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In a post-war USSR, a global criminal organization was created to take advantage of the recent economical crash. A large group of criminal leaders began to form a secret network, promising the most vulnerable people they came across a hope for a brighter future, opting instead to profit from lives they caught in their web.


A young boy Rick, an aspiring writer beaten down by harsh childhood abuse, poverty, and desperate search for freedom, joined the organization under the reign of Kendle, one of the bosses in charge of illegal underground fights. Rick proved to be cunning and distrustful, however, and discovered Kendle's true plans for his future and the twisted nature of the organization he served. Backed into a corner, he took his only chance at survival and fled his homeland to escape certain death.


Across the world in Grimport, a small borough in New Rosea, Rick changed his name and started a new life, severing ties with his past and vowing never to speak of it in fear of being rediscovered. Changing himself for the better and leaving his old life behind, he met Loretta who helped him redefine himself and his entire life. With her, he built a family, feeling fully accepted by another person for the very first time. He joined the local police force, hoping to right his wrongs and be the change he once needed, a choice that would offset the trajectory of his life once Rick and his family face a terrible tragedy.


Falsely blamed for the murder he had never committed, Rick became a victim of a corrupt New Rosea legal system and becomes ostracized by the community that once deeply trusted him. He begins growing increasingly paranoid, irrational, and ensured he's being hunted and targeted, just as his past trauma had led him believe. His slowly deteriorating mental state brought him back to the criminal circles, granting him power and an illusion of control that slowly begins to corrupt him.


Rick's reckless choices and obsessions would have a sour end for everybody, however, reminding him, yet again, that revenge had a much higher price than he was prepared to pay.


Succumbing to his deteriorating mental state and the pain his recent disability put him through, Rick is forced into inpatient. There, he's forced to either get the help he desperately needed, or fight to keep Loretta's mother from trying to take custody of his young daughter Maggie as the lie headquarters spread still affected his life.


In order to cope with his recent crisis, Rick leaned into his destructive coping mechanisms. He built a fictitious image of himself, one that allowed him to ignore the past several months and ensured his loved ones he was recovering when he was, in fact, no longer even receiving help. Far too paranoid to let lie low, his secret obsession with control persisted and Rick chose to risk his life returning to the outskirts, believing that it was the only way to protect his family from the enemies now only endangering them within his own shattered version of reality.


Struggling to keep up with the loving, suburb father persona he had crafted for himself alongside his destructive nightlife, cracks began showing in his benevolent facade. It severely damaged his relationship with FJ, who seems unable to move on from the crisis Rick had recently gone through. As Rick found himself struggling to decide if he was willing to leave his crime life behind to salvage their bond, an unfortunate situation concerning one of the younger boys in her school, Jacob, is brought to Maggie's attention. As his life story slowly unveiled a long track record of abuse, Rick felt he had to either let go of the opportunity to help a child escape the same fate that had led Rick down this destructive path, or accept he'd be forced to stay in criminal circles as he believed the New Rosea authorities wouldn't allow him to effectively help Jacob any other way.


Faced with the same corruption that destroyed his life, Rick took law into his own hands once again and fought for Jacob's safety with unbridled violence, holding both the justice system and his criminal life wrapped around his finger and slowly turning his involvement with crime a necessity rather than a choice. He found himself lost between two worlds, both of which he could no longer give up on without severe consequences. Desperation forces him to turn to alcohol, further poisoning the relationships with his loved ones and forcing him to make an impossible choice; was he ready to finally accept he needed help and leave his criminal past behind, or would he remain a prisoner to his paranoia, the same one that destroyed his life the last time he had ignored its warnings?


A devastating tragedy put Rick in a life-threatening condition. As he fought for his survival, his family was left shocked, confused and unable to process the situation as the mysterious circumstances of the event become more and more puzzling as days went by. After almost losing his partner and his entire support system, FJ was unable to come to terms with any of it, struggling to replace Rick's role in the lives of their two kids. Slowly but surely, his own patience with Grimport authorities began to grow thin as well, for the first time seeing the world as he believed Rick did.

Even after his unlikely survival, Rick struggled to adapt to the new state his body was left in. As the possibility of never walking again began to seem more and more likely, Rick was left utterly stuck in a world created entirely out of his unresolved fears. It forced him to fight for his recovery, sometimes to a destructive degree, and alongside his pain, keeping up a mask he had lived under for decades proved to be a fruitless effort.

As Rick's primary caretaker, FJ had to reevaluate his own choices in life as Rick's condition brought the two closer than ever, deepening their relationship after the rocky era they've been through during Jake's adoption. The brief moments of normalcy and Rick's ability to finally open up about his struggles kept FJ hopeful for their future for the first time in many years, yet it also allowed him to see just how fragile Rick's mental state had been for the past decade. It significantly worsened his suspicion that there may have been more to Rick's life than the family has been led to believe.


The police investigation focused on Rick's accident uncovers a lot more than his attacker, and FJ refuses to leave the case alone. Far too angered by the unfortunate fate his partner had suffered and far too distrusting of his word after too many suspicious incidents, he kept digging until Rick's other life finally peeked out of the shadows, exposing itself to him in the least expected way.


The veil of secrecy around Rick's life begins to unravel. His crime life suddenly became impossible to hide, showing him just how significantly his life in the USSR had unknowingly affected the past several decades of his family's lives. Realizing there was an abundance of truth behind everything he had believed were only creations of his paranoid mind, Rick would be forced to come face to face with the hunters from his past one last time in order to save his family from the wrath he brought upon them, an event that would completely deconstruct his vision of reality and his entire sense of self.

© 2024 by Fosc X - M.M.Vulić

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