Hell Town RV Park
For Those Who Believe in Other Worlds
by Clara Bush
Artwork by Lara Clayton
(Last Time on Hell Town: 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.)
Stranger Earths: Loving the Avenir
Several hours later, after a plate of refried beans, rice, and chili rellenos. And mounds of tostadas and salsa. And five Grande Margaritas, Aron delivered Spooky to her RV. “All those huuuuge drinks and I’m only slightly buzzed. Go figure,” Spooky slurred. She attempted to open the car door, pulling instead of pushing. “Well, that’s never happened before.” She put her shoulder to it. “Won’t pudge.” She found this hilarious and doubled over laughing adding a snort or two.
“Yeah, right, Sis. Only slightly buzzed. I think the bartender kept making each drink a little stronger in hopes you’d quit ordering them. Better let me help you.” Aron hurried around to the passenger’s side and offered his arm to a giggling Spooky. She took one step and crumpled, Aron caught her and picked her up in his arms. “Aw, Sis. Those margaritas were a bit more powerful than you thought.”
“Hush-hush. Brodie will be so mad. What time is it?” she said, thinking she was whispering when in actuality she was a decimal or two louder than a blaring boombox.
“It’s only two. He won’t be home for a couple of hours. Maybe you can sleep it off.”
“Yes. Sleep. That sounds so nice. I mean, I haven’t gotten much lately, you know?”
Aron carried her up the steps and into her motorhome. Her sandals dangled from her feet. Flop. Flop, as they hit the floor. Her head bobbed awkwardly to the side. He placed her in bed and grabbed a throw from the couch to cover her. It was hot as hell outside, but the AC inside was cranking out some chilly air. “You gonna be okay, Sis.”
She answered with one of her snores.
Spooky woke at seven. “Aron?” She waited. “Brodie?” No answer. She tried to get up, but faltered and stumbled back into bed. “Holy Moly, what in the hell did they put in those margaritas? Jeeze, I feel like shit.”
She lay there and stared at the ceiling, tracing its bumpy white texture with her eyes, wondering why the manufacturers had chosen such an ugly design. Why they didn’t use fake wood or something better. Instead of what looked as though a child had wiggled her tiny fingers through wet paint. She rolled to her side. “Brodie?” Maybe he hadn’t heard the first time. “Brodie?”
She sat up. Put her hand to head to make sure it was still on. It was there but hurt like a screaming banshee was trapped inside and trying to claw its way out. She toppled into the booth. A note waited. Going for drinks with the guys. I came by to see if you wanted to go. Looks like you’ve already had your share. Be back sometime. Brodie.
She wished he’d waited. Maybe, if he knew what she was going through, he’d be more understanding. But there was no way in hell she could tell him without risking being shuffled off to a hospital and onto some forgotten floor for psychiatric treatment. Why did this have to happen now? Buying the motorhome and traveling was supposed to be a fresh start for them.
It was a fresh start alright—entry into hell for her. She opened her laptop. Clicked on new folder and labeled it: If I Should Die. She’d neglected her journaling over the past weeks, and it was now more important than ever to get things down so Brodie and Dovie understood exactly what had happened to her at Hell Town RV Park.
Spooky copied the bits and pieces she’d written after first meeting some of Hell Town’s occupants. She must get her thoughts into some logical format for Brodie and Dovie to read. And maybe in time they’d come to understand she had no choice. She pasted:
Who notices the creepy RV park buried off to the side of the road like forgotten road kill? I never noticed nor did I suspect anything out of the ordinary until….I struggle with one question. What lies beneath?
Depravity rules Hell Town RV Park. This deviancy hid from me until the nineteenth day. I discovered—in the obscurity of night—what I should not have discovered. Because of this encounter, I believe the strangeness will take liberties with me, showing me at every turn how much it perverts the earth I walk upon.
As fast as Spooky could type she told of the strangeness. The Rooi taking her to Avenir World. The other worlds. Chick. Hexer. Guy. The children. The Vrag. Her fear of being eaten. And of her mission to find a girl named Piper. She concluded with a message for Brodie and Dovie.
I hope this in some small way explains my behavior. And if I never return, keep each other safe. Brodie, have you ever wondered why we stayed together all these years? I think we loved each other in our own way. I just don’t think we could figure out each other’s way. After our first two years of love and lust, after my ghosts came, you shut me out. I wanted us to work. I wanted to be with you. I thought maybe Dovie would bring back the closeness we once knew. But it was a task far too great for even our beautiful, little daughter. She was always your child.
Dovie, know you are the one thing I did right in my life, and I love you more than you will ever know—because it was more than I knew how to express. I hope my grandson is exactly like his mom. Understand my whole reason for continuing this insane mission is so you, your family, and your dad can continue to live in a world without monsters. It would be nice to live in such a world. I think.
Always, give my grandson kisses from me and tell him I loved him before I even knew him. And it is for him I risk everything.
Please don’t look for me. I feel confident there won’t be a trace left to find. If the Vrag never come, my mission was a success. If they do, I’m sorry I failed. I love you, Mom.
At eight that night, Spooky cleared all the folders but one from her desktop, closed her Mac, and cradled her head in her arms. She cried. Long, gut-wrenching sobs. Her body heaved up and down. A puddle of wet formed on the shiny silver surface of her computer.
All the times in her life she’d been proud of her sensitivity toward the supernatural, she’d now trade it—in its entirety—to be normal. For Brodie. For Dovie. For her grandson to be. What a blessing to never have known monsters, other worlds, other dimensions, ghosts. All the years of toying with the unknown now demanded payment. Had she brought this upon herself? Was it her fault the monsters, the strange, and the terrifying came for her?
A whisper of a breath glided over her head. “My love. Don’t cry,” Shayd said. “It was always meant to be. Nothing or no one could have prevented this. From the day you were born—from the day your abilities first became apparent—time has been waiting for you. Hush your tears.”
“Spooky, I have loved you since the first day I became a part of your life. That’s why when I was offered the chance to return to my world, I stayed. When I realized what my mission truly was—to guide you on this path—when I understood the gravity of what lie ahead of you, I couldn’t let you face it alone. I am by your side and remain so until you breathe your last breath. And even in death I will not abandon you.”
“I’m going to die, aren’t I? I feel it as sure as I feel you. Have you seen my death?”
“The Avenir prevented me from knowing how you die. They feared I’d intervene. And they are right. I would. They did not even reveal to me the nature of your mission. I only knew there was one and that was the reason they were sending me to you. I found out what it was the same night you did. Trust me enough to know how much I love you. And I will do everything in my power to bring you home safe to Dovie and even old Brodie.”
“I wish I could hold you. Even touch you. Just once. All these years of loving someone intangible has been…” Spooky couldn’t finish. This love affair with Shayd was what? Exquisite? Heartbreaking? Incurable? Wondrous? Yes, all of those plus so much more. She wiped the surge of tears from her eyes with the back of her hand and tried to compose herself, but her shoulders continued to shake from the sobs, and her heaving chest seemed it might split in two. “What happens when we die? Do you know?”
“I do. But if I share this information with you, the Avenir will terminate me. Because…you see…it is a secret my kind have always known. Our mission is too important to risk such a misguided confession.”
Spooky had never feared death. She always sincerely believed there was more after skin and bones ceased to house the soul. But now…now she questioned if this idea she trusted—of eternity for the spirit—was a mere ploy, a mind game, to make her inevitable death tolerable. If there was nothing afterward…
What then? Would she just cease to never be again? And what of Brodie and Dovie? Could they manage without her? She was the one who brought optimism and life to the table. Without her, would they be endlessly melancholy and void of open thoughts and ideas? Would they close their minds to all the possibilities the universe offers?
Spooky wondered all of this and more. As humans do, when death discovers an unlocked door.
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, episode 26
- next episode December 6
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.