In his dreams Olaf is a coal miner. When he wakes in his tower he is exhausted from a night’s work, sweating in the carbon blackness. His life in the tower is not a demanding one: feeding the monsters in the basement, keeping the fire burning in the cupola, maintaining the lawns that ring the tower, out to the beaches. He is not much for thinking, is Olaf; the long hours of solitude there in the tower push no philosophies through his head, inspire no poetry, no colloquies with the monsters in the basement.
In his dreams Olaf sweats and swears and strains and watches his meager pay get flushed away by the company, spent on hideously overpriced company barracks and tasteless, overpriced company food, or swilled in the watery company bar. He has a sullen pride among the miners, for though he says little, in his dreams he thinks much, and to the point, and thus becomes something of an oracle, though he is yet a young man.
In the tower he wakes with the grit from the mines — or the tough, rocky soil of the island — underneath his fingernails, bags under his eyes. The world is metallic and sharp edged as a moonscape. The monsters in the basement press close against him as he spills their food into the long wooden troughs, their moist eyes concerned. He spends long hours in the towertop, sitting next to the great fire and mirror that says ‘Safety, safety’ to passing ships, watching the waves roll far below, watching the gulls swirl around the masts of passing ships.
In his dreams he sees men fall coughing blood to the floor, lungs riddled with mine dust, fine as powder, watches them dragged away to jail, sees men broken and beaten. He thinks and sees and speaks, and the men listen, and the company police are there for him, and he struggles, and the men rush to him, and there is riot, there on the mountain side. Heads are cracked, ribs broken. Blood is shed there in his dreams.