Hell Town RV Park
Where one man’s trash is another man.
From The RV Files by Clara Bush
Artwork by Lara Clayton
Episode 13, Chapter 1
(for Episode 1 click here )
(Rated Mature for Adult content)
(Previously on Hell Town: The answer came instantaneously and vocally. “The Navajos call them skinwalkers,” said Shayd. He stepped out of the shadows.
Spooky couldn’t believe her eyes. All the ways she’d envisioned Shayd, never had she imagined him so…so…)
…so imperfect. Lord Byron-ish but rugged, with shoulder-length brown hair, prominent cheekbones, broad shoulders, and a beard.
Imperfection came in his eyes, which were neither blue nor brown but an uncanny azure. And his left eye featured a perpetual squint. Nonetheless, Shayd typified what Spooky found attractive in a man. “How can I see you? And how did you get here?”
Who you call Shayd is not here. He is a projection we gathered from your mind and fashioned for you. He is who has been with you since you were a child. Your guardian traveled from our world to yours before The Shimmers were stolen. He cannot return. The Avenir answered.
“Shayd is not a ghost?”
No. He is an Avenir.
She tried to make sense of the Avenir’s words, but the night’s revelations uprooted every conviction she once believed. “What do Avenirs look like?”
Even if he was only a projection from her mind, she’d remember this image of Shayd for the rest of her life. “I’ll assume you’re ugly. Otherwise, you’d show yourself. What? Are you purple and have only one eye?”
Why can’t Shayd return?
He made a choice. The choice was you.
She was understanding if she asked something irrelevant to the Avenir mission, the answer was less than satisfactory. Best she stick to fact and keep dubious philosophies for another time, she figured. “Is my brother an Avenir?”
“Are Chetan and Singer Avenir?”
“This motley crew is my—”
“You expect the Vrag to be thwarted by an old lady, a skinwalker, a dog, a mind bender, a Rooi, a couple of ghosts, two kids, a girl, and her father?”
Your army is Gate World’s best chance. Our time is up. We will keep in touch.
“Keep in touch? What in the hell does that mean? Keep in touch? I don’t like the sound of that.”
“I need—” The Avenir entity placed Creeper on her face. To shut her up, she was sure. Not nearly as scary this time, she thought. But then she heard the icky, sticky sound. The gooey parting of its stomach. She felt the pulsating engulfment of her face. The drowning. And she recalled the terror Creeper instilled in her during their first encounter. Her breathing became rapid. Her blood hammered the walls of her heart for release, and at the moment she believed she might suffocate, all went black.
Spooky woke. Patted what lie beneath her. Not a cold, hard, steel-like surface, but bedding. She was in her bed. In her motorhome. And, most unfortunately, still in Hell Town.
Too bad she didn’t do drugs anymore, she thought. She would have blamed last night on a bad trip. What the fuck happened to me? Her bangs were damp and plastered to her forehead. She brushed them aside and massaged her temples between her thumb and middle finger. She ran her fingers across her closed eyes to release some of the tension from last night’s bizarre encounter. Was it a dream?
Sun slivers snuck their way in through the privacy shade on the window next to her side of the bed. She listened for Brodie, smelled his aftershave, and knew he’d already left for the coffee shop/gas station. Great, she wouldn’t have to explain why she’d slept in so late.
She smelled musky, like Creeper, and darted in and out of the shower, making sure to wash away last night’s adventure with lavender soap and plenty of hot water.
Armed with a toasted English muffin and a cuppa Earl Grey, Spooky confronted her task. She flipped opened her computer and let her fingers roam across the keyboard. How do I say it? How do I explain things most people never imagined? Her hands rested and lingered. Then with no more than those thoughts, her fingers effortlessly pressed key after key, unaware.
Some time ago, I surrendered to the belief my life is not my own. It belongs to invisible players who ambush me at every move. Each time I convince myself to embrace a path of normality, the unseeable participants counter. I’m left cleaning up messes. Lying. And burying myself deeper and deeper inside. Me.
This time is no different. I wanted to be normal for Dovie and the baby. Even for Brodie. “Not in the cards, love,” my ethereal opponents scream.
I guess I could exsanguinate my strange life by entrusting it to alcohol and drugs. Again. But in the past, they never offered any true relief. The deadly duo resulted in Brodie’s and Dovie’s further estrangement from me.
Once, when Dovie was a baby, a bothersome newly departed refused to pass on. He taunted me day and night, until one afternoon, while Dovie napped, I crashed with a bottle of Jameson. Brodie came home to find me drunk, and Dovie screaming in her crib. When I tried to explain about the spirit, Brodie left with Dovie and they spent several nights in a local motel. Away from me.
And I didn’t learn my lesson. That was the first of several unmotherly-like episodes…
Spooky’s fingers stalled as she relived the horrors—and the shame—of her life as a druggie and alcoholic. Tears dotted her now inanimate hands.
After several Jameson incidents, Brodie insisted she see a psychiatrist. The doctor wasn’t great in the counseling department, but loved to prescribe Fentanyl for her migraines and Prozac for the depression he convinced her she had.
Heavy doses of the cocktail quieted the restless spirits, but only quieted, never vanquished. Shayd was the one who helped her kick the bad habits, but she had to lie and tell everyone she went cold turkey. To say her invisible lover assisted in her redemption would have been a death sentence.
The time she mentioned Shayd to her psychiatrist, he pulled out his prescription pad and wrote an order for Risperdal. When she walked out of his office, the wind snatched the prescription from her fist and issued the warning, do not take. Chetan or Singer, she guessed. She vowed that day to never touch alcohol or drugs again. Unless, she wanted to die.
Faced with what she’d experienced last night, she reminded herself how the drugs and alcohol made her feel. They eased everything. Made what she thought she was—haunted, crazy, and disturbed—bearable. Her dosed mental state convinced her everyone else was a bit mad, not just her.
In the end, however, she knew differently. She knew no one saw what she saw. Experienced what she experienced. Or felt what she felt. She saw no real value, for her, in the drugs and alcohol. It would all still be there whenever she came down off the meds. Plus, her behavior was responsible for making her husband and daughter miserable. She’d never do that again.
And now, she had her grandchild to consider. What would be best for him? If what she saw last night was real… If the Vrags were coming to destroy Earth, and she had an army—as unlikely as they were—at her disposal, was it not her duty to try. At least try, to keep those she loved safe?
Not at any time in her life had Spooky imagined herself a soldier, not even in her youth. It was true the new fifty was forty and so on, but she couldn’t even improv coordination. Her high school coaches discovered her lack of athletic ability her freshman year and banned her from sports, even tennis. She could neither run nor throw or catch a ball. And she found being a team manager disturbing, due to all the dearly departed high school jocks who still fancied themselves a viable part of the team even though their mates had long since graduated and moved on. She had difficulty keeping score when she saw two different teams playing at the same time—the quick and the dead.
How did the Avenir think she was remotely capable of leading an army? And not even a real army with training, weapons, and military stuff? She wanted to say thanks but no thanks.
She sat. Cuppa in one hand. The other rested on the keyboard. A minute passed. Then two. Five. Twenty. An hour or more. She put her cup to her lips. Cold. How long have I been thinking?
She felt the keys move beneath her fingers. Under the last line she’d typed was written: Keeping in touch. Meet your army tonight by the moonlight. —Your Avenir.
“It’s not time for a moon. Shayd, is that you? And if it is, where have you been?”
“It’s me, my love. I wanted to give you some time this morning to sort through things.”
“I saw you last night and, to my surprise, you’re not perfect, you know.”
“Never said I was.”
“In my mind you were.”
“But you like what you saw.”
“Maybe.” She smiled for a second, remembering his eyes and wishing she could see them again. Then she frowned. “Why didn’t you tell me you weren’t a ghost?”
“It was easier for you to believe I was, instead of trying to explain I was from another world.”
She raised the shade covering the big window over the dining booth and surveyed Hell Town. It looked deserted. Lifeless. Except for two tumbleweeds that scurried across the dirt road like rats. She searched the distant mesquite thicket for life and saw only hazy dust thermals.
Spooky guessed her army was hiding until dark. Or maybe, some of them could only come out at night. Which brought up numerous questions. Could they only fight at night? Would the battle take place on Earth or one of the other worlds? Did her army have abilities? She knew Guy was a mind bender and Chick, a timekeeper. But did her army have real weapons? And, most importantly, did they know about her? That she was part of their mission and not a spring chicken. Not even a spry old bird.
Which brought up the question that haunted her the most. How in the hell was she going to do this? She’d get devoured by a Vrag and never get to see her grandson. But if she didn’t accept the mission, her grandson might not get a chance to live.
She’d always been one to help others, but how in the hell…? Could this all just be a dream? Is her entire life a delusion of her broken brain? The word “NO” appeared in large bold letters across her laptop screen.
“Short answer. Must be the Avenir,” she muttered and slammed her laptop shut.
To follow the Hell Town Web Serial, click on the links below.
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 their fan base.
Hell Town offers episodes of 1,000 to 2,000 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.
Through it all, she has quietly honed her passions for art. “The starving artist is only a half joke,” she says. “When I had my first son, I surprised myself by finding my niche as a preschool teacher.” A career choice she has embraced for the past five years. “My experience as a bartender—dealing with the drinkers—was a great prerequisite for teaching small children,” she says and giggles.
For several years, Lara put her artwork aside to teach and delve headfirst into the chaotic life of caring for a houseful of boys. “Before children, my artwork had always been calm. Abstracts and nature were relaxing,” she says. “But my older son’s love of monsters and all things grotesque, along with my muse of a husband, have led me to a new path. I now begin a different journey, creating monsters and other worlds for writers. I’m excited to bring to life some of the creepy characters and creatures of Hell Town. Please, let me know what you think by leaving a comment.”
(Note: Lara is a new addition to the Hell Town RV Park Web Serial family. She is a former drama and English student of mine, and is on her way to accomplishing her dream of becoming a freelance artist. The illustrations are the original artwork of Lara and are created specifically for Hell Town.
She graciously drew several covers for Hell Town. Let us know which is your favorite by posting a comment. We both would love your feedback. And if you are looking for an artist, Lara is available.)
The RV Files is fiction. Any characters and events depicted in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, extraterrestrials, demons, werewolves, or ghosts—living or dead—is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Copyright ©: 2017 by Clara Bush
All rights reserved. Published by TURTLE TOP COVE LP.
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TURTLE TOP COVE LP.
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South Fork, Colorado 81154
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