Welcome to Capricious by Julie Cox, a Texan tale of love and magic. NSFW.
A new chapter appears every Tuesday. This week is Chapter Two. Listen to the audio version at Nobilis Erotica here!
The red pickup truck kicked up a wake of dust as it sped down FM 190. On either side of the snaking two-lane asphalt, the West Texas landscape stretched wide and lonely, a flat scrub-brush plain dotted with mesquite and nettle, fringed with jutting mountains on every side of the horizon but east. Dark yellow dust covered everything, including the two men inside the truck.
Luke pulled a pack of Camels from his shirt pocket and passed it to Orson. “Light me one, will you?”
“Sure.” Orson lit one for Luke and one for himself and rolled the passenger-side window down. It stuck partway down and refused to budge.
“Roll the window back up!” Luke said. “You’re letting in dust.”
Orson ran a hand across the dash and came up with an ochre-smeared palm. “Oh no, what will the help think.”
“Fine. Have no standards.” Luke leaned forward over the steering wheel and squinted. “What’s that in the road?”
Orson leaned forward too. A white shape gleamed against the gray asphalt, far up the road. As flat as the land was, they had a long time to watch it grow larger. Finally Orson said, “Goat.”
“It’s not a goat. It’s little.”
“Dead baby goat.”
Luke scowled. “You want it to be a goat. You want to see me uncomfortable.”
Orson reached over and patted the large set of ridged horns on Luke’s head. “You know, satyr-boy, it’s OK to admit you have a thing for goats.”
“One, get your hands off my horns. You know what that does to me, and unless you been holding out on me all these years, neither of us wants that. Two, it’s like monkeys for you. They’re relatives.”
“I hate fuckin’ monkeys.”
“Then why don’t you stop?”
They laughed, short and nervous, watching the white shape grow larger. Finally they were upon it, and Luke stopped the truck and got out. A blue-ticked dog with a stub tail jumped out of the back of the truck and followed him.
“Sootie, get back in the truck.”
She wagged her tail and grinned. Luke rolled his eyes and turned, allowing her to be present. She followed him as he walked to the white shape and knelt down.
“Well, it’s a goat all right,” Orson said.
“It’s flat,” Luke said, equally puzzled. The white kid sprawled in the road was, quite literally, skin and bones. Luke stubbed his cigarette out on the asphalt, took a knife out of his boot, and poked at a wound in the kid’s chest.
“Don’t touch it!”
Luke rolled his eyes. “Chill out. Look at this–no blood, no wounds except these puncture marks on its chest.” Luke’s eyes grew wide.
“Oh no,” Orson said, “it’s not a chupacabra.”
“But it fits! A nice-looking young kid like this, dead for no reason I can see, with no wounds except frickin’ vampire-looking fang marks and no blood–it’s been exsanguinated!”
“Whatever that means. The chupacabra doesn’t exist.”
Luke put the knife back in his boot and stood. “You’re a Tuatha Dé Danann. Your best friend is a satyr. You live in a border town that borders more than Mexico. How in the wide world can you say anything doesn’t exist?”
“Just because I’ve seen some extraordinary things doesn’t mean I’ve tilted my head and let my brain run out my ears to make room for any nonsense folk dream up. Like some people.” He raised his eyebrows significantly, and Luke ignored it.
As they walked back to the car, Luke shook his head, a gesture made more emphatic by his horns. “You’re a skeptical fae. Remarkable. Sootie, get in the back. The back! Stupid dog–there you go, good girl.”
They rolled around the body of the goat and drove toward town in silence. Finally Orson broke it. “I bet it’s one of YC Wilson’s goats. Better tell him. He might be looking for it.”
“Oh yeah–I bet it was one of his Saanens. Pity that. I’m gonna tell more than Wilson, though. I’m gonna tell the council.”
Orson laughed. “What, so the fairy princess can mock you?”
“Cormick’s a good guy.”
“He’s more sarcastic than me, and that’s just caustic.”
“I’m well acquainted with sarcasm, thanks.”
“Jeez, Luke, don’t tell the council there’s a chupacabra loose, they already think you’re a nut. And in this town, that’s saying something.”
Luke set his jaw and stared down the road. “We’ll see.”
* * * * *
Orson was at the bar when Luke found him that evening. Luke slid onto the barstool next to him and, without preamble, said, “I told Wilson, and we’re gonna set up a watch tonight.”
Luke nodded. From across the bar a booming voice called, “Luke, you want a beer?”
“No thanks, Dad, I’m good,” Luke answered. To Orson, he continued in a conspiratorial tone, “No matter what I think it is, something got ahold of one of his goats, so we’re going to stake out the kid pen. Tomorrow morning Sal’s going to go driving around in her four-wheeler, see if she can see anything.”
Orson sighed. “Who’s on watch?”
“Just me and Glen.”
“Glen the goblin’s in on this?” Orson groaned. “Just don’t give him a gun.”
“Hey, Glen’s a good shot. And that donkey was just fine.”
“Because he was using bird shot! And the donkey was wearing an orange ‘don’t shoot me’ vest! God, no wonder people hate hunting season around here, if people like Glen are given free rein with a gun.”
Luke shook his head. “Come up to the house tomorrow, I’ll tell you if anything happens.”
Orson sighed. “Fine. Good luck.”
* * *
Prefer reading on paper? You can mail order the paperback of Capricious, right now, and have it within days! Order from Amazon, or purchase straight from Createspace!
About the author: Julie Cox is the author of Chasing Tail and numerous short stories in Circlet Press erotica anthologies. She lives in Texas with her husband, children, and ever-expanding menagerie of animals on their farm. She runs a small online yarn business and teaches yarn spinning. She has numerous stories published with Circlet Press and elsewhere.
Welcome to Fox Pass, Texas, a small community where the mythical creatures aren’t so mythical after all. Satyr Luke’s comfortable routine is thrown into disarray when he becomes the target of enemies who won’t hesitate to hurt his friends to get to him. Struggling to save his town—and to sort out his feelings for his friend Sally—Luke faces the adventure of a lifetime in Julie Cox’s Capricious.
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