The room was a shade of white so bright that it hurt the eyes to look upon it as the song titles shot through his mind. A Whiter Shade Of Pale. He sat on the cold, hard, white floor in a daze. Dazed And Confused. His vision clouded as the tears forced themselves to the corners of his eyes. In Your Eyes. His concentration lagged as he heard the songs floating in and out of the transom of his mind. In The Air Tonight. Tonight, Tonight, Tonight. Move Better In The Night. But was it night? He could not be sure. For he sat, legs crossed Indian-style, unable to determine time or place. He sat, unmoving…but not unmoved.
“So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you’ve been…it’s all been a pack of lies.” Phil Collins. “The room was humming harder…” Procol Harum. He could hear every note, every drum kick, every sound…as clear as if they were all right there in the room with him. But why was he here? Why? Oh yes… the experiment.
His name is not important. His power is. He has the power. The power to change his environment… or so THEY say. THEY want to know if he can, how he can, and why he can. HE just wants to go home. Back to his music, his stereo, his drums. But THEY will not let him.
THEY discovered him about two months ago… at school. He did not have too many friends at his school (he was quite shy), but he did have his drums. The drums were what did it. One day, while he was practicing for an upcoming concert (he was the drummer for the school’s “Jazz-Rock Band”), he suddenly passed out. He fell completely off his chair and slammed his skull against the cold, concrete floor. When he awoke, the entire room had changed. His drums were no longer a shiny black, but a dull gray. More of a matte black. The walls were no longer pale green, but electric blue. He ran screaming from the room, and did not stop until he reached his car.
The next day, THEY came for him. Two men in black suits. He was in the bathroom, washing his hands when the door swung open. The two men stepped in. One was slightly taller than the other, and they both had brown hair. He looked up; the soap still dripping from his hands, and THEY seized him.
Now he sat in this room, still crying… and still listening to the hollow music in his head. THEY told him he was special. THEY told him the he possessed a power. THEY were right. He was a telekinetic. For years, THEY had been studying such people. And then THEY found him. And now he was theirs. And for the last two months, THEY had been working on him.
“For the good of the society!” THEY said. “For the good of all mankind!”
There was a crack of static as a speaker that he could not see came to life. An emotionless male voice spoke softly into a microphone somewhere in the distance.
“We are going to run some tests on you, son,. it said.
He glanced around for some clue as to the origin of the voice… but still all he saw was the stinging essence of the white walls. A Whiter Shade Of Pale.
“We want you to concentrate, son, and simply let your mind go free of all outside thoughts. Do you think that you can do that, son?”
He resented THEM calling him son.
“Who are you?!” he screamed in desperation. This was not like any of the previous tests that he had been subjected to, and he was scared.
“We told you, we work for the government, son.”
“Stop calling me that! I’m not your son!” His voice was beginning to crack from his constant crying. In his eyes were the reflections of a dozen coats of electric white paint.
“We don’t want to upset you, son. We simply want you to cooperate. Can’t you please try for us?”
“No,” he said flatly. “Go away.”
The voice spoke again. “Son, let me explain a few things to you.”
That was the first time that the voice referred to itself as ME, instead of US or WE, and in some strange way, it seemed to calm him. He wiped the tears from his eyes and stood up. It was then that he noticed that there were no lights anywhere in the room. Then, as if knowing what he thought, the voice spoke again.
“Son, you are in a standard ten foot by twelve foot containment chamber. It is used for the study of telekinetic individuals like yourself. You may have noticed the lack of any light source whatsoever. This is part of a new technology that is used in which several coats of a highly vibrant paint are used to illuminate and entire room.”
He didn’t care about coats of paint. This was all moving much too fast for him. He needed time to collect his thoughts.
“Um, sir?” he began timidly, “Can I have a moment to think about this?”
“I’m sorry son, but we really must begin.”
“Great,” he thought. The voice was back to WE.
“Now son, we want you to concentrate. Imagine that you are playing your drums.”
He was startled. How did THEY know about his drums?
“Now son, please close your eyes.”
When he did so, he could still see the piercing glow of the white paint behind the darkness of his eyelids. A Whiter Shade Of Pale. He could still hear the music. “The sweet smell of a great sorrow lies over the land…” Pink Floyd.
“Now son, imagine you are playing as hard and as fast as you can. You are really kicking that bass drum pedal… the cymbals are about to shatter…”
“And then I break a damn stick,” he thought with a silent chuckle.
“Concentrate, son. You are really nailing those heads. The sweat is pouring out of you in waves. You are almost at the point where you actually BECOME PART OF THE SONG!” This was the first and only time that the voice showed any emotion. “You are in it son. You are a part of the groove that you have created.”
And he could feel it. Just then, he collapsed with a heavy grunt. His head struck the floor with a thud… and he was gone… out cold. When he awoke, the room was no longer a shocking white, but electric blue. He rubbed his eyes and looked around himself again… but the color stayed. And then he noticed it. Something so bizarre that he could hardly fathom its existence. What he saw was a window.
There it was, about half way up the wall… or half way down, depending on how he looked at it… consisting of twelve square panes of glass, each divided by what appeared to be wood slats. There was no denying it. It was a window… and he had put it there. He screamed in amazement and backed himself into a corner. He squeezed his eyes shut tight and began to cry.
“Oh, God… please don’t let it be there when I open my eyes! Please God, make it be gone. Please, please, PLEASE…”
Slowly, he began to open his eyes. It was still there. Just then, he noticed something that he had missed before. As he looked at the window, he began to see what was beyond the glass. What he saw amazed him. He saw birds flying in the sky – such a lovely pinkish blue sky. He saw trees; their branches swaying in the breeze. And he saw the sunset. He thought for a moment that it looked like golden, shimmering rays of fire… so real that he could almost feel its heat. And then the voice shattered his silent peace.
He could not take his eyes away from the vision beyond the glass. He was dazzled by its beauty and simplicity. He wanted desperately to reach out and touch it, but he feared that it might vanish… having only been a dream.
“Son?” The voice was becoming impatient.
He finally recognized the presence of the voice and his mind abruptly returned to reality.
“Yes, sir?” His own voice had a bit of impatience in it.
“Son, it appears that we may have overestimated your talents. We received no readings on any of our monitors that would indicate that you possess any abnormal levels of telekinetic energy. Not this time and not any other time we have scanned you. This was our last shot. We’ve run out of time and options.”
He was amazed.
“WHAT?! ARE YOU KIDDING?”
“Now son, there is no need to shout. It simply means that you…”
He cut the voice off.
“Don’t you numbskulls see it? It’s right THERE!”
He pointed an angry finger at the window. The sweat was once again beginning to form on his brow. The voice spoke again, this time with less noticeable irritation.
“See what, son?” THEY seemed to almost be mocking him.
He closed his eyes tightly again and silently counted to ten. When he finally did speak, his voice was much less fierce, however, his emotions were just this side of out of control.
“The window, gentlemen,” he said, as if her were speaking to group of idiots. He felt that he was. “It is right over there, on that wall.” He pointed again.
“Well… uh…” The voice seemed truly confused. “Son… we do not see anything. There is no window on our monitors.”
“Well, stop using your bloody monitors and try using your damn eyes!”
Just then, the wall to his left began to slowly descend to the floor. As it did, he noticed that beyond it lay a vas expanse of computers, monitors and people. There were at least thirty men and women; all dressed in white lab coats and all wearing dark sunglasses. As he looked at them and at the room behind them, he was struck with the eerie feeling that the government had spent all that money, probably millions of dollars, on equipment that was going to waste.
“Typical.” he thought dryly.
One of the men stepped forward and extended his hand. He reluctantly shook it. Then the man glanced at the window and spoke.
“Son, I really do not see any window.” This was the man that had spoken into the microphone. “Is this some kind of joke?”
“Try taking off those shades.”
When the man did so, he noticed that the man was squinting, his eyes almost completely shut.
“I still do not see it, son.”
“Why not try opening your eyes, sir?” He voice, still obviously irritated.
“Son, the paint is too bright for that.” He put his sunglasses back on and looked down at him.
He finally understood. THEY truly could not see it. To theses men and women, there was no window. THEY still saw white paint on the walls. And worst of all, THEY thought he was insane.
“Great,” he mumbled quietly. “At that moment all eyes were open, but they might just as well have been closed…” Procol Harum.
Two days later, he was back at school, almost as if nothing had ever transpired. THEY had made him sign a waiver stating that no legal action would be taken against the government or any of the participants at the laboratory. They refused to let him leave without signing it.
“Honest mistake,” THEY said.
“Stupid one,” he said.
He was, however, a changed person. As he roamed the halls of his school, he began to feel more at ease with himself. He began to talk more… he began to try new things. But most importantly of all, he began to feel free. It was the sunset that had done it. The vision of that setting sun was at the forefront of his conscious mind almost every waking moment of the day. For he knew that he possessed a power beyond all belief. The power to change his surroundings and his environment.
But one thought still troubled him. It was the fact that the men and women in the laboratory had not seen it… had not seen anything. Had he imagined the whole thing? Was he crazy? Or did he perhaps possess a power that allowed only HIM to see such visions? The truth is that that only one person knows the answer to those questions… that person is me. And I’ll never tell.
We all have the power to change our surroundings and our environment. All we have to do is concentrate.
He pondered these thoughts for many weeks, until one day, he was approached by a girl. Not just any girl… but Rachel Wilson, the captain of the varsity cheerleading squad. What she said to him made him completely forget all of his burning questions. She looked deep into his eyes and said:
“Hi, Christian. How are you today?”
And at that moment, Christian Alex McRae fell madly and deeply in love, and his surroundings and environment changed forever.