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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8. Return

 

As summer turned into autumn, an extra inhabitant was introduced into the Foundation. He was quiet, solemn and withdrawn, and duly undertook the daily routine without fuss or complaint. He chopped wood, swept floors and prepared food as efficiently as those who had performed the tasks for longer. Few of the inhabitants seemed to recognise him, and if they did they kept it to themselves. All apart from the one with grey eyes and blonde hair, who could often be seen sneaking a glance at the newcomer when he thought no one was watching.

 

But someone was watching. Both inhabitants were being carefully watched on the orders of the Man, whose presence on the corridors of the Foundation was becoming less frequent. It was the woman who had charge of the guards now, the woman with the vibrant red hair. She compensated for her small physique with her screeching voice, patrolled the corridors with her escorts issuing orders to inhabitants and guards alike, seemingly always angry.

 

He wondered what she had to be angry about, and how she had come to be here. Then he realised it would be best not to wonder. Just to keep his head down, follow instructions and not do anything suspect. One evening, he was working a shift in the kitchens. The order came through that a meal had to be prepared and taken up to the third floor of the Foundation, which was reserved as living space and offices for the senior staff. The order was unusual in itself, as the senior staff usually ate in a room adjacent to the inhabitants' dining room and rarely took meals alone.

 

The supervisor gave him the task as he had nearly finished slicing the stack of vegetables on the workstation in front of him. The kitchen was a hub of frantic activity and no one noticed as he inconspicuously slid the knife into his pocket. He presented himself to the supervisor and soon he found himself with a tray of hot, steaming food being escorted up various flights of stairs by a guard. He made certain to memorise the path he had taken and as they ascended to the third floor, he found himself attempting not to look suspicious as he was led through a network of corridors, all with near identical doors. One door in particular was of interest to him. It was looked just like all the other doors, yet when they passed it, the guard's eyes glanced at it uneasily. This was a door he was not meant to see.

 

On they went, until eventually he was directed towards a door which is escort knocked upon. The high-pitched cry to enter confirmed the room in question belonged to the woman. The guard turned the handle and opened the door, ushering him in. As he entered, he glanced around the room. The woman was sat behind her desk, engrossed in whatever work lay in front of her. There was a mound of paper piled on her desk, and the walls were lined with filing cabinets. The Foundation was self-sufficient and as far as he could tell never corresponded with the outside world. These must be observations and reports. Reports on the inhabitants. Reports on him.  

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