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6AM. Oliver woke up with a start. The doors were creaking in the house, fingernails on a chalkboard. It was an old house, and he lived alone. A creepy foreboding came over him. The atmosphere of darkness was crushing. At night and in the early mornings, it had begun to creak more often. Sometimes he thought it was racoons, or something else. It was spooky, but he shook the feeling off.
The days were bright, which was good. Oliver worked as a telegraph pole technician, it was tiring. He sat up and dressed, ate breakfast, and was on the bus at 6:40 AM for a 7:30 AM start. He looked out the window at the sky, and the clouds swirled. The wind was starting to pick up, moaning through Oliver’s hair and kicking dust into his eyes. The snake of a road trundled forever in the distance. Eventually he arrived at work, hearing the bus door creak behind him. There it was again. Creaking doors had seemed to follow him his whole life.

He had a few jobs today. A few of the electric boxes on the side of them had blown out. He lumbered up the first telegraph pole, the harness around his waist. He staggered and climbed up the pole, careful not to slip, which he was well practiced at. In shadows, he was a ghost in the early morning darkness. He finally reached the blown-out box. Wires would need rearranging. He pulled some out and pushed some in, wearing gloves. He was careful not to get electrocuted. He switched the wires with success, and moved with care back down the telegraph pole.
Onto the next pole, and the one after. This is the daily grind, typical, like the other thousands of electric workers. The day was starting to darken, the sun a red s
ilver on the horizon. The work day was finished.

Entering his home, a weight was lifted. This was the place where he hid from the world, gamed and drank. These addictions had haunted him for years. Home was the place where he was one with the darkness. No one could bother him. He slumped in his computer chair for another night of binge drinking and gaming. Calling to him, just another game. Almost like drinking. If he drank and gamed,
he was euphoric. At least for a couple of hours. The rising weightless feeling in his stomach always fulfilled him.

After a few years, a schizophrenic voice in his head developed, drink, drink it said. A ghost.

Dinner was a bottle of vodka. The first sip was liquid fire, nothing else mattered. For now, it was him and the drink. Meth, cocaine couldn’t match what alcohol had always given him. Later on he would be destroyed. And the voice...constant. He tried to concentrate on it, but couldn’t, he was halfway through the devil’s drink. Another chug. Another slice of misery.
Oliver gazed into the far distance, drunk, making out the power lines. A hard worker during the day, a fiend at night. He began to grow hazy as the night closed in, the booze amplifying the effects. A tunnel was taking him over.
Several hours later, with the full moon at its peak…. a bizarre feeling came over him, he reeled and raved, ranted and yelled, an absurd fit of insanity and stupidity. A secret world. Drooling on the floor, black out drunk, a parody of his daytime self, a monkey. His mind started to slip…a vivid dream world where things move in and out of focus, objects shifting, waves on the ocean.

Oliver wakes up hungover and stumbles through his bedroom door, wind at his back, only it isn’t wind…its…something creeping up behind. He
looked over his shoulder, but the silver receded just out of his eyesight. What another gut-wrenching night, with little sleep. A zombie headache was crushing Oliver’s skull from all angles, a sledge hammer hitting his head. Work in half an hour…

Oliver slips on the only pair of pants without vomit on them. Shirt as well. Arriving at work, there were more telegraph poles and boxes to take care of today, and the rain was pissing down. The lumber up the telegraph pole began with five boxes to fix. The first one was easy, but the second one screamed out to Oliver in his half-drunk state. There was a voice on the edge of Oliver’s mind. Or was it something greater… it disappeared almost as soon as it started.
The other three boxes were business as usual.

On the bus ride home Oliver heard something. Barely on the edge of consciousness. Was it his drunk personality, or something else? Oliver was slipping. The voice continued, persistent at a whisper, giving him a headache.
As Oliver dragged himself into his home he spied the fifth of vodka he would drink. It was only 6:30 PM. He would have enough time to trash his room and slick his vomit everywhere, and fall over his disused dumbbells. It was an eon since he had used them. But for now, he was basking in the glow of the vodka.

The woozy effects on his nervous system were climbing the rollercoaster, peaking before falling. He would come screaming down, lifted on the wave of euphoria. Oliver sat up, smelling the stench of old vomit all around him. He looked out the window. The lightning sparkled across the sky, lighting up the silhouette of clouds. The thunder boomed soon afterwards. A better life awaits out there, but for now, it was work, drink, no end, unreality.

The whisper called him to drink, and the bottle was poured down his throat by another hand.
8 PM. The fifth of vodka was almost finished. Oliver screamed an animal scream when he was done, and vomited a little before going hard on the last sip. The demon dragged him to this hell, fiery and brutal.

Dinner was slapped together, some noodles and mince. What a celebration for another hard day’s work. Only just recovering from the vodka, Oliver opened a bottle of wine and sipped it, a much smoother taste. This is how normal people drink, right? He could pretend to be normal for a few moments.

9 PM. He noticed the
silver on the corner of his eye again. Silence.
“Who’s there?”
A feeling of numbness and dread descended upon his brain. The
silver was growing again. The voice was haunting, creeping. It was infuriating, not knowing where the voice was coming from. No one was in the house. What a frightening thing!
Why did Oliver ever start on the bottle?

The voice was coming, was it a ghost? He rose from the living room and crept down the hall to his bedroom. Knocking on the wooden floor, the insistent voice in his head. He knew it this time. Someone had to be in his house. He threw open his bedroom door. Nothing, except for a breeze which seemed to recede from outside his open window. The voice and knocking disappeared. It was 10PM, and almost time to sleep. Or try to. Insomnia was brutal. The sleepless eyelids, the out of body feeling as another night was wasted. He stumbled into bed and his head almost slammed into the pillow. His eyelids drooped shut but he couldn’t sleep.
His mind split in two, drifting in all directions. Questioning reality, Oliver wondered how he would escape this nightmare. It was a riptide in the ocean. Pulling him into further drunkenness as the bottle seemed to pour itself down his throat. He was slipping into the hole. The toxin flushed through his system, affecting his brain, liver and heart. The effect was immense and he fell down the pit of despair.

He woke up from his restless sleep.

The next morning. Work. Today was a briefing from his boss, Harry.
“Hi, Oliver, good work on those boxes the other day.”, Harry said.
“Thank you.”
“There’s another job ten miles north, think you can take the pick-up truck and fix up the boxes on the poles?”
“Yea, you got it.”
“Thanks Oliver, I can count on you. Another thing. Watch out for the screaming wind up there.”
“Thanks, I’ll keep it in mind.”
Harry took him out to the yard and showed him the beat up pick-up truck at the back. It ran but was a slow old beast. Ten miles would take a while.
“Better get going”, Oliver said.
“Yea, I’ll see you tomorrow”, Harry replied.
Oliver started the truck and turned onto the highway. The incessant murmuring would not stop, there was a presence in the seat next to him.
As he drove along, it became louder. The voice was a total distraction now, and a shadow started to form. It couldn’t be...the mist spoke in a domineering, grotesque voice.
“Oliver, time to meet your demons”.
He almost drove off the road. Barely regaining control, he righted the steering wheel. The fright was rising up within him, disturbing his concentration. The presence was on the seat next to him, almost visible. He had a rushing panic within him, and his clammy hands barely managed to clasp the steering wheel. Mad paranoia constricted his limbs, consuming him. A desolate spirit fell over him. But he continued to drive, despite all odds. The scenery was a straight, empty road, with fields drifting past, and small houses at occasional intervals. The wind was picking up, as Harry told Oliver earlier. It was fierce and roared around the pick-up truck. The presence was growing to a fever pitch, what on earth was happening? Oliver had to pull over on the side of the road.
He screamed “STOPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!” at the shadowy form next to him. It swirled like a storm. It receded, and then came back stronger. It would not stop, crashing, banging, ear splitting, a jet airplane. The demon from his past had arrived.
“Oliver, it is time, face yourself”, it said.

The shadow roared, “FACE YOURSELF, you stupid man!!”
Oliver recoiled further towards the window, light running away from the shadow. The voice was all consuming, a cacophony in his
consciousness. Was it real, or not? Oliver supposed he had to believe it was, despite his technical background. It was time to face himself. To figure out what was right. His drinking habit had gone on too long, the past had caught up. The monster reeled again beside him. It swarmed into his brain and shifted the synapses neurons.
 
Overwhelming sadness and anger rose from the shadow. It screamed again.

“FACE ME!!!!!”
Oliver recoiled again in fright. The dark presence had taken over his brain, controlling his thoughts. Slipping into the void…
The portal opened to a pitch-black room. Oliver sees a dark figure across from him lit up with white light like a lamp post.
“You need to figure out your life, Oliver,”, the figure exclaimed.
“Well, I work hard and earn enough, so fuck off.”
“No, you must return to the light, or fall further down the pit of darkness.”
“I will think about it. I don’t even know who you are.”
“The ghost of your dead father. He died from booze, will you follow the same path?”
Oliver was lost for words. How could he not recognize that voice, it was the exact same accent as his old man. The gradual build-up to this moment had been coming for years. The past was catching up. Those drunken nights, the hallucinations. He turned his eyes back to the ghost.
“I face you, and confess. I have done wrong, now I face my sins.”, he chanted in a trance like state.
The ghost spread around him, enveloping him. Then suddenly, a woman appeared. The
other side of Oliver, the good side. Faceless. She started to merge with the ghost. Shifting, she and the ghost swirled like the wind. He was stirring beneath the surface, an outburst waiting to come up.
He was the new man. Ascending, on a path to greatness. 



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