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Unhinged (Necessary Evils #1)
Author:Onley James

Unhinged (Necessary Evils #1)

Onley James

This book is a work of fiction and does not represent any individual living or dead. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Cover and Interior Formatting by We Got You Covered Book Design

Trigger warning: This book contains graphic violence, very dark humor, and mentions of past child sexual abuse.


This was the hardest part. Finding the boys. But this boy…he would be the last. Then his set would be complete. Dr. Thomas Mulvaney had a small network of like-minded scientists who understood that what he was attempting was worth the risks. The woman beside him, Dr. Arbor, was new to the process. She was a second year resident who worked directly under Thomas's good friend David.

“Age?” Thomas asked.

The young girl shook her head, hesitant. “Near as we can tell, around six.”

He was used to the trepidation. What they were doing was illegal. Some might even say it was unconscionable. Thomas saw it as a necessary evil. “I promise, this is in the boy’s best interest,” he assured her. “He should be around people like him, people who understand how to meet his specific needs.”

They both looked past the glass to the boy who sat at the table. He was calm in a way no child should be. He had a stillness Thomas had only ever seen in predatory animals and military trained snipers.


Once more, she shook her head. “No. When he’s alone, it's like he simply…powers off. Goes into his own head. It’s common in children who’ve endured the type of trauma he’s been through.”

Thomas had seen it before. Too often. The child’s chart said he was found when police responded to a murder-suicide. He’d been tied to the radiator for such a prolonged amount of time that the rope marks on his ankle were now a permanent ring of scars.

He wasn’t the only child found in the home, each filthy, neglected, and in distress. But the other two were young enough that they might still have a chance at a normal life. But this boy? At this age? Attachment disorder had already set in. He knew from experience it was impossible to reverse.

Thomas studied the boy’s unnaturally pale skin, husky blue eyes, and inky black hair. If he was put up for adoption, there was a very good chance he’d be picked almost immediately. He was six but could easily pass for younger. Families always wanted the young, white children, especially boys. They’d have no idea what they were taking into their homes. Not until it was too late.

He sighed. “Diagnoses?”

Dr. Arbor folded her arms across her chest. “Officially? Oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, attachment disorder, post traumatic stress disorder.”


She cut her gaze to him before quickly returning it to the boy, like she was afraid to take her eyes off him for too long. It was probably a good instinct to have.

“He shows increasing signs of psychopathy. He lies seamlessly, he’s charming when he wants something, funny, calculating. His inappropriate touching of adults indicates prolonged abuse. He doesn’t actively attempt to harm himself or others, but he shows no compassion for others’ suffering. Unsurprising given his living conditions.”

“Any bed-wetting, arson, cruelty to animals?”

“It might be too early to tell but, so far, no. In fact, he’s quite taken with the smaller children. He treats them almost like…pets. We suspect he was often tasked with trying to keep the younger ones alive. No easy task considering their limited range of motion.”

He was perfect. "Interesting. Does he have a name?”

“If he does, he’s not saying. We just call him Adam,” she said, sounding tired in her bones.

Thomas understood. Working as a pediatric psychiatrist showed a person just how inhuman humans could be, the level of pain and trauma they could inflict on the population’s most vulnerable people. It showed that most mental health disorders in children are a direct result of the people who were supposed to love them. It ate away at the soul until, over time, it just became too much for most people to bear.

That was where Thomas came in. There was no fixing these children, no healing their psyche. At best, they would become a burden to whoever agreed to take them in. At worst, they would become a plague on their household, maybe even their neighborhood. Pets would go missing, parents would start putting multiple locks on doors, entire families sleeping together in one room until they just couldn’t take it anymore and begged the courts to step in. They wouldn’t.

But Thomas would. He’d take them before they became a blight on society. “There’s no birth certificate?” he asked.

The doctor flicked her gaze towards him once more. “No. His parents didn’t seem like the paperwork type. None of the children in the home had birth certificates. DNA proved they were all biologically related to the mother, so it wasn’t a kidnapping situation. The man who killed her was only the father of the youngest, and we have no way of determining who the boy’s biological father is. There was no match in the DNA database. Not even familial. As far as the government is concerned, he doesn’t exist.”

“And his files?”

“It would be easy enough to make them disappear.”

These children always fell through the cracks. They were the forgotten, the nobodies. Ghosts in a system that just hadn’t killed them yet. Foster families took them in and gave them back, social workers vowed to check on them, but eventually became overwhelmed by their never-ending case loads. It wasn’t any one person’s fault. The system was a broken wheel, inefficient by design.

That always worked in Thomas’s favor. “Excellent. I’d like to meet him now, please.”