"You were chosen" the man with the sandpaper-on-marble voice said between drags of his cigarette "because you survived."
"You saw the things that dwelt inside and beside and within reality, or
you looked too closely into the places where the universe burst at the
seams or you crossed into the wrong time through the wrong place, but
you made it through. Whether by luck, ability or sheer bloody minded
determination, you're here because you came out of something that defied
understanding, sanity or the fundamental laws of physics without losing
The man with the sandpaper-on-marble voice
stopped, flicked the ash from his cigarette and let out a steady stream
of smoke from his nostrils, furnace-thick and acrid.
"You were dragged from the ruins of your life, torn and bloodied,
screaming obscenities at your Gods, thinking that it was God's will or
doing that brought you there, to the wasteland of mind and memory.
"It wasn't. It was terror and tragedy that had been transmitted into
the fabric of your lives in indecipherable tongues that you could never
even comprehend, never mind translate or understand.
ants caught in a flash flood, that crawled into the mud and hid, as your
world was swept away in the dark, screaming."
The man coughed once, then flicked his cigarette in the nether regions off-screen.
"That is no longer the case."
The reel ended without fanfare or ritual. There was only the sound of
old film, whipping itself in the reel like an old Flagellant, whipping
the skin off his back out of habit, his God's wrath long since abated.
There was the whisper of silk, polyester and cotton on skin as the
assorted men and women rustled uneasily in their seats and the nervous,
repeated flicks of lighters as their owners seeked to conjure flame.
There was a 60-second silence that seemed to last forever. It was the
doctor's words that broke the spell, his four-word incantation:
"Welcome to the Foundation"
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