Hell Town RV Park
For Those Who Believe in Other Worlds
by Clara Bush
Artwork by Lara Clayton
(Last Time on Hell Town: Spooky experienced a void as Shayd and Chetan departed. She did whenever her haunts left. It was a bit draining and sad. “I hope he’s right. And there’s a portal we can access close.”
Aron wrapped his arm around Spooky’s shoulder. “Me too. Let’s keep the faith, but meantime, let’s come up with something to tell Brodie and Dovie in case we do have to leave for more than a night.”)
Stranger Earths: Piper’s Vow
After Leo left, Piper tossed in her bed from edge to edge. First on her back. Then on her stomach. To her side. Other side. Finally on her back again. She didn’t feel right in her own skin. Sometimes sticky and hot. Casting sheets and quilts to the floor. Sometimes chilled. Grabbing covers and pulling them around her neck.
The image of the beautiful lady—with tattoos similar to hers—revolved in and out as Piper attempted to recapture what she’d seen. She’d called the woman an angel, but after consideration there was no way the being was an angel. A demon perhaps. But Piper didn’t believe in angels or demons.
Her mother had never forced religion and for this Piper was grateful. Instead, when Piper refused a neighbor’s invitation to Vacation Bible School one summer, her mother had said, “It’s okay. You’ll find your own religion when you’re ready. Religion should be a person’s choice. Not one inflicted by society. We each pray in our own way to our own god. Some require a congregation, a structure, stained glass, a Bible, and fear. For others it’s an individual thing all about love and acceptance. Very personal. As it should be.”
Piper didn’t agree with her mom on most things, but this concept of religion she understood. And whether she agreed or not with it was to be determined. But if these creatures were not angels or demons, and most likely not gods, what were they? “Shimmer, can you take me back to that place where the creatures are?” She felt confident her Shimmer would keep her safe.
The Shimmer emerged from its shrouded nest hidden in some dark cavity of time. Glowed in radiant blues and azures and hovered over Piper. “Tonight.”
Piper reached out and petted The Shimmer’s soft webbing. It crooned. “Why me, Shimmer? Why was I chosen?”
It flickered from a vibrant to a subtle hue. “You are the one we need. You let me in. Kept me sacred.”
This declaration both frightened and pleased Piper. Had she found her god? Her religion. And if so, why did The Shimmer need her? And who were we? These queries ignited a wave of goosebumps. But the knowledge she had been designated the one, gratified her longing to be chosen. By someone. Even by something. She’d never belonged before. Now she did. To Leo. To the Shimmer. And to whomever we were. Granted, she’d belonged to her mom, but they were so different, she always concluded if her mom could have chosen a child, sadly, it wouldn’t have been Piper.
“Okay, Shimmer.” She pulled back on her t-shirt and fluffed her pillow. She was glad it was Saturday. She could sleep all day and be ready for tonight. Should she take Leo with her? Better not. She’d have to explain everything to him, and The Shimmer had said something about keeping it sacred. She wouldn’t sacrifice being the chosen one and vowed, in the realm between wake and dream, to remain so.
Stranger Earths: Leo’s Dilemma
After making love to Piper, Leo hid in the bushes in front of her window. His suspicions were verified as he watched Piper interact with The Shimmer. From years of spying on her, he knew she’d call forth her confidant and he’d gather some new, much-needed intel. He heard The Shimmer and Piper make plans. It was taking her to meet some creatures tonight. But who? He’d follow and maybe discover a way to attract The Shimmer to him.
Leo retreated from his secluded vantage point. He was no longer touching Piper, hence he could think. He was jealous of her union with The Shimmer. After all, it was his world’s Shimmer. Yet, he loved Piper and wanted no harm to come to her.
The Shimmer cooed and communicated with Piper, and at one point merged with her, so much so Leo could not distinguish girl from entity. How was he going to separate the two? Most of all, how was he going to capture the Ternion World’s Shimmer, return it, and keep Piper safe? His elders would not condone his love for Piper. Despite this fact, perhaps he could keep her alive. But of all the girls he’d known, why was he intent on saving this one?
Instead of researching Egyptian deities, Leo figured a quicker way of discovery would be to pay his father a visit. He was lucky, he knew who his dad was, unlike most Time Threes. Conceivably, his dad might unsuspectingly divulge answers.
Leo would have to be clever. More clever than his dad, Tervon, the Ternion sovereign of Gate World Omega. Once the Vrag invaded this world, his father would return to their home and Leo and his followers would rule all Earths. He must let nothing stand in his way. He absolutely could not think of Piper, or saving her, around his father.
But…what of her? The thought of Piper’s death or anything happening to her caused a sharp pain to penetrate his heart and seize it. He swooned. He was a Times Three, damn it. And Times Three didn’t have heart attacks or other such Earthling health issues. What was this ache?
Might his dad have answers? And if he did, would he share them with Leo. He’d hurry to his dad’s office in the city and be back in time to be with Piper when The Shimmer came to take her wherever it was taking her.
This seemed advantageous to Leo on several levels. For one, Piper would be forced to acknowledge The Shimmer if Leo were present when it appeared. Perhaps, with the right questions, she’d tell him about her relationship with the entity before it appeared. If Piper insisted he leave before hand, he would follow them.
The law offices of Trubel, Tate, and Thornton disrupted the city’s skyline with their jagged, gothic spires. The building’s lush but erroneous design loomed darkly over the humble businesses below. In much the same way the firm did politics in Austin. Their influence was far reaching and, some rumored, went all the way to the White House.
The firm had arranged all three of Leo’s adoptions of course, since Leo’s dad was the Trubel in the trio. No one but Leo and the three were privy to this connection. The two other partners were also Times Three. They greeted Leo at the receptionist’s desk and showed him to the conference room.
Leo envied the plushness of his dad’s offices and resented being adopted by what he considered lesser individuals. But his dad made sure Leo lacked nothing in the way of a comfortable lifestyle. And provided Leo with his own credit card and banking account as soon as Leo looked old enough to be believable. Times Threes aged much differently than humans.
Tervon Trubel shook his son’s hand stiffly. “I was surprised when you called. What do you have for us?”
No hugs like his human parents often offered. Leo eyed the other two partners, he didn’t expect them to be included. Was his dad afraid to be alone with him? “Nothing really. I just wanted to touch base with you. I need to get all the information you can give me on how to harness The Shimmer.” Their eyes widened. “In case, I do manage to locate it,” Leo added quickly.
His dad frowned. “I’d hoped by now—”
“I’m close. Really close. But nothing definitive.” Leo squirmed in his overstuffed, brown leather executive chair. He placed his hands on the sprawling boat-shaped, cherry conference table. It felt frigid to his touch, not warm like he expected of beautiful wood. He quickly removed his hands and stuffed them in his lap. He studied his dad who had to be near four hundred years old but looked to be in his early forties. Salt and pepper hair. Chiseled face of Nicolas Cordier’s King David with a body to match. No wonder human women went loopy for him. “Really close. Promise.”
“Why have you bothered me today then?” The Times Three anger—so indicative of Leo’s kind—flared, causing his father’s face to transform into a monstrous distortion. Red blotched. Puffed. Growling. Eyes squeezed almost shut from protruding fangs.
To ensure his position on Earth, Leo had been tasked with finding the stolen Shimmer. His father revealed to him if Leo found the Shimmer and safely returned it to Ternion, no one would question Leo’s position as ruler of Gate World.
“I know where it is,” Leo slipped, no longer thinking of Piper’s safety but instead greedy for the promised power.
His father’s face regained some composure. “That’s better. So tell us.” The us snarled out of his father’s mouth like a predatory cat. “We’ll help you.” Snarl.
“You won’t be able to. I’m the only one who can do it. The individual who our Shimmer is attached to trusts me. If you or anyone else shows up, both Shimmer and human will vanish. The Shimmer guards this person and if it perceives danger it will protect her.”
“Her!” His father face lit up like a perv looking at pornography. “Why didn’t you say it was a female. I can easily—”
Leo stood and pounded his fists into the gleaming cherry wood. “You can’t.” His stomach lurched. He’d tried hard to keep Piper out of the conversation, using individual and person. Then he let her slip. He flopped back into his chair as the partners and father exchanged troubled glances. “She trusts me. No one else. The Shimmer trusts her. This is the best approach. I only need to know how to get it to attach to me.”
Tervon sank back into his chair, turned up his palms. “Well, kill the bitch of course.” He grinned and raised his shoulders in gleeful resolve. “Unless you are no longer a Times Three and are eaten up with human values. It does happen. In fact, there’s a story about a Timeree falling in love with someone he shouldn’t have. Didn’t work out well for either. Would you like to hear it?”
Leo glared at his father. “I am a Times Three, do not ever question my loyalty. And I don’t have idle moments to waste sitting around listening to your fucking folklore.” He put his face in Tervon’s. “How does killing the female give me possession of The Shimmer? That’s all I need from you. Nothing else.” Leo noticed a shift in his father’s persona. Was his father afraid of him? Yes, he was. Leo could use this delicious bit of datum for his own advancement.
Tervon backed away from his son. “If it’s just you, the female, and The Shimmer, once you kill her, quickly plunge your hand into The Shimmer’s core. It will code in your DNA and recognize you as a Times Three. Unless, of course, the renegade Starling here on Earth has already revised its program—like they did all the other Shimmers—and in that case you will have to improvise.
“That hasn’t happened. I guarantee.” Leo thought this a safe bet. He’d being watching Piper with The Shimmer for years. She showed up at his school with the Ternion Shimmer soon after it had been stolen. He doubted whether the rebel Starling had had a chance to reprogram the entity’s binary code.
Leo wanted to ask if killing the female was necessary, but he knew his father and the partners would see it as a sign of weakness and might take it upon themselves to kill Piper. Leo rolled his chair away from the table. “I’ll be in touch when I’ve secured our Shimmer.”
“Be sure you do,” Tervon threatened. Leo shot him a cautionary scowl. His father calmed. “We’ll send in clean up afterwards. It will appear the girl has gone missing or runaway.”
Leo pivoted and hurried through the door and down the icy halls, which clawed at his skin and wanted a piece of him, exactly like his asshole father.
He now wished he’d allowed Tervon to tell the story about the Times Three who fell in love with someone he shouldn’t have. But Leo knew the story was a warning to stay away from human girls except for breeding purposes. It couldn’t have been relevant, could it?
Leo decided to stay in the city a bit longer. He hated the burbs where he lived and fancied himself more metropolitan than rural. He’d have lunch at his favorite restaurant. He ordered his Ribeye raw and a glass of Cabernet. When the waitress asked for his id, he flashed it and said, “Thank you. That’s a compliment. I haven’t been carded in years.”
“You don’t look twenty five,” the waitress said.
She was attractive in an artificial way. False eyelashes. Boobs probably were as well. Too much eyeliner, shadow, and rouge. Tight black skirt and sweater. Totally opposite of Piper’s delicate beauty, but fuckable, thought Leo. “That’s what people say about me. Good genes I guess.” He touched the waitress’s hand as he took the glass of wine from her. She lingered, entranced by his appeal. He smiled and caressed her finger with his as she laid the silverware down. “Do you have time to go to my car? Such pleasures I could give you,” he said and winked.
She eyed the door to the kitchen. Then nodded yes. Leo checked his watch. “Sorry.” He shrugged. “I don’t have time. Will you get my steak now. Put mine ahead of everyone else’s. Understand? Make sure it’s raw.” He halted his caress. The waitress quickly pulled away. Red faced. Bowed head. She scurried to the kitchen.
A fat older woman at a nearby table—mouth crammed with loaded baked potato—shook her finger at Leo. He laughed out loud, delighted by his ability to humiliate.
The longer Leo was away from Piper, the more the separation from her became tolerable. He first noticed the loss after he shook hands with his father and wondered if his dad had used on him what he’d used on the waitress. It was a type of ability the Times Threes employed to manipulate others. Time Threes weren’t supposed to practice it on each other, but then Leo figured his dad wasn’t above using it to influence the needed outcome. All it took was a slight touch.
After leaving the city, Leo’s passion for power began to replace his affection for Piper. He dreamed about the first steps he’d take ruling Earth. His army would be the Vrag. His officials would be his disciples. Any human not obeying, would be fed to the Vrag. No doubt his army would have many on which to feast. He’d repopulate Earth with other Times Threes from Ternion. He cared nothing for the human species. They were weak and gullible. Not worthy of being in control.
He checked his watch again. Only a few hours until he’d be with Piper. A tiny surge of excitement. But why? He pulled out his phone and texted: Hey, beautiful babe of mine, can I come by tonight? I need you bad.
Can’t wait. Mom goes to bed at ten. Come to my window. Piper replied.
Leo knew the right the thing to do was to take Piper on a real date—meet the mom, bring flowers, do the whole human mating ritual—but he and Piper were past such norms. And he couldn’t risk meeting the mom. Especially if he ended up killing Piper. He might be linked to her death and identified as the last person to see the girl alive.
His next concern—if he did have to kill her—was how to do it. Gun? Knife? Poison? Overdose? Poison and drugs would take too long. The Shimmer might suspect and disappear. Whatever he did needed to be quick, silent, and deadly. A sudden slash of the jugular would work. A knife then. He’d go home, get ready, and sharpen his SwingBlaze. It would perform nicely. And if he didn’t use it on Piper, he’d have it to slice and dice his dad. The last thought appealed to Leo the most.
To catch-up on the Hell Town Web Serial, click on the links below.
- episode 1, episode 2, episode 3, episode 4, episode 5, episode 6, episode 7, episode 8, episode 9, episode 10, episode 11,
- episode 12, episode 13, episode 14, episode 15, episode 16, episode 17, episode 18, episode 19, episode 20, episode 21, episode 22, episode 23, episode 24,
- episode 25
- next episode November 29 (Happy Thanksgiving!)
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 the writer’s fan base.
Hell Town offers episodes of 1,000 to 3,000 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.
Lara is on her way to accomplishing her dream of becoming a freelance artist. The illustrations are Lara’s original artwork and are created specifically for Hell Town.
We both would love your feedback. And if you are looking for an artist, Lara is available.