Hell Town RV Park
For Those Who Believe in Other Worlds
by Clara Bush
Artwork by Lara Clayton
Part Three: The Hidden
(To start at the beginning with Episode 1 click here.)
(Rated Mature for Adult content)
(Last Time in Hell: For some reason the moon Chick had sent disappeared. Was this foreshadowing? Spooky questioned. And as if someone had turned off a light switch, darkness settled in on the pair like an obese black cloud. The slap of a wet leaf in her face woke Spooky to the awareness she was totally blind.
A hand reached back and found hers, enveloping it in gentle strength. “Allow me. I don’t want to lose you,” Mo said.
It had been a long time since a virile, young man had held her hand with such tenderness. It felt good to have someone looking out for her other than herself.)
Ternion World: Captured
Mogotsi led Spooky through the black, suffocating foliage with skill and grace, exhibiting his expertise in tracking. Was she doing the right thing? The question surfaced numerous times as they plodded back to the look-out.
He was careful to hold back low hanging branches and vines from hitting her in the face as they trekked. Surely, someone with such careful consideration of others couldn’t be a bad guy. Could he?
She prayed she was right or she’d just made a huge mistake. He squeezed her hand then stopped abruptly. Too quickly. Spooky crashed into him and began falling. Strong arms caught her and picked her up before she hit the damp earth.
“Shush. Don’t make a sound,” he whispered in her ear, sending chills along the nape of her neck and startling the butterflies that had hibernated in her stomach years ago. “We’re here but something is wrong.” He nestled her into some thick undergrowth. “Stay here. ” He placed Ransome’s collar in her hand. “Hold him. I’ll check it out.”
She rubbed her ear. The one he’d whispered in. No one had done that in forever. She couldn’t remember Brodie whispering in her ear. And it was one of her most sensitive areas. Damn. Besides holding hands, she missed being intimate with someone.
I’m intimate with you. And I whisper in your ear all the time, Shayd reminded her.
Again, not quite the same impact since I can’t feel you, she reminded him.
Maybe one day soon, I will do something about that, Shayd said.
Mogotsi returned within seconds. He pulled her up close. She lay against his chest. His breathing steady, but anxious. “Don’t panic,” he said. “But they’re gone.” He took her hand and guided her to the look-out. He found a couple of candles and lit them.
Earlier in the day, Piper had carefully placed candles and matches on an old wooden box so they’d be easy to find once night came. Now most of them lay smashed against the wall or scattered about on the floor.
All the jars of preserved foods Spooky had arranged on a shelf on the upper landing now lay on the floor shattered, leaking fluid, and smelling like grandma’s kitchen.
Mo shook the stairway. It had been rickety before but stable enough. Now it hung untethered from its restraints. Wobbly and dysfunctional. “Someone crashed into the baluster. Or…,” he hesitated. “Was thrown into it.”
There would be no more scoping it out from the upper deck. Whoever had done this wanted to make sure Spooky’s crew would be unable to survive. No look-out. No food.
Mo lifted a candle and inspected the walls. Green Vrag blood spatter covered the circular confines of the look-out. Mixed in with it. Red. Large splotches. “They didn’t go peacefully. Someone put up a hell of a fight.”
“If I had to guess, my bet would be on Hexer.”
A puzzled look on Mo’s face led Spooky to say, “Chick…your Moon Glow. Her father. I call him Hexer Red.” She saw a need to explain further. “He has red eyes. He’s a pain in the butt. A hex. Get it?” Her clarification came out stupider than the name. “He’s a good warrior though.” She ended with a shit-eating grin. So dumb. Just shut-up she told herself.
Shayd chuckled. Should I be jealous?
Yes! she said.
Her vision adjusted to the dim lighting, and she attempted to take a step forward, but a sticky substance clung to her shoe. She knelt to examine. What she thought was spilled liquid from the preserved foods was blood. “Damn.” She stood in the middle of a huge puddle of red. “Look how much. Could they still be alive?”
Mo opened his mouth to answer but no words ensued. Spooky followed his eyes. They focused on Chick brandishing her daggers.
Spooky’s gaze darted between the reunited lovers. Both of their mouths agape. “I believe you two know each other.” She prompted, yet no words developed and no gestures of acknowledgment surfaced. “I’m expecting to see a hug. Some semblance of recognition.” She waited. And waited. Finally, she took the daggers from Chick’s hands and guided her toward Mo. “Chick this is Mo. Remember? Mo this is—.” The two fell into each other’s arms.
Mogotsi held her face in his hands and kissed her passionately on the lips. Then covered her forehead, cheeks, and neck in tiny, loving kisses. Where was this guy when I was young? And available? Spooky questioned. If only…
One day soon, Shayd said.
“I thought I’d never see you again,” Mo said and did another rotation of kisses.
Chick turned away and stared at Spooky. “How?”
“He found me wandering in the jungle—”
“Lost,” Mo teased.
“—I’d gone to investigate some fires we’d seen from the look-out. I left your dad to take care of the kids. We came home to this.”
Chick pivoted back to Mo and traced the outline of his features with her delicate finger tips. “I’ve missed you so much. I never thought—”
And they were back to kissing.
“I hate to break up you love birds, but we have a serious problem.”
Chick disengaged from his embrace. “Our daughter—?”
“I knew it. I knew she had to be ours. She looks just like you,” Mogotsi said.
“You met her? She’s here?” Chick asked.
Mo shook his head. “No one was here when we arrived. I only saw her from a distance. While I was staking out this place. ”
Chick’s face, fearsome and noble, evolved into the embodiment of a mother’s torment. “They’ll kill her! They’ll know she’s ours and kill her.”
“No,” he insisted. “Now that both of you are back in my life, I’m not about to let anything happen to either of you.”
“Nor am I,” said Guy from the darkened doorway. He and Aron had been patiently observing, but the reunion was over and the need for action was imperative. “I’m going after them.”
“Guy, Ransome, and I will track them before we lose their scent. You three try to stay up,” Aron instructed as he shape-shifted into his wolf, and Guy transformed into his snake. The two hurried out the door with Ransome following.
And before Spooky could collect her thoughts, Mogotsi and Chick dove into the black jungle without a thought given to formulating a plan. Some of theirs were in trouble. Their lives depended on them. They had to go. Now. No time could be wasted if they had any hope of rescuing their missing members.
Mogotsi stopped near the look-out and picked up a backpack. He tossed it at Spooky’s feet. “Hang on to this. There’s stuff in there you’ll need if we get separated.”
“What?” she asked. But he and Chick were already forging forward. He must’ve stashed the backpack earlier when he was scouting us out, Spooky figured. With no time to look inside, she quickly looped her arms into the straps, secured it around her waist and chest, then headed in the direction she thought they’d gone.
As hard and as fast as she could, Spooky followed but couldn’t keep up. That’s what the Avenir get for picking an old lady. Her thoughts—mixed with panic and fatigue—raced between her guilt for not being able to keep pace and wondering what was in the backpack that was so fucking important she had to carry it. “Damn this is heavy.” She stopped and flopped on the ground exhausted. Shayd, what do I do? Am I on the right track?
You’re doing exactly what you need to be doing. He told her. Just keep going like you are going. You will end up where you need to be.
End up where I need to be? What the fuck does that mean? Could you, for once, not speak in riddles?
There are no buts about it. I’m lost on a fucking world with fucking monsters. In a fucking jungle. And I can’t see a fucking thing.
Shayd didn’t respond. She knew he hated it when she used the f bomb. But damn she was mad. Mad at herself for her inabilities. Mad at him for…for what? Not being able to take her hand and lead her to her friends? For not giving her the whole story years ago when she could’ve stayed in better shape? Yes. She was mad at him for all it.
The first glint of the approaching day appeared before her like a beacon. How’s that? Shayd asked.
She could now identify a path through the overgrowth Chick had carved. Better, she said. But I’m still mad. Her confidence revived, she jogged forward hoping to regain some of the time she’d lost.
Spooky jogged until her heart raced so fast she tasted blood, and its pounding beat echoed in her ears. She stopped, bent over to catch her breath and placed her hands on her knees. Her right side hurt like hell. “Shit. How much farther?”
The sound of her heavy breathing was overtaken with the shouts of anguish. A child’s cry. A man screaming, “Let her go you, bastard!” It was River and Aron. They were in trouble.
Chick yelled, “Piper. Piper. Fight, sweet girl. With all your might. Fight.”
Spooky heard the slashing of Chick’s battle axe. Piper’s screams. Gun shots. Three. And above it all came the clack, clack, clacking. Oh shit, the Vrag have them. Bestial roars. Many. Blaring mechanical whirring—like nails on a chalkboard to Spooky.
What do I do? Not waiting for an answer, she drew her gun, and ran toward the battle, dropping the backpack somewhere behind. She slid into the covering of a large tubular tree and aimed.
Trubel stood in the middle of three Vrag. He shouted commands and pointed. He held on to a piece of rope that bound Leo’s hands. The boy’s mouth had been tightly gagged—a disturbed, dazed look engulfed his face. Shock. The kid’s in shock, Spooky gasped.
One Vrag had his tentacle around Piper with Guy in another of its deadly limbs. Guy was hissing and striking the air. The Vrag had him so wrapped up it was strangling him. Killing him.
Another Vrag had Chick. Mogotsi was dodging its outreached tentacle while Aron the wolf was attacking the third Vrag, who had captured River and Kappa. Aron’s revolver lay in the dirt.
A growling, vicious Ransome evaded the monster’s relentless appendages, racing in circles around and around the creature until its free arms were in knots. Kappa punched at the Vrag with his fists, giving each punch all he had. But with no results. Hexer lay lifeless on the ground. Blood puddled around his head and grew.
“I want the women alive. Kill the rest,” Trubel commanded the Vrag.
Spooky lunged for Aron’s gun. Grabbed it. She had to make it count. Five bullets in her gun. How many were in Aron’s? She rolled away as a Vrag tentacle came down savagely on the spot she’d just occupied. She fired a shot at the arm of the Vrag that held Guy. Missed. Shot again. Missed. She steadied herself. Fired. This time freeing Guy. He fell limply. She needed him. Guy. Guy. Come on, she prayed quietly.
“Guy,” Piper screamed. “Leo. Leo do something. Help. Please,” she pleaded.
Guy’s snake body began to gyrate and plump out. Within seconds he stood naked in the middle of the battle. His body bruised and bloody. Reminding Spooky of a legend she’d heard about one Colonel Albert H. Pfeiffer, an Indian agent who served under Kit Carson, and who the Ute’s selected to fight a young Navajo brave. He fought the warrior in the nude and won. She found strength in remembering the Colonel’s courage.
The long arm of a Vrag was coming down fast and fiercely on the head of the disorientated Guy. Spooky fired, severing the appendage. Identifying the direction of the shot, Guy staggered toward her.
“Go.” Trubel ordered the Vrag. Clack. Clack. Clacking. Roars. Whirring. And the Vrag lurched into the thick of the jungle with their captives. Piper. Chick. River. Kappa. Trubel towed Leo behind him, tugging and pulling relentlessly, showing his son no mercy.
Spooky jumped to her feet and fired twice. Missing both times. Damn, she should’ve saved her ammo. She dropped back to her knees.
Trubel turned and pointed at her. “Your day is coming, bitch. I will torture you. Your death…slow and painful.”
She aimed Aron’s gun, praying at least one bullet remained, and ordered herself to make it count. She fired at Trubel’s skull.
Episode 42 planned for July 18, 2019
The Web Serial
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.