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Ever guarded, busy always,
Keeps away the foggy haze.
Demons dance, but not in my head.
All emotions, now are dead.

As the wind whipped the stinging rain against his face, he pulled the overcoat even closer around his neck, and leaned into the wind. He ran toward the modern building that was the home office for GateOS Corporation. He was careful to avoid the cracks in the road, and later on the sidewalk, not because he was superstitious, but because it made him feel uneasy. The rain had turned the parking lot into a giant reflecting pool, which made the task even harder. He glanced around the parking lot, not really expecting to see anybody, since it was still the wee hours of Monday. He was not disappointed that he was alone there at complex. He liked arriving before everybody else. He liked being alone. His boss thought he was a very diligent worker, which was fine. It kept the boss out of his way, and off of his back. It had taken three years to move high enough in the company to get out of the peasant level of cubicles and into his own office, his private sanctuary. His home. Not that cracker box that he had to leave his sanctuary to sleep. He tried not to sleep any more than he had to. Sleep was not a restful thing; it was a cursed journey that his body put him through from time to time. That was behind him now. The forced day off of the Sabbath, was over. He could return. The glow from the light in the parking lot guided him to the entrance, which was like the warmth of a hearth on a snowy night, to him.

He approached the entrance and placed his hand on the security pad. The retina scans of old movies had given way to the much cheaper and more accurate handprint scans. He wondered if the cold had permeated his hand enough to affect his entry. It was temperature sensitive. That made him happy. Nobody would be cutting off his hand and placing it on the pad to gain access to his sanctuary. The pale blue light moved below the glass his hand was placed on, and a sharp buzz signaled that the door would be unlocked for ten seconds. He grabbed the handle of the door, and winced as the dampness of the rain almost made his hand slip. Mustn’t slip, he thought, mustn’t slip.

The obligatory human guard dozed at the console of security monitors that spread themselves out like a pilot’s cockpit in front of him. The sound of the lock buzzer bringing him back to the world of the living. With a snort and a momentary loss of balance, the guard sat up and grumbled, “Oh, Mr. Randall, I see you are in early as usual.”

“Go back to your reading, Tom.” Was my reply. Thinking instead of how it suited my purpose that Tom was a lazy, shiftless guard. Smiling, I walked away, comfortable in the thought that he didn’t know that I really wasn’t Mr. Randall.

Every time that somebody called him Mr. Randall he smiled. Not because he was a friendly and outgoing person, but because of the self-satisfaction that his true identity was still a secure secret. The true nature of Mr. Randall was as secret as his identity.


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