Reilly pounded at the door harder and faster, already the hot lights behind him were making him sweat. He couldn't explain his need to suddenly remove himself from the situation, it was completely irrational he knew, especially since the host of the show and presumably the crew (there WERE crew members, right?) were just outside the door, no doubt sniggering at Reilly's obvious dilemma. Maybe that was what compelled him to continue driving his fist into the cheap wood veneer of the door: the absurdity of it all. Maybe it was the ridiculousness which caused his heart rate to accelerate to dangerous levels, the spike in his blood pressure, the queasiness in his stomach. Something was rotten in Denmark, and it scared the hell out of him.
Another furious round of fist smashing, “HEY!”
Breathing heavily, he put his ear to the door and waited.
Nothing. He gave it another thirty seconds, but still there were no discernible sounds above the constant humming of the spotlights.
Those god damn lights, he thought, and turned to look at them through his hands. Light, he reasoned, was a palpable entity, and one which apparently wanted to drive iron spikes into his skull. So he squinted and looked away, to the floor. He remembered once he and a couple of college buddies went up to Stratton, Vermont one weekend when they weren't high/drunk/chasing tail. The first morning they awoke to blazing sunshine which glistened off the millions of tiny ice crystals in the snow that surrounded everything, only to intensify and immediately blind them as if they were standing on the sun itself. This was like that.
He tried telling himself that his eyes would eventually adjust, but after five minutes of feeling like a french fry in a giant convection oven, he decided he would have to shut the damn thing off – or maybe break some of the bulbs.
He kept his back to the light source and carefully made his way toward the center of the room. He remembered seeing what he had assumed to be a table in that general area, so he put out one hand behind him and waggled it blindly in hopes of accidentally stumbling into the table. He chanced a quick look up at the far wall, but even his shadow seemed obliterated by the light; all he saw was that infernal snow blindness.
Come on, he thought irritably, how big is this friggin' room anyway?
Finally his fingers touched something behind him, which he immediately recognized as a chair back. Good, he must have been at the table. Another quick peek through his pressed eyelashes and a vague shape began to take form on the chair. Though the extreme brightness of the room made him tear up, Reilly forced his eyes to blink through it, and then the haze lifted.
And his breath stopped dead in his throat.