Sam Roberts is suffering from a case of post traumatic stress disorder. But he didn’t fight in a war zone. He didn’t survive a natural disaster. He battled the supernatural—and won. But for him, the battle is far from over.
With multiple encounters under his belt, Sam truly feels that he’s one of the only people on earth aware of the evil forces lurking at the periphery of everyday life. That knowledge has left him tired and severely depressed, and he doesn’t know what to do about it. He doesn’t want to see a doctor and just pop a pill in order to make himself feel better because he knows it won’t do any good.
“I was depressed because I realized the world was filled with evil and indifference toward suffering. I was depressed because I knew that the forces of darkness would rise again. The problem is not that I fail to perceive the world as it is. The problem is that I see the world exactly as it is. So the question was not why I was depressed, but why wasn’t everyone else?”
He feels alone in his struggle, and utterly conflicted. He’s not sure if he has the strength to defeat these negative entities if they attack him again, and yet he finds returning to ordinary life impossible now that he knows what it’s like living so close to the edge. Sitting behind a desk and working as a small time attorney just isn’t going to cut it for him anymore.
Now in his late thirties, he’s going through a type of midlife crisis. He feels old, even though he’s still relatively young. He’s falling out of love with his girlfriend, and nothing seems fresh and exciting to him anymore. Life has lost its flavor for him without the exhilaration of fighting the unknown. He’s giving up on making the most of things, allowing himself to drown in a sea of self-pity and despair.
“It is a true eye-opener when you first realize you can’t be whatever or whoever you want to be. The worst part of adulthood is the shocking discovery that love can be as tiring and stale as any other emotion, given enough time.”
Sam no longer enjoys much of anything, and he turns inward, saying: “I understood even then that I did not play well with others.”
He lets his relationship with his girlfriend fall to wayside, and starts obsessively chasing after anything that has to do with the paranormal. His personality changes as he goes from a self-confessed introvert to a danger junkie, recklessly seeking out danger.
His risk-taking even has a suicidal bent. “I didn’t have the guts to kill myself any other way, so why not let someone else do the job?”
He indulges in some pretty self destructive behavior, contemplating cheating on his girlfriend with a much younger girl, and taking on a client who claims he witnessed a ritual sacrifice during a fraternity hazing event. In fact, Sam inadvertently starts reverting back to his college days, spending a lot of time on campus, interacting more with the students than with the adults.
He throws himself headlong into the thick of the hazing investigation, actively seeking the adrenaline rush he only feels when he’s involved with the occult. It quickly becomes an obsession that starts to ruin his life. He takes on the frat case without even the guarantee of receiving a two thousand dollar retainer. His girlfriend demands that he leave his fixation behind or else he’s going to lose her. And it’s sad because he’s actually leaning toward choosing the supernatural over her.
His best friend, Bob, even tells him when they start working the case together: “You like it. You are addicted to this. You are happier than you have been in months.”
But it’s a false high that’s corrupting his soul. Sam doesn’t care what he has to do to stay alive, even if it means killing other people in the process. He was never a cold-blooded killer before, and now he is.
Are these dark tendencies a part of Sam’s essential nature? Lying dormant under the surface, waiting to be exposed?
Regardless, Sam doesn’t feel worthy of life’s blessings, not anymore. “This destiny did not include being with the woman I loved, but something darker. Perhaps happiness was too great a gift to expect. I had killed people. Perhaps happiness was more than I deserved.”
As Sam continues to sink even deeper into depravity, it’ll be interesting to see just how far Scott A. Lerner takes him in the next installment of the series.