by Addison Kline
Book 3 in the Breaking Black Series
Live on Amazon!
The shadows of our past are long-reaching. It is a lingering darkness, a latent morning in a starless sky. You can only fight off the memories for so long. Sooner or later, it all comes rushing back to you. It is a nagging ache. A ravenous hunger. The demons of the past gnaw to the surface, devouring our facades and thrashing against our tremendous need to bury our memories. To lay our past to rest.
People often say, “Don’t live in the past.”
The individuals that utter these words have no terrors in which to run from, no promise in which they cannot keep. No secret that they cannot discard, no matter how hard they try. They are the fortunate. The lucky few who can fall asleep at night without the nagging tug of anxiety creeping into their chest. Our memories, conjured by a scent, a touch, a song, have the ability to imprison us. As witnesses to the dark side of humanity, it is our duty to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself. My husband and brothers wish to forget. I never will.
Every breath is an act of defiance. We weren’t supposed to outlive our enemies, but as they drew their last breaths, we let out a triumphant cry. Now it is up to us to break the cycle. How can we keep the next generation from falling prey to the darkness of their family history? This is not a story for the meek-hearted. This is not a tale for children. Breaking Black. Breaking back into some sense of normalcy. How do we forge the future for our children that was intended for us? A wise man once said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The road to heaven is plagued with potholes and dead ends. No truer words have ever been spoken.
With the absence of the Seventy Devils in Oakeley, the town flourished. Businesses were growing, violent crime had plummeted and the club that had once housed many of Oakeley’s most dangerous criminals had been leveled to the ground. A memorial garden was erected in its place as a remembrance of all the victims of Black Horse and the Seventy Devils. There were benches with bronze placards commemorating Nathan and Corinne Ford, Colt’s mother, Torian, Will and many others. A brick path led through the garden with names on many of them. A small stone fountain commemorated the officers’ lives taken in the line of duty. This garden helped to heal the heart of Oakeley, but in the grand scheme of things, it was just a band aid over a gaping wound.
Thirty seven members of the Seventy Devils still drew breath inside a West Texas prison. Their headquarters was gone, but the patch still lived on. Those that remain loyal to the memory of Black Horse and his Devils went underground, hiding among us. A sense of paranoia crept through Oakeley. It’s a terrible feeling not knowing who you can trust. There were whispers. Rumblings from the underground. The Seventy Devils had not laid down their hatchet. Instead, they were preparing for a war. The target was large. The Devils planned to take down anyone who stood in their path. They wouldn’t rest until Oakeley was reclaimed.
For a long while, life in Oakeley was better. It was ideal. We had quiet neighborhoods, hardly any crime, neighbors who weren’t afraid to say hello to each other. I could actually walk down Monument Avenue with Matthew in his stroller, and Colt and Randy wouldn’t try to stop me. Tim had given up trying to tell me what to do years ago. The peace wouldn’t last forever, though. It seems nothing ever does.
Seventeen months had passed and the imprisoned were about to be released. They weren’t alone in their hostility. A new generation was born from the wreckage of a war. Children that were raised with half-truths, nervous glances and guarded secrets. Parents petrified for the day when they would have to let the truth be known.
My son, Matthew, was born into a world shrouded in fear. A truth had to be told and we would tell it. Once he was ready, we would not withhold the truth and guard him from the reality of the world he was stepping into. A day of reckoning was upon us.
Every heartbreak, every failure, every misstep… it all led us to this moment. Every mistake – a lesson. Every life lost, not in vain, but for a greater good. Loyalties will be tested. Bloodlines will be cut. The legacy of Black Horse will be broken.
It will all come down to one man. The grandson of the victims. The direct descendant of the monster, himself. He is of light and dark, with a will to protect and a calling to do what’s right.
Matthew McClain holds the fate of Oakeley in the palm of his hand.