Welcome to Capricious by Julie Cox, a Texan tale of love and magic. NSFW.
A new chapter appears every Tuesday. This week is Chapter Five. Listen to the audio version at Nobilis Erotica here!
Sunday night was council night. Luke didn’t normally go, and Orson usually sat in the back and said nothing, arms folded across his round chest. Tonight, Luke, Orson, and Sally took the front row.
Council night in Fox Pass, Texas, was a sight to behold. It appeared to the human eye to be any ordinary city council meeting, though heavily attended and held quite more often than any other. The eyes of a magical creature saw things differently.
The crowd was a melting pot of mythology. A golem and an ifrit discussed livestock codes in one corner. A group of Irish fae, mostly from the same family, argued among themselves. A giant boar, a dripping-wet horse, a jackalope, and two armored women listened politely to a sea serpent who had passionate but wholly unworkable ideas about damming the Rio Grande. At a table at the front of the room were seven people–six representatives from the far-flung districts surrounding Fox Pass and the “mayor” of their secret community. The representatives were equally outlandish: a deer woman, a man with skin composed of leaves, another man with a grinning brown face and backward feet. A gorgon looked bored at the end of the table, nodding to a monologuing centaur. A large and bloody wolf sat next to the myth community’s mayor, a young man named Cormick; she looked at him with something like admiration, something like hunger. The mayor himself appeared to be perfectly human.
Allison was there too, looking in her otherworldly self as if she’d just stepped out of a shower, with a sort of slick-wet shimmer to her. Her hair was tangled with twines of seaweed, and when she raised her hand to wave to Luke and Orson, translucent webbing stretched between her fingers. Seeing Sally with them, she smiled and turned quickly away. Luke started toward her, but Orson stepped on his foot, stopping him in his tracks.
“What?” Luke said.
At last, Cormick banged a gavel to call the meeting to order. When this had no effect whatsoever, he sighed, stood up, and yelled, “Hey, shut up!”
After several more minutes of diminishing squabbling, all the creatures were finally seated, if not perfectly quiet. Having apparently waited as long as he could stand, Cormick said, “OK, that’s enough already. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s keep this going at a good clip, all right?” He turned to the wolf–the secretary–who read the agenda and, as Cormick wanted, kept the meeting going quickly.
“OK,” Cormick said when they’d reached the end of official business, “we’ve got a few other things to go over that aren’t on the agenda. Anyone surprised? No? Figured. We’ve got a delegate here from the national council in New York–”
The crowd went into an uproar. Cormick gave it a minute and then put both fingers in his mouth and whistled. “Hey!” he barked. “Shut the fuck up and listen!”
“Or you’ll what?” a troll demanded from the back.
“Or I’ll get really annoyed!” Cormick said, eliciting a handful of chuckles. “Give me a break, Alan, OK? Christ. He’s here because Fox Pass is a border town, and, according to them, something big came through the border a few nights ago.”
This had the curious effect of hushing the crowd. Nothing came through the borders without everyone in Fox Pass knowing about it, and yet some northerner claimed to know more about it than they did.
“So they sent us a guy to deal with it,” Cormick said. “He’s a German beast, though most of you will probably know his type best from Washington Irving’s ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.'”
“They sent us a headless horseman?” someone cried.
“I thought that was Tim Burton,” the secretary said.
Cormick closed his eyes, visibly pained. “Yeah, they sent us a headless horseman, who would eat Tim Burton for high tea if given half a chance. He seems like a nice enough guy, so give him a break. I know we’ve had problems with the council in the past. I know how a lot of you feel about them and that some of you have even talked about secession. Trust me, that idea is a dozen kinds of bad. They give us protection; they run the courts. So we’re going to do everything we can to be accommodating to this guy. Okeydokey?”
Luke raised his hand. “Cormick, I–”
“Hey, horns and hooves, is it pertinent to this exact subject?”
Luke nodded vigorously. “Absolutely it is.”
“Amazing. Go ahead, then.”
Luke stood and told the council about the dead baby goat, the stakeout, and Sally’s dead cat. He left out the part about thinking the culprit was a chupacabra.
Cormick nodded. “I’ll let him know. Thanks for the info, Luke.”
Luke sat. “So this is bigger than just us,” he said softly.
“And isn’t likely a chupacabra,” Orson added, hopeful.
“We’ll see,” Luke said. “In any case, we need to figure out a way to keep tabs on this new guy.”
“I’m kind of hoping he’ll be helpful in tracking down whatever it was,” Sally said.
Luke raised an eyebrow. “Either that, or he is what we’ve been hunting.”
Sally was about to argue when Cormick stood up, talking. “–like you all to meet him before we go home to our respective caves, aeries, bogs, trailer parks, and condos. So try to look more like a dignified assembly and less like a Wild Hunt, OK?” He said this last with a note of hopelessness and sat.
The side door opened, and Glen the goblin motioned for an unseen figure to come in. A man dressed in black, complete with black hair and black eyes, walked into the room. Luke heard Sally say, “Ohhhh….” He scowled. He was unprepared for Sally to find this outsider attractive, though he had to admit the man was strikingly handsome, with his salon-cut hair, delicately pointed sideburns, straight white teeth, and white-collar hands. He was tall, sleek, well built and carried with him a sense of gravity.
He also carried with him, in his magical form, his own skull.
“Behold the world’s ultimate goth,” Luke muttered to Orson, who suppressed a chuckle.
“Cormick’s just jealous he can’t be as metro as that guy,” Orson said.
“I didn’t even know you knew the word metro.”
Sally shushed them. “Shut up,” she said, “I can’t hear myself fantasize.”
“Oh,” Luke said, “it is so on.”
Cormick spoke to the stranger, who then turned to the assembled mythological creatures. He cleared his throat. “I’m… not one for making speeches,” he said in a voice remarkably free of any accent, “but your mayor has asked…. My name is August Waterford, and as you’ve surely been told, and can tell, I’m not from around here.” The female portion of the crowd laughed lightly. “I’ve been told you have a problem, and I hope I can be of assistance to you. That’s all.” He sat in a chair that Glen had produced from some unseen corner.
“Cormick, you’ve made a friend!” Luke cried out.
Cormick winced. “Well, that didn’t take long. August, he refers to the fact that I was the only person in this town with clean fingernails until you showed up.”
“Hey!” Sally cried.
“The only man.”
“So forgive the ignorant peasants if they tease you,” Cormick said.
“Please stop apologizing for us,” Orson said, standing up. “I’ve had enough of being insulted by my own mayor. Mr. Waterford, it’s nice to meet you. I hope you have a pleasant stay and are back on the road as soon as possible.” With a withering look at Cormick, he turned and strode out of the room. Luke and Sally followed him, shrugging at each other.
Outside, Orson paced in front of Luke’s truck, talking quickly and angrily to himself. Sally muttered her good-byes and headed toward her own car while Luke took out his cigarettes, lighting one for him and one for Orson. After a few minutes of stewing and smoking, they climbed into the truck. Luke pulled out of the parking lot in silence. It was only when they were on the road that Luke spoke.
“We’ve got to get that chupacabra, or whatever it is, out of here fast, and not just for my sake or for Sally’s animals.”
Orson nodded. “Whatever it is, it’s dead.”
“Glad to hear you’re really on board now.”
“Are you kidding? It’s a matter of pride now.” With a dark look, he added, “Sometimes pride is all we’ve got left.”
* * *
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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