The Man who was Drowned

A man escapes from the mysterious Foundation and seeks solace amongst the waves. Recaptured and placed under confinement, he has little way of finding the answers he so desperately seeks. Why is he here? What is the Foundation? And most importantly, what is his name? Subject to forces beyond his control and seemingly helpless, there appears no end in sight.


1. Destitute


The waves lapped around his feet as he stood there, panting. He could go no further, and as he glanced behind him and saw them advancing, he knew it would be pointless to try. He staggered forward a few feet and collapsed onto his knees, letting the waves wash over him. The cold, salty water was refreshing and seemed to consume him, for a moment he wished he could simply float away and leave the recent past behind on the island. He could hear the footsteps on the beach behind him, then the muffled sounds which indicated the boots of his pursuers striding through the wet sand, getting ever closer.


All of a sudden, the footsteps stopped. As he lay there, face submerged in water, he could see them in his mind's eye. There would be four of them, he knew. The Man, who would the towering above the others and looking oddly out of place in his pinstripe suit amongst the trappings of the beach. It would almost have been comical if not for the unwavering stare which he could feel burning into the back of his head. Whilst the intensity of the Man's stare would be enough to make a weaker man faint, stronger and more violent methods were applied to those who did not yield so easily. Accompanying him would be Marcus, or at least the boy who used to be Marcus. Short in comparison to the Man, but with an extremely muscular body that matched his formidable intellect. They were the best of friends, he and Marcus. But that was before. That was when he could still remember his name.


The other two would be a couple of thugs, the Man never left his office without a couple of the security team that patrol the corridors of the Foundation night and day, never uttering a word. It was these two who now grabbed him by his shoulders and dragged him out of the sea, back into reality. He looked longingly at the sea and thought of the watery embrace it had promised him, an escape from the harsh experiences of his recent life. As he was unceremoniously dumped on the sand, he looked up at his captors. Both were male, white and in their thirties most probably. Their lack of distinctive features was probably an asset in their line of work, strong yet anonymous whilst their employers set about spreading misery. He wondered whether they had any emotions left apart from hatred. It was hard to imagine any form of warmth ever originating from these two brutes, yet he supposed that was what made them good at their job. Above all, he wondered what their names were. No one had any names at the Foundation, that was the trouble. He desperately wanted to be able to remember his own.


Before him stood the Man, with a blank face that would have put a poker player to shame. It was impossible to tell what he was thinking, but the cruel leather whip in his right hand was probably a good inclination. All of a sudden, his name came back to him. It flooded into his consciousness and reverberated around his brain, desperate to escape after being suppressed for so long. As he went to blurt it out, the Man raised the whip and lashed out at him. The whip licked his torso and pain seared throughout his body. As he lay there, coughing up blood, it occurred to him with great sorrow that the moment of inspiration had passed. His name had gone as quickly as it had arrived.   

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