It’s a demon, he thought. It has to be. For the past week, he had had migraine-like headaches which he believed was a supernatural occurrence. This spirit had gained entry to his mind, and now it wanted to get out, but it couldn’t, so banged away at his skull in an attempt to find an exit, rather like a spider in a bath, unaware of the plughole from which it came. He took all the pills he could without overdosing, but they didn’t work. He tried to convince himself that the voice inside was his own conscience, but concluded that a demon had taken over, and demanded to be let out. It didn’t possess him enough to control his actions, but it still resided in his mind. That was according to him, anyway.
He was susceptible to believing in such issues. Sometimes demons took human form and committed heinous acts of criminality. Sometimes they possessed people and controlled their actions, but the one inside Ian Morton seemed to be a novice. Perhaps this was its first possession, or it changed its mind. Either way, it banged on his skull and demanded to leave. How did you get in? Ian had asked, aloud to himself in his mirror. Ear operation, it had said. A week earlier, Ian had had a myringotomy procedure in his right ear to relieve increasing pressure and to prevent infection, and for several seconds there was direct access to his brain, to his mind.
"I want to leave," the voice said. "Find a way."
Ian worked as an industry and commerce accountant, was 38 years old, had a permanently greasy mop of black hair that he was always flicking back, and wore thick black rimmed glasses. He walked with a stoop that made him look constantly suspicious and shifty, and whilst he did not shun the attention of other people, he did not seek it, or particularly welcome it. He lived alone in a basement flat with his two hamsters, Cedric and Jasper. Women had not featured much in his life, and he accepted that. Yet, the most private area a person has, away from anybody, away from anything, was the mind. Prisoners, slaves, anybody reluctantly surrounded by others, and confined in any way, can retreat into their imagination, and there, go, be, and do anything they want.
Ian’s mind had been taken over, but the spirit could not be visualised, only heard, and felt, and that made him wonder that it was, in fact, his own conscience, intensified by an unknown disease that could cause a person to believe that they heard voices. Yet, Ian believed it was a demon, and tablets could not remove it.
It was 5.30pm. Home time. He locked his office, passed by the secretary, and nodded goodbye. Near the main entrance, a blue-overalled worker was fixing the overhead lights. He was on a step-ladder, examining the end of a wire. In his other hand was a cordless power drill. Ian slowed down and stared at it for a few moments, then continued out onto the street. That’s it, he thought, because his thoughts were still his own. If I drill into my skull, then that will let it out. Perhaps, came the voice. Give it a go.
As it was a Wednesday, the libraries were open late. So he walked half a mile to his nearest centre and looked in the health section for any information on old curing methods and remedies, but he could not find anything, so decided to go on a computer to see if he could find anything out. He was soon online, and searching for trepanation. Despite it being a somewhat unorthodox and unbalanced procedure, he saw it was mainly for medical purposes for which it was used, and would be similar to what he was thinking in the relief of the headaches. But there were few mentions of the reason he sought, but he found two sentences which simply told that people in the middle ages, believing they were possessed, trepanned their skulls to let the demon out. This was good enough for him, and Ian logged off and left the library.
Not far away, a DIY chain store was open late, as they always were, and Ian walked up and down the aisles until he came to the drills. There was quite a choice, as well as the drill bits for the end. How big a hole, though, he thought. He decided on half an inch. He didn’t buy a cordless, but a heavy one with a long wire. Soon, he was heading home, his nerves burning slowly at the thought of what he was going to do. He was soon staring at the water in the transparent kettle in his flat, as it headed for boiling point. After a few minutes, he was sitting in the main room, watching the drill on the small coffee table through curls of steam from his tea. He had fitted the drill bit, and had plugged it in to see if it worked. It did, so now it sat there patiently waiting for him to begin.
He finished his tea and stared at the cup. I suppose I’d better wash it, he thought and walked through to his kitchen. He washed it and put in on the draining board. Cedric and Jasper will need feeding, he remembered. What if it goes wrong? They’ll be trapped in their cage. They can’t stay then. They’ll have to go. He took the cage outside onto the small patch of grass outside his flat and let them go. He watched as they sniffed around the new environment, and realised that he couldn’t put it off any longer. He went back inside and closed the door behind him. Leaning back and closing his eyes, the banging came again inside his skull. Let me out, came the voice, and Ian was soon sitting back in his seat, drill in hand. He wondered if he should shave first, but then decided against it.
He lifted the heavy contraption to the top of his head and pressed it against his scalp, his finger poised to start it. His eyes were clenched. He waited a few more seconds, then pulled the trigger. The drill bit easily ripped through his scalp and tore through his skull. Pieces of skin and bone few in all directions, and it soon reached the film covering the brain. The weight of the drill almost pushed the bit through, but Ian caught it and tilted forward. There were a few seconds of agony as the drill’s weight strained within his cranium, threatening to crack his skull in half, but it fell out and clattered on the floor.
Ian collapsed to the carpet, breathing heavily, a trickle of blood seeping from the hole down his face.
All you’ve done said the voice inside his head, is create a doorway, so I and others like me can come and go as we please. Then it was gone. The headache vanished. It worked, he thought, it worked. There was a slight singeing pain in and around the hole, but he was sure it wouldn’t last. After five minutes, he had wiped away the trickle of blood and wedged on a cap. He felt good enough for a trip to the shop, so he donned his coat, found his keys and left the flat. The hamsters had vanished. He walked up a few steps onto the pavement.
Suddenly another voice inside his mind spoke, different from the other. I appreciate the doorway, much better access. You don’t mind if I borrow you for a while, do you? I want to go this way. Ian turned and walked to the left, his actions not his own. No, he thought, stop, stop! But he walked into the main paved shopping area of his home town and vanished amongst the crowds.