Chapter 7; The Man With Red Eyes
Time for a confession.
As I’m sure you are all well aware, I haven’t posted A Wrinkle In Time entry in five months. Without putting too fine a point on it, I think, somewhere down deep in the murky pool of my artistic subconscious I’m not really upset by my lack of “deadline meeting”. The proof of this being the fact that these pages have been sitting mostly colored on my desktop since pre-Halloween. Like around my birthday back in September. And now that the one year anniversary of the Picture Book Report draws near, I have to be honest with myself and fess up that my heart is not in it to win it. I will finish the project, there is no question of that, but it won’t be on the Picture Book Report at a monthly updating rate or as full colored comic pages. About the same time I stopped working on these pages, I started working on that new project I’ve been itching to talk about. And now that I’ve reached the thirty page mark with it (and begin work on my next project) I know that my time is better spent elsewhere.
Who knows what caused my brain train to come to a halt before reaching the station? All I know is that I’m genuinely excited to show you my new projects and I’ve learned so much in the past year of working on this project that now, looking back on it, affords me such a nice time capsule of 2010. Of graduation and Chicago and new jobs and new friends and yadda yadda yadda.
Besides, there is Hope Larson’s graphic novel version of this lovely book beaming over the next ridge which will surely satiate your need for children’s literature from the early 1960s.
With that, I present,
Chapter 7 of A Wrinkle in Time; The Man With Red Eyes
After entering the CENTRAL Central Intelligence Building, our trio arrive into a large marble waiting room, covered in eerie green marble and filled with business men, all strangely similar and unassuming. One of these men gives Meg strange directions, about putting S papers in B Slots and how he runs a Number – 1 Spelling Machine on the Second Grade Level. Though our heros confused and befuddled expressions and lack of proper paperwork, the man decides to report them, for the betterment of society despite his fondness for children. He removes an A-21 card from a stack in the folder in his hand and slides the card through the “solid” marble wall, revealing a huge cavernous hallway filled with computing machines.
Deciding to move forward in their search, our trio walk down the middle of this large room, mesmerized by the large calculating machines and the sheer size of the building they find themselves in. At the end of the hallway sits a man, atop a chair which rests upon a small platform. He looked like a gentle man, with kind eyes and a nice smile but the children soon noticed that when he speaks, his mouth does not move. Instead he seems to speak directly to their minds, as if his words were their own thoughts.
Visibly unnerved, our trio are subjected to a “test”. The Man with Red Eyes decides to test them on their multiplication times table…
“Once one is one. Once two is two. Once three is three. Once four is four” and so on and so on. The simple repeated pattern is aimed to control the minds of our heros and Charles immediately understands. He shouts to his own beat…
“MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB. ITS FLEECE WAS WHITE AS SNOW. AND EVERYWHERE THAT MARY WENT…”
…and the other two quickly join in, fighting the mind control with a screamed round of “Peter, Peter, Pumpkin eater”. Proud, the Man with Red Eyes congratulates them on passing. Meg speaks up about the subject of her father’s wheareabouts. The Man with Red Eyes questions “Why” would she want to see him and he raises that idea that her father hasn’t been acting too much like a father, abandoning his wife and children. Frustrated, Meg and Charles become curt with him, speaking too quickly and losing their composure. With all of his might, small Charles Wallace leaps forward and decks the man. Convinced the Man with the Red Eyes was NOT the entity speaking to the three heros, Charles needed proof. And a sock to the cheek was all it took.
Desperate to uncover WHAT the Man with the Red Eyes is, Charles opens himself up to the brain washing. Vapid and staring, like the men in the waiting room, like the people they saw on the streets and the women they saw in the outskirts of town, Charles stares at the Man with the Red Eyes. Terrified of losing her brother, Meg tackles Charles Wallace pushing him to the hard marble floor. Angry and frustrated, Meg shouts at the Man and is relieved to have her brother safe and sound. She makes a comment about how hungry she is and with a snap of his fingers, dinner is brought out by the Man with Red Eyes’s assistants.
Wary, the trio sit down to consume the food, unsure of what the food is or where it came from. The food tastes delicious, as far as imitated and replicated alien food-stuffs go, but Charles isn’t convinced.