It was when the waves splashed against his body that he gradually returned to consciousness. How long had he been lying here? He found himself half-buried in the sand and attempted to move, but was too weak to do so.
The sun must have risen; he could feel the heat, but his eyes would not open, if eyes even existed. Something felt very wrong to him, but he could not quite place what it was. He tried to remember, and for a moment he thought he had something, but it was all too distant and unreal, and that feeling faded. He was blind and deaf, lying there as the cold, salty water cut him again and again. He knew something was missing, or rather, everything was missing. And that was when he remembered the pain.
He screamed for days but nobody listened. His body parts, barely holding together, each anguished fragment emitting a chorus of screams. Ocean and sand had become his eternal prison, enveloping his body and slithering through his wounds. The more he struggled, the greater his pain. There was no escape.
He hungered. He had to eat, after all. Or did he? He could not remember ever having needed to, but the hunger had nonetheless consumed him. There was a strange craving, an urge to replace - to compensate – for what was missing. So he dug from the sand around him, and swallowed whatever he could find. But the more he ate, the hungrier he felt. His body hurt even more as he felt parts that should not be there growing. Cancer, perhaps, but he could not care less.
There was something missing, and he had to find it, he had to stop the pain.
He screamed and dug and fed for days and nights. Gradually, the sand had lost its grip of him and he no longer felt the torture of the salty sea. He had more time to think between the episodes of pain, but his memory was distant and broken. Who was he, what was his name? He did not know. What had happened? He could not remember. Vaguely, he could recall a war. No, not war, a battle. Or was it just a fight?
One night, when his body was bathed in the glow of the full moon, someone answered his cries. They took him home, tended to him, scraping away all the filth that had accumulated on him. They spoke to him, but it was in a language he could not understand. He would thank them, but doubted they would understand his words of gratitude. The pain still lingered but had lessened in his new home. There was no water to choke him, no sand to scrape him. His caretakers even offered him food, easing his unending famine.
It was when he felt much better, when he thought they could finally hear what he had to say, when things fell apart. He felt their quarrels and confusion, but could not understand their nature. He was then fed with something strange; it moved as if struggling and soaked his body in strange liquids. Whatever it was, he could not stop himself.
He felt screams, not his, but from those around him. He could not comprehend what was happening. It reminded him of the war - the fight so long ago. Were there screams as well? Someone else came, and his caretakers ran.
He did not know them, but he soon became afraid. They carried with them strange things and a large water prison. He wanted to run, along with his caretakers, but couldn't. He screamed and screamed but they did not care. They came closer, and plunged him into the cold, salty water.
He found himself drowning again, as his senses left him.