It’s 4 in the morning when Rachel shakes me awake, yelling something I can’t understand through my sleepiness. She pulls me into the living room of the hotel room and has me sit on the couch.

“Jamie, you’re in serious danger,” she says.

I yawn. Though I didn’t expect that I could be in any worse danger than I already was, it’s not really a surprise, what with everything that’s been going on lately.

“Look, the Keepers and restless about this. You’re not supposed to be here, and they can’t figure out why you are. Are you listening?” She’s talking so fast that I could hardly understand her even if I wasn’t half asleep. I wave her on. “Well, they’re afraid. For themselves and for you. If you fail, this could mean an endless loop of you doing this over and over. When that happens, it sets a closed gap in time, and people will be reliving the same moments over and over. They won’t know it, of course, but it will become a problem, as you can imagine. So the Keepers are debating whether or not to just…end this. You have to help them make that choice. I know this is hard, but…if you fail, it means the possible ruin of the human world. If they…stop the mission, the living you will die but not come back as a Guardian.”

“But what if I succeed?”

Rachel is quiet for a moment.

“Well…I’ve been thinking about that a lot,” she says, so softly I can hardly make out her words. “I think that if you save your living self, you’ll live gain. The problem is, Ms. Ashton and Chase will be looking for you, and if you live again…you’ll have no memories of this because to the living you this never happened because the living you never died if you succeed. Get it?”

I sigh. “Not really. Anyway, you’re asking me to let them kill me because they think I’ll fail?”

She’s quiet again. I know this must be hard for her, because we’re not only partners in this adventure, but also good friends. But there’s a lot at stake here, and it’s all because I was dropped into the wrong time zone.

The wrong time zone.

“Wait! The Keepers dropped me here. If they can kill me and abort the mission, that means they can pick me up and put me somewhere else, doesn’t it?!”

“Not exactly….” Rachel takes my hand. “Jamie, there’s something…different about you. I can’t put my finger on it, and neither can the Keepers, but there’s something. You were meant to have your mission ninety human years from now, which isn’t long for me, because when I’m done with a mission, I wipe the memories of me out of the humans I was around and go back to the Keepers until my next mission. But when you died, something within you bent time and brought you here. It wasn’t supposed to happen. The Keepers have tried removing you like they remove me, but it didn’t work. Since the living you is still, well, living, you have a tie to this time. To remove this you would be to kill the living you. But if they kill this you…the living you wouldn’t be affected.”

“You need to give me a book on all this time-travel stuff,” I say. My head is spinning and I can’t really process the information. There’s so much of it. But I do understand that failure means disaster.

I look up at Rachel.

“I’m still in. I just won’t fail.”

______________

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