Charles Houlihan could never hold his liquor. The oddest thing was, he’d been drinking since he was 15 years old. The day it happened, he had downed three glasses of double bourbon with beer chasers, four single shots of tequila, and a can of Pepsi for dessert. The reason for the celebration?...
<p>Charles Houlihan could never hold his liquor. The oddest thing was, he’d been drinking since he was 15 years old. The day it happened, he had downed three glasses of double bourbon with beer chasers, four single shots of tequila, and a can of Pepsi for dessert. The reason for the celebration? Getting fired from his fifth job in less than three months.</p>
<p>Despite the sadomasochistic damage he did to his liver, Charles (Charlie to those who knew him...or cared) was a large barn of a man; a strong physique with hair all over and a thick, ginger mane. His career as a football coach was often a rollercoaster of loud screaming matches and violent brawls with total strangers, school staff, and even his long-suffering wife who had finally slapped him with divorce papers and gained sole custody of their three children: Sera, 7, Billy, 5, and their infant daughter, Lola. The final straw came when he decked the quarterback on his team for not following his most cherished play: the pitch. A bloody nose and a potential million-dollar lawsuit was the prize for his efforts.</p>
<p>His 2012 Toyota Prius was torn to shreds in more ways than he could tell. Cracked windshield, dented fender, strands of his hair and skull fragments all over the dashboard. Blood and brain fluid everywhere. Charlie had the strangest feeling of not feeling any pain despite the crushing of his forehead on the steering wheel. He had not seen or felt the “white light” that all of his family and church friends had sworn that they were destined for. All he could remember was waking up on the ground with sharp gravel on his back, a full, all-out sense of nausea, and his head going in circles.</p>
<p>He then heard a voice rip right into his eardrum.</p>
<p>He spun around to see who it was. No one was there. Where was he? In his thick state of disorientation, he began to wonder whether he had survived the crash.</p>
<p>“Hey, you! I’m talking to you!” the voice bellowed again into his ear.</p>
<p>He wasn’t imagining it. It was real! He looked up to see a large, pale ogre standing right over him. He wanted to scream, but his throat was grabbed instantaneously by the ogre. Charlie put up quite the fight, but no amount of his strength was a match for this monstrosity who was dragging him deep into a dark patch of forest just north of his car wreck.</p>
<p>Charlie was pushed headfirst into an oak tree. His...