ANTI-MAN by Dean R. Koontz

I thought a moment. “You are saying, then, that man, my species, is that flaw on your great canvas, that one square inch that somehow did not turn out right.”

“No,” He said. “You are not even equal to one- square inch in this universe. There are many races that have evolved into flawed species. When I am finished here, I will go to other places. Indeed, other facets of me are working on other races at this very moment. Remember, what you see before you is only a small fragment of me, less than one millionth of my sum personality and power.”

He was not leading me on. What He was saying should have struck a false note, should have seemed unreal, but it was delivered with such assurance and in such a level tone that I knew what He said was perfectly true. “But why enter our world in the form of the android? That seems so roundabout.”

“Try to picture me, Jacob. I am not just big, not just huge, but vast. Only part of my intellect, part of my life power, can be introduced into your world at once. Otherwise, the balance of this arm of the universe would be upset. And even this minor part of me is not easily insinuated into your world. It must assume a living presence, yet it would not be possible to contain it in a human child. The nerves, the brain cells, would burn out if I tried to house my life power in human flesh.”

“But the android is suitable?”

“Because I can shape it,” He said. “I can restructure it like putty. The android’s flesh is quite different, as you know, from real flesh. I can adapt its nervous system to contain my life energy. It was the only door into your world that I could find.”

“And so you came to us through the android. Why?”

“As I have said before, to help you. You have not evolved along standard lines. Most species, at your race’s age, would be able to control its body, its aging. Most species would be immortal and nearly invulnerable. I have come to see that you develop as you should have.”

“And when you have finished that?”

“I will leave. Your section of the creation will be finished. There will be no reason to remain. The painter, after having perfected his mural, does not spend the rest of his life returning to it each day to check how well the paints are weathering. I do not insinuate that this analogy of me to a painter is fully accurate, but it is the closest explanation I can give you.”

“One more thing, then,” I said.

“The Devil we spoke of earlier, the android that has come to harm you.”


“I have explained to you,” He said, “that I am not actually a God as you would think of one, but a living creature, as yourself, who is much, much more complex than you will ever be, and who lives on a higher plane of existence than you can ever reach. As with any living creature, my personality is compounded of various strains, from good and kindness to what you would term wickedness and evil. Any given part of my personality is composed of equal parts of all these various characteristics. The day following your arrest, the “evil” part of this tiny facet of me, enclosed in this android mother body, split from the good part, and entered the second android self I made. Before I realized what had happened, he was gone and out of my reach.”

“Jekyll and Hyde,” I said.

“Yes. I read that back at the laboratory. It is much like the infamous Hyde, this other android that is now out of my control.”

“What could I do?” I asked. I could not quite see how I, a mere mortal, could assist a creature of His dimensions. It was like a man asking a polywog for help against a stampeding herd of cattle.

“The android that attempted to kill you,” He said, “was most likely manufactured by the Hyde android that I created and which escaped from here three days ago. I believe the Hyde android found a place, perhaps nearby, where it could hide and develop into a mother body capable of creating more Hyde androids. The first one, it sent to kill you—or at least to harass you into making an attempt to return here and destroy me. That last is likely.” ‘

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Categories: Koontz, Dean