Devil On Your Back - Max Henry
DEVIL ON YOUR BACK
2015 Max Henry
Published by Max Henry
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Max Henry is in no way affiliated with any brands, songs, musicians, or artists mentioned in this book.
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Published: April 2015, by Max Henry maxhenryauthoroutlook
Edited by: Lauren McKellar
Cover Design: Louisa of LM Creations
Cover Image: Michael Meadows of Michael Meadows Studios
Cover Model: Tommy Barresi
Formatting by: Max Effect
CHOICES. NO matter how many options you’re given, it all boils down to one thing: are you making that choice for yourself, or the ones you love?
I’ve spent the better part of my life convincing myself I did what I had to for my family, but now . . . I’m not so sure. If I’d been gifted the ability to see the long-term effects of my actions, would I have done the same? Or would I have been selfish and taken the easy road out?
I gave up on them, and I started making choices for me, for what brought me happiness—even if those decisions were hollow and short-lived, sourced from the bottom of a glass bottle.
A shot of instant gratification.
A drop of chemical bliss.
Doomed to wear out, and leave me lower than before.
But did I learn? Hardly. I chose to wallow in my pity for the self-depreciating emotions it brought with it. After all, if I could revel in my sadness I could justify it. I could remain ignorant, and place the blame on the shoulders of those who had no part to play in the events that brought me to those lows.
People like my son.
And I did. I lumped those around me with the burdens that were mine to bear. I let go of all responsibility, and did no more than continue to hope somebody would hear my silent screams for help. I allowed myself to become less of a man in the vain attempt at attracting a soul who could save me from the pit of despair I lived in day-to-day.
But what happened?
Nobody heard me.
Instead I pushed the weak lifelines I did have aside, and dropped lower into the black, sticky tar that was my grief. I allowed it to consume me, and seep into every pore.
I allowed myself to become the grief.
That was, until a kindred spirit stepped into the darkness with me, and showed me how to live with a painful past shadowing my now. She showed me how to manipulate the tar until it became a neat little ball that I could lock away in the dark chambers of my heart. Most of all, she showed me how to live with my inky past and a bright future side-by-side. That it was possible.
That I could love again.
And now, she is the force driving me to get my son back.
The reason why I have to fix the biggest mistake I ever made before it’s too late.
Before I’ve failed and the tar spreads once again.
“I CAN’T stand watching this, Dad!” my boy yells at me, his face displaying maturity belying of his thirteen years. Yet I do nothing. “Every fucking day is the same. When are you going to start being like the other dads, huh?” He yanks at the hood on his sweater, pulling it over his head to conceal his face.
It’s no use; I’ve already seen the tears.
“I don’t know what to say,” I admit. “I can’t be what you want.” I remain frozen in place, standing in the middle of our living room.
“Then be something you want,” he snarls. “You can’t tell me you’re happy being this loser who sits around all day. You never even