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A Darkness in My Soul

A Darkness in My Soul

Titel: A Darkness in My Soul
Autoren: Dean Koontz
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    Divinity Destroyed…

        For a long while, I wondered if Dragonfly was still in the heavens and whether the Spheres of Plague still floated in airlessness, blind eyes watchful. I wondered whether men still looked to the stars with trepidation and whether the skies yet bore the cancerous seed of mankind. There was no way for me to find out, for I lived in Hell during those days, where news of the living gained precious little circulation.
        I was a digger into minds, a head-tripper. I esped. I found secrets, knew lies, and reported all these things for a price. I esped. Some questions were never meant to be answered; some parts of a man's mind were never intended for scrutiny. Yet our curiosity is, at the same time, our greatest virtue and our most serious weakness. I had within my mind the power to satisfy any curiosity which tickled me. I esped; I found; I knew. And then there was a darkness in my soul, darkness unmatched by the depths of space that lay lightless between the galaxies, an ebony ache without parallel.
        It started with a nerve-jangling ring of the telephone, a mundane enough beginning.
        I put down the book I was reading and lifted the receiver and said, impatiently perhaps, "Hello?"
        "Simeon?" the distant voice asked. He pronounced it correctly-Sim-ee-on.
        It was Harry Kelly, sounding bedraggled and bewildered, two things he never was. I recognized his voice because it had been-in years past-the only sound of sanity and understanding in a world of wildly gabbling self-seekers and power-mongers. I esped out and saw him standing in a room that was strange to me, nervously drumming his fingers on the top of a simulated oak desk.
        The desk was studded with a complex panel of controls, three telephones, and three-dimensional television screens for monitoring interoffice activity-the work space of someone of more than a little importance.
        "What is it, Harry?"
        "Sim, I have another job for you. If you want it, that is.
        You don't have to take it if you're already wrapped up in something private."
        He had long ago given up his legal practice to act as my agent, and he could be counted on for at least one call a week like this. Yet there was a hollow anxiety in his tone which made me uncomfortable. I could have touched deeper into his mind, stirred through the pudding of his thoughts and discovered the trouble. But he was the one person in the world I would not esp for purely personal reasons. He had earned his sanctity, and he would never have to worry about losing it.
        "Why so nervous? What kind of job?"
        "Plenty of money," he said. "Look, Sim, I know how much you hate these tawdry little government contracts. If you take this job, you're not going to need money for a long while. You won't have to go around snooping through a hundred government heads a week."
        "Say no more," I said. Harry knew my habit of living beyond my means. If he thought there was enough in this to keep me living fat for some time to come, the buyer had just purchased his merchandise. All of us have our price. Mine just came a little steeper than most.
        "I'm at the Artificial Creation complex. We'll expect you in-say twenty minutes."
        "I'm on my way." I dropped the phone into its cradle and tried to pretend I was enthusiastic. But my stomach belied my true feelings as it stung my chest with acidic, roiling spasms. In the back of my mind, The Fear rose and hung over me, watching with dinner-plate eyes, breathing fire through black nostrils. The Artificial Creation building: the womb, my womb, the first tides of my life…
        I almost crawled back into bed and almost said the hell with it. The AC complex was the last place on Earth I wanted to go, especially at night, when everything would seem more sinister, when memories would play in brighter colors. Two things kept me from the sheets: I truly did not enjoy the loyalty checks I ran on government employees to keep me in spending money, for I was not only required to report traitors, but to delineate the abnormal (as the government defined that) private practices and beliefs of those I scanned, violating privacy in the most insidious of fashions; secondly, I had just promised Harry I would be there, and I couldn't find a single instance when that mad Irishman had ever let me down.
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