ANTI-MAN by Dean R. Koontz

So I thought. I had been trying not to think, but there was no way to deny what was going through my mind. I had spent hours on the concept in the prison, and I had still reached no conclusions. The android was God. He had said so. But why would He choose to come to Earth in such a laborious manner? And what was He planning to do here? Was this the Second Coming? Or wasn’t He the Christian God? Was He the Buddhist version? The Jewish? The Hindu? Or, and this seemed most likely, was He not like any version of God that Man subscribed to?

I knew the last must be correct. We had never understood the nature of God. Our religions, all our religions, with all their extensive theories, doctrines and dogmas, all of them were totally wrong. But I am one who does not believe in criticizing something until you can replace it with something better. And I could not formulate any theories on the nature of this God of ours. His nature was a mystery beyond my immediate comprehension.

I worried about what was going to happen to the world when He began to bring His changes. Was the fabric of our reality going to change so drastically that many of us would not learn to fit into it? No, He had said we would be changed intellectually, our minds opened to full awareness. What a world of geniuses would be like was a toss-up question. In theory, it sounded quite lovely. In practice, it might be intolerable. A society of cold, thinking machines was not what I considered Utopia.

Before I knew it, I was shunted out of the main tubeways and into an exit tunnel. The Bubble swept through the exit foyer, crossing a suction vent where the molecules of the Bubble were instantly broken down, and the powdery residue slid down through the grating to be reconstructed into another Bubble, and another after that, and so on, for as long as the Bubble Drop system was operational. The chair stopped on a ramp; I stood, and walked off into the corridor.

I caught an elevator up, rose 104 floors to my level and debarked. In this apartment level, there were no pedways, for this was a relatively exclusive area. I walked along the thick carpeting to the door to my apartment, placed my thumb on the identification lock, and waited for the computer in the Yale system to decide I was one of those authorized to enter. A moment later, the door began to slide back. As I stepped through, two bullets smashed in the frame of the door and showered me with chips of wood. I fell, rolled inside, and made a vocal order to close the door.

It slid shut just as the killer on the other side slammed into it. I got shakily to my feet, trying to figure out what I should do. I was almost in a state of shock, for the killer I had seen when I rolled into the apartment was a dead ringer for the android in His humanoid form . . .


I went to the nearest easy chair and collapsed in it. My mind was in a state of pandemonium, trying to rationalize what I had seen. It did not help any when the recurring word Frankenstein whispered across the front of my brain like a cold, dry wind. At first, I tried to tell myself that it was just chance resemblance—that a thief had come up to this floor, had waited for someone to come so that he might rob them. But why would a thief bother coming up this far? It would be just that much more difficult to get out, for he would have to use the elevator to go down enough levels to reach a Bubble Drop station. The elevator could be stopped as soon as I turned in the alarm, and there was an alarm call-box not ten feet away. And if he had planned on robbing me, why shoot to kill? Why not just take the money and run? No, I was only deluding myself. There was nothing so simple as chance resemblance here. That man in the corridor had been one of His android selves, and it had been trying to kill me.

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Categories: Koontz, Dean