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Sick Fux
Author: Tillie Cole






The first time I met Heathan James he was picking the wings off a butterfly. When I asked him why, he turned his light gray eyes my way and said, “Because I want to watch it die.”

I watched as his gaze rolled back to the squirming wingless insect in his hand. Watched his lips part as the sad creature withered and died in his palm. A long, soft breath escaped his parted lips, and a victorious smile tugged on his mouth.

I once heard of the theory that the simple flutter of a butterfly’s wings, a tiny perturbation, that merest whisper of movement in the air, could start the process of building something much bigger; a tornado, devastating thousands. A tsunami crushing iron-heavy waves onto sandy shores, obliterating everything in its path.

As I looked back on the moment we met, this introduction to Heathan James, the man who became my entire world, the pulsing marrow in my bones, I wondered if his deadly act of ripping the wings from the bright blue-and-black butterfly started such a perturbation in our lives. Not a tsunami or a tornado caused by a simple flutter, but something much darker and more sinister, caused by stripping a beautiful creature of its ability to fly, to thrive. A path of destruction no one saw coming; the sweetest, most violent deaths carried out with the gentlest of smiles on our faces and the utmost hell in our hearts.

Heathan James was never the light in my life, but instead a heavy eclipse, blotting out the sun and anything bright, bringing with him endless, eternal night and murderous tar-black blood pumping through my veins.

Heathan James was the genesis of my soul’s reawakening . . . a soul not meant for peace, but one handcrafted for death and murder and blood and bones . . .

Soulmates forged in fire, under the watchful gaze of Satan’s mocking eyes.



Just a couple of sick fux . . .



Chapter 1




Age seven


Earnshaw Estate

Dallas, Texas



“He’s weird.”

I gripped my doll in my hand as I stared at Heathan James sitting on the grass. He was dressed all in black—black shirt, black pants . . . and strangely, a black vest with pockets. I’d never seen anyone but a grown-up wear one of those before. His hair was black—short at the sides but long on the top. It kept falling into his eyes. His eyes that looked silver in the path of the sun. They were actually light gray. I’d never seen that color in a person’s eyes before.

“Ellis.” Eddie pulled on my arm. I yanked it out of his grip.

“He’s new. And he doesn’t know anyone.” I leaned in close to Eddie, my best friend and next-door neighbor. His Stetson shielded his eyes. He always wore a Stetson. Said he wanted to be a Texas Ranger one day like his uncle. I thought he’d make a good one. “I heard my papa talking to my uncles last night. I snuck out of my room and listened at Papa’s office door. I heard him say Heathan’s mummy didn’t want him anymore. Said he scared her. So she gave him to his papa—Mr. James, the grounds keeper.” I shook my head. “I heard he didn’t want him either but had no choice. His mummy’s nowhere to be found. She ran away and left him all alone.”

Eddie’s blue eyes widened. “His mama gave him away? What did he do to scare her?” I looked back across the grass at Heathan. He had a magnifying glass in his hands. He was burning ants. I shrugged in answer to Eddie’s question. I didn’t know what he’d done.

“He doesn’t look much scary to me,” I declared, studying him hard. “I think he’s older than us. I heard one of my uncles say he’s already nine.” Eddie was eight. I was seven.

“When you met him yesterday, he was killing a butterfly.” Eddie looked over his shoulder at Heathan. “He’s killing ants right now. He’s really weird, Ellis. Why does he keep killing things?” He paused. “I think he’s too strange to be friends with.” He took a deep breath. “My uncle says to stay away from kids like him. That they’re the ones who will end up getting you in trouble one day. You know I can’t get into trouble if I want to be a Texas Ranger.”

“I wanna go talk to him.” I pushed past Eddie and ran down the slope of warm grass. I ran until I was out of breath and came to a stop beside Heathan. I made sure my headband was still in place and my hair was smooth.

Heathan didn’t look up at me, so I peered over his shoulder at what he was doing. A pile of dead ants lay under the magnifying glass in his hands. Smoke rose from their little black broken bodies. “Watching them die too?” I asked, and his back bunched under his shirt.

A bird sang in the nearby tree as I waited for him to respond. “They died slower than the butterfly yesterday,” he said eventually. “They tried to survive, tried to escape, run away . . . but they couldn’t. I had them trapped. They fought hard . . . but I had to kill them.”

I wanted a closer look. I crouched down opposite him and smiled when he moved the magnifying glass away from the dead ants. He was watching my face, I could feel it, so I lifted my eyes and smiled really big. “I’m Ellis Earnshaw. I never got to say that yesterday. I live here too.” I pointed to the main house. My house. My papa’s estate.

Heathan didn’t smile back. He didn’t move, didn’t say anything. He just watched me. His eyes moved to the black headband in my hair, then down my blue dress, over my white apron and long white socks to my black shoes. Last of all, he looked at the china-faced doll in my hands. “This is Alice,” I announced and held her out for him to see. She was dressed exactly the same as me. She even had long blond hair and blue eyes too.

“No.” Heathan shook his head.

“No what?”

“You’re Dolly.”

I looked at my doll again. “I don’t understand,” I said, crinkling up my nose. I was so confused.

He pointed at me. “You’re not called Ellis. Your name is Dolly. I decided on it yesterday. You look exactly like your doll. I named you Dolly. I don’t like Ellis. It’s a stupid name. It doesn’t suit you.”

I stared at him in shock, then looked down at my doll. I smiled again. “I like that.” Heathan quickly looked away. “She’s Alice. From Wonderland.” I pointed down at my blue dress, white apron and white socks. “It is my favorite book ever. My mummy got me this doll last year. My papa got me the clothes so I would match.” I hugged my doll close to my chest. “I wanna be just like Alice when I grow up. Go to new places, fall into a strange new world. I wanna meet the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter.” I shook my head. “But not the Queen of Hearts. She’s a monster! She . . .” I leaned in closer. “She scares me.”

“Why do you say ‘Mummy’?” he asked.

My shoulders dropped. “My mummy was English. It’s what they call their mamas in England.” Heathan’s eyes narrowed. I tipped my head to the side. “Well? Do you know that book? Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?”

Heathan shook his head. A piece of black hair fell forward and covered his left eye. I reached up to push it out of the way, but his hand snapped out and grabbed my wrist. I gasped and stared at his fingers on my skin. His hold didn’t hurt me, but . . . but when I looked into his eyes, my heart started beating really fast. “No one touches me,” he said through his teeth.

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