Sean Ross has always just kind of gotten by. Strapping young fella, not a whole lot wrong with him. Not exactly an underachiever, but not much of an overachiever either.
Living in Des Moines, Iowa with his father Franklin and sister, Sean just kind of did what any other fella might have done post high school; he joined the military. What can he say, it buys you a little more time to figure out what the hell you’re going to do with your life, and nobody will say you’re not getting paid.
Operation Desert Storm happens, and Sean gets shipped off. Real menial job, and not supposed to see much combat experience. He didn’t go looking for trouble, but unfortunately, trouble came looking for him. All it takes is a piece of shrapnel, and that’s that.
Sean comes home, and he’s praised as a hero and people profusely thank him for his service. But all he can think to himself is, “You’re calling me a hero because I got a chunk of metal lodged in my ass?” He feels like a fraud. The Purple Heart he was awarded feels fake, and unearned.
More time passes. His relationship with his father is strained, and he and his sister always tend to be at odds with each other. Sean is just a traditional kind of guy, while his sister is far more hippie-like.
One late evening during the Winter of ’92, Sean witnesses a car accident, a horrible one on the incredibly icy hill at the intersection of 18th and Woodland. One driver is immediately killed, while the other is grievously injured. Sean’s immediate inclination is to run over and help the woman who is still barely alive. As he reaches into the car window to undo her seatbelt, a third car coming down the hill also loses control due to the ice and impacts both vehicles, severing Sean’s arm from the elbow down.
Months later, Sean has been slowly but surely going through rehabilitation and occupational therapy. One rarely understands and appreciates the things that they have until they no longer have them, and losing a limb is no different. The phantom pain causes Sean great distress, and he begins to feel sorry for himself.
The Great Flood of ’93 comes crashing down, turning all 99 counties in Iowa into an official disaster area. The Iowa National Guard is mobilized, and yet Sean feels helpless and useless. He’s now an amputee war veteran, what can he possibly do?
Suddenly, Sean begins to hear voices. A voice telling him that it needs him. It needs his help. A ghost, perhaps. A ghost that is left unfulfilled, enough to leave them connected to this world until this task is completed.
During this state-wide crisis, Sean Ross has a different mission, but one no less important. So what is Sean? A war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder that hears voices, or is he a man who has been given an opportunity to truly earn that Purple Heart?
The follow up to Rabbit in the Road, this is Sean’s story.
See you in December.
~Oliver and Danika