Welcome to Capricious by Julie Cox, a Texan tale of love and magic. NSFW.
A new chapter appears every Tuesday. This week is Chapter Four. Listen to the audio version at Nobilis Erotica here!
Luke watched the sky lighten and the world wake up. When the goats were bleating and the kids playing, he got into the cab of his truck and drove to Wilson’s house. There hadn’t been so much as a coyote all night.
He stomped the dust off his boots before giving a perfunctory knock on the frame of the door and letting himself in. He stopped halfway through the doorway. Sally was on the couch with her mother, Georgia, sobbing. Wilson stood behind them, awkwardly patting Sally’s shoulder. He looked up at Luke and waved him in.
“Sally’s cat was killed last night over by the chicken coop,” he said softly. He led Luke into the kitchen and poured him a cup of coffee. “Same as that kid–puncture wounds on the chest, no blood.”
Luke stared into his coffee for a moment and took a long drink. “Shit. Which cat?”
“Christ, something killed Wormy? He was part bobcat! He took out a fox last winter.”
Wilson nodded. “So… it was something mean.”
Luke and Wilson exchanged looks loaded with worry, amazement, and a little bit of fear.
Sally got up off the couch, leaving her mother’s embrace for Luke’s. He handed his coffee to Wilson and wrapped his arms around Sally, the previous night’s playful advances forgotten. She cried quietly against his shoulder while he stroked her hair and tried very hard not to think about what her shampoo smelled like. Finally she stood up straight and wiped her nose with a crumpled tissue. “Sorry,” she said.
“Naw, naw,” he crooned. He took a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped her cheek. “You got cause to cry, don’t apologize.”
“Thank you for coming out and trying to help us.” She smiled and chuckled through her sniffles. “What kind of a person still carries a handkerchief, anyway?”
Luke smiled back. “A very old one.”
“Ha, you’re not that much older than me.”
“You know what I mean. Old souls, we are.” He retrieved his coffee and leaned against the counter. “So what now? Glen will be here in a minute, I figure.”
Wilson nodded. “I’m gonna contact animal control, see what they can do.” He gave Luke a significant look. “Is there anyone I should ask for up there?”
Luke regarded Wilson carefully. As Sally’s father, Wilson knew she was different, and he knew her friends were different. There had been too many extraordinary circumstances over the years, too many magical accidents, to leave a sharp man like him entirely in the dark. To his credit, he had never asked them directly to explain what they were. Still, to give him a name would be to give over the identity of one more member of their very secret group, the supposedly fictional creatures who lived in and around Fox Pass.
“I’ll call,” Sally said.
So there it was. Wilson nodded and went to find the telephone. Luke sighed. “Your dad’s gonna be pissed.”
Sally nodded and turned to retreat to her bedroom. Over her shoulder, she said, “Let him be.”
* * * * *
When Luke got home, Orson was sitting on his porch. Luke was startled at first but then remembered he’d told him to come over. He parked under the big soapberry tree and walked up the steps to the sagging porch. His place was small, but it was as neat as he could make it, which meant that all the half-broken but conceivably useful junk was in the shed instead of in the yard. The house was tiny and in need of paint, but it was sound, and that was about all Luke cared about.
Sootie’s stub tail wagged as she wriggled impatiently, waiting for him to notice her. Saul, a large white dog, lay in the shade near Luke’s chickens and goats. This animal, unlike Sootie, took little notice of Luke or his comings and goings. Between the two, Luke preferred Sootie, but Saul was undoubtedly the more useful, keeping watch day and night over the other animals.
“Hey,” Luke said.
“Hey,” Orson answered, his brows knit in an expression of concern at Luke’s dour manner.
Luke related the events of the previous evening to Orson, who nodded thoughtfully. When he finished, he sighed and looked at the dog. “Yes, I see you, Sootie. How’re you, girl?”
Sootie vaulted up at him, grinning and wagging with her whole back end. Luke managed to unlock the door around her and motioned to Orson. “You comin’ in?”
“Naw, I’d better get on.” But he sat on the porch still, looking out across the yard.
Luke sighed. There was no car in the yard; he wondered how Orson had gotten to his house in the first place. He opened the door, and Sootie ran in, straight to the pantry where her food was. “Come on,” Luke coaxed. “I been up all night and I’d rather have company for breakfast than be alone with my brain. And I can tell you about Sally’s pajamas.”
Orson relented. “All right. You realize that you’re more interested in Sally’s pajamas than in banging Allison, right?”
Luke gave him a strange look. “What? Both those things are interesting. I figure you don’t want the details of me having sex with Allison. Besides, she’s not romantically interested in me. We’re friends with benefits, and happily neither of us is seriously interested in the other. Sally, now, that’s a different story.”
Orson looked unconvinced.
“And if you stick around while I take a nap, you can come with me to the hardware store, give me a hand. I’ll buy you a beer afterward. Or get Dad to give you one.” Which would conveniently put them half a mile from Orson’s trailer.
“Sure, I can do that.” He came inside.
Luke shook his head as he locked the door behind him. Sometimes it was a pain in the ass, making it sound like Orson was doing him a favor when it was Luke doing the favors. But if that was the price of Orson’s friendship, it was a small price to pay in the long run.
* * *
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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