When Owen fell on tough times, he turned to the bottle. I warned him of the dangers, the desertion of his family, the deterioration of his health, the loss of who he really was. But the poison took control of his life.
Against the splintered, dusty walls, a hunched shadow eased its hands above the flames. The fire crackled within the barrel. Embers danced in the air, a manufactured sky of orange. A swig from the bottle, down to the final drop. The glass clanked and bounced with glee as it tumbled along the floorboards.
Owen collapsed. Grabbing his chest, he drew his last breath. I yelled for him to wake up. I shook him with all my strength. But we were alone, all alone in the abandoned building. A sea of desperate wails echoed with agony. I left Owen there while I went to look for help.
I eventually made it to his house. His wife and son were sound asleep. Owen’s son jolted up when he heard a noise near his bedroom window. He sprinted into his mother’s room. I followed him, stepping on a toy car that slid across the room. Together, Owen’s family emerged and investigated the unusual noises.
They walked right through me. It was pointless for me to even be there. They would never see me. But I wanted them to find Owen, to find his body. A month went by, and they still had not heard from him, knew nothing of his whereabouts.
Each night, I spent time with Owen. And each night, I went back to his family’s house, trying everything I could to get their attention, to guide them to Owen. But nothing worked.
I should have never turned to the alcohol. But even though they cannot see me, at least I can watch over my family. They are worried about Owen, but I am here. I am better now.