New rough idea about a man living below the ground, yet connected to everything.
Wilfred Anderson thought he was invisible. So invisible in fact, he showed up in places unaware he could, in fact be seen if someone had a reason to do so. The truth was, he was clearly visible, but you wouldn't notice him unless he wanted you to. Through doors and down the escalators of Trudent City, he appeared to wander, his disguise dismissed, a busy traveler about his daily business. His hatchet eyes, flashing blue, darted twelve bodies ahead, ever conscience of who might take notice, who might catch on. He wanted to be a ghost and did a damn fine job pulling it off.
Wilfred stopped caring about anybody but himself long ago; the warm blanket of anonymity his cloak of choice. In the rare event he needed to converse with a human, he was quite charming, aloof and coy. To talk with another was, well...disconcerting, always for a purpose, to gain information or something material to support his plans.
"Why yes, ma'am. No, thank-you dear..." Were well practiced verse, often in front of a dirty, cracked mirror attached to the wall of a deserted gas station, a long distance above the dingy sewer burrow he called home. Twenty-third street and Sassoon Blvd were his ceiling, the constant drone of tires on cracked tar his music. He was content until the droning stopped. Today included the sound a manhole cover being pried off his roof, or worst yet, the unmistakable sound of a city worker, descending down to the belly of the city, who might find a lone parasite living down there.
They might find him...
Quietly, he switched off his unsystematic yet perspicacious bank of computer systems, killed the breakers and stilled his beating heart, becoming one with the darkness he loved so much. The cold, damp musk of an unwanted entity flooded through his tunnels, drifting over the stagnant standing pools of water and invaded his senses. There were no practiced words for this encounter, no crooked or fake smile for this intrusive encounter. His slight of hand was useless, yet he gripped the handle of the cold, rusty pipe firmly, the idea one to consider, but not for long mind you, the offer to flee was just as strong.
His fate decided, the young man in the orange Trudent City public works work vest fell, his head caved in from the left, a dark smudge of rust and brown dirty water clinging like a lamprey to his now lifeless skull, his one remaining eye stuck wide open in surprise. Wilfred dragged the lifeless corpse through the dark alleyways of the sewer line, the dead man's boots leaving a thin, narrow scrape, soon to be erased by the unrelenting flow of the cities squalid discharge.
The sound the electric breakers made, when Wilfred snapped them on, was both loud and satisfying. Wilfred loved the sight of life returning to his torrid subterranean sewer grotto. The hard drives and lights on little metal boxes sprung awoke, their respective screens flickering, custom code raced by, creating the artificial intelligent life of Wilfred Anderson. Eighteen computer screens blasted the damp, rotten, sewer hole with light, its only door now bolted firmly against the world. Trace programs ran, dumping data and locations, bank accounts and flight plans to the databases, all to be mined later for unsuspecting identities and pools of untapped data resources. But today, because the life he took, meant there would be others to follow. Wilfred must leave, the move will be costly in time and frustration, the pain of adorning himself once again with the smile and the thank-you ma'ams all dusted off and ready for duty. Time to find a new hole, a better lair to do his work. Someone would indubitably search and find the body soon enough, maybe today in fact. Time dawned on Wilfred as he kicked the black boots of the worker further into the shadows. Wilfred's darting blue eyes counted the room, calculating the trips needs to move everything. Again.
The next morning, the dew mixed with raindrops assaulted the innocent sidewalk as he shuffled along. Always the actor, he had donned the homeless beggar the minute he slunk out of the sewer pipe.
Mason avenue spread its poisonous fingers into the crappy storefronts and circa nineteen-fifties window bays. Traffic lights hung like helpless prisoners, swinging back and forth in the sunless morning light, their paint peeling, as they had done for decades. Wilfred found the cracks beneath his quiet feet the only thing he touched as he make his way east. The train tracks ahead, the path of choice, along their rusty linear footprints he walked the a soulless homeless drone, except for the list he was milling about in his head.
The Devtech factory, its beating heart never ceasing its hash, pulsing rhythm of production, loomed just to the south now, the smell of pollution, of painful production at the cost of the souls it employed for a pittance. The workers rummaged around its arduous foundations like ants slowly digesting a water buffalo; relentless in their desire to consume what little sustenance it offered. The working man, a symbol of the forgotten ideals of America, a faded watercolor painted decades ago, when the new world was young, before it produced a being like Wilfred Anderson.
Locations marked on in his head, one being the small rise in the landscape now coming into view just beyond the high, chain link fence, bordering the ancient factory. This location, a prime choice, one saved till now, offered the best in resources for a mole, the power feed and protection, the connection to the outside world available at his discretion, yet primitive and remote. No one would ever find him here.
The way in was another matter altogether. Through the rain soaked, dripping trees he had to traverse, no path yet to follow, hopefully none would ever exist to lead probing, inquisitive minds, to where he lived; deep in the old abandoned bomb shelter. One hundred yards south of the Devtech factory, thirty feet straight down in the ground. Perfect. The entrance, for now, was a rusted hull of two swinging doors, their existence covered by overgrown weeds, ivy and fallen summers, the leaves piling up on the old metal like children's hands on their fathers sleeping face. He looked around, like a rabbit daring to move, then pried the left door open, it painful rusty groan yelled out, angry to be awakened. Rancid rubbish from years of neglect and storm water, falling to Wilfred's feet, as the musty wet, forgotten air, quickly filled his nostrils. The steps down were treacherous. He had been here a long time ago, and his practiced eyes told him no one had been here since. The steps ended in blackness, where most would fear to tread he ventured like a kid with a ice cream at the county fair. Up ahead, his flashlight revealed the outline of rooms and more stairs. A row of wall lights shielded by grim tarnished brass holders, their ability to create luminescence ending decades ago. No matter, there was no welcome mat to display here, no pretense of normalcy to parade to the neighbors, only the steady drip of water down old rotting concrete walls, the smell of decaying metal and the lost dream of the shelters creators, namely, how this place would save them from the cold war, the nuclear bombs that never came.
Quickly and with glee, Wilfred scooted along the passageway, down the steps and through the rows of metal shelves, stocked with decaying stacks of god knows what. The room he was interested in, was much closer to the factory. He had to search a while, but finally, his memory came back to him, and the next door opened to his honey pot, a steal cage wrapped in diluted, damp concrete. He entered the lair, his heart pounding, barley able to contain his thrill; it was just as he remembered.
To anyone else, the nightmare was just beginning, but to Wilfred, it was a dream come true. He had saved this place, happy to see no new construction anywhere near its location. The Devtech factory produced many things, but to Wilfred, he was interested in was what it provided for him. His joy had no bounds as he explored further then he had before, finding another passageway in the room, which headed straight towards Devtech. The way was narrow, but passable, darker then midnight in hell, but dryer. He made his way the one hundred yards down the winding dark tunnel, quietly dislodged a ventilation grid and jumped out on a platform in a little, secluding storage room in the factory. Heaven. The air was clean, the dim perpetual factory lights glowing like Christmas morning in his eyes. The platform he was on was actually a storage shelve, twenty feet off the dusty concrete floor of the Devtech factory, one of many, small forgotten storage rooms in the massive conglomerate of American production.
Yes....Wilfred thought to himself. His mind raced with plans, the power leads-they would never notices, the bandwidth hookup, the water flow. Hell, he could crack open a wireless junction right here and be all set. But no. Not this time. Devtech was the one we had waited for, the one he now needed more then ever. For now, he only breathed their air, making a mental note of the healthy resources in the storage before him, not even taking of one the boxes of ready made Toaster Kid munchies that lined the top shelve he was hiding on. There were thousands, but one might be missed, it was never worth the risk. His mental list complete, Wilfred turned to go back into the air conditioning vent like a rat in his hole. He paused to listen, the sounds of the busy factory at eleven am was music to his ears. Soon, the would all go back to their small houses, to their boring lives and ankle biters. Some might get together with their friends, to forget the horrid factory that Wilfred now held so dear.
Two days later and everything was complete except the last box which now sat in a rusty shopping cart, void of its chrome years ago by some thought-less shoppers. Wilfred made a mental note of the addresses of the surrounding houses all around the Devtech factory, modest homes, mostly factory workers droning on in their meaningless lives, getting older everyday, not one step closer to living their dreams. Soon, he would use many mailboxes for deliveries, targeting the old women he had vetted accross the street and the abandoned home lots that peppered the landscape, misplaced mail would be sent to a myriad of unsuspecting aliases. He practiced his vocal delivery, his response if someone found his mail by mistake. How he would offer to take it, and would be sure to correct the mistake, and oh "and Have a wonderful day Ma'am." Beyond the influx of traffic he crept, the setting sun casting shadows on the lonely pines as he pushed the old shopping cart along like a homeless man. The disguise had worked more times then any other. A few days growth of whiskers, the old forgotten Jim Beam whiskey bottle in his pocket. He could even talk to cops if the need arise.
"Mighty fine day Officer! What going on there sir?"
"City worker found down in the sewer, head all bashed in, we think he's been down there for a while. Maybe he stumbled upon a drug deal or something," The fat police officer, with coffee stains on his uniform, mumbled as Wilfred leaned against his rusty shopping cart.
"Aww that's terrible, what's the world a comin' to!" Wilfred snorted in disgust, "Well, you have a great day officer!"
The cop never even looked back at him. He was more concerned with the lady walking by, her ample bottom stretching out her cheap jeans.
"Ahh-huh, move it along now," Officer coffee stain mumbled.
Wilfred watched a bit longer as they brought the body up from the sewer, the corpse's buldging, bloated, dusky white eye still wide open in surprise, the smashed face a pasty bleak and white. The smell of the decmposing corpse drifted through the tired city air. A body bag came soon after they closed up the drain, the rusty, iron cover slamming into place, echoing off the buildings and street signs of Wilfred's old home.
"Wrong place at the wrong time I guess!" Wilfred hollered back at the officer as he stumbled his delapadated cart down the street, his head down low and his eyes peeled.
Wilfred stopped at his cart at a new construction site about a mile from Devtech factory. The jobbers long gone, he crept in. Today he was lucky, he dropped the blanket he had was wrapped around his shoulders, reviling tools hanging from his work belt as he went to work. Wire. Lots of it, and pipe-if he was lucky. Garden hoses would work too, but were constant maintenance. He had one running now from his underground bunker to the Devtech supply room. He had placed an electronic counter on the door to keep count of how often the supply room was visited. Soon he would add a video feed, but for now he had to wait on a few shipments. The key to being a mole is not to raise an eyebrow, stay below the scene. Always.
He brought back his goodies and went to work. He loved this work, like post apocalypse survival, but with the addition of a global world wide network at his finger tips. All he had to do was tap in, go online with a few PC's, the rest dedicated to the other web, the hidden networks, the kind no one knows about. Database crunchers, data miners and bitcoin pockets. He had revenue stashed in thousands of unsuspecting homes, personal servers were his favorites, but regular old user computers were great too. A bank to Wilfred was not the Savings and Loan on the corner, instead, it was the lady who brought her IBM Thinkpad to work everyday, but stopped for an hour or so at Starbucks to answer her Match.com messages. You see, he could tell if she was online or not by simply looking at his databank of online networked computers. Networked to him. They updated each other constantly, if one went down, or got replaced it didn't matter, he would move his data around as needed automatically. Until the advent of bitcoin currency and its clones, data was copied and shared everywhere. Now, this money, if you could call it money, only resided in one place at a time. Then it was moved, traded, sold, or whatever, the buyer or seller needed. The minute a person connects their computer to the world wide web, they were his. Its not when the computer will get invested , but when, and how many other trogens, hacker back doors, and special software bits that link the unsuspecting user into slavery. Personal computers my ass..., Wilfred thought to himself as the thousands of unsuspecting IP's wizzed by, reflected in his grinning eyes, There's no such animal...*