Broken Scars Excerpt


Broken Scars I ©JM Walker (unedited and subject to change)

Prologue

Lucas

Searing agony ripped through me. My muscles shredded from my bones. Flesh ripped free, tearing and separating as the abuse only worsened.

It felt like I was being torn up by an animal.

My limbs trembled. My skin became damp with sweat.

I tried forcing the evil away, but it only made them hurt me more.

Blue eyes stared back at me. They were filled with pain, pity, fear. So much damn fear.

I looked away as the screams shattered through me. As much as I did everything I could to fight off my attacker, my begging only heightened the violence laid upon my body.

“Please.” My voice, so young, so innocent. One word was all it took. One syllable was all that was needed to make the pain worsen. I wasn’t sure how that was even possible, but it was, and it happened.

“Next.”

A sob left me as the new attack was bestowed on my body. What felt like a lifetime later, the heavy weight on top of me lifted, taking all of my breath with it.

“You did well, Lucas.”

I turned my head away from the voice. Tears no longer fell down my cheeks. My body no longer hurt. I was numb. Completely and utterly numb.

My mind was broken. I was gone. Far past the point of shattered. My soul, if I even had one anymore, hid and shied away in the corners. The Devil himself would look away at this depravity.

Gentle hands roamed over my body, soothing the ache that had been permanently etched into my soul. Salve was rubbed into my skin. My cuts were bandaged. I was cleaned, fed and put back in my cage like the rest of them.

Animals. Pets. That’s what we were. All because our foster parents had an addiction. For hunger. Power. Money. Control. It was all about control. Over people smaller than them. One slap was all it took to force most to their knees. But me? No, I was bigger. It took a lot more than a slap to force me to submit. And I paid for it. I always paid for it.

I vowed from that point on that I would do whatever I could to rid the world of monsters like them.

Even if I died trying.

Chapter 1

Lily

Wind whipped around me. I shivered. It was the middle of Summer, but Mother Nature decided to play a trick on us and bring Fall early. I hated this weather. Give me a beach and a Corona any day over this shit. God, what I wouldn’t give for a vacation.

Closing my coat tighter around me, I picked up my pace. I only lived a few blocks from the restaurant and thought it would have been a good idea to walk. But clearly Mother Nature had other plans for me. I stopped, glancing around me and realized rather quickly that I was lost. Great. This just made a shitty night even worse. My grandmother was going to kick my ass if I was late and didn’t tell her. I couldn’t believe this was happening.

So dumb, Lily. So dumb.

No, I wasn’t dumb. He was the one who was dumb.

“I can’t see you anymore, Lily.”

My eyes widened. “What do you mean?”

“I should have told you this from the beginning.” Andrew rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m married. I never—”

I shoved to my feet, knocking the chair over behind me. “You’re kidding. Tell me you’re kidding.”

“I’m not.” He stood, placing a wad of cash on the table between us. “It was fun, but I can’t do this anymore.” He pushed the cash toward me. “For your services.”

“I am not a fucking whore.”

But I took the cash anyway and stormed out of the restaurant. Fucking, asshole. Andrew Ness hadn’t been that good in bed anyway. I was more embarrassed than anything. Especially when he had broken it off in public and paid me like I was some high-classed hooker.

My grandma had warned me too. She only met him a handful of times but didn’t like him. Not that she ever liked any of the guys I dated but this one was different. She warned me, but I didn’t listen.

Letting out a frustrated sigh, I pulled my coat tighter around me. I had dressed nice for Andrew. Something had been off with him, so I thought wearing something sexy would spark that moment we shared weeks ago when we bumped into each other at the library. I thought for sure he would have been a good guy. He did go to the library and all. I was wrong. So very fucking wrong.

And now I was lost. I wasn’t even sure where I was anymore. Not recognizing this part of the city, I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw a sign about a block away.

Crane’s Ink.

Alright, I could live with that. Anything was better than being outside. Especially in this area. Hightailing it across the street, I was thankful I reached the door just as the rain started coming down even harder.

The door chimed, indicating my arrival. I pushed it closed, fighting against the wind that had picked up speed.

‘Snap’ by Slipknot played in the background. It was loud enough that I could feel the base down to my bones but not loud enough where a normal conversation couldn’t be carried.

“That’s some weather out there,” a woman’s voice said. “I haven’t seen it this bad in quite a while.”

A man grunted.

“It’s supposed to be summer out.” She sighed.

“Alright, you’re all done, sweetheart.”

My stomach tumbled at the smooth deep voice. I turned around, finding a large man sitting on a stool beside a bed. A woman sat up, holding her shirt against her chest.

“How does it look?” she asked, meeting my gaze.

“Um…” I took a step toward them. “Wow.” The tattoo was on her back. It was of a tree and was partially covered with leaves.

“The leaves falling off the tree mark each month I’ve been sober,” the woman explained.

I counted eight. “That’s amazing. It really is beautiful,” I murmured in awe.

“I’ll clean you up,” the man said.

I took a chance and looked at him then.