I was driving along the road at night with an old shovel resting in the passenger side floor against the seat beside me. Its head in the floor space was rattled against by a large tin coffee container that was stuffed with odd receipts (since I emptied my wallet of receipts in the car regularly) rattled against the shovel head on the floor.
1 X Second hand shovel . . . $30.00
Unleaded petrol . . . $20.07
An Adventure-of-a-life-time; priceless!
The night sky was broken up by stringy patches of moonlight-whitened cloud. It held an eerie presence for me. There was nothing out here, besides me and the spirits I sought to find. The eerie feeling alone was enough persuasion, there was something to be found out here, and I was determined to find it.
I was given several eye witness accounts as testimony to the ghosts existence. It was one of these accounts, that I’d been privy to, which enthralled my imagination, and I had launched my departure with the haste. “The winds of those spirits are alive with howling”, I was told. “It’s brought about by their burning desire to live again. The screams of the damned howl with a strong desire to be heard, and in fulfilling this, they live upon the winds that are carrying their very souls.” I was hell bent. For nothing in this world appeals more to me than the proof of an afterlife; hell-bent, I was, on finding something.
I’d just put twenty dollars of fuel in the car, releasing the trigger on the gun a fraction too late. I overshot the mark. I had only a fifty dollar note on me. I had over-filled by seven cents so I wondered whether I would be able to make the journey at all. The female console operator stood looking at me from behind the counter as I searched my pockets for coins which pretended might have been there. “That’ll do ya!”, she said, and let me off with a smile. I simply said “thanks”, and left.
It was four and a half hour’s drive to where I’d run out of fuel. I was barely at the site I was intending to reach, nearly twenty minutes walking distance to the slope of the hill before me. I trudged up the hill, in the dark, with the old shovel, which I held out in slightly in front in case of unseen objects that might make me stumble. In my other hand, a two litre bottle of water which would hopefully see me through five hours of digging.
I dug in the moonlight all night, while I kept an eye out for ghosts. Neither did I see anything resembling a ghost, nor did I find a smooth flat stone to signify a burial plot. No old human remains of any sort, and it was nearing sunrise. My water bottle almost depleted; my thirst only partially quenched.
My situation wasn’t dire, to my knowledge, despite being out of fuel, and having no reception out here. Somebody would likely come past who I’d wave down, or my friends from the pub would hear I was missing, and come to get me. It might also be possible to call someone if the reception came in; although, my main concern wasn’t surviving without water during the wait, it was food at this time. I was hungry.
I decided to push my car into the middle of the road, to block any traffic while I wasn’t attending the roadside. I still wanted to find a spirit out here but didn’t want to miss potential help while digging up the hilltop. I’d have lit a fire on the hilltop, probably the best idea I’d had, only I had nothing to light one with. Ironically it was the same friend who had sent me here who had taught me there was plenty of water in the radiator, in case I was stuck for water in the middle of nowhere, and in the window wiper reservoir, if I were lucky enough to have it filled. Hell, it’s difficult to be choosey when you’re driven by thirst.
My situation was searching for a ghost while waiting for a lift. I kept reminding myself to stay calm as my water supply dwindled. I had to make my water last as long as possible, and stress wouldn’t help me achieve that end, while waiting for someone to turn up. But all this was incidental to my actual predicament. I couldn’t go anywhere!
I did have a pick between two spots, though, and it was an easy one: On the hill, in the shade. The breeze would blow a little nicer up there and allowed me to survey the grounds below, not only for the wake of track dust thrown up by would-be approaching vehicles but also for an apparition of the departed. In the car, in the middle of the road, in the hot sun without shade just didn’t cut it for me. Something strange had occurred to me while looking about from this vantage point on the hilltop. A severe disturbing of my senses was happening, as I looked on the object. What I saw was a depleting water-supply, my car.
I’d been giving up hope of a search effort, as the days swept past. If it wasn’t for the digging itself, or the water shortage crisis, the snickering of the voices inside my head could have consumed my me. I had been so gullible to their suggestions and acted far too impulsively. Thinking back on the so-called eye witness account, other minute details emerged within my memory’s eye of the sly, yet subtlety concealed smirks they exchanged while I listened so intently, and didn’t notice at the time. In the back of my mind, they were there laughing at me in a similar way as before. I was able to see them. My thoughts are probably distorted, yet I thought I could almost hear them laughing together.
There are about forty trees atop this hill. Every now and then the rushing motion of something jettisoning swiftly through the air has me yanking my head about yet not enough for my vision to seize its identity. I would pull the shovel up from the ground before lurking amongst the trees guardedly. I looked long and hard but saw nothing. Every so often it would catch my attention in the corner of my eye, literally sending chills down up my spine with the sudden rush of wind that accompanied its motion. A strong presence rested on my conscience, for I must have walked over nearly every square foot of this ground by now. And desecrated at least some of the graves here. ‘They must guard themselves’, I thought ‘just as I would’. I had hoped I had been found by this time. In light of my next discovery, I wish I had been.
Under the circumstances I found it ironic having partaken in searching for a ghost that didn’t want to be found, while I myself wanted to be found but had no one looking for me. All I really wanted at this point was to be found. At the same time I decided that I could handle dying of de-hydration, as long as I could die with my ultimate accomplishment of finding a spirit. Proof that is a life after death.
I repeated the process of arriving there. Over and over, in my mind. The thirty for the shovel. The twenty for the fuel. Running out of petrol. All the digging. The trip was doomed from the start. If I budgeted for the trip, planned a little better; I could’ve stayed up here for weeks, maybe even months, and I wouldn’t be starving, or dying from thirst.
I had been infected with a sudden plague from the moment I arrived. It had slowly taken me in, with its natural comfort of harmonious and tranquil scenery, before hurling the hard truth my way like waking up in a nightmare that was reality. It jolted me to the core, and it was as simple an idea of a spirit being here all along. I always knew a spirits state of being had it roaming about aimlessly, like a broken record, repeating actions such as opening, and closing doors, or rocking in an abandoned rocking chair. While conversely it could still knowingly be aware of itself. I could relate to the mind of a spirit. I was in a state of roaming, knowing I was dead. I was the ghost I was acutely aware of.
Total . . . $50.07
You know I’m dead now, just as I know there’s no way out of this oblivion. The story I’ve written on the receipt from Buckleys will serve as my memory. Forever remaining fixed. Frozen in place and repetitive like my analogy of a spirit. My maturity about this has come too late in my predicament toward any kind of future. The odds are that I’m at the wrong hill, and nobody will know where to find me. I’m dead at the top of the hill which you see before my car. If it weren’t for a pen in the glove box, and the a4 sized receipt from ‘Buckley’s to None’, no one would know how my circumstances came about.
Copyright David Gleeson. All rights reserved.