ANTI-MAN by Dean R. Koontz

He was silent a moment, very still. If I squinted my eyes, He faded into a brown-gray blob, something unliving, a pile of wood or grass. Then: “I need two more days, Jacob. That’s all I ask of you. After that, I will benefit your people. I will revolutionize the world, your lives, Jacob. I can bring mankind an unlimited life-span. I can teach you the many things I have learned. Yes, I can even teach Man to heal himself and shape his own body just as I am able to do. Will you trust me for two days?”

I looked at Him. What did I have to lose? He was going to develop with or without me. I might as well stay along for the ride. Besides, I might be able to discover what was going on in Him, satisfy some of my longing for knowledge about his lightning evolution. “All right,” I said. “I trust you.”

“So now I have to ask you for something,” He said.

“What is that?”

“I have had this radio on several times today, listening for word of the hunt. It seems that they are narrowing the area of search much more rapidly than we anticipated. They are forming a massive search network to start on the park tonight.”

I sat up straight. “They will think of the cabins relatively early in the search. If they haven’t already thought of them.”

“Exactly,” He said, His new, deep voice a little more palatable now that I was getting used to it.

“But I don’t see what we can do.”

“I’ve thought. I have an idea.”

“Which is?”

His strange, bloated face looked concerned. “It will be dangerous for you, I’m afraid. This close to the end, I would not want to see you killed, shot down so far away that I can’t reach you in time to resurrect you.”

“I haven’t worried about getting shot for seven days,” I said. “The first day, I was scared. Then after flying bullets became common, I got used to it. What’s the idea?”

“If you could leave here,” He said, “and go back out of the park, you could take a flivver or rocket or monorail to someplace far away from here. Let yourself be seen, recognized. Then the chase will switch, and the heat will be off us, at least until they trace you and discover you came back here. But by then—”

“Down through the park again,” I said.

“I know it will be one helluva job.”

“But you’re right,” I said disconsolately. “It’s the only thing we have to do.”

“When?” He said.

“I’ll leave as soon as I grab something to eat and get into my gear.”


I opened a can of thick beef stew and heated it in an old aluminum pan that I found in the cupboard under the sink. I ate directly from the pan to save time and dishes. I was getting so used to His new appearance that I did not have to leave the room to eat, as I thought, at first, I might. Indeed, I sat watching Him and talking to Him while I gobbled the meat and potatoes. I finished supper with a can of pears, then went and struggled into my arctic traveling gear. When I came back into the kitchen to tell Him that I was leaving, He said, “I almost forgot about it.”

“What’s that?”

“When I was out in the utility shed starting the generator this morning, I noticed it on a platform near the back wall. Didn’t think much of it then, but it will come in handy now. A magnetic sled.”

“How big?” I asked.

“Two-man. You can handle it easily. It’ll save a devil of a lot of walking.”

“That it will,” I said. I turned and walked into the living room.

“Be careful,” He called after me from where he lay in the kitchen like a beached whale.

“Don’t worry.”

Then I was through the door, closing it behind, and into the white and black world of the early Alaskan night. The wind buffeted me, and the snow stung my face. I held my goggles and mask in my right hand, walked down the steps and hurried around the cabin to the utility shed. The door was a heavy metal one, bent slightly because He had had to smash it repeatedly to break its lock. It rattled now, gently, as the wind rocked it against the frame. I pushed it open. It grated unpleasantly where the buckled metal worked against the hinges.

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