Light and Shadows
Born of a middle class family, Roland grew up in a fairly normal home. The exception to this, unbeknownst to him, was his mother was a troubled soul. To this day, the whole of her troubles are not known to him, except that she used drugs to cope with some kind of mental imbalances. She did well to cover her problems in front of him, leaving only his father to explain the nightmare she lived through. Shortly after he turned 9, she suddenly disappeared. There was hardly a trace of her aside from a slightly blood-stained note with only the words “Forgive me” scrawled upon it.
His father, Martin, did all he could to keep himself together and provide through two jobs in order to allow Roland a real chance to make it in life. He provided enough to allow John to start attending a private Catholic school in the hopes that their strict adherence to rules and moral conduct would allow John the best chance he could have in life.
This was hard on the now 10 year old boy, but as most youths do, he adapted and overcame the troubles from home and once more found a balance, though it took him to the age of 16 to find it. His time in high school was an eye opening experience. So much changed before him, but the draw of the clergy was powerful to him, after attending and eventually heading numerous outreach programs to provide for the poor, needy, and broken.
He witnessed so much pain and suffering amongst the down-trodden that he felt a powerful draw towards the Church and the aid they provided. He truly believed that he could accomplish something wonderful and great for them, and so after graduating near top of his class from high school, he immediately began pursuing the Church and joining the ranks of its clergy. He found the life easy to move into. The studies were greater, more focused versions of the teachings he had in high school, but he never once flinched no matter the challenges presented. He knew what he had to do and how to get there.
He thought he had grown used to being laughed at for his ideals back in school, and looked forward to the open understanding, even encouragement of his peers and elders. This was not the case; a number of them laughed at him, simply telling him he was wasting his time and that he would be better off focusing himself to a single perish. He saw this as simply another challenge to overcome…and yet it began to linger in his heart. Once “graduating” his final studies and receiving the blessings of the Church, he was mandated and given charge to pursue the Mission of Christ. He was 21.
After seven years of pursuing his passion, and his interpretation of his mandate, he had grown so much in terms of shedding his naïve outlook and accepting that not everyone wants to be saved. His pursuit of one such person almost led to him getting shot, and yet another he was actually assaulted and left hospitalized for a couple of days. There were other occasions that taught him the lesson of not only humility, but the need for self-defense. All the while, few of his peers he came across in his travels across the United States seemed to understand his drive and need to pursue such a course of action. So many told him that he would find life better and easier to handle if he simply found one place and settled there with his own perish. The rare person would thank him for his efforts, and tell him to stay strong. The lingering doubt that had been instilled in him grew larger with each peer that cast down his mission, as well as every person that either ran away or tried to attack him.
It was in the city of Boston that he found a moment of true unknowable fear of his life. He had done what he could to gather money and support for a small outreach into one of the more risky, seedier parts of the city. It was heading into the end of the night that he was speaking with one of the bums in an alley when he heard a noise. It was unfamiliar to him, but the bum he had been speaking too stiffened noticeably, and then quickly ran in the opposite direction, practically screaming. Roland had no chance to ask what it was, but before he could move one way or the other, a woman ran from the darkness, her eyes wide in the brief, dim light hanging above her. The light flickered out as she passed under it…then nothing. Roland stood dumb-founded, his brain still catching up to what occurred. She was running practically straight at him, and then was just gone. The light flickered back on, only to light up a grizzly display of blood and bits of gore that was not there before.