His physical wounds always got treated with the greatest of care, but the festering wound of loneliness in his heart did not get bandaged, it just grew cold and dark and damp, leaving him with a mask of coldness on the outside and a desperate need for company on the inside. He had maids around him and people who bought him anything if he so much as hinted that he wanted it, but there was a feeling of hollowness in him that his mind could not comprehend. There were many things he could not understand, he was just six after all, and he put it down to young age and ignorance.
So Sam learned to be just what people expected of him, an insolent brat, burying his real feelings deep inside him, so deep that he forgot they existed.
But that didn't last long. He opened a door somewhere in his heart for his first father figure. His mother fell in love (or that's what she called it) and married Robert Mellings at quite short notice. Mellings came across as a fun person to Robert, he was always joking around and teasing people around him. Mellings made him laugh. Always made him feel special, made him feel wanted. He followed Mellings around like a puppy, laughing when he was paid the slightest attention, giggling at the rough and tumble play that was Mellings' trademark. He felt he had a father.
At the same time, his growing mind began to comprehend that something was wrong with the family. There seemed to be a yawning rift making its way through the middle of the house and people seemed to ignore the proverbial elephant in the middle of the room. Mom seemed to be having problems with her sibligns, somehow sensing that they clung on only because of the money, and they drifted further and further away. There were talks about demons and witches and hauntings, something he was terrified of and yet willing to face because, deep down, he felt that there were more things scarier than ghosts and witches. Where they came in to play, Sam did not know.
His school life was normal. He was one of the top students in his class and rarely ever was troublesome. His teachers adored him, and most of the little girls fell for his adorable dimples and charming manners with women. But his home life was a mixture of fear and excitement. He didn't know what was going on, but he sensed the weird undercurrents in the house.
That was when all things took a turn for the worse. Mellings came home one day swaying from side to side and suddenly looking terrifying. His hero suddenly turned into someone Sam struggled to recognize and failed miserably. He knew Mellings was drunk, and he didn't know what to do. He watched as his mother tried to grasp the swaying man, dragging him toward the couch and settling him down. He now heard words and sentences that he had never heard before, he knew they were bad and he didn't understand what set Mellings off.
He tried to ignore the whole mess in the house, not talking about it, outwardly staying the same. Inside him, however, the hole of loneliness just widened even more.
After that, his whole life became a blur for the next two years. He remembered his school because those were the best times ever. Nobody yelled (except in play) and everybody was friendly. But the evenings were spent covering in fear in a room nearby as his mother was abused and beaten by Mellings and then his relatives started leaving, one by one. He didn't know why they all stayed together in the first place, and now it was just a few people left.
He watched as magicians came and proclaimed that the house was haunted, that Mellings behaved brutally because he was bewitched. He watched them perform strange incantations in the house, trying to make whatever was torturing Mellings go away. His 8 year old mind didn't grasp the immensity of it, but he was unsure of his every move. What if he set something off? What were these people doing? And in the loneliness of those times, the little child began to slip through the cracks.