Broken Road

By: Addison Kline

Breaking Black #2


Prologue





It is often said that time heals all wounds. The words are spoken like a promise... A vow. These words are said to people who have been beaten down to their lowest state. To the poor souls who have nothing left to lose. Whispered into the ear of a grieving daughter, told with a shrug to a man who has nothing left to live for.



These are dangerous people.



The down-trodden. The grieving. The ones who love more people dead than alive.



The words should never be uttered. Not to the ones who have no solid ground on which to stand upon, no rail in which to clasp. The white-knuckled moments of life have come to be expected rather than feared.



"Time heals all wounds."



The words are an insult. A slap in the face... and around here, they'll get you hurt. For Averi McClain and her husband Colt, there were few deeper insults.



If time could heal all wounds, Jessa McClain would be proud to know that she was going to be a grandmother. Nathan Ford would have proudly walked his little girl down the aisle with Corinne beaming from her seat. Sitting by her friend’s side, Anna McClain would wipe a tear from her eye. Standing proudly by Colt and Randy at the arbor, Seth would have stood as a groomsman for his childhood friend. That is, if time truly healed all wounds.



But what about the hurts you cannot see? The deep gashes and the mangled hearts that remain after the brutality of a war. Their childhood was a battlefield. Colt and Averi didn't want that for their own sons and daughters.



What does time to do wounds? Time is nothing but a reminder of how much time has passed since you last saw the ones you love most. The line is bullshit. A scape goat. A cheap cop-out. It is something that people say when they don't know what to say. It's not deep or sympathetic. It doesn't stop the heart from bleeding. Colt would not have a granite wall built around his heart like a fortress - a barrier which only Averi could crack. Randy's soul would not quake with anger every time he heard mention of Black Horse, his roving band of lunatics known as the Seventy Devils, or Jimmy Hearns. You can’t even say the name Trent Myers to Randy without his sanity flickering out of sight. Tim wouldn't have to fight his anger out at the gym for several hours, five days a week. Shelly's sense of security would be intact and undisturbed. Averi's legs would not be permanently scarred with evidence of Black Horse's fiery insanity.



Time doesn't heal all wounds. Wounds fester. Sometimes the strain and exertion of trying to heal puts so much stress on the wound that the scab rips open, stitches and scar tissue be damned.



Some wounds cannot be mended.



Some lines are just begging to be crossed.



Some roads are meant to be broken.



As one of Averi's favorite bands, Rascal Flatts, so poignantly croons, "God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you." In the case of Colt and Averi, no song lyrics could more perfectly describe the road that they have traveled. They have a love like no other, acting as a guiding light, a beacon in a world turned dark by Black Horse. What would you do if the one man you couldn’t live without, was the son of the bastard that murdered your parents and your eldest brother? In the case of Averi Ford, she knew Colt was nothing like his father. He had spent his entire life running from his shadow. He had always been the one to protect Averi, even more so than her ever watchful brothers. You can’t turn away from a love like that. So Averi fought, tooth and nail. She was determined to get down in the dirt, bare knuckled and brazen, ready to take on anything that stood in their way. Just as Colt had refused to give up on her, she refused to let anyone or anything stand in their way of a happy life. She was even willing to take on the head Devil, himself. Colt is not Black Horse, and he loves Averi to the ends of the earth. Theirs is a love that is intensified by pain and longing, desperation and heartache. They faced seemingly unsurmountable odds, and continue to do so, side by side. She needs him, not to be her hero, but as her equal and her friend until the end of their days. He needs her, not only physically, but spiritually, emotionally; he had wrapped all his hope in her. His humanity relied on her happiness. If her heart ceased to beat, he would let the darkness overcome him. He wouldn't stop until every single member of the Seventy Devils were dead.



Lord knows Randy and Tim would fight right alongside him. Averi was as essential to Colt as oxygen. Without her, the Colt that she knew and loved would cease to exist. They loved each other despite the odds they faced; in spite of those who said they shouldn't. Averi loved him regardless of his family history, of the stares and gossip, the upturned noses and blatant hostility. When Colt McClain walks into a room, the citizens of Oakeley don't see him. They don't see his face or his kind soul. They don't see him at all. They see Black Horse - the man he so closely resembles, but whose hearts are night and day. There is a key difference. There is a gentle warmth to Colt's gaze. A calm depth that if you look deep enough, you can see all the good in him. Look into Black Horse's eyes and you'll see your own demise. When people look Colt's way, they see a murderer, a thief, a snake. They see a man with no soul. But Colt never killed a man that didn't have it coming, and let me tell you, Jimmy Hearns has it coming.

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