Hell Town RV Park
Where one man’s trash is another man.
From The RV Files by Clara Bush
Artwork by Lara Clayton
Episode 10, Chapter 1
(for Episode 1 click here and for Episode 2 here)
(Rated Mature for Adult content)
It was later in the day when Spooky finally left the restaurant and trudged home in the sweltering heat. She hadn’t wanted to say goodbye to Aron. She believed she could talk to him for hours. Not a feeling she was accustomed to. And she didn’t understand it. She knew the revolver openly carried, the cocky western outfit, the secrecy concerning his past, should set off all kinds of alarms. But deep down, in her gut, it felt right to her.
She wouldn’t have to tell Brodie or Dovie about her encounters in Hell Town. She had Aron to watch her back. It felt good. It was right, wasn’t it? Even though he was probably an outlaw. How did he put it? A shady past, she wondered what that meant. Drugs? Killer? Robber? Con man? All of the above?
“I told you I checked him out,” Shayd said.
“Yeah, well, forgive me if I’m a little leery of your so called ‘checked him out.’ I mean you have managed to get me in a bind several times before.”
“Haven’t I always taken care of you? And you have to know, after all these years, it’s getting a little tiring.”
“Hey, you’re the one who haunted me, not the other way around.”
“I said ‘little.’ You heard me say, ‘little,’ didn’t you? Besides you have loved every minute of our relationship. Well, maybe not every minute. Like the time I broke up you and that nerdy boyfriend of yours. What was his name? Oh yeah, Dufus Butt.”
“That wasn’t his name.”
“Well, it was something like that. Aron may not be the clean-cut asshole you’re used to, and even though his past is questionable, basically he is a good guy. I know that much. Just look at his dog. Anyone who has a dog like Ransome has got to be a good guy.”
“He wears a black hat. Everyone knows bad guys wear black.”
“Yes, but he also wears a white shirt. And I bet owns a white horse. Anyone who looks like Aron, and has a dog named Ransome, has to have a white horse.”
Spooky saw no need in continuing this conversation with Shayd. Instead, she sorted through her own observations of Aron. The sorting led to one unexplainable conclusion—she probably shouldn’t trust him, calculated strictly on outward appearances, but in her heart, she did.
“His dog was pretty super, wasn’t he?” she said.
“Now you’re hearing me. Get ready. Brodie has been home for a while wondering where you are. And fuming.”
Spooky tugged on the door and a rush of coolness greeted her. The air absorbed the heat radiating from her body and was such a welcomed respite, Spooky cared little if Brodie steamed. She had a brother now. Someone on her side. Someone who knew her haunts—as well as the creatures she encountered in Hell Town—were real. Aron would help her solve the mystery.
Brodie was sprawled out on the couch, like an alligator sunning himself, watching the nightly news. “Where the hell have you been?”
“On a walk.”
“In this heat? Are you crazy?”
“You know the answer to that. But in case you forgot. Yes, I am quite crazy. Good evening to you too.”
He turned up the volume on the TV. Spooky shredded lettuce for a taco salad dinner and told herself, if Brodie was going to be such a grump, next time she met Aron at Rosa’s, she’d eat with her brother and feed Brodie left overs when she got home. She figured it’d serve him right.
A silent meal and two episodes of Criminal Minds later, Brodie was in bed. Spooky, however, couldn’t sleep. She washed and dried the dishes. She sat at her computer and answered a few emails all the while wishing she could talk to Aron. She could email him, but the reasons why she shouldn’t whirled around in her head. He’s probably had enough of me for one day. He’s asleep and doesn’t want to be disturbed. Maybe, he’s at the local bar drinking. Besides, she thought, if he really can sense my feelings, he’ll email me. She waited until dusk and decided no email from her brother would be delivered.
Exploring more of the RV park seemed like her next best option. She clipped her gun tote fanny pack around her waist in case she needed to scare someone or something. She hated the fanny pack. It had been a gift from Brodie right after she received her handgun license. She was pleased with his gesture but fanny packs were for old people and tourists. Both of which she was. Still the stereotype was something she didn’t intend to embrace, at least not for a while longer.
The minute she stepped out of the RV, sweat accumulated on her upper lip, under her boobs, and all the other uncomfortable places it tended to pool. She was thankful she didn’t have big boobs, although she was pretty sure Brodie didn’t agree. The air was still stifling from the baking the sun inflicted during the day, but a bit more tolerable. That was a major difference between Texas and Colorado. Nights in most Texas towns never cooled off in the evening. But if she were back home in Colorado, she’d have to grab a jacket or flannel shirt before going out in the evenings. Cool evenings seemed like something she dreamed as she jumped over the huge pot hole in the road.
Kappa and River were sitting at a picnic table beside their trailer. Spooky figured she’d see if they offered any clues to the mysteries surrounding Hell Town. “Hey, kids. What’s up? Shouldn’t you be in bed or something?”
“We don’t need much sleep,” Kappa said.
River’s eyes caught the last light of the setting sun and seemed to flicker from verdigris to silver. “Hisssssss.” She smiled.
“Can River talk?” Spooky asked.
“She can if she chooses, but she sees no need for any other vocals.”
“Is the hissing a warning or a welcome?”
“It’s whatever you want it to be,” Kappa said.
A water hose lay over the side of the plastic pool. Spooky peered into it, hoping to see a blue bottom staring back. Instead, a shimmery blackness wavered in front of her. It’s not my imagination. It is bottomless. She saw movement beneath and jerked away.
“Careful. Something else is in there,” Singer hummed.
She stood back and watched as water entered, but the pool never seemed to fill. “This pool takes a lot of water?”
“We are feeding it,” Kappa said.
“It? What is it?”
“What do you see when you look at it?”
“Black. But not totally. It has a sheen. A gloss. It shimmers,” she said and found it hypnotic. Mesmerizing.
“Then call it, The Shimmer, if you like. But we must always feed it. It is one reason we are here.”
“To feed The Shimmer?” Spooky asked.
“Yes. That’s our job. If we don’t feed The Shimmer, we all die.”
“Hisssss,” River said.
Kappa’s eyes scanned the park. “All of us.”
“Me? I die?” Spooky asked.
“I don’t know. I don’t know what you are,” River said.
“I’m human. What are you?”
“Not human. You are a Gate World creature. We are not.”
“Gate World? What do you mean? This is Earth.”
“We know it as the Gate World—the gate to all worlds. Without it, no one travels the rifts.”
Spooky wasn’t sure if “we” referred to only Kappa and River or to everyone else in Hell Town too. “So you’re not from here? And what do you mean, rifts?”
Kappa took Spooky’s hand and placed it on his forehead. “No, we are—”
A howl—predatory and starved—shattered twilight sounds and sent a shiver up and down Spooky’s spine. She’d heard coyotes, foxes, and wolves, but she’d never heard a lament like this.
The boy trembled. “He is here.” He shoved Spooky’s hand away, grabbed River’s arm, and led her to their trailer.
“Why does the animal scare you?”
She needed answers. Damn. And Kappa was about to tell her something. She tired one more question. “Should I cut off the water?”
“No. Do not touch. Do not go near. We like you. We want to keep you. He doesn’t need any more like you. And we do.”
Again, Spooky was confused as to whom Kappa was referring. Was “he” The Shimmer or the thing that howled? It couldn’t be the same, she decided. The howl came from a group of mesquites and sage at the edge of the park, not the pool. Every logical thought in her brain told her not to investigate. She felt for her .357. It was there. She could scare off any hungry animal with it.
She scolded herself as she crept toward the direction she’d heard the foreboding howl. You are an idiot. You’re not being smart. This is like all the stupid things you see in horror movies and get mad about. You should run. Don’t go poking around in bushes making strange sounds.
She heard rustling in the dry brush, at the foot of the tallest mesquite. She squinted. In the diminishing light, she made out the form of an animal. A big animal. On all fours with fur. It stepped out of the undergrowth and faced her. Something in its eyes calmed her. Told her not to be afraid. She recognized the eyes. They were, for some reason, familiar. The animal stood up on its hind legs, whined, slowly backed away, and ran into the night more like a man than an animal.
“What was that?” She expected to hear Shayd answer her, or Chetan, or Singer.
“You go places you should not go. You see things you should not see. You ask questions you should not ask. I’ve tried to scare you away from doing such things, but you persist. We cannot protect you if you do not heed our warnings.”
She turned to find herself nose to nose with Mind Control Guy. “Why would you protect me? And from whom or what?”
Guy’s tongue slithered out and made a clicking sound. “We protect you because we need you. The children need you. You ask questions you should not ask, but you have yet to ask the right questions.”
“You remind me of three other individuals I know. So what would be a right question to ask?”
“Click. Click. Click. You haven’t asked why you are the only human we’ve allowed into our park.”
“Wait. I’m the only human?”
“Have you met anyone else here who looks or acts likes you?”
“The kids kinda do.”
“Click. Click. Click. Turn your phone light on me and get a good look at my face.” He flipped off his hoodie. Beneath was the face of something not human. His eyes were black. Veins popped out all over his face like he had the roots of a plant growing there. His tongue quivered, and darted in and out in quick bursts comparable to a snake’s. But it was longer and thicker, and had numerous feelers sprouting.
Spooky gaped and thought, damn I bet that tongue could do some damage. But she wasn’t scared. She sensed no threat. “You didn’t look like this the first time I saw you.”
“No, I didn’t.”
“How do you control minds?”
“I don’t. I’m merely capable of making you see what I want you to see, but I do not control minds.”
“So the little girl, does she have web feet or did you make me believe she did?”
“Not a question to concern yourself with. After all, what would it matter? On your world there are children with deformities. The right question would be, with all the medical and technological advancement, why are there still children born who are considered less than perfect.”
She had to admit, Guy had her there. She thought about Aron and his nub for a hand. “I guess it all depends on how one interprets perfection.”
“Now you are beginning to understand. I have no eyes. Some would say I have an imperfection. Yet, I see things others never see.”
“So even though the inhabitants of Hell Town are…let’s say…different, I have nothing to fear? Is that right?”
“Click. Click. Click. No, not right. You have everything to fear.”
To follow the Hell Town Web Serial, click on the links below.
The WEB SERIAL, or WTH is it?
With the onset of the technology boom, authors are discovering innovative ways to get their works in front of readers. However, though the web serial relies on the internet for distribution, it is not a new idea. It’s much like how writers became known before the days of mass-produced, full-length novels. Earlier writers, such as Mark Twain, released a chapter at a time, on a regular basis, in newspapers or magazines. This is the same concept as the Web Serial. Writers publish their works in bite-sized, one-sitting reads to facilitate the hurried reader. The web helps to make it easily accessible to their fan base.
Hell Town offers episodes of 1,000 to 2,000 words in length and is considered a tightly cohesive style of web serial. This type intertwines episodes with each other and depends on the reader being familiar with the story. It is meant to be read as one might read a book.
About the Artist
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.”
(Note: Lara 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.)
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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For information regarding permission, write to:
TURTLE TOP COVE LP.
P.O. Box 158
South Fork, Colorado 81154
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