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.

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7. Bad Words

 

Weeks passed. He had desperately wanted to begin his rebellion, yet found himself limited by the trials his body had been subjected to. What further fuelled his desire was the realisation that he was purposefully being kept weak. The three daily doses of medicine administered by the Matron kept him disorientated and unable to think, making it a struggle to think coherently. Then there were the whisperers. He could not see their faces. They came at night, when the heat and the drugs blurred his vision and made him mentally and physically drained. He knew not who they were, but he knew their purpose. To make him forget.

 

At first it was numbers. Long streams of them, random, unintelligible sequences of numbers that he imagined sought to confuse him further. five seven six four five five six seven eight ten one two one two seven six five nine nine seven two one four. It seemed as if they went on for hours, whispered in soft, silky voices. seven two four five one two seven nine eight four three nine three four eight two six four six ten one nine. For periods of time that stretched to eternity, the numbers continued. Throughout it all, he struggled to keep focused upon his numbers. The numbers that would be his salvation. The numbers that would help him discover his name. #246845.

 

During the day, the Matron alluded to none of the strange happenings that took place after dark. A hard, stern stare ensured he drank the foul liquid she placed in front of him and then she was gone, only to return later to administer another dose. It was now summer on the island, and the heat was stifling. He had tried in vain to open the windows, mustering what little strength he had in a doomed attempt to allow a cool breeze into the room. The windows had been locked, lest he attempt to communicate with the other inhabitants. The only option that was available to him was to lay there, waiting for night to fall and for his tormentors to return.

 

Words soon replaced the numbers. He quickly came to realise that there were two sets of words. The good ones and the bad ones. The bad words were words that they almost spat out with contempt, words such as freedom, truth, honesty and thought. These words were accompanied with small acts of physical torture, such as pinches, cuts or burns. By the end of such a session his body would be in tremendous agony. The following day the Matron would make no remarks about his condition, merely continue to force him to drink the medicine and eat meagre amounts of food which were barely enough to sustain him. In the heat, the pain would almost become unbearable.

 

At night, the whisperers would return. This time however, they would return not with instruments of torture but with a cream that would be rubbed into his skin, relieving him of the pain they themselves had delivered the previous night. After a long day in which his wounds had festered in the heat, the cream appeared as salvation. And of course, accompanying this relief were the good words. Order, stability, loyalty and control. These words, these wonderful words that had previously seemed so abhorrent to him were now the words he longed to hear. #246845. He knew what they were doing to him. #246845. Days and weeks passed. #246845. He had to fight it. #246845. He had to remember.  

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