Credence Foundation
Author:Marco Guarda

Credence Foundation - By Marco Guarda

Chapter One

Everything was flooded in a delicate shade of indigo blue. Not too dark, not too bright, it blended the right amount of blue and purple, producing that peculiar frequency of the visible spectrum that relaxes the mind to the point that it is closest to the threshold of trance.

Thick, intertwining weeds grew from a luscious seabed, looking like a peaceful underwater forest. Even if they didn’t move much at the moment, they were a suggestive, easing sight.

A pale rock face rose from the weeds. Not rounded and sleek, but craggy and hollowed and riddled with holes. As if the ocean, reckless sculptor, had worked on it such a great deal of time that it had forgotten all about the original design.

By the same unfathomable purpose, every recess in the face sprouted no more than one single stubby reed. They stuck out like ancient, broken spears buried in some lost earthwork in the ominous aftermath of a massive, boundless battle of times past.

Twin caves opened amidst the rock, at the foot of a rounded, bulbous overhang. Their dark openings brought deep down into the rock. How far one couldn’t tell, for they were clogged with seagrass that prevented any further investigation.

Above the overhang, a jagged gouge opened in the face. It bled a formation of crimson coral that overflowed like lava over part of the face, giving the composition the touch of color it was missing.

But it was at the top of the rock where the most glorious find sat. It was a white anemone streaked with red veins, at the center of which glittered a little jewel: a black pearl.

One could object that as far and wide as one searched, there wasn’t the faintest hint of a fish to be found around the rock or between the weeds, or in the coral. No striped clown fish, no prickly sea urchin, not even the shifty lamprey that easily nests in such depths. Nothing at all.

Thinking again, there was something queer about the whole scene, as if this wasn’t at all what it seemed ...

All of a sudden, the suggestive, peaceful sea-bottom still revealed itself for what it really was: the horrible scene of a brutal murder.

A stringy wizened old man of about seventy lay composedly on a blue shag rug, in a puddle of his own blood. His mouth was open in a silent scream and his glazed eyes stared at a world he couldn’t see anymore.

The black pearl was the pupil in his eye. The gouge in the face, the wound through which his life had been sucked away. The craggy face, his own, and the stubby reeds, his faded stubble. The twin caves were his nostrils and the bulbous overhang his nose. The bottom of the sea was the shag rug where he had bled to death.

The room where it all happened was a living room. A futuristic living room which had no windows at all. There were no visible lamps or spotlights. The lighting seemed to diffuse from the whole ceiling rather than coming from a single point and it had the same natural brightness as morning light.

The walls were painted in a light indigo blue. Everything else in the room, from the shag rug, to the couple of armchairs, to the couch, to the plastic table, to the few shelves hanging on the walls, was a darker or lighter shade of the same color.

In the corner, an oblong blue flower sat atop a long blue stem which stuck out from a long blue vase.

The place had a peculiar quality to it; it was made for the mind rather than the body. The slight feeling of coldness the room gave the observer took only a moment to disappear. Soon, all that remained was a pleasant, durable feeling of quiet and timelessness.

A few paces away from the man, sprawled another body. A thin woman, possibly in her midsixties, showed her back, almost concealing the merciless wound that had killed her. In the throes of death, she had reached out her arm toward her husband, touching her fingers to him in one last attempt to give or receive comfort.

It pretended to be a homely scene, after all.

The picture-perfect motionlessness of the scene was suddenly broken by a high-pitched whistle. Somehow muffled and distant at first, it grew in strength, turning into an earsplitting scream.

The scraping diamond bit of a high-speed drill dug a door-sized outline in the far wall, blowing in puffs of concrete dust that alighted in the blue room like coral spawn.

With the feral moan of a struggling yet unseen hydraulic piston and a harsh, scraping noise, the door-like section was dislodged from the wall. It crashed to the floor with a dull thud, sending up a cloud of debris, letting the brightest beam of sunlight flood the interior of the bunker.