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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10. Searching

The first cabinet contained copies of staff wages slips, which were fascinating in themselves. He scanned the documents and found names such as Ben Drewman, Michael Forster, James Tellner and Mark Herdstern. Who were these people? They could only be the guards, those that had caused him so much pain and anguish. Try as he might to put these names to the faces of his tormentors, he could not. Is this what it would be like to discover his own name? Not a joyous moment of self-realisation but simply a name that had no connection to reality? He hoped not.

 

The next cabinet was significantly more encouraging. The front simply read 'Archive' and as he frantically opened it it appeared that all the risks he had taken earlier in the evening had paid off. He was sweating profusely, partly because of the hot conditions of the kitchen he had experienced earlier and partly because of the adrenaline and exhilaration pumping through him body. Within, he found the files divided between 'initial mental assessments' and 'psychiatric reports', and he hastily scoured the documents for those key numbers. #246845.

 

Finally, he found it. Nestled in the centre of the 'initial mental assessments', he had spotted a document with #246845 written upon it. As he lifted it out of the filing cabinet, he knew he did did not have much time yet still felt nervous about reading it. Tentatively, he blew the dust off and opened it.

 

What immediately took his attention was a picture of him attached to the page. It appeared to be an old picture, perhaps even from when he had first arrived. His brown hair was freshly cut and neat, in contrast to the bushy mess that currently sat atop his head. The sparkling blue eyes and the smile demonstrated boyish charm, this was a person who had not yet been broken. Carefully removing the picture and sliding it into his pocket, he began to read. Immediately it became apparent that there was no name, a fact which he found it hard to come to terms with but forced himself to continue reading.

 

After a brief physical description which corresponded with the picture, there was an assessment of his general intelligence. 'Subsequent interviews have found this individual to possess a higher-than-average intelligence and an inquisitive nature that could potentially lead to questioning and disobedience. Recommended close observation and enhanced techniques.' Whatever those enhanced techniques were, he thought, they had not succeeded. Beneath that were a few brief sentences regarding his family situation, and he learned to great sadness that he was an orphan, after the death of his parents and their unborn baby in an unspecified accident. Of course, he had always believed that he was alone, yet this document had squandered any false hope he might have had.

 

At the bottom of the document was simply a stamp with the word 'SUCCESSFUL' and a thick border imprinted on the page in a red ink that may once have been vivid but had since faded somewhat. He placed the report to one side and returned to the filing cabinet, hoping to find an accompanying psychiatric report, believing that if he could understand how they had made him forget, he would be able to remember.

 

It was significantly easier to locate this file, with there being substantially less of these reports than there had been initial assessments. He could only assume the majority were not suitable for the purposes of the Foundation. Purposes he had yet to discover. He was aware of how little time he had and therefore snatched up the report labelled '#246845', hurriedly opening it. Inside was a collection of reports, spanning, as far as he could tell, a number of years. He began to read.  

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