After eating nearly half of the feast laid before me, we all got up to experiment. On me. The group all exited the kitchen. Still as a group, we moved to the classroom. There on one desk sat a bunch of equipment, cameras and a tripod. Mac went over and picked up a black blindfold. "We thought this would be better. Faster anyway. Here. Try it on."
Handing it to me, I placed it over my head and adjusted it to cover my eyes. "I can't see anything. No light, nothing."
"Good." Mac said. "Now, just as a demonstration, can you go open the door lock first?"
Grimacing, it wasn't high on my list of things to show them. Mikey took one of the cameras from the table and walked over to the door first. As I approached, I watched as he turned it on and focused as he spoke. "This is an infrared camera. Just want to see any changes going on in your head while you do this. It takes energy to do anything. "
Ah, suddenly I understood the blindfold and cameras. "Okay, now I know where we're going with this." Then I walked over to the keypad and stood. I passed my hand over it, nothing. I repeated the motion. Nothing. I focused all my attention onto the keypad again. Emptied my mind of all thoughts and tried to be the door lock. I was alone, in the dark, an ephemeral being. I was the door lock. It clicked.
Gasps and exclamations of 'wow' and ‘incredible’ came from the group behind me. I think they were impressed. I looked over at Mac and asked. "I take it no one else can do that either?"
"No." Was all he said and there was no smile. I think he was surprised, even though he must have seen it or heard about it. I didn't know if they had video taped me doing that yesterday.
So I asked. “Did you have a camera in this room yesterday when I did that?”
“No, we didn’t. We have a camera where the main desk is and saw you go in here. Then Jaime was monitoring all the cameras and saw that the door opened just about fifteen seconds later. She killed the lights while Mikey and I were trying to get out of the isolation room. I had no idea she would. The cameras automatically kicked into infrared mode when she did.”
“How did you get out of the isolation room?” I asked, curious now.
“Jaimie figured it out and opened the lock. She has access to all locks from the main desk.”
“Not as planned you say?” A smile on my face.
“No, definitely not as planned. But the amount of information we acquired was amazing. Dennis, None of us had any idea what would happen. We expected something, but not what you did. Thank you for being the man I had hoped you were.” Mac finally smiled back.
“I made a decision sitting at that diner.” The rest of the group crowded around us. “I think you knew I would return. I had been given a taste of a life. A real life. One of purpose, of hope and, and knowledge that I was not a freak. Cursed with this gift. As you call it. It was to me, unmanageable, an excursion daily into something I hated. And had no idea could be worthwhile. And also, I wanted to see if I could get you arrested for treason.”
Now the group broke out in unrestrained laughter. Andre was the first to speak as the laughter died down. “Ya, We all want to do dat from time ta time.” And more raucous laughter.
“And that my new friend Dennis.” Began Happy. “Is why you passed the test with flying, no, stellar colors. Had you not wanted that very thing, you would have taken off and gone back to your old ways. Everyone here is glad you made that decision Dennis.”
And now they all slapped me on the back, shook my hand and gave me welcome welcomes and smiles all around.
Giving them that, I stood and was happy with their acclimations. Happy, perhaps for the first time in years. I belonged.
Now Jacob spoke. “Dennis, we are all in amazement of what you did. We all are gifted in small ways. None of has ever met anyone like you. You feel, you can project, you see in the dark, and you’re tall. The babes must flock to you.”
They all laughed at that one. And I found that even I had to laugh with them now.
As the laughter died, Mac spoke up. “And that leads us to why we are here this morning. Let’s grab the cameras and go out into the garage.”
Everyone moved to the desk with the equipment and each picking up something, we moved out into the garage. There I was surprised by what had been done. All the vehicles had been crowded together in the left half of the garage. The right, or East part, had a huge number of big fifty-five gallon drums in it. At the far end of the garage, a table sat, empty. I believe I knew what was to happen.
Mac began to give out assigned areas to the others. Each took a camera and set up station along the obstacle course of drums. Each with a hand held camera. Happy was the last, he took the largest camera and tripod and began to set it up midway. Mickey followed me with his smaller, hand-held camera. Mac began. “I think you understand what’s about to happen Dennis.” And smiled at me. Yeah I knew. I just wasn't sure I could do it.
Mickey held his camera and from the red dot on it, I knew it was running. I put on the blindfold, and asked. “Everyone ready?”
They all answered yes. I took off at a run and zigged and zagged until I got to the table at the end. “Shit” someone said. I took off the blindfold and looked back at the course. Some seventy five feet and I had avoided each of the twenty two drums. I walked back to where Mac stood at the beginning of the course. He smiled at me, then said. “Let’s mix it up a bit now. Put the blindfold back on.”
I did. And waited. I could hear the sounds as the group moved the drums around. Clanks and rolling around on edges. It took several minutes. Mac then addressed me. “Try it now.”
Turning to where I thought the table was, I took off at a trot. I ran into a drum. And fell on the ground. “Dammit!” I cried out. Taking off the blindfold and I saw that I ran into the second drum. Off course by ten degrees toward the table.
“Shit.” I said. Stood and walked back over to where we had started before. “Well that proves it isn’t ESP or anything supernatural.”
“No it doesn’t yet.” Said Mac. “There’s still a lot to learn. Let’s take off your clothes.”
“Just your pants and shirt. It might be something that your whole body needs to be exposed to the obstacles, without prior knowledge, even a glimpse, you might do better with more exposure.”
“You’re saying I might I might have receptors in my skin?” I asked him.
“Can you say you don’t?” Was the response.
There was no answer. I didn’t know. So I peeled off the T-shirt and then as I dropped my jeans, Mickey was by me with a regular camera and he began snapping picture of me standing there in my Tidy Whities. “These are for Katy.” He began. “When she heard what we had planned, she asked me to take them of you.”
Fuck! Katy. I struck several weight lifter poses. Even though I’m not a big ripped guy, I posed. He snapped. Mac called out to us. “Please, enough. Katy can find out more on her own time.” Envious laughter from the ranks.
Putting on the blindfold, I waited as they moved the drums around again. Now even though blindfolded, I knew my target, the table at the end of the garage. However, knowing where, and getting there, might be different. It wasn’t the first try.
Mac gave the signal with a simple. “Okay.”
Turning with my arm out, I found the direction I needed to go. Taking off at a trot again, within seconds, I ran into a drum. This time I didn’t fall to the ground. Stumbling a bit, I took off again. A slower trot. And this time I went about twenty feet, not running into anything, except the wall of the garage. This time I fell on the ground.
After I removed the blindfold, I could see that I had taken off in a path nowhere near where I needed to go and it led me to the east wall of the garage. That part was unforgiving. Lying on the ground, I was shocked at what I had done. Not even close.
Mac then walked over to me and helped me up. “Let’s not be discouraged. We still have some other concepts to try to see where this ability originates.”
Yeah, he wasn’t running into things and falling on the ground. Fuck, that last one hurt. Mac helped me up and we returned to the starting point. “Put on the blindfold.” He commanded.
Waiting, I listened as they moved the barrels around again. Mac had one hand on my left arm. A few minutes later, I heard that the movements had ceased.
Mac now removed his hand from my arm. He then told me. “Pull the blindfold up. Look at the path, but not for more than a second. Then replace the blindfold.”
Ah. I know what was happening. I complied. Just a second. And I replaced the blindfold. I took off at a full fun and zigged and zagged until I made it to the table. Taking off the blindfold. I could see that Mikey didn’t even come close to keeping up with me.
Walking back to the starting point. Mac was then all smiles. He knew. It wasn’t a secret anymore. Not that it was ever a secret, I just didn’t know myself. Until now.
“One more time.” Mac said to me as I came up to him. “Go ahead and put you clothes back on. Then he turned to one of the cameras and shook his hand at it. As if telling her she's naughty.
That gesture told me Katy would be seeing these experiments. Pulling on my pants, then my shirt, I was all smiles myself. Katy. Fuck yeah.
“Put the blindfold back on.” Was my re immersion back into reality from Mac. “Same thing, but clothed.”
I complied, and waited with blindfold in place. Waiting until the scraping and noises abated, I looked over at Mac. Blindfold still in place.
“Just a second.” He admonished me. Waiting a moment, then he said "Go." I lifted the blindfold for a mere second. Then replacing it, I took off again. Once again, I zigged around the drums, zagged around the ones within my path. I was at the table in seconds. Pulling off the blindfold, I watched as Mickey approached, seconds behind me. I knew.
As I looked over the distance, I understood that Mac now knew as well. How could he not? It was pretty simple. Pretty simple to understand how that brief second of vision could imprint itself into my brain and guide me in the dark.
"Mac." Andre called out from near the back of the garage.
Nodding his head some more he then looked about him and called out. "Yeah, let's pack it in. Then get the cars moved back to the other side." I followed Mac, the rest moving into the classroom behind us. Happy took the tapes out of each machine as they were set on the table.
When he had all the tapes, he looked toward Mac and told him. "I'm off to do my magic."
That was odd. "What did he mean by that?"
"Dennis, Happy is our resident researcher. He has a PhD in neuro physiology. He is the one that has done the most work in the field of emotions. A lot done right here in this facility. Back behind the front desk, there's a pretty large research facility, labs, a complete hospital and pretty much a whole separate complex above ground with both concealed and open entrances. Had you run south yesterday, you would have found yourself in the parking lot of an apparent medical clinic. It was back through there we had thought we would engineer your escape for you. You'll get familiar with it eventually. For now, let's talk."
I started to speak and he raised his hand to stop me. "We can wait a bit. The others will be done in a few minutes. Water, soda?" Mac told me. I shook my head.
About four or five minutes later, the rest came in and sat around us. Happy was the only one missing. As they settled in, Mac asked the first question. "Dennis, do you remember the very first conversation we had?"
"What about the incident with the Down's Syndrome boy?"
"Yeah, I know I told you I didn't, but yeah, I do. I pretty much remember everything."
"That's kind of what I thought. It gets even more fascinating."