“So, you took a tracking job, out in the woods,” I ask trying to grasp the situation.

“There weren’t a lot of options, and I’m good at tracking.”

“Yeah, you’re great at tracking bounties, runaways, vampires and werewolves. If it’s in a city, you can find it.”

“Thank you.”

“But we’re in the woods, looking for a goat man. The legendary Pope Lick Monster.”

“Open that nose of yours, you can smell him.”

“I don’t know what a goat smells like.”

“But I bet you know what a motherdrive smells like.”

“Do you mean hard drive or motherboard? Is this you trying to learn about my interests? I’m not mad anymore.”

I’m still mad. She’s got us out in this swamp trying to hunt down some half-man, half-sheep, half-goat creature that runs around steeling animals from farmers. I didn’t see a single farm on the way out here. I didn’t even know Kentucky had farms. I could have just gotten some money from the ATM or a bank when we left Indianapolis, but she insisted we leave in a hurry. Now we’re broke, and taking jobs from the side of a barn in Kentucky. She said this was a major organization she got work from, not a farmer's paradise. You’d think mosquitos wouldn’t want vampire blood, but they love me. I even put on bug spray and wore long sleeves and jeans, during the summer. It means nothing to them; I don’t do the great outdoors. They aren’t so great at all. A small rock hits the side of my head and draws my attention. I don’t see anyone hiding, but I can hear footsteps moving around.

“Leave,” an unfamiliar voice calls out.

“Alright, jokes over Destiny. “Let’s get out of here.”

“That wasn’t me,” the look on her face was pure confusion.

“Follow it?”

“Hell yeah we follow it,” she responds.

My hearing is just as good as hers now, but trying to find one specific sound is hard. It’s entirely overwhelming to me. For her, it’s nothing. She takes after the sound and I just follow. We’re not running full speed, just avoiding the thicker brush. We could easily catch whatever it is, but she’s trying to tire it out or see where it’s leading us. I’m content hanging back and learning. I get my first glimpse of the creature as we run across a shaky old train bridge. I’ve never seen a goat man before, but that is a goat man. More man than goat, but furry. I expected hooves, more Mr. Tumnus than barefoot man covered in fur with horns. He’s even got a pair of ragged pants.

“I’m going to grab him, you take the horns.”

I don’t get a chance to agree with her before she takes off. When reach the end of the bridge she’s got the creature by the waist. It takes only a few seconds before I’ve got it by the horns. Again, a mostly human face, the eyes are a little large, and the ears are floppy, like a goats. Destiny wants to restrain it so we can turn it in, but I don’t think it’s dangerous. I think it’s scared. She zip ties the creature’s arms behind it’s back and studies it over, but I’m suddenly feeling bad about all this.

“Do you speak English,” I ask.

“Of course I do,” Destiny responds.

“Not you,” I point at our captive. “You, do you speak English.”

“Yes sir,” it responds in a rough, yet young masculine voice.

“What is going on,” Destiny responds.

“Why did you do for them to call you The Monster of Pope Lick,” I ask.

“We’re not monsters sir,” it responds.

“We,” Destiny asks.


“How many of you are there?”

“Me, mom, dad, Nancy, Teresa, and Junebug,” the goat man answers.

“So you have a family,” I ask.

“Doesn’t everyone?”

“You’re right. How long have you been out here?”

“All my life, but mom says she’s going to me a potion like she did for Lisa Ann, then I’ll be able to look normal and go to the city. Meet a nice girl, get hitched and have some kids,” he seems almost excited.

“This is crazy,” Destiny throws her hands in the air.

“How old are you,” I ask.

“I’m sixteen,” he responds.

I turn to Destiny and force myself to look into her eyes. “We have to let him go.”

“If we don’t go back with him, or a body, we aren’t going to get paid. If we don’t get paid, we can’t leave. If we can’t leave, they’ll catch us and kill us in Hillbilly, Kentucky. I don’t want to die in Hillbilly, Kentucky. The goat boy doesn’t want to die in Hillbilly, Kentucky. Do you want to die in Hillbilly, Kentucky?”

Our prisoner giggles to himself as I just stare at her. She mumbles to herself, words I wouldn’t have been able to hear a few weeks ago. For now I just tell her she’s got a dirty mouth as she breaks the zipties holding our catch.

“Thank you, ma’am,” he smiles big.

“You got any family members you want dead,” she asks with a straight face.

“Grandma,” he starts.

“We’re not killing your grandmother,” In interrupt.

“No, she’s dead already. You can take her body.”

“Deal,” Destiny answers.

Phil is the name of our teenage goat man. His family as a hereditary deformity that causes them to grow some goat-like features. The family has been this way since the late 1800s. Some say it’s just genetics, others blame it on a curse. They live in the woods to hide from society. Occasionally, one person will get a potion or spell, that lets them join the world at large. Destiny theorized that they might be covered by the veil, as it probably wasn’t as strong in the 1800s. A few minutes ago she was upset at the idea of letting him go free. Now that we’re working on adding grave robbing to our resumes she has a lot of nice things to say. She has a contact who specializes in things like the veil and transfiguration magic that she wants to send. Maybe let the whole family lead a normal life, because the next set of hunters might not be as nice.


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