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Authors: Dia Reeves

Slice Of Cherry

BOOK: Slice Of Cherry
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ALSO BY

DIA REEVES

Bleeding Violet

 

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

SIMON PULSE

An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
www.SimonandSchuster.com

First Simon Pulse hardcover edition January 2011

Copyright © 2011 by Dia Reeves

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. SIMON PULSE and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

For information about special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact Simon & Schuster Special Sales at 1-866-506-1949 or [email protected]. The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For more information or to book an event contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at
www.simonspeakers.com
.

Designed by Mike Rosamilia

The text of this book was set in Adobe Caslon Pro.

Manufactured in the United States of America

2   4   6   8   10   9   7   5   3   1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Reeves, Dia.

Slice of cherry / by Dia Reeves. — 1st Simon Pulse hardcover ed.

p. cm.

Summary: Portero, Texas, teens Kit and Fancy Cordelle share their infamous father’s fascination with killing, and despite their tendency to shun others they bring two boys with similar tendencies to a world of endless possibilities they have discovered behind a mysterious door.

ISBN 978-1-4169-8620-1 (hardcover)

[1. Sisters—Fiction. 2. Murder—Fiction. 3. Supernatural—Fiction. 4. Dating (Social customs)—Fiction. 5. African Americans—Fiction. 6. Texas—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.R25583Sli 2011

[Fic]—dc22

2010021805

ISBN 978-1-4169-8968-4 (eBook)

 

For Ruby Lee Woodson . . .
and all the family history I never got to hear

 

FROM FANCY’S DREAM DIARY:

D
ADDY STOOD AT THE FRONT DOOR SCREAMING FOR
K
IT AND ME TO LET HIM IN. KIT TOLD ME TO RUN AND GET
M
ADDA, SO
I
TRIED, BUT
M
ADDA WASN’T IN HER ROOM.
H
ER BED WAS UNMADE AND SPITS OF BLOOD STAINED HER SHEETS.
I
RAN BACK TO THE FRONT DOOR, BUT NOW
K
IT WAS GONE, AND THE DOOR WAS WIDE OPEN.
A
ND
D
ADDY WAS DRAGGING HER DOWN INTO THE STORM CELLAR BY HER FEET.

CHAPTER ONE

Fancy only allowed three people in the whole world to get close to her: Daddy, who was on death row; Madda, who was working the graveyard shift; and Kit, who was dead to the world in the bed next to hers. And so when she awoke to find a prowler hanging over her, violating her personal space, her first instinct was to jab her dream-diary pencil into his eye.

But even in the dark of night with a stranger in her room, Fancy wasn’t one to behave rashly. Daddy had been rash, and now he was going to be killed. No, Fancy would be calm and think of a nonlethal way to teach the prowler why it was important not to disturb a young girl in her bed late at night.

She breathed in the yellow smell of the prowler’s beery
exhalations. He was panting, as though from nervousness or excitement. The heat of his hand whispered across Fancy’s cheek, and she felt a tug on her scalp. A pair of scissors flashed in the dark, and then a lock of Fancy’s hair fell against her half-closed eyes, much shorter than it had been.

As soon as the prowler turned his attention toward Kit in the next bed, Fancy slipped quietly to the floor.

Because Fancy and her sister slept in the sleeping porch at the back of the house, a room with screens instead of proper walls, they relied on numerous paperweights to keep their papers from scattering in the constant breeze. Fancy plucked one such paperweight from the desk at the far end of the room, her eyes never leaving the prowler’s back.

While he hung vampirically over her sister’s sleeping form, Fancy crept closer, the paperweight cocked back, cool, smooth, and heavy in her hand, the prowler’s head growing larger in her sight. But before she could swing her fist forward, the prowler screamed and staggered backward, pinwheeling past Fancy and then crashing into the vanity.

The light clicked on. Fancy blinked in the glare and dropped the paperweight; she heard it rolling away. The light brought her back to herself, back to reality—the white summer linens
on the beds; the broken-spined medical books along the only real wall, behind Fancy; the old black phonograph near the tea table. The jars full of various animal organs lining the shelves.

The prowler was the only unfamiliar thing, harmless and weaponless now that his scissors lay abandoned on the floor between the sisters’ beds. He sprawled before the vanity, paper white, young, and sweaty; the golden hilt of Kit’s switchblade curled ornately from his side like a strange doorknob to another world.

“Help!” he screamed, his hands fluttering over the hilt of the switchblade, afraid to pull it out.

Kit, in her pink satin slip, knelt beside the prowler, as awake and merry as if she’d been dancing all night. “Who you yelling for, Buttercup?” she asked with her usual zeal, despite the late hour and odd circumstances. “Nobody here but Fancy and me.”

She yanked her knife free, and the prowler jerked back against the vanity, blood soaking his white T-shirt and spreading like an electric-red bruise. One of Kit’s lipsticks dropped into his lap, a mute suggestion from the universe, perhaps, to fix himself up—he certainly wasn’t looking his best.

Before retracting the blade, Kit wiped it clean on the
prowler’s jeans, and then scanned her younger sister for damage.

“I thought you were asleep.”

“I thought you were,” said Fancy.

“I saw him leaning over your bed. What was he doing to you?” Kit asked the question brightly, but the look she gave the prowler was anything but.

Fancy touched the shorn black lock dangling in front of her eyes. “He cut my hair.” He’d left plenty behind. Unlike Kit’s pixie-short hair, Fancy’s hair fell past her shoulders in a fluffy waterfall.

“Well, he didn’t come all the way out here to give you a haircut,” said Kit as she frisked the prowler. “Better check the loot.”

Fancy searched under Kit’s bed, but the treasure chest they stored their allowance in was still locked and untouched. “It’s all there,” she said, and returned to the foot of her own bed.

Kit’s search had turned up her charm bracelet and Fancy’s missing hair in a baggie. “I get why you’d want a gold bracelet,” she told the prowler gently, “but hair?” She slapped the bag against his runny nose, ungently. “What do you want with my sister’s hair?”

“Please. Call an ambulance.” The prowler was shocky, confused,
as if he didn’t understand that the girl whose question he wasn’t answering was the reason he needed an ambulance.

“Ambulance schmambulance,” said Kit, and poked him in his hurt side. She smiled when he screamed.

“I’m bleeding!”

“I know,” Kit said with exaggerated slowness, as though the prowler were feeble. “I
stabbed
you.” She rescued her lipstick from the prowler’s crotch in a way that made him wince.

“You wouldn’t be the first person to die in here,” Kit told him. “Our great-uncle died in Fancy’s bed from influenza when he was eight. I’ll put you in my bed.” Kit shot a questioning look at Fancy. “Seems only fair, right?”

Fancy had pressed her cheek against the cool brass bedpost, her eyes half closed as if she wished she were still asleep. “We can’t let him die in here.”

“I guess not. You tell us,” Kit said to the prowler. “Where
do
you wanna die?”

The prowler lurched to his feet and scrambled for the screen door. Before he could get it open, Kit snatched a paperweight from the vanity, one with Fancy’s baby teeth inside it, and rapped him on the back of the head. After he crumpled to the floor, Kit said, “Interesting choice.”

The prowler looked much younger in his unconscious state, but still older than Fancy and Kit. College age, at least.

“You think he came as a prank?” said Kit, prodding him with her bare toe. “A college prank, or a hazing? Somebody ordered him to come to the Bonesaw Killer’s house and get proof that—”

“Who cares why he came?” said Fancy, sliding her heated cheek along the post, seeking another cool spot. “Only thing I care about is getting rid of him.”

“You’re right.” Kit propped open the screen door. A dust-colored moth fluttered inside and alighted on Kit’s bare shoulder, as though she were the brightest thing in the room. “Madda would lose her shit if she came home and found the place drenched in blood.”

“Don’t say ‘shit,’” said Fancy as Kit flipped the prowler onto his back and hoisted his legs. “Where’re you taking him?”

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