Hell Town RV Park
For Those Who Believe in Other Worlds
by Clara Bush
Artwork by Lara Clayton
(To start at the beginning with Episode 1 click here.)
(Rated Mature for Adult content)
Last Time on Hell Town: She studied her remaining army. Before her stood a guy with a snake’s tongue, a red-eyed man, a child, two teenagers in love, her brother, and his dog. What a crew. She’d always been good at plans. Plan A. Plan B. And sometimes even a Plan C. But how could any conceivable plan be created with this army of misfits?
You must trust the Avenir. There is no need for you to make a plan. They devised the path you are on years ago. Just do your mom thing. Shayd chuckled.
But Spooky wasn’t amused. Instead, her mind went elsewhere. Will I ever see Brodie and Dovie again? Will I get to hold my grandson? Spooky asked, but for the first time in a very long time, she heard no answer.
Other Worlds: More to Learn
River was combing the fur on the top of Creeper’s head with her fingers. Spooky had always been a fan of Peter Pan and especially the lost boys. She wondered if Kappa and River were the lost children. She sat on the ground next to River and patted Creeper. The animal inched its way into Spooky’s lap and chittered and cooed.
“Do you and Kappa have a mother?” Spooky asked and watched Hexer as he wandered off into the jungle. Aron came closer and sat on the other side of River.
Ransome laid his head in River’s lap. She stroked the dog and smiled as if the animal’s fur brought pleasure to her hands. “We are from Mist World, and we are known as the Brumers. Our world is a world composed of water and mist and little else. We have a mother, like the turtles on your world have a mother. One who creates us. Lays us. But we never know her. And on our world, unlike yours, hims can lay us too. Kappa’s mother was a him. That accounts for his bravery. Brumers born of hims are capable of becoming the mist—invisible, unseeable. Brumers born of hers possess the gift of calming.
“After we are born, the oceans become our mother. The mist, our father. They teach us what we need to know. Our existence is much different than yours. We remain childlike. We play. And we reproduce when we hear the call. We do not war between ourselves. We own nothing, and yet, everything on Mist World belongs to all Brumers. Our world provides us with everything we need. We had no fears until the Vrag. Our lives before were simple. Uncomplicated. I miss that the most.”
This was the first time Spooky could remember hearing River speak at length. She hadn’t expected such intelligence from the child. She spoke like an adult, but her tiny stature made the words coming out of her mouth seem quixotic.
Lost children. The thought flitted around in Spooky’s mind like an airborne dandelion puff in the wind. A world of children. No wonder Earth’s image of a mother was so appealing to them. Someone to hold them. Love them. Care for them. And yet, even with all of Earth’s alluring comforts and complexities, Spooky could tell River missed her home world.
“There are very few Vrags on Mist World.” Guy entered the conversation. “The Vrag don’t like water. But they are there all the same, in every shallow they can find. As they are on my world.” Guy sighed, then hissed.
“So what is your world like,” Aron asked.
“Boon World is the most beautiful of all worlds,” Guy hissed. “Because we live in balance. My world is a young world. One in which quadrupeds and bipeds live in harmony. No life form of any kind is wasted. Instead, what is used by others to live, is restored, in one form or another, and offered back to Terra. We live much the same way the aboriginals on Gate World lived years ago.
“In fact, my ancestors traveled to your world to learn. The aboriginal tribes of Earth taught them the lessons of balance and the importance of the roundness in all things. From these lessons, we Booners were taught how to live. All living creatures on Boon World have the ability to communicate with one another. When a newborn comes into our world, the first creature his parents see, they ask for its gift. On the day I was born, my parents saw the serpent. It became me. In this way, nothing is lost or wasted.
“The plants and trees of my world connect to everything. Upon death, roots cocoon our bodies and restore us to something whole again. Alive and new. Not always in our original forms, but living. Booners care for everything that exist. Never harming for the sake of harm. You see,” he laughed, “the spider you might smash today could indeed be a relative, friend, or lover, from a recent past, who has returned to you.
“Snakes, spiders, bats, and moths are prevalent on Boon World. And because of the gifts they give to us, we are able to use the art of camouflage, mimicry, and echolocation to out maneuverer the Vrag. Roots are successful at restraining them. And my poison is as deadly as theirs. When we kill a Vrag, the roots destroy them instead of restoring them. But Boon World is in constant battle. And we are weary.” Guy hung his head.
River homesick. Guy strained. What an army. Spooky imagined them all to be very tired of fighting the Vrag. She wanted nothing more than to be done with this mission and to return to the way things were before. Before Hell Town.
Guy looked at Aron. “You are like Booners. Perhaps you did not receive your gift as a child, but it is a gift all the same. And perhaps this gift is why the Avenirs chose you for this mission.”
“What do you mean?” Aron asked.
“I’ve seen you turn from a man into a wolf, have I not? The first time I watched you, I thought the Booners back on my world had found a way to send another to join me on Gate World. Then I tracked you and observed your mannerism, and I knew you were not like me.”
“How am I different?” Aron asked.
“You were gifted with a keen sense of smell, the ability to see at night, and the power of strength. Yet, you use your guns and not these gifts. Why?”
Aron shook his head. Spooky knew he was stumped. After a couple of minutes, he said, “I guess I was never taught how. And I guess I thought of it as a curse rather than a gift.” Aron tossed a limb he’d whittled into a spear at a distant tree. It stuck in the perfect bullseye knot on his desired target.
“Like that,” Guy said. “Booners would never torture a poor, innocent tree limb out of boredom. Now, if you pick up that spear and use it, then that is roundness. The limb would be happy it had meaning and wasn’t just an idle distraction.”
Aron frowned. He looked at Spooky, then up at the sky. His eyes finally settled on Guy. “I have much to learn, my friend. Maybe when we defeat the Vrag and all the Shimmers are returned to their rightful homes, I will travel to Boon World and let you teach me.” He fast drew his pistol, twirled it around his trigger finger, and holstered it. He patted his guns. “For now I’ll depend on my old trusty pals here. They’ve never let me down.”
Guy’s tongue slithered out and in. Spooky studied him. When she’d first met him, because his skin was withered, she thought he was old. Very old. She now realized it wasn’t wrinkles she had seen but scales. In this Guy before her, she recognized youth. The indestructible, fearless energy of youth.
“I look different to you, don’t I?” Guy asked. Spooky nodded and continued to stare. He appeared to be changing as they spoke. “Ternion World is much like mine. The humidity is moisturizing the dryness I developed on your Earth. The plants, flowers, and trees speak to me and know I care for them. They are replenishing and revitalizing my mitochondria.”
Guy’s skin did appear smoother. His dark hair flowed fuller and longer, and his once vacant eyes had become a reflective, pensive moss shade. He removed the hoodie from his head, and as he did, he grew taller, more erect, as if the covering had somehow stunted his growth. His body was noticeably firmer, more defined and toned.
Piper stepped beside him. He turned his face to hers. She traced the outline of his facial features with her fingertips. “You’re beautiful,” she said breathlessly.
And he was. Even to Spooky. “How old are you?”
“Because of our unique ecosystem and our ability to be reanimated time and time again, we don’t measure age as you do. In Earth’s years, I’m probably close to Piper’s and Leo’s age? On my world, I’m old enough to find a mate. Old enough to fight the Vrag. Old enough to die. I’ve died twice at the hands of the Vrag. That’s why I volunteered to travel to Gate World Omega to help the Brumers keep the Shimmer safe.”
Piper didn’t seem to be able to take her eyes off Guy. Leo watched. Spooky detected a hint of jealousy surfacing.
“Careful, Piper,” Leo said. “What you are feeling isn’t real. Just as Starlings and Timerees have an unexplainable attraction for each other, Booners are irresistible to most all species, except their own kind. They secrete prolific amounts of pheromones.”
Piper backed away. “Ewwww,” she said, “and how do you know this?”
“My Ternion tutor on Earth taught me stuff about the occupants on the other worlds. My father assigned me a tutor because he didn’t have time to teach me,” Leo scoffed. “Worthless piece of—”
“It’s not the Booners’ fault, granddaughter.” Hexer had returned and was listening. “They evolved this way for survival, so other species—those not of Boon World—would be attracted to them and not fearful of their animalistic features. Of course, this adaption in the evolutionary process didn’t take into consideration the soulless, mainframe-controlled Vrag.”
“Well, I wasn’t attracted to him on Earth, but—” Spooky said.
“You are old, my dear, like me. The attraction wouldn’t be there,” Hexer said.
Spooky put her hands on her hips. “I’m not that old. And if you’d let me finish, I was about to say, I can see why Piper would be attracted to Guy. Pheromones or not. He’s like some of the superheroes we have back on Earth. A little strange looking but all-in-all a good guy.” She wasn’t exactly sure what motivated her to say this, except she preferred Piper was turned on by Guy and turned off by Leo. That way she’d feel better about trusting Piper. Besides, Leo was a self-centered, vain prick in her estimation. Who cared for no one more than he did power. Guy was that wholesome, earthy, nature-loving dude. Wait, is that the pheromones talking, she wondered.
“You take offense at being old, Spooky. Your kind always does. On Key World, the older a Starling the more revered he or she is,” Hexer said.
She thought about Hexer’s remark for second. “Yep, you’re right. It sucks to get old on Earth. No revering for us just a nursing home awaits as our final destination. Unless, you’re lucky enough to die at home, in bed, at night, in your sleep. Then—”
A loud crashing sound came from the distance. Spooky watched as entire trees were leveled. Clacking. Bestial roars—guttural in quality like a giant, prehistoric beast forgotten by time. It changed to a sound indicative of a chainsaw come to life and gone mad. At once sounding primordial, and, in another instant, becoming automated and programmed. Both sounds contradictory to each other.
The mechanical whirring howls silenced every living creature around them. Birds flocked to the outer reaches of the heavens. Insects, no longer audible, ran across their feet in swarms. They resembled Earth’s scorpions, spiders, crickets, and grasshoppers but bigger. At least, twice a big. None of the bugs were concerned with anything except escape.
River’s eyes became large, round, like silver dollars. She ran to Spooky and latched onto her hand, hugging Creeper close to her chest.
“The Vrag,” River whispered between the crashing, clacking, and growling.
“This way,” Hexer said. “There’s a place we can hide.”
To continue reading Hell Town, click on the link below.
If you are thinking my blog looks different, you are right. WordPress, my content management system, recently implemented a new design for bloggers. It’s called Gutenberg, or the new editor, and uses blocks for formatting text and photos.
I’ll confess, I’m finding it a bit of a challenge since it’s not like the one with which I’ve grown accustomed . They did this so that blogs look the same across all forms of media. Please, bare with me as I learn the ins and outs of this program. Thank you
(Note: I’m sorry the captions are too dark to read. I haven’t figured out how to fix that issue.)
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.
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.