Devil in the Detail

By: Max Henry

PROLOGUE


IT’S THE little things that make us. And sometimes, they also break us.

Little things, like a droplet of blood on my foot.

My world ended and started in that droplet. It changed, broke, fell apart, and never really came back together the right way. I regret everything that happened, the reason for that little drop of hell marking me, scarring me, and staining my soul. And yet, in a sadistic, morbid way, I love everything that perfect shade of crimson represented.

It made me who I am. That droplet bled from a life, a life that ended at my hands, but that droplet created the need in me to help, to heal, and to protect. The values that make me the man I am today. The values I’ll need to face the damage that droplet also caused.

Every journey is unique—every man or woman’s self-discovery personal to them. There’s no ‘one’ way to find your place in life, no ‘one’ answer that covers us all. What changes me for the better may scar you, but the thing that guides you might also send me off the rails.

What’s important is that you recognize that moment in your life, that sign that things are about to change, for what it is. The experience might hurt, in fact, it probably will. But, in enduring that pain of loss, rejection, or regret, we need to remember that nothing worth having ever comes easy. What scares us challenges us, and what frightens us strengthens us. Embrace your moment, revel in it, and don’t let it go to waste.

Shock yourself, dare yourself, and step out of that fucking comfort zone. Make friends with people you’d never think you had anything in common with. Mix it up. Break the mold. Let people see the real you.

I fought against showing my true colors for so long, hiding behind a façade of success and style. But I was wrong. I relented and let the people around me in, and once I did, I realized the most important thing of all.

Nobody deserves to fight alone.





BETRAYAL

Ramona

THE AFTERNOON sun streaming across the porch does nothing to warm my flesh as I relax in an old timber chair; the light breeze peppers my arms and legs, carrying a chill warning of the weather to come. Sonya, and Jane sit in amicable silence, also enjoying the fading sunshine while my son, Mack, plays at my feet with an old toy car—a red Nascar replica that one of the boys at the club gave him years ago. It’s his go-to toy when we travel, his comfort, and one he’ll need in the hours to come.

His father’s leaving us—going home to his father to face the music for the horrific crimes he’s been committing these past years in the name of impressing the lunatic. Crimes I had gladly been turning a blind eye to.

I’m no fool; the things he did were impossible to hide completely, but I was careless. I thought if I paid no mind to the atrocities my man committed—murder, torture, blackmail, and extortion—that they’d never come home to us, that they’d never affect my son and I.

Shame on me.

They’ve not only impacted our future, but they’re putting our lives at risk. I danced with the devil and now I’m scrambling to save myself from the fire. And for what benefit? Where do I stand now? With a man who doesn’t love me, a son losing his father, and an uncertain future—one where I have no idea what I’m going to do to shield my child from any further heartache at the hands of this lifestyle.

How could Sawyer do this to us? How could the father of my child go this far? Our club president, King, packed Mack and I off to a safe house, fearing Sawyer had finally cracked one too many times. So one guess as to how I felt walking in the place to find the asshole restrained on the sofa. Callum, our VP, had his work cut out holding me back, bearing the brunt of my flying nails and kicking feet. I could have killed the smug asshole with my bare hands—I’m positive of it.

But one look at Mack’s face as he walked in to the house and zeroed in on his father, bound like a wild animal, and I knew my energy was better directed elsewhere. Our boy’s only five, and he’s about to face the ugly truth of the life we live. For four years I’ve managed to keep him sheltered from his father’s illegal activities, only revealing the better parts of club life to him. I went without, isolated us, and for what? All those years of hard work and calculated efforts have been a waste. With one murder, Sawyer’s unraveled the web of lies I’d created to shield our child. With one foolish decision, he’s tugged us into the line of fire.

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