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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5. Discovery

 

As he awoke, he found himself in a altogether more pleasant environment than the one he had passed out it. The cell drenched in bile had been replaced by a room which appeared to be a hospital ward, and he was grateful for the bed that lay beneath him. He went to yawn and found his facial movements restricted, in a moment of panic he raised his hands to his face only to discover numerous plasters covering the wounds that littered his face. At that moment, the Matron appeared. She was a short, stout lady and had a fierce temper, which he didn't particularly want to be on the receiving end of. He had had enough of being shouted at.

 

“Oh, you're awake.” Her voice betrayed little emotion as she leant in close and changed the bandages on his arm. He was impressed by how quickly his wounds were healing, then came to the realisation that he had probably remained unconscious for at least a few days. “How long...?” he uttered, leaving the rest unsaid. His voice was little more than a raspy whisper and he found it hard to speak. “Seventeen days.” came the reply. If he had had the full capacity to speak, he would have been rendered speechless. Seventeen days surpassed all his expectations, he might as well have been dead. Perhaps that was what the Man was hoping. He wouldn't like to be in the room when the Man found out he had woken up.

 

The Matron raised a cup of foul smelling liquid to his mouth and willed him to drink. As it passed through his lips, he had to overcome the temptation to vomit it back up. The memories of the toilet rushed back to him and for a moment it was as if all his senses were being subjected to the same horrible torture they had experienced in the cell. The effect was evidently physically obvious, as the Matron seemed momentarily alarmed and withdrew the cup from his mouth. She stood and moved to the end of his bed, removing the clipboard that was attached to it and beginning to write what an appeared to be an update of his situation, no doubt documenting his brief spasm. Glancing at him, the Matron wore a look of disapproval on her stern face. She turned and left room without addressing him further.

 

Suddenly he was alone on the ward. He hazarded a guess that there were probably another ten or so beds, however none were occupied. The sunlight that was streaming through the window by the side of his bed was enticing, and with great difficulty he managed to manoeuvre himself out of his bed and stand, peering out the window into the courtyard below. A few of the inhabitants were hard at work chopping wood, under the close supervision of one of the guards. As one of them, a girl, lost her footing and stumbled forward, the guard uttered a disparaging remark. She stared at him and then glanced upwards, gazing at the birds which were circling overhead, perhaps willing herself to sprout wings and set herself free.

 

From the first floor window, he could see that it was the girl with auburn hair and sparkling blue eyes. Back when he was with the other inhabitants, this was the girl that had intrigued him the most out of all of them, and he had taken a fancy towards her. However, he felt it improper to make advances towards her when he did not even know her name. Turning away from the window, he sighed. Love. Just one more thing the Foundation had taken away from him. He wondered if there was much more they could take.

 

All of a sudden he had a thought that was so brilliant yet so evident that it was a wonder he had not thought of it before. The Matron had made notes regarding his condition on the clipboard now hanging off the end of the bed. The importance of this was not lost upon him. There was physical evidence of his existence. This was proof that he was an individual entity, a fact the Foundation had worked so hard to deny. Furthermore, the form must have some means of identifying him. Perhaps it would even contain his name. Excited by the prospect of discovering his name after the uncertainty of recent events, he eagerly rushed forward and seized the clipboard, ignoring the pain that was ricocheting throughout his body. What he was clutching in his hands amounted to little more than a goldmine of information that had previously been denied to him. He started to read. 

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