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: “Oh, shit,” Spooky murmured as her eyes followed wires that led to a miniature shaped replica of the Ingenium homecraft. Inside the mini dome, attached to the other end of the probes, pulsed a brain the size of three large watermelons.
Another set of wires flowed from it in a different direction. To another surgical table. Leo lay on it in the same horrible, humiliating condition as Piper. Nude, bloody, bald, and attached to the Big Brain.
“What the…” Aron didn’t finish. River began to whimper. “Hide your eyes, sweetness,” he said. And she did. He scooted her under the table supporting the computers and pushed her to the very back. “If anything happens to us, you stay hidden here. Okay?” She sniveled but nodded. He brushed lightly at her tears with his fingertips and said, “Good, girl.”
Ransome licked her cheek and crouched beside her. “Stay, boy, and take care of River,” Aron commanded and petted him. River hugged the dog close to her.
“Aron, quick, where Piper is the door is opening.”
Both their mouths gaped as they watched Chick, Mo, and Hexer being forced into the room by a Vrag appendage. Guy managed to slither in unnoticed. Two bots hurried—as much as their artificial limbs allowed—from dark corners and grabbed Hexer and Mo.
Chick rushed to Piper’s side, crying. She buried her face in her daughter’s bare and bloody chest. “How could you?” She lifted her head and addressed a dark figure standing in a remote corner. “She’s your granddaughter.”)
Ternion: Keep Your Enemies Closer
Spooky noticed Aron avoided profanity around River. She admired him for his restraint, but when the dark figure came into the light, she couldn’t control her vocabulary. “Oh fuck! It’s Trubel!” she blurted and hoped River hadn’t heard.
Things began to register for Spooky. “Mogotsi is Trubel’s son. What a fraking monster to do this to children. His children! If I get another chance, I swear I’ll torture him. Sew his bottom lip to his eyelids. Shoot him in both knee caps. String him up by his ears—”
“I’ll be right there with you, Sis. I thought I knew monsters. I met many in my former career, but Trubel is a cut above,” Aron said.
No wonder Leo and Piper had such a strong connection. They shared DNA. If Leo and Piper had been intimate, that meant Leo had sex with his niece. Spooky had heard of worse things, she guessed. At least they did it unknowingly. There had to be some measure of salvation in that. Surely.
Spooky would think about that later. Right now she needed to account for her army’s whereabouts. They all should be there—in the Big Brain room. But… “Where’s Kappa? He isn’t here and he isn’t in there.”
“But he is in there,” Aron assured her. “You can’t see him. You might get a glimpse of him if the light is just right. Did you know he could become invisible?”
“I didn’t remember…” She answered in a far-off tone. She was trying to figure out how to get her army out safely, and what she should do first. Fry all the bots on the assembly line? Or rescue those in the Big Brain room?
She noticed Guy curl his body around a leg of the gurney–out of sight from Trubel and the bots. He placed his large viper head beside Piper’s. His forked tongue glided across her cheek several times as if gently communicating he was there for her. An image Spooky was sure she’d never forget. It was endearing—a beautiful young girl with a snake lying beside her, kissing her.
Chick was the only one who could see him. She moved, placing herself between Trubel and Piper. She was ranting at Trubel, distracting him, while Guy snaked his head around and detached the probes from Piper one at a time.
Trubel appeared aghast with the knowledge that Piper was his granddaughter. He made a quick hand motion at the bot and ordered, “Release my son.” His attention returned to Chick. “My granddaughter? How? When?”
Mogotsi joined Chick, concealing Guy’s actions even more. “Yes, father, if you hadn’t been so heartless. No…” He stalled for time. “Not heartless, though you are. You were so power hungry when the Ingenium invaded with their Vrag. And so hell bent on siding with them, I couldn’t even attempt to tell you I’d chosen a Starling and mated with her. All you wanted was to rule and put my younger brother in control of the Gate Worlds.”
Trubel’s hands fisted. His dark complexion turned gray. Anguish bore into his wrinkles and the deep crevices around his eyes and mouth. For the first time since meeting him, to Spooky, he looked older than Moses.
“What do you mean?” Trubel shouted back. “I wanted this for you. All of this was for you. I wanted my first son to rule Ternion not me. But you betrayed me. Took up with the resistance. What did you expect?”
“I expected you to be decent. Not side with monsters. Be happy I’d found a mate to love and give me children. And you grandchildren.” Mo’s body flushed red from his forehead to his ankles.
“Are you happy now?” Mo demanded. “They have destroyed all our people and Ternion. And instead of fighting against them, you joined them. Now you’re killing my brother. Your son. And your granddaughter. For what? What?” He screamed, again. “There is nothing here for you, or me, to rule but death. The Ingenium will leave Ternion one day soon in search of another world to destroy. Probably, the Gate Worlds. And all they will leave behind for either of us is…nothing. Our beautiful home world will no longer exist, nor will our people.”
Spooky watched Trubel’s reaction to his son’s harsh words. She noted a shift in his demeanor—a calming that follows once a decision has been made. As long as she could remember, she’d always been able to perceive the unspoken thoughts of others. It was off-putting to many. The reason she had so few friends. But now, perhaps, was it an asset? Had she truly detected a change in Trubel?
Yet, Trubel’s next words did not reflect this reversal. “You ungrateful bastard. I hate my children. You are all weak and disloyal,” he said and motioned to his robots and commanded, “Take these two to the Ingenium.”
A bot clamped its metal fingers around Chick’s arm. The other bot released Hexer and grabbed Mo. They hauled the resisting couple out the door with ease.
If Spooky could disable the bots, Chick and Mo would have a chance to escape. Her eyes darted to the keyboard. But instead of letters there were symbols. “Crap! How the—?”
“Well, I’ll be damn. Sis, look,” Aron muttered.
Guy had undone all but one of the probes. While Hexer had managed to crawl under the gurney. A wavy, watery-like image sat upon the mini dome that housed the Big Brain.
“Is that Kappa?” Spooky asked.
“I think so. Wonder what he’s planning?” Aron said.
Hexer slid his dagger along the flat surface of the gurney toward the dome. The watery image pounced from the doom to the dagger and picked it up, then seemed to crouch. The dagger floated in the air like a magic wand.
Trubel had full view of what was now taking place. Yet, he did nothing except survey the scenario before him. No probes on Piper but one. Hexer hiding under the gurney. He went to Leo and removed all but one probe. He seemed to nod at Hexer.
“That couldn’t be, could it? Did I just see what I think I saw?” Spooky asked. She now understood the calm that had replaced Trubel’s anger. He had made a decision.
Trubel turned his back, and began typing on a computer, which nested on a shelf near him. Guy pulled out the last probe from Piper’s head. This one had been embedded in her brain and blood trickled into her ear. Hexer swabbed the blood with his sleeve, covered Piper with his cape, and picked her up in his arms.
Trubel removed the last probe from Leo and picked him up. He nodded at the watery image with the dagger in his hand and Kappa appeared. Hexer and Trubel left the room holding their children.
Spooky and Aron exchanged puzzled looks. “He’s on our side?” Spooky whispered.
Kappa kicked the mini dome off the brain and jabbed the knife into the center of it as the translucent covering shattered into pieces on the floor. The brain oozed a gray pus-like substance and deflated like an inner tube. He leaped to the floor and scurried out the door.
“How about that, Sis.” Aron laughed and slapped her on the back. “Let’s get the hell out of here.”
“First, let me see what I can do about these bots,” Spooky said. “We don’t need them after us too.” She studied the computer the assembly-line bots were tied into. It had symbols like everything else in the homecraft. Her eyes tracked the heavy duty cable, running from the computer. It went up through the ceiling, into the bot coliseum, and then to each AI. “You got a knife?”
“Not one that’s big enough for what you’re thinking. But…” Aron said and pulled out his revolver. “ I have this. You get River and head out.”
Ransome ran to the door and whined. Spooky took River’s hand, unlocked the door, and slightly opened it. A Vrag tentacle reached in for them. Ransome clamped down on it and bit it off, then raced out the door barking. The Vrag shrieked in pain and scrambled after the dog.
“Come on Aron. Hurry,” Spooky shouted. She looked back in time to see him shoot the cable in half. Simultaneously, all the bots fell to the floor, but not before releasing an ungodly screech. They howled and seized like wounded animals, and tried to stand but collapsed. Heads spun around and around. Legs jerked with perpetual momentum trying to stand, but with no success.
Spooky had once been deep sea fishing with Brodie and seen the captain haul up a net full of fish. The bots flopped around on the floor just like those fish, Spooky chuckled to herself and gave Aron a high five.
Aron lifted River onto his back. “Where’s Ransome?”
“Getting the Vrag off our asses. Go. I’ll follow. He’ll find us.” Spooky prayed the dog would be okay.
They ran down the hall at a pace Spooky hadn’t attempted since her high school track days. They peeked around the next corner. It looked sterile, dark, and uninviting. The natural light didn’t make it this far into the homecraft. But it was clear of Vrag and bots.
They waited a few minutes and peeked again. At the end of the hallway, Ransome shot by with the Vrag close on his tail. Aron pulled his revolver and took off. River pounced on his back like a kid on a pony.
If she’d been stronger, Spooky would have relieved Aron of River. As it was, she was having a hard enough time keeping up. Aron waited midway for her, shoved her into an indention around a door, and handed her River. “Stay here. I’ll try to help Ransome.”
That dog was everything to her brother. Spooky knew this. But…
Rapid gunfire, a pained yelp from Ransome, and Aron yelled, “Let go of him you ass wipe.” Then Aron screamed. Terror escalated the wail to a level only heard in horror movies.
Spooky heard her brother struggling, gasping for air. She heard a loud crash, like glass shattering, and went running with River flopping in her arms.
Spooky the child. Think of the child. Shayd entered her thoughts.
But…she retaliated but stopped. But he’s my brother.
The child. Spooky think. Shayd demanded
Spooky looked into the eyes of the girl. She saw and sensed River’s fear. “It’s okay. I’ve got you.” How could she make that promise? She barely had a grip on herself let alone someone else.
She eased into another doorway indention and started to shake, uncontrollably. Tears formed she couldn’t dispel. She was headed for a meltdown right there in the middle of an alien spacecraft.
She’d only ever had one other meltdown. That was when Dovie lost the baby. She’d been strong all the way through Dovie’s recovery in the hospital.
But when she finally returned home, she flew into a fit of shakes and endless sobs. Brodie had to rush her to the ER. They gave her a sedative and kept her overnight. The next day they handed Brodie a prescription for Zoloft. He filled it. But she never took any, only pretended to.
This felt like that time. Helpless to bring back to life her daughter’s lost child. Helpless to ease Dovie’s pain. Helpless to move her and her family forward. Mother’s were supposed to fix everything. Put a bandaid on it, kiss it, and make it all better. But this time, she couldn’t. She had managed, however, to get herself together that time. She damn sure better this time.
River reached up and touched her cheek. “My wolf?” she asked. Spooky shook her head and shrugged, allowing the tears to form freely and trail down her cheeks.
The child continued to caress her face starting with her cheeks, then her forehead around to the other cheek. To the back of her neck, where River’s tiny hand lingered.
Spooky’s body responded to River’s touch. First, the shakes ended. Then the tears ceased. She felt a quiet, soothing sensation swell through her body. She kissed the child’s forehead. “Thank you. We’re okay now.”
Nothing could be heard except for her and River’s breathing. She tried not to think about Aron and the fact he hadn’t returned for them, and because he hadn’t, he was dead.
Trying to keep from concentrating on death, his death, she stepped back into the hallway, tiptoed down it, and peered around the corner.
Splatters of blood glistened back at her from a fractured windowpane of the translucent dome cover. It looked as if the Vrag had thrown Aron, or Ransome, against the pane.
Spooky bit into her bottom lip and fell back against the wall, hoping it would provide some stability and keep her from passing out. She slid down to the floor and sat, clutching the child close to her chest. Believing—in her now unraveling mental state—if she held on tightly enough, she could keep River safe, just by holding on.
Her body shuddered. Her circulating blood screamed in her ears like a banshee. She could not lose it again. She would not, she ordered herself. But what of Aron? Had the Vrag eaten him? She would never know. There would be no remains for her to mourn. To bury.
He hadn’t had time to shift. He was holding River. If only she’d been stronger, she could have freed him of her sooner so he could’ve shifted into his wolf with two front paws, fangs, and strength. Instead, her weakness left him to fight an indestructible monster with one hand and a gun.
She didn’t tell him she loved him. Or that she was glad he’d found her. She thought there would be time.
Spooky was unable to keep her mind from going to that place. Death. It still remained a mystery despite all Earth’s advancement. And she thought: we fool ourselves into thinking there’s always more time. More time to love. To play in the ocean. To dive into cool lake water on a hot summer’s day. To climb a mountain one last time. To gaze at all the stars in the night sky. To revel in a field of wildflowers and feel the sun on our face. To live another day. That is how we deal with death. Believing we have more time. That is why God made suicide a sin. We aren’t supposed to know the time of our death. We are to go on living, believing there is always more time. Always.
To continue reading Hell Town RV Park, click on Episode 48 below.
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Apology from the Author
So sorry for the lateness of my blog. I visited the Grand Tetons last week for the first time and was blown away. And even though my blog was ready to post, there was no WiFi availability.
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.