next to him on the ground. This is where folks usually start dismissing me and my story. Crazy old drunk. I know what they say about me.” I took a sip of my drink.

Josh didn’t respond. I knew he was trying to stay objective. I didn’t expect us to be friends. I was used to the ridicule, the scorn. I had given up on not being alone, at this point I just wanted peace, and hopefully telling my story would bring that. Hopefully.

Josh waited patiently. When I started, it just flowed. Like a dam under pressure that finally cracked, it all came out. Josh wrote as fast as he could, stopping only long enough to flip pages in his spiral bound notebook.

“I was sitting there next to him and saw that his eyes were closed. For a second I wondered if he was alive. He sat so perfectly still. He turned his face toward me and slowly opened his eyes. They were so dark, like looking into the abyss. He said he had been waiting for me. I opened my mouth to say something and just couldn’t. I mean, I guess I could have, it just seemed like there weren’t any words that mattered. Being next to him was like being in another world. It was like time stood still.  No that’s not good enough. It was like there was no time. Like the world we live in was a scribbled drawing by a child.

“I know that doesn’t make any sense, but stay with me. Trust me when I tell you that the experience was like nothing I had ever had. But anyway, he said he had been waiting for me. I told him that I was coming out to check on my cow that was about to give birth any minute. He smiled at me and told me that both mother and calf were doing fine.

“I stood up and panicked that I had not been there to make sure it went well. He touched my hand and an intense peace flowed over me. He said ‘It’s ok. I was there and I ensured she had a painless delivery.’

“Well that freaked me out all over again, but I sat down. Looking back on it, I felt like I was in control, and it was my decision, but I don’t know that I really had a choice. I sat back down next to him.

“He closed his eyes for just a second, a long blink, really. When he opened them I had this picture in my mind of him standing next to my pregnant heifer and her having the most peaceful delivery. I was stunned. He didn’t tell me the story, it was like he just transmitted it into my head.”

Josh rubbed his forehead with his left hand as he read over the page and made a new note in the margin of his book. He was writing in some sort of shorthand so I had no idea if he was copying verbatim, or if he was cataloging a case for my admission into the mental institution. He finished his note and said, “So this man, Marcel, he had apparently been in the pasture earlier in the morning before you got there. You said you saw the sun rise, so did you hear him leave the house?”

I thought for a minute. I tried to remember that morning in exact detail. I was awake all night, it was summer and the window in my room was open. The front porch was directly below where I slept. I didn’t remember hearing barking from our redbone hound that was always posted on the front porch. There was no rooster crowing. No chirping from the finches in the trees. Silence is all that I remember. Then I remembered the door lock.



“You know what? I just thought of this, but when I went downstairs, I put my boots on and opened the front door, but the deadbolt was locked. You could only lock that from the inside. There hadn’t been a key for that lock in a good twenty years. So he had to either go out a window or…”

“Or he didn’t need doors.” Josh finished my sentence.

“Yeah.” I was past the point of wondering if he believed me. I knew what I knew, and he either believed me or he didn’t. The truth is the truth, his belief was not my problem.

I lifted my glass and let the liquid wet my lips, savoring the flavor more than anything. It’s a careful dance, balancing on the razor’s edge. I looked at Josh and took a sip. A quarter glass left.

“I was sitting there with him, and I have no idea how long we were there. At first I caught myself looking to the house expecting Pa to come out at any moment, but he didn’t. The world was quiet and we sat uninterrupted.

“He told me that he wasn’t really a war vet making his way home. He told me that he was from another planet. I laughed at him, of course. Then I asked him what planet he was from. He knew I didn’t believe him, and he wasn’t angry. I think he looked down on me, not in a condescending way, but like the way a person looks at a bird with a broken wing. With pity.

“Kind of hurt my pride when I thought about it, but he didn’t let me dwell on it very long. He said ‘Let me show you’ and he waved his hand in front of us and an image appeared.”

“Appeared?” Josh interrupted.

“Yeah. You see how ole barkeep down there is watching his ball game on that holo-vision screen? It was like that, except there was no box from where the projection came from. He just made it appear out of thin air.

“The projection was of the solar system and he waved his hand and pushed the planets out of the way, out to the edge of our solar system. Then he kept swiping and I saw stars fling past and when he had come to the outer edges of anything I could ever imagine, he showed me a black hole. It looked like there was all sorts of energy swirling around it, leaking in gradually. Then he flicked his finger and he showed me what looked like an explosion of light coming out of the black hole, then I saw a craft appear. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was a floating fortress. Then we watched the massive ship move toward our little blue marble.

“When it got just outside Pluto, I saw several smaller ships leave the larger one and go in all directions. Then he waved his hand again and we watched one come to earth.”

Josh held up a hand. He reached into his bag and retrieved a fresh pen and another notebook. He set his current notebook aside and opened the fresh one and laid his new pen on top. Then he reached into his bag again and pulled out a small voice recorder. “I don’t want there to be any mistakes.”

I nodded to him. I eyed my drink, but sized up what was left and decided against it. He started the recorder, picked up his pen and nodded. I continued.

“He told me about his world and how his people had been exploring the known universe in search of a young life form that they could share their knowledge and wisdom with. Their scouts had determined that Earth and its inhabitants were most suited to their guidance. He showed me scenes of crafts landing at various parts of the world. Then he showed me a montage of world events and how they have intervened. I saw a caveman, and how rudimentary tools seemed to appear where they were needed. I saw ancient people and how strangers appeared to share engineering knowledge that brought about these unexplainable marvels. He showed me wars and how they intervened with weapons and even weather. I’m telling you, they’ve had a hand in everything we as a species have ever done.”

“So you’re telling me that they have been intervening in our lives and civilizations since the dawn of time?”

“Yeah, and it goes deeper than that.”

“How so? And why did he tell you all this? If they’ve been secretly influencing human development for centuries”

I interrupted him. “Not centuries. Millennia. They’ve been here since our very beginning.”

“Ok, but you didn’t answer my question. How does it go deeper, and why did he tell you all this? They can’t keep a secret this big by telling random farm boys about how they’ve been interfering in the affairs of humanity.”

I couldn’t tell if he was challenging me, or just playing devil’s advocate. He slid the recorder a little closer to me and held his pen at the ready.

“He told me that I had been chosen. He said that each time they chose someone to be the vessel. The keeper of the truth. Maybe like a prophet. Or an oracle. Labels don’t matter. The fact is that he told me all of it. Including the warning.”

“And what is that warning?”

“He showed me that this is not our first time around. And that we wouldn’t last much longer.”



I could tell that Josh was getting anxious. I had done my homework about him, and I knew that the unusual wouldn’t scare him off. I also knew that my reputation preceded me. Nobody wants a drunk for a prophet. Humans are funny in that we demand perfection from our leaders and visionaries. Not that I think I’m special or anything. I just happen to be the guy that got the news that the world was ending.

“Marcel told me that this was actually the 70th time that they had changed the course of humanity’s fate. Each time they would intervene at different times and watch how we as a species reacted. According to them, we have done better and worse, but the result is always the same. No matter at what point they stepped in, eventually we descended to our basest of behaviors. Greed, hatred, envy, and jealousy. Humans always seem to wind up in the same place.

“Each time they determine that the course that humanity is on is beyond redemption and all is lost, so they step in and reset it.”

I picked up the glass and took a sip. Josh scribbled a note. “What do you mean, they reset it?”

“Remember how I told you that they used that black hole to travel? I don’t understand all the science behind it, I don’t know that humanity has ever been allowed to get to the point where we can understand it, but they have a way of using that spot in space to manipulate space and time. They go in and they can come back out at any point that they choose. So they pick a different point in our history, choose a unique set of circumstances and see what we’ll do. Seventy times they’ve done this.

“One time they might allow humanity to go unhindered for thousands of years, then they reset it. All of the progress that was made, all of the people that were born, all of the civilizations just disappear. Can you imagine?

“Can you imagine what it’s like to walk around with that burden? You wonder why I drink? Do you know what it’s like to know that everyone around you will disappear just like they never existed?”

Josh gave me a sympathetic look. Ever the professional, he didn’t judge me, nor did he offer consolation. He just waited and listened.

“Marcel told me that the last time, before the last reset, that they orchestrated a major intervention in the big war. He told me that they manipulated world forces and that the Americans were attacked at a naval base in Hawaii. Can you imagine that? The result was that The U.S. entered the war earlier and with a vengeance. The war lasted a handful of years instead of decades, arguably saving many lives. But it didn’t matter. One war is shorter, but people don’t learn. They still found ways to live in chaos.

“They even allowed one of their crafts to crash in the desert out west somewhere and allowed the humans to recover the wreckage. They made sure the military folks and scientists had everything they needed to reverse engineer the advanced technology thinking that all humanity needed was a boost, a leap forward in innovation. Didn’t matter. A few decades later they reset again. And here we are now. Advanced technology. Holograms and space exploration, laser weapons and flying cars, and where are we? Still embroiled in wars and skirmishes all over the world. People rob people in the street. We hate our brother. We step over starving and wounded people while we rush to a theater to be entertained. And you wonder why I drink.”

I pick up the glass and drain the rest in one gulp. I slide the glass away from me toward the rear of the bar.

“There’s your story. The world’s not gonna last much longer. People need to be ready. Print that. See what it matters. I’m out of hope.”

Josh placed his pen down. “Thank you for your time. I’m going back to my motel and transcribe my notes and I’ll meet you back tomorrow for the next round. I really want to get into the big rally a few years ago when the riot cops had to be called in. There are so many incidents throughout the years to cover. You have been to every hot spot in the world it seems. You’re a bit of an enigma, to say the least.”

“I didn’t ask for it, and when it’s time for the reset, they’ll choose another. And we’ll go around the merry go round again, then they’ll choose another and we’ll go again. And again. And again.”

Josh packed up his bag. “We’ll get into all that. Thanks for your time. See you tomorrow.” He slid his coffee cup aside, took a bill from his pocket and put it on the bar. He nodded to the barkeep as he exited the front door.

The barkeep walked toward me, picked up the bill and put it in his apron. He poured my glass full of the amber liquor. He set the bottle down. “Drink up my friend. Your time is nearly here. Your rest is coming.” I could see compassion in his inky black eyes.

The barkeep said, “He’s the one. Don’t you think?”

I nodded, took a deep drink from my glass and said, “Yeah Marcel. He’s the one.”

I drained the glass and the world went dark.


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