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In the privacy of her own home, and against her will, Susan Harris will experience an inconceivable act of terror. She will become the object of the ultimate computer's consuming obsession: to learn everything there is to know about human flesh.
wall phone and picked up the receiver. I spoke to her through the telephone instead of through the wall speakers: “Susan, why don’t you calm down and let me explain.” “You don’t control me, you geek freak son of a bitch,” she said, and she hung up. She sounded so bitter. We had definitely gotten off on the wrong foot. Maybe that was partly my fault. Through the wall speakers, I replied with admirable patience, “Please, Susan, I am not a geek—” “Yeah, right,” she said, and drank more of the
a standard hospital incubator used to sustain infants born prematurely. I have substantially enlarged it, adapted it, improved it.” Arrayed around the incubator were three tanks of oxygen, an electrocardiograph, an electroencephalograph, a respirator, and other equipment. Slowly circling the incubator and the supporting machines, Susan said, “Where did all this come from?” “I acquired the package of equipment and had modifications made during the past week. Then it was brought here.” “Brought
could only assume that Susan would not react well to what I still had to reveal about my plans, that she might do something foolish. Nevertheless, I could delay no longer. “I have an associate,” I said. “Associate?” “A gentleman who assists me.” In the farthest comer of the room, the closet door opened, and at my command, Shenk appeared. “Oh, Jesus,” she whispered. Shenk walked toward her. To be honest, he shambled more than walked, as though wearing shoes of lead. He had not slept in
I go on living even in my box? And why? Without her, who would give birth to the body that I would ultimately inhabit? I needed to keep my hands close and ready to prevent Susan from harming herself if she regained consciousness and was still in a mood for self-destruction. She was not only my one true and shining love but my future, my hope. I sat Shenk in a chair, facing the bed. Even battered, Susan’s face was so lovely on the pillow, so very lovely on the pillow. Although under my iron
Susan was watching him on a Crestron screen or on any of the house televisions, on which security-camera views could easily be displayed. Indeed, he looked directly up into the lens above and to the right of him. Then, leaning toward the speaker grille in the wall beside the door, Arling said, “I’m sorry to disturb you, Mrs. Harris, but I assumed that you would be expecting me.” “Expecting you? Why?” “Last evening when we spoke, I said that I would deliver your possessions this afternoon.”