Max was gently awakened by vague muffled sounds, coming to him like the soft cries of the seagulls calling from faraway over the ocean. He hadn't opened his eyes yet and he just lay where he was in a dreamy state. He felt sleepy still and thought perhaps he should allow himself to fall back to sleep.
He decided to turn over and that was when he realised that something wasn't quite right. The sheets must be twisted around him, he thought, because he seemed to be caught in them and actually, he could not move at all. "Maddy!" he called out for his wife, and his voice echoed back to him, all muffled and weird, and he opened his eyes for the first time.
He was laying flat on his back in a bedroom, but not his bedroom. The light was dim, but he could see the low ceiling and inset LED lights and recognised the design of one of those new Plastiment Homes. The rounded corners of the room gave it away. And it wasn't a sheet that was wrapped tightly around him, although he was covered by a sheet and quilt, he was strapped with his arms at his side to an otherwise relatively comfortable bed.
He still felt groggy and his eyes were crusty and he wanted to reach up and rub them, but he couldn't and that was when he started yelling.
"Hey! Is anybody there? Hey!" he yelled louder, with his voice reverberating in his head, causing an uncomfortable pain to begin to throb in his forehead.
"Hey, what's going on? Will somebody come in here please?"
He wasn't so groggy that he hadn't already conjectured what was happening to him. He had always known, ever since his father had revealed what he knew that awful night on the Island, just before he died, that he would also be watched and if he wasn't careful, he too would be in danger of being too useful an asset to be allowed to live his own life and make his own choices. There were lots of greedy servants of unscrupulous and obscenely wealthy organizations who would not hesitate to take what they wanted if they couldn't buy it - and he had made it clear that he wasn't selling.
No one came into the room when he called and he wondered if anyone was in the house at all. But he had heard voices, he was almost certain he had heard voices. He could turn his head and he did so, surveying the room, looking for a window or one of those one-way glass devices that looked like a mirror.
It was a nicely decorated room, if you liked the modern minimalist style. It looked like it could be someone's real bedroom, but somehow he doubted it. It was just a clever duplicate, made to resemble a comfortable home and to put who ever they usually kept in here at ease. They were probably watching him through one of their one-way mirrors right now.
He suddenly remembered Maddy again, and felt a pang of fear. He wondered if she had been taken, too. He wondered if she was safe. And he began to fret and worry and he had to bite his lip to keep himself from crying.