When Moxie Poxie had been a little girl, she had been a bit of a hell cat.
She had rebelled against her rich parents. One of the founding families of the town of Kilcades Dare, the Poxie’s had founded the town and had been prosperous; were still prosperous. As one of their descendents, Moxie had been expected to behave in a certain way.
Instead, Moxie had told everyone to go fuck themselves.
She had been known under a few names in her previous life: Roxie, Foxie, Cleo, Firecracker. There were a few unkinder ones, but she chose not to remember those. Her younger years held, she thought, the trueness of herself.
Instead of falling under family obligation, she had shunned her family, had broken away from them. She had lived in a loft with other hippies, smoked pot, had sex with random people.
It was when her family had driven by her, while she had been pan handling on the street, that her family had stepped in and taken her home. In thanks for their graciousness, and for not mentioning her past, Moxie was expected to tow the line. She was expected to be the trophy, the shining example of a family matriarch.
She was educated, intelligent, sleek, toned, blond and beautiful. She had a gorgeous house, a beautiful son, a loving staff and a crazy husband who talked to himself and was in love with another woman.
Moxie was completely miserable.
Longing for a bit of her old life, she clicked in her high heels down the hallway to her bedroom. She took off her high heels (sleek purple Jimmy Choos) and put on her slippers (white high heels with a ruffle of white feathers across the toes and clear heels) and put on her house coat.
She went into the kitchen and put on a pot of coffee. She could hear Tort talking to himself upstairs. Wackjob, she thought. Total freaking wackjob. She laughed “Welcome to the story of my life.” She said.
Why could she never find a normal man? Why did she have to stay married to a lunatic? Why didn’t she really love her son? It wasn’t anything wrong with him, of course. He was a very lovely boy. He was intelligent and endearing.
In the end, Moxie wondered if she had any emotion left for anyone these days. She waited for the coffee to finish perking and looked out the window. She wondered when she lost her centre, her focus.
She figured it was around the time of her confinement into her family prison. That had been when her life had changed for ever. And she had let it happen, in the end. In one way she was happy to bow to her families wishes. She had been happy to receive comfort.
Only later did she realize that she had traded her voice.
Sighing, she poured a cup of coffee and doctored it with a bit of cream and sugar. Taking a sip, she sighed again, but this time in contentment. Oh, thank you Goddess Caffina, she thought.
Enjoying the first coffee buzz of the morning, Moxie was shocked out of her reverie by a loud, muffled sound. “Who the fuck could that be?” She said out loud. The front desk didn’t radio to alert her to a visitor.
It was only afterwards that she realized the sound was coming from the back door. When she turned and looked out the back window, she saw a half naked man lying on the patio stones.
“Oh my God!” Moxie slammed her coffee cup down and ran to the back sliding doors. Throwing them open, she leaned down to look at the man. He was still breathing. Blood pooled around him from a variety of cuts and lacerations. He looked up at her with glassy eyes.
“I’m sorry lady.” He said. “I’ll be out of here in a moment.” His voice was muffled by the grass that grew in between the patio stones. His breath came in short, quick bursts. “I just needed to rest for a moment.”
“Don’t be silly!” Moxie said. “I’ll take you in until you can get better. Where did you come from? Who did this to you?”
“Client.” He breathed. “At Dark Moon Rising.” Each word was punctuated by a breath. Moxie didn’t hear any wetness, so that was good. It meant that his lungs were fine or at least not terribly hurt.
There was dried blood that flowed from his nose. It had dried as it ran down his mouth. To Moxie, he almost looked like he was screaming. When she reached out and touched him, he jerked.
“I won’t hurt you.” She said.
His back was covered in a series of interlocking criss crosses. If she didn’t know any better (and she did) she would say that these were whip markings. Whoever had done this had gone beyond simple punishment and had instead progressed to blind, terrible rage.
She ran a hand over the man’s buzzed hair. “You’re a kid at Dark Moon?” She asked
“Yeah.” He breathed. “You know it?”
Moxie nodded. “I used to work there.”
“Huh.” He said. “Isn’t that a coincidence?”
She smiled and then frowned. “Who did this to you?”
“A man with a cloud that followed him.” The man said. “It was frightening to see him, to hear him, but not to see him.” He coughed and there was little blood, another good sign.
She felt a shiver and knew who the man meant. She was frightened of him too; they all were. “What’s you’re name?” Moxie asked.
“Bluegrass.” The man said.
“What’s your real name?”
He breathed deeply and sighed when she touched his back. “Roger Perrywinkle.”
Moxie let out a little laugh. “Bluegrass is a better name.” She said.
He let out a choked laugh. “I know.”
Moxie rubbed his head again, letting her hand trail through his stubbly hair in small strokes. “Nice to meet you Roger.” She said. “I’m Moxie.”