'I'm not entirely sure why I still do this job. I've got to the point where I struggle to convince myself that staying here would be a good thing to do.' Silas admitted to himself, speaking in disenchanted weariness defined by faint regret. His eyes looked down to his hands – his own two bare hands – with a self-startling uncertainty at their real power any more.
'That's understandable. But are you sure this couldn't be your depression projecting itself onto a smaller concern, exaggerating its real significance?' his therapist suggested carefully.
'Is my depression the spring of all my troubles?' Silas replied to her question with a skeptic flippancy.
'No, no of course not. I just meant to point out that you've suffered from a very unfortunate case of depression your whole life, and depression is a condition that often manifests itself by amplifying other issues – issues that would normally press on you, but are instead crushing you. Excuse the metaphor. Your actions express security in your motivations, Mister Nix: you have a reputation for dedication to honesty and the truth, and from what you've told me since you began seeing me that isn't at all undeserved. Could your perception just be affected by your emotions?'
'I don't think so, no. It's like it used to be so simple and so clear. My work was about bringing justice, about bringing peace, about bringing freedom through order. But what's the point of fighting for values like honesty, justice, or truth in a world that doesn't respect them? In a world that systematically finds ways to undermine them? I've been doing this for so long now and despite everything I've worked and fought for, nothing has changed. Despite everything I've dedicated myself to, everything here still seems decrepit and miserable, as if all this city can do when faced with some form of purification and redemption is laugh with sickening glee in its very face. So why do I still go on? Is it stoicism? Fear? Am I doing it for the good and well-being of these people, however corrupt they are, however resistant they may be against any effort to help or save them? Am I doing it out of some subconscious selfish insecure need to remind myself constantly that there are sorrier souls than my own? Or is it out of a twisted sense of duty to this city derived from a desperate but basic human need to be part of a community? I don't think it's a community I want to be part of...'
'Have you thought about leaving Asphodel for a bit? Getting out and taking a bit of a quiet break?'
The detective sighed to himself and crossed his palm over his dry, pale forehead. The therapist's office was cramped and stuffy; the chairs they both sat on luxurious but old and damp; the walls lined with books and paintings and the nostalgia of long-lost culture and definition, the sick memorabilia of an all-but-forgotten culled golden age desperately collected, hoarded, and plastered everywhere to remind the unwilling passers-by that it hadn't always been so grim. It reminded Silas of the whole of Asphodel.
'I was going to hand in my resignation next week.' he told her eventually.
'You want to leave permanently?'
'This city... It's everything that's wrong with this world.' Silas spoke feeling that his honesty had managed to summarise the sum of his torment into a few, raw words.
'If this city is what's true of the whole world, where will you go when you quit?'
'I don't know. Somewhere – anywhere – away from Asphodel.'
'Do you think it will set you on the right path? Will it direct you towards your motivation again?'
Silas could only muster up a pensive stare for an answer. She had given him the right questions. And though he kept it hidden from her, almost as if to not let the city and its people gain another sordid foothold on his life, she had a point. He knew that he had been worn down to apathy and cynicism by the knives of sin and malice, their vicious bladed intrusions and assaults upon him bringing all that was honourable about his intentions down to the level of what he had strove to fight in the very beginning – the level that relentlessly brought everybody and everything down towards it, and to him it seemed to be the natural state of humanity devoid of better ideals – animalism, corruption, and the graveyard which sees the burial of everybody in the end. This was not localised, this was the human curse. There was nothing that led him to believe his departure from Asphodel would make any difference in the long run. He knew the therapist meant for him to see in some sense that the problem was within him and not to do with his settings or his company, but it wasn't what he perceived. He experienced the overwhelming and strangely elucidating sensation that he had used up his whole life's stock of motivation and drive and the only matter of free will left was to endure, or not to endure. His phone rang. It violated the silence. He checked the number – the police department – answered it, listened to everything the caller had to say, and replaced it back in his pocket.
'There's been an incident, I have to go. But thank you.' he nodded to the therapist with both shortness and sincerity, before leaving her and her office and heading back out into the city of Asphodel. Back into the grey, dystopian void. Back into his world, with the knowledge that whatever decision he made, his life was on the brink of change.