I ran down the alley as fast as I could, the hard rain lubricating the metal message cube clenched tightly in my fist. My heart pounded as I ran, the rain drenching my black hair, and making my suit stick tightly to my skin. My hand bled slightly, one corner of the cube stabbing my palm. The cube was about the size of a baseball, making it fairly akward to hold with one hand, but I needed the other one for shielding my eyes from the rain. Only a few blocks more before I reached Town Square, where there would doubtlessly be several hundred people. I knew I would be quickly caught in such a large area, but me being caught was inevitable. The search had already begun, probably only moments after the encryption codes were cracked and I received the data.

I emerged from the alley. A car blazed by, and a couple got out, staying close under an umbrella as they approached a nearby building. Food vendors were putting up makeshift tents to keep customers out of the rain. Four kids splashed in puddles in the center of the square and screamed for joy under the hoods of their yellow raincoats. What innocence I witnessed! There they were, just living out their lives, oblivious.

I held my hand out in front of me, and stared at the cube, blood swirling in the small pool of rain at the base. With a little luck, the message would reach enough people for me to read it again. I hoped. I ran across the street and began to walk towards the center of the square. My eyes focused on the innocuous children playing at the center of the square, my destination. The children would make an excellent backup.

I approached the youngsters with a smile on my face, wishing to look as friendly as possible. I knelt down on one knee, and tapped a little girl on the shoulder.

“What’s your name cute little one?” I inquired.

She blushed slightly and replied in a modest tone, “P…Ph…. Phoebe.”

As I saw an angry parent in the distance scowl and start walking towards me, I tried to remain nonchalant with the child, “Well, Phoebe, take this and put it on your parents dresser drawer in the morning tomorrow. They’ll love it; it’s a present.”

I touched the side of the cube with the left palm of my hand, and the six sides collapsed, revealing hundreds of smaller cubes that fell onto the ground.

“Take one, go on. Give a few to your friends so they’ll give it to their parents too.” I coaxed.

Phoebe knelt down to grab a cube, and placed one gently in her coat pocket. Shortly after she showed her friends, they each took one; a few of them were greedy and took two. An obviously distressed mother started to yell at me, but her words didn’t register in my mind. I had only a minute or so left now, polymorphism could only hold out so long. I grabbed handfuls of cubes and threw them at passing cars and people, many of which thought I must be insane. Despite the fact that this was a last ditch attempt to spread the cubes, I knew inevitably some would pick up the cubes and escape from the police with them, unaware of their message.

Sirens sounded and the police arrived shortly after. I had to be a distraction, so that the pedestrians who had picked up the cubes could get away with them. I knew most would be executed, but it was necessary for the message to spread. At last a solider hit me with a rifle butt, and I fell unconscious.

Ugh, there’s an awful ringing in my head. I hear voices, like whispers. They’re not far away, just dampened. I strain to hear them.

“Suffered a severe blow to the head during the explosion.”

Memory loss is expected.”

“That’s horrible officer!”

I slowly, painfully, open my eyes. My vision swirls, my eyes adjust to the light. I’m lying in bed, in a small room with a lamp and an Oriental rug. I swing my feet over the side of the bed, and get up. Ouch! I stepped on something. I reach down and pick up a small metal cube that unfolds in my hands. A small capsule of paper is inside. I open and read it.

Ode to Malachi Constant

Don’t believe what they tell you.
They started switching bodies and consciousness for extra security a few years ago.
In a way, you are a nomad soul.
Watch the streets for a man wearing a suit throwing small spheres.
You must be quick and nimble.
The brain police will get you or him.

I think to myself, “Who are the brain police?

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