Today I want to continue my discussion of Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) by shifting gears and writing about my novel, The Trion Syndrome. The book’s dedication sets the stage for the story: “To all combatants who suffered damage to their souls while serving their country.”
In blog posts over the past week, I’ve described my struggle with PTSI. The Trion Syndrome derives from the struggle.
The novel tells of the battle of a Vietnam veteran, German professor Dave Bell, against PTSI. His marriage fails, his children won’t talk to him, and he loses his job. Rather than fight back, he runs away to northern Maine, where he gets a job in a gas station and lives in a storage shed while he contemplates suicide.
Throughout the story, which begins in March 1996, Dave is haunted the Greek myth of Trion, quoted before the narration begins:
“Ares, the god of war, beheld a beautiful maiden washing herself in a stream. Overcome with lust, he plunged into the water and ravished her. The girl bore a male child, Trion, who throughout his days would be afraid of water. Bent on revenge, the girl carried the infant Trion to the city of Thrace to confront Ares. To her surprise, the god doted on the boy and taught him the secrets of war.
“Larger and stronger than other boys, Trion grew to become a fierce warrior, renowned for savagery in battle. Indifferent to pain, given to brute force, and addicted to dominance, he earned the enmity of Hera because of his cruelty to the vanquished. He fell afoul of all the gods when, as the leader of Spartan forces, he disemboweled his own infant son to demonstrate his ferocity. Aphrodite cursed him—he could never know love. At the peak of his success, Hecate sent the Eucharides, three female monsters, to destroy him. Trion fled to Delphi and consulted an oracle but refused to heed her warning to change his ways and make penitential sacrifices. The Eucharides trapped him at the mouth of the Strymon River, where it meets the Aegean Sea. There they drowned him.”