Hell Town RV Park
Where one man’s trash is another man.
From The RV Files by Clara Bush
Artwork by Lara Clayton
Episode 9, Chapter 1
(for Episode 1 click here and for Episode 2 here)
(Rated Mature for Adult content)
Spooky stared at the image in the restaurant booth. It was her face except she had a scruffy salt and pepper beard, and scraggly hair.
“I told you the minute our eyes met you would understand,” it said.
It had a man’s voice—deep, hypnotic—not like hers. But the words came from a mouth shaped like hers.
“What? Who the fuck are you? And why in the hell do you look like me?”
“I think you’re mistaken,” it said. “You look like me.” Then it had the audacity to laugh. “After all, I am older.”
Spooky studied the stranger, whose name was Aron, who she imagined was a stalker or a serial killer, who was a duplicate of her, except, he was a man. Mentally, she tried to solve the mystery. He motioned for her to have a seat. She positioned her gun tote in her lap and aimed her .357 at him under the table.
“Do you still think you need the gun now you’ve seen me?” he asked.
“How did you get my face? Answer that question first.”
“I’m your twin brother.”
“I was an only child.”
“No, that was the lie our parents told and probably came to believe themselves. I’m sure they tried many things to erase the guilt of giving away their other child.”
“Why would they give you away?”
He brought his right arm from beneath the table. The sleeve of his white cowboy shirt was secured around what appeared to be a nub instead of a hand with fingers. He rolled up both sleeves and revealed a malformed right hand. “You were born fifteen minutes later than me, but perfect. I was not perfect,” he said and cast his eyes down like his pain of being unwanted still clung steadfast to his inner being. “Our parents were poor, and I think they felt they could afford you, but not a child with a deformity. I’m assuming, but maybe I was just too damn ugly to keep.” His laughter filled the restaurant with a musical quality.
There was nothing Spooky liked better than a person with a magical laugh, but she was unable to manage even a smile. The thought she had a brother, a twin, a brother she’d never known until now, simmered inside her. She hadn’t been close to her parents because of her gifts, but she didn’t harbor any ill will toward them. But now. How could they do such a thing? Give up their own child. Her brother. And even worse how could they never tell her about him? Perhaps Aron and she would have been support for each other. She wondered if he had gifts too.
“Yes, I do. But I’m not sure anyone would call them gifts.” He answered her thoughts.
“Were your adoptive parents supportive of your…your…whatever?” she asked.
“I kept it to myself, so I’m not sure.”
“Were they good to you?”
“What are you doing? Getting all sisterly on me?” he asked.
She smiled. He had a sense of humor. She liked that too.
His eyes darted from hers to a waitress picking her teeth at the counter. “I’d have to know your definition of good to answer. I had a roof over my head. I had food. And I always had a pair of shit-kicker boots to wear.”
She felt something cold and wet, nuzzle her thigh. “Ugh,” she shrieked.
Aron chuckled. “Ransome, stop.” He reached under the table and attempted to tug a furry something from her crotch. “Sorry. This is my better half. He behaves this way with people he likes.”
The dog jumped beside her in the booth, nudged the gun tote off her lap, and laid his head there. Big blue, dopey eyes peered up at her from between paws. He licked her arm and released a heavy sigh, like he’d waited hours to misbehave and finally succeeded.
“So, your better half, huh? No wife? No kids? No girlfriend? Or boyfriend?”
“Nope. Just Ransome.”
She studied the brindled colored animal. Not a pure breed, she thought.
“Just a mutt and a bit of a renegade like me.”
She didn’t know what to say to such a remark. The dog’s black fur created a mask across his otherwise white and tan face, and a red bandana tied around his neck added to the whole outlaw appearance. But those eyes, and those deep sighs he continued to free, communicated something deeper than a rebel to Spooky. Like the animal was saying, I’ve been waiting for you and now I’ve found you.
She ran her hand down the length of his body. His fur wasn’t soft, but the galaxy of colors—browns, grays, blues, blacks, whites, and every color in between—begged to be touched. To assure herself the patchwork of hues was real, she continued to stroke him. “Why did you name him Ransome? Because you had to pay an arm and a leg for him?” She eyed Aron’s missing hand. “Sorry. Bad choice of words.”
“No worries. Don’t let my disability interfere with how you perceive me. You will find, despite my missing hand, I’m quite capable. I named him Ransome, because I ran some before he bit me.”
She jerked her hand from the dog. “Bit you?”
“Hahaha. Don’t worry. I’ve trained him. Now he only bites who I tell him to bite. Comes in handy in my line of work.”
She patted the dog. “Good boy.” He licked her cheek. “Yeah, you’re a good boy. Such a good boy. But lie back down before the waitress throws you out. How did you get him in here?”
“I said he was a registered service dog. I flashed the waitress some papers. No questions asked. Of course, I could have forged the document, or it could have been a receipt from Walmart. She wouldn’t have known the difference or cared.”
The dog had two layers of fur. Underneath was soft, but the top coat was short, dense, and straight. His long and bushy, gray-mottled tail banged against the back of the booth. Alert eyes and perked ears confirmed her position on his intelligence. “He’s smart. Really smart, isn’t he?”
“Yes. Scary so.”
“What is he?”
“As well as I can figure. A little Border Collie. A little Blue Heeler. And the vet thinks some gray wolf.”
“So your line of work is what exactly?”
“Would you mind if I kept that information about me for another time? And, yes, you are right in your thinking. My past is…at best…shady. But I promise you, I have reformed. So until you get to know me better and trust me, I’d like to hold off telling you my whole story. Instead, tell me about our parents. Were they good to you?”
“Ummm. Hard to say. Maybe better than yours. I mean they didn’t make me wear shit-kicker boots.” Spooky giggled. Her eyes disengaged from his. “I think maybe they loved me, but didn’t like the person I was. The weirdo. They were conventional. And, like you, I had a roof over my head, clean clothes, and food to eat. But very little affection.”
He motioned for the waitress. “That must’ve been hard. My parents loved what I provided for them, but as far as loving me, not so much.” He ordered a double shot of whiskey, and chips and salsa. “Want anything?”
“A water with lime, please.”
“Aren’t you hungry? And don’t you like skinny margaritas?”
“Yes, I like margaritas, but….” Spooky eyed the hefty waitress, whose frown and disposition went hand and hand with a town named Prayer—no fun just a lot of kneeling. “But I don’t think I can eat or drink anything at this particular moment.” Expressionless and seemingly exasperated, the waitress pivoted on her heels and stomped toward the kitchen.
“Rumer, what are you doing in a place like this? It will crush you.”
“Don’t you know the answer? You seem to know more about me than I do you.”
“Yes, I know. Dovie needs you.”
“How do you know these things?”
“It’s partly because of what you call gifts, and partly because we are twins and share a connection.”
“Can you read my mind. My thoughts?”
“No. It’s not like that. I sense if you are happy or sad. I see flashes of the things you see because of our connection. I know when you’re scared, which is rare for you.”
“How long have you sensed me?”
“For as long as I can remember.” He gulped down his whiskey. “My unreal parents were honest with me, and when they thought I was old enough to understand—I think I was forty…” He laughed and Spooky did too this time. “So, you can laugh. I like it. No, really, at an early age I knew the people I called Mom and Dad could never be my real parents. When I was sixteen, I forced them to tell me about my origins and, at the time, they were forthcoming about my twin sister. I began searching for you. It was years before I ran across your website. I knew I scared you when I told you the things I knew about you, but I thought it was worth it. Especially, if I could spur your interest enough to meet me. But when you quit emailing me and blocked me, I didn’t know what to do.” He shoveled salsa onto a chip. “Then I started seeing visions of the things you were seeing in the RV park. I sensed your fear and reached out again. I think one of your haunts helped me.”
“Yes, that would be Shayd. He told me he checked you out. And probably unblocked you. He’s good at techy stuff. Do you have friends like mine?”
“No, my gifts are different than yours. You communicate with those who have passed. I have visions.”
“What kind of visions?”
“Past. Present. Future. Visions probably isn’t the right word. More like flashes of things that have happened or will happen. Like I see flashes of those freaky creatures you encounter in the RV park?”
Spooky’s eyes scanned the restaurant as if she were searching for an escape route. The thought of what lie waiting for her back at Hell Town did frighten her more so than any of her past encounters with the supernatural. She guessed because she didn’t know the why behind it.
Aron put his hand on hers. “I sense you’re scared. Worried. I’m here to help. Maybe the two us and your ghostly friends can figure out what’s going on.”
“So, it’s not just me? It’s not all in my head like my parents, my husband, my daughter tried to convince me all those other times?”
“I don’t think so. Not according to my flashes. I’ve rented a room at the bed and breakfast here. Let me give you my cell number.” He edged out of the booth and retrieved his iPhone from his back pocket.
Except for the phone, his attire went hand in hand with the whole cowboy look right down to the black Stetson carefully placed beside him and the holster with a revolver attached to his hip—a Peacemaker it looked like.
Spooky was aware, in 2016, Texas passed the open carry law, but she was still surprised at the number of guns she saw carried by Prayer Town men in shoulder or hip holsters. So much for holiness, she thought. She opened her contact list and handed her phone to Aron. He did the same.
He scooted her phone to her. “You text me any time—day or night—whenever you need me. I’ll know if you’re scared. And I’ll worry.”
Spooky’s emotions—captive in an undertow—dragged her deeper and deeper to places she’d never been. Closer and closer to drowning in sentiments she’d never experienced. She had a brother. Finally, a best friend. Someone who’d be there for her no matter what. Someone who believed her. And though, she knew it wasn’t true, she felt as if she at last had someone who cared about her. Her parents were detached, as was Brodie. And Dovie viewed her father as a hero, and her mother as someone to tolerate.
Aron tapped her hand. “I know it’s a lot. But now we have each other. I’ve loved you since my parents first told me you existed. I felt your loneliness when you were in high school and, again, in your marriage.”
She retracted her hand and placed it on Ransome’s head. She wasn’t accustomed to touchy, feely. Shayd was the only one anymore who touched her lovingly. Until now. She thought maybe she could adapt. “Why didn’t you marry?”
“I guess I never met the right girl. I’d loved to get to know your family and be a part of it.”
“Ask him to dinner,” Shayd whispered.
Aron smiled. “You don’t have to.”
Spooky looked puzzled.
“I heard your friend,” he said.
“No, I want to. But, it’s a lot at the moment. And how can you hear Shayd? That’s his name.”
“I guess that’s another mystery we’ll need to solve.”
To follow the Hell Town Web Serial, click on the links below.
I introduced Lara Clayton last post. She is a new addition to the Hell Town RV Park Web Serial family. She is a former drama and English student of mine, and is on her way to accomplishing her dream of becoming a freelance artist. The illustrations are the original artwork of Lara and are created specifically for Hell Town.
She graciously drew several covers for Hell Town. Let us know which is your favorite by posting a comment. We both would love your feedback. And if you are looking for an artist, Lara is available.
Lara resides in the Texas hill country with her two adorable but exhausting little boys, her husband, and two male dogs. She confesses her life is dominated by male influence.
She graduated from Trinity University in 2009 with her Bachelor’s degree in art and with an art history minor. During her life, she has worn many hats—bartender, barista, massage therapist, newspaper circulation manager, wine shop manager, and the list continues. These life experiences have added a richness and depth to her artwork.
Through it all, she has quietly honed her passions for art. “The starving artist is only a half joke,” she says. “When I had my first son, I surprised myself by finding my niche as a preschool teacher.” A career choice she has embraced for the past five years. “My experience as a bartender—dealing with the drinkers—was a great prerequisite for teaching small children,” she says and giggles.
For several years, Lara put her artwork aside to teach and delve headfirst into the chaotic life of caring for a houseful of boys. “Before children, my artwork had always been calm. Abstracts and nature were relaxing,” she says. “But my older son’s love of monsters and all things grotesque, along with my muse of a husband, have led me to a new path. I now begin a different journey, creating monsters and other worlds for writers. I’m excited to bring to life some of the creepy characters and creatures of Hell Town. Please, let me know what you think by leaving a comment.”
The RV Files is fiction. Any characters and events depicted in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, extraterrestrials, demons, werewolves, or ghosts—living or dead—is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Copyright ©: 2017 by Clara Bush
All rights reserved. Published by TURTLE TOP COVE LP.
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TURTLE TOP COVE LP.
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South Fork, Colorado 81154
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