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: 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. )
Ternion World: Bat-out-of-Hell
Trubel’s entire body shuddered. He grabbed his gut. “Close. So close,” she murmured. She pulled back the hammer again. “This time, you bastard!”
Guy’s arm struck Spooky’s shoulder firmly and knocked the gun from her hand. “You can’t,” he screamed at her.
“What the f—?”
“Trubel ordered the Vrag to murder them if he was killed. You can’t shoot him or Piper, her mom, and the children will be slaughtered.”
Even with his distinct snake-like facial features, Spooky could see pain overtake his expression as if losing Piper, and the others, would propel him to some dark place from which he’d never escape.
Spooky picked up her gun. “Sorry I couldn’t free them. Maybe if I hadn’t been so slow, or hadn’t missed, I could’ve saved everyone.”
“And you might have gotten yourself captured and not rescued any of us,” said Aron. “You coming up from behind caught them off guard. They didn’t expect it.”
See I told you. You were exactly where you needed to be. No riddle, Shayd confirmed.
“I thought I was a better shot than that,” Spooky said. She spun out the cylinder. One bullet left. She would’ve killed the son-of-a-bitch this time. She’d bet her life on it…but maybe not the other’s.
Falling trees in the distance, and the Vrag’s fading roars revealed Trubel—and part of her crew—were far ahead, hacking out a path of destruction to their chamber of horrors.
“Come on,” Mogotsi said, “they’ll be easy to follow.”
“Wait.” Spooky rested Hexer’s head in her lap and inspected the wound. She tore the largest pocket from her cargo pants and applied it to the gaping hole in his forehead. “It’s bad. We can’t leave him.” She examined the faces of her remaining crew. Aron. Guy. Mogotsi. Ransome. None of whom made eye contact. “We can’t leave him to die. Mogotsi?” He turned his back to her. “Chick would never forgive you if you let her father die.”
His shoulders raised as he took in a deep breath and released it in a huff. “There’s nothing left for us back at the lookout. And the time it will take us to build a travois to pull him will put us at a big disadvantage.”
Tell them to go, Shayd said. I’ve got your back.
“You three go. Save them. I’ll take care of Hexer. We’ll follow as soon as we can.”
Mogotsi was brushing bushes and overgrowth aside, searching. “Where’s the backpack I gave you?”
Spooky shook her head. “I’m not sure…”
“Ransome, find it,” Aron instructed. Ransome sniffed Mogotsi, then Spooky, and darted in the direction from which she’d come. He returned with his tail wagging. Backpack fetched, he dropped it at Mogotsi’s feet and ran to Aron.
“Good boy.” Aron scratched under the dog’s chin and patted his chest. “Good boy.”
Spooky expected Mo to don his backpack and head out after Chick and his daughter. Instead, he knelt and rummaged through it.
He removed a necklace and put it around his neck. He kissed it. Even from where she sat with Hexer, she could see an indigo stone reflecting in the sun. It was encased in silver and hung from a black leather cord. “Chick gave me this to remember her and our daughter. I don’t go anywhere without it. It reminds me of her eyes.” Next he unstrapped an outer pack and slung it over his shoulder.
Mogotsi placed the main part of his pack beside Spooky. “There’s some first aid stuff you’ll need in there—bandages and such. Water and some ammo.” He reached in, pulled out a box of shells, and handed it to Aron.
“But…don’t you carry a gun?” Aron asked.
“No. When I saw part of Moon’s army had guns, I stole some hollow points from the enemy’s cache. Figured you’d need some. The Ingenium forced us to surrender all our firearms and ammo when they landed on Ternion. Said we wouldn’t need them. Said they were here to protect us.
“Our world was being ravaged by the Vrag at the time of their arrival. We were desperate and believed the Ingenium were here to save us. But what they wanted was to control us and render us defenseless. They hid and stockpiled our guns and ammo, but I found it. And a way in.”
Aron tugged on his shaggy beard. “Why didn’t you steal a couple of guns while you were at it?”
“I was never trained. Not sure how to use one. I’ve become quite proficient with this.” He unstrapped something from his remaining pack. It was small. No larger than a lady’s evening clutch bag. He pushed a button in its middle. Zip. Zap. And the most impressive weapon Spooky had ever seen appeared. It resembled a compound bow but massive and intimidating. He pulled a quiver of deadly-looking arrows from the large side-pocket. They too were imposing. Larger than typical in size with extra sharp blade-like heads.
“How good is that at defeating the Vrag?” Aron asked.
“If my aim is good, and I hit its heart between the metal teeth, it’ll die.”
“Some fancy shooting, for sure,” said Aron.
“The resistance also found that if we shoot an arrow into the opening on either side of a Vrag’s head—what looks like an ear—it cripples the Ingenium control chip. It doesn’t kill the Vrag, but they become confused and retreat. Often it gave us time to re-group and try for the heart.”
“So the only way to kill a Vrag is a shot to the heart or Guy’s deadly venom?” Aron asked.
“Why don’t we just let them gulp us up and stab or shoot the heart while we’re in its mouth?”
“They secrete their killing acid the instant their mouths open. You wouldn’t have a chance,” Guy said. “And standing around talking about it is not going to save Piper, her mom, and the Mist children.
“Maybe if we’d talked about it before you all went head first in after them, we could’ve come up with a plan, saved everyone, and killed Trubel,” Spooky said.
“And what would be your plan now?” Mo asked.
Spooky thought a minute and then asked, “Mo, Trubel said he didn’t want the women dead. Why?”
“Most of the Ternion women were killed. They weren’t trained like Moon to be warriors. And the ones who survived are barren like all Times Three women are…at this time…on our world. The Ingenium allowed the remaining to live because there was no chance of them reproducing.
“I’m sure Trubel thinks Piper and her mom would be prime commodities once he rules Ternion. He could make a lot of money if he sold them to a Times Three who wanted children. Especially since Moon is a Starling and Piper has Starling blood. As you may know, there’s a strong attraction between Times Threes and Starlings.”
“What about Kappa and River?”
Guy released a heavy sigh. “He’ll place them into slavery and use them as entertainment or worse…conduct experiments on them.”
She lifted the makeshift bandage from Hexer’s wound and evaluated it. She pulled a flask from the backpack, soaked the rag with water, and wiped the dry blood from his forehead. He moaned. “Looks as if the bleeding has stopped, but we can’t waste anymore time waiting for him to wake up. I’ll remain here with Hexer and as soon as I can, I’ll follow.
“You three scout it out. Find the easiest and safest way into the Ingenium mainframe. Once you’ve done that, try to at least free Piper. She’s computer savvy and can hack into the mainframe and install a virus to incapacitate the Vrag.” She surveyed her crew.
They all nodded. “Sounds like a plan,” Aron said.
Alone, Spooky heard the condor cawing in melodic calmness, the whispering of water-laden leaves in the slightest of breezes, and Hexer’s strained efforts to breathe. “Hexer. Hexer. You need to wake up. Come on.” She listened for a response, but heard only the songs of her surroundings.
Find the vine of the Star Cress and the yellow flowers of the Eye of Night. Like Chick showed you, Shayd coached.
She gently laid Hexer’s head on the ground and searched among the foliage for the medicinal plants. I think I can remember what they look like. She returned to Hexer with a vine and two flowers.
Several large ants were at work on Hexer’s forehead. She brushed them off, hoping they’d left stitches like she’d seen in the movies, but no such luck. Merely some red bumps where they’d bitten him. Remembering the technique Chick had used, Spooky crushed and pulsed the vine and flowers together until they formed a balm.
In the backpack, she found what resembled the butterfly tape the doctor used on her once when she needed stitches. After generously applying the salve, she pressed the wound together and held it in place with the bandages. “There we go, Hexer, if I did this right, you might feel better soon.” At least, I hope to hell you do.
She placed the skinniest part of the backpack under Hexer’s head and lay down beside him. “I’ll just rest my eyes a minute. Must’ve been more tired than I thought.”
When Spooky woke, it’d been more than a minute. Hexer towered above her looking down. “Hey, Old Shoes, it’s about time you woke up. Where is everyone? Did they just leave us behind? Can you speak? Are you injured?”
She stretched, feeling aches in places she never knew she had. “You were hurt. Bleeding like hell. I told Mogotsi, Aron, and Guy to go after—”
“The father of your granddaughter.”
Hexer took a step back, like someone had belted him in the stomach with a sledge hammer. He rocked forward, then back. Spooky popped up and grabbed him by the tightly woven sash around his waist. “Whoa, buddy. Better sit for a moment.” He obeyed.
She waited to make sure he wasn’t going to topple over, and then explained. “Those fires I went to investigate were started by him. He was trying to reach Chick.”
“A son. A son by union but still a son,” he said in a wishful pause.
Spooky guessed when Starlings married, the intended became the same as a son or daughter, rather than an in-law. “Yes. A son. I guess you could say. One you’d be proud of too. He left this backpack with supplies in it so I could care for you.”
“You cared for me?” he asked almost startled. “Why?”
“You’d have done the same for me.”
He nodded. “Perhaps, Old Shoes.” He seemed to go distant and Spooky worried she might lose him again. After a few tense moments, finally he asked what Spooky knew he already had the answer to, “The Vrag have my daughter and granddaughter, don’t they?”
She nodded. “By orders of none other than Trubel.”
“Then what are we waiting on? Let’s go rescue them.” And he was up and off, and Spooky had first hand knowledge of what a bat-out-of-hell looked like—Hexer’s black cap flapping behind him as he winged his way through the jungle.
For an old guy—who’d almost had his brains bashed in— Spooky decided Hexer was pretty adept maneuvering the jungle and tracking Trubel.
He knelt a couple of times. The last time, he skimmed something from a tree branch, pulled a vile from his cape, and released a dropper full of liquid onto it. “Did you wound Trubel?”
“It was hard to tell. I may have. Why?”
“I just tested the blood I found. It doesn’t belong to any of ours. If it had been my daughter’s or her child’s, it would have turned blue.”
“The Mist Children, maybe?”
“No. Had it been theirs, the identity serum would have given me a totally different reading. A grayish-orange reaction would have been displayed.”
“Well good. Maybe I did hit the bastard, and we’ll run across his body—”
Hexer was already flying through the jungle again before Spooky could finish her sentence. She found it hard to keep up with his pace…and his mind. But she had to.
“Come on, Old Shoes,” he yelled back at her. “We’ll never catch them at this pace.”
Episode 43 planned for August 2, 2019— a little off schedule, but I will be without WiFi for a couple of weeks. Please forgive and stay tuned.
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.