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: Leo was only seconds behind Piper, but could not, as hard as he tried, detect her presence. The Shimmer vomited him out onto a ledge overlooking an arid valley. Rock outcroppings, above, right, and left formed a natural arch. He touched the curved structure, then plunged his hand into the opening, but quickly withdrew it when a tingly feeling caused the hair on his arm to prickle, sending an electrical shock throughout his body. “Holy shit, what is it?”
He eyed the half-moon over his left shoulder and then the full moon through the aperture. This was not Central Texas, but where was it? he wondered. Two moons. An archway. The Shimmer had transported him—and Piper—to a portal to another dimension. Had it done this before with Piper? If not, was she frightened?
During his Times Three education, Leo had been taught about the other dimensions of Earth. Never had he encountered one though. Locations of the portals were to be conveyed to him when he became ruler. So this was one. How enlightening, he mused and prided himself on being a step ahead of other Earthbound Times Threes.
But where was Piper? He had to find her. Did she go through the opening? Should he? Faint, but detectable, a giggle echoed from within the arch. Piper is in there, he thought, and leaped.)
Stranger Earths: Piper’s Journey
The Shimmer swallowed Piper in billowy softness and carried her gently, but urgently, to where the outcroppings formed a natural arch on her Earth. “There. Go through there.” It instructed.
“But…” Piper hesitated. “Aren’t you coming with me?”
“I cannot,” it whispered. “But beyond. There. Answers. Mur, mur.”
More than wanting to know why her Shimmer couldn’t come, Piper needed information. She leaned into the opening of the arch and shivered. Blackness yawned before her like a gaping abyss. “Shimmer, I’m scared.” She perched on the ledge of the arch—the ledge that left her Earth and entered another. “Really scared.” She held her breath. The Shimmer nudged her forward and she toppled. Down. Down. Down. She screamed as if in a falling-dream, hoping to wake. “Shimmer, help!”
But before crashing to her ultimate demise, as Piper expected, a dove-like stream of warm, westerly wind caught her in its arms and lifted her higher and higher. She’d once tubed down a river with her mom. It felt like that to Piper and she giggled. Giggled because she didn’t know what else to do. She was confident her Shimmer would let no harm come to her. Giggled because she’d been so frightened and now she was in heaven, she was sure, and wondered why she’d been scared.
She was floating. But not on a river. And not in a tube. But in a night bound in distant stars and glistening remains of fallen ones.
All the aromatic fragrances of Earth greeted her as she floated. She smelled pine trees in the rain, bluebonnets in spring, new roses mixed with freshly cut grass in the heat of summer. And autumn. She could smell autumn. Was there such as thing as the ability to smell the leaves as they turned from their glassy greens to dusty oranges and yellows? Her wish was to bottle all these aromas into tiny vials so she might experience each scent whenever she wanted.
Suddenly, the wind shifted her from a horizontal position to upright and placed her on the other side of the arch. It was in every way a replica of the arch she’d just fallen through, but the moons were in different positions. And different locations. She was someplace else. No longer on the Earth she’d been born into but another…another what? She didn’t know. I should’ve gotten more information from my Shimmer, she thought. She blamed herself for not asking additional questions, and for being so trusting.
Inches from her toes lay a woman. An older woman. Attractive now, and probably much sought after in her youth. Piper giggled. What was this woman doing at her feet? Aw, yes. This was the same woman she’d seen the night Shimmer showed her the creatures—the angels. Or maybe demons. Should she be afraid?
Stranger Earths: Spooky’s Earth
“Are you real?” Spooky repeated and touched the girl’s arm.
“Yes, I’m real. Are you?” Piper asked. “And why are you on the ground?”
Spooky studied the girl’s tattoo, which snaked out from beneath the sleeve of her t-shirt, and began spreading its vines.
“Whoa,” Piper croaked. “It’s growing. It’s never done that right in front of my eyes before. So quickly.” Piper scratched at the stinging sensation the growth initiated. The two watched the vines spread to Piper’s wrist, and then map its way across her hand and around her ring finger in a divinely intricate design.
Spooky touched the tat. She recognized it. It was identical to Chick’s. “Shayd, what’s going on? What happened?”
This is Piper. The girl with the Times Three Shimmer, Shayd replied, but only Spooky heard. Talk to her, he coached. Make her feel at ease.
“Why does she have a tattoo like Chick’s?”
“Who are you talking to?” Piper asked. “Who are you? Are you an angel?”
Spooky reached out for Shayd in her thoughts. Am I still on my Earth? she asked.
Yes, he answered. Piper must have been coming through the portal at the exact minute you got close. The reason for all the turbulence we experienced. Talk to her. Gain her confidence. Say something. She’s looking at you.
Spooky stood. “Angel?” She laughed. “Far from it.”
Way to gain her confidence, Shayd said. You could’ve just said you were human. Or go with the whole angel thing. Maybe, she’d give her Shimmer to an angel. Try that approach.
Shut up. I got this. Spooky extended her hand. “I’m just a human named Rumer. Except my friends call me Spooky.”
Wrong thing to say, dummy.
Piper stepped back. “Spooky? Why?”
“Sorry. Spooky is nothing bad. I’m just a little weird. My husband nicknamed me that.” She paused to steer the conversation in a different direction. “I have a daughter. Dovie. Angelic name, don’t you think? And you’re Piper, right?”
Another step back. “How do you know my name?”
“I was on my way through this archway to find you.”
“You are in possession of something that is important for me to locate. A Shimmer. Does it call itself a Shimmer on your Earth?”
Piper grimaced. “How do you know about my Shimmer?”
“Because I have one too. Or rather, I know where another one is. It’s not far from here. Wanna see?”
“No. I’m not going anywhere with you.” Piper attempted to place her foot on the arch’s ledge in an effort to retrace her way back home. But before she could make her escape, the portal winds coughed up Leo, launched him through the archway to the ground, and on to his butt. Not a soft landing like Piper’s. “Leo? What—?”
“I…I…was worried about you.” Leo stared at Piper. Glanced toward Spooky. Then back at Piper. He felt the muzzle of a gun in the hollow of his neck.
“Get up, kid, and head back home. You got no business here,” Aron said.
Like a flash, Leo was on his feet, knocking the gun aside. “I don’t know who in the hell you are, but I’m here to protect my girlfriend. I have every right to be…” He surveyed his surroundings. “…wherever the hell this is. Now, put your gun away and try not to be so trigger happy.”
Ransome squatted at Leo’s feet and snarled up at him. Leo backed away and felt for his knife.
Aron aimed his gun again. “Take your hand out of your pocket, kid. Slowly. Very slowly. Or I’ll shoot it off.”
Leo raised his hands above his head. “Okay. Okay. There’s no need for this. Just let me get my girl and we’ll get out of here.”
Shayd, who is this kid who came looking for Piper?
That’s Leo. Her Times Three lover.
Is he good or bad?
He could go either way. Unsure.
Spooky approached the young man and studied him up and down. And up and down. Like a parent sizing up their daughter’s first date. “So you’re Leo. Piper’s Times Three lover, huh?”
“What?” asked Piper, eyeing Leo then Spooky.
“What?” said Leo. “How do you know my name and that I’m a Times Three?”
Piper’s mouth opened, but no words followed. An uncomfortable silence remained until she was able to ask, “What’s a Times Three?” She looked to Spooky for the answer.
Shayd, what do I say.
Tell her he is an alien species from another world, and he and his kind are invading her Earth.
Just say it.
Spooky pressed her fingers into her eye sockets to release some tension. “Actually, Piper, your boyfriend is an alien species from another world.”
Not exactly what I told you to say but…okay.
Piper mouthed words but bystanders heard nothing. She looked from Leo, to Ransome, to Aron, and to Spooky. And then repeated the action. Finally, her eyes focused on Spooky, “You people are nutso. Alien species. Ha. That’s the best you can do? I’ve been sleeping with this guy. I’d know. Come on Leo, let’s get away from these crazies.”
Dry sage rustled behind Piper, she crouched in a defensive stance, and pivoted to find Chick and her crew of strangeness approaching. She recognized immediately it was the woman she’d called an angel. Her silver hair matched her silver eyes. And the woman’s indigo tattoos matched hers. She touched Chick’s cheek, outlining the tat with her fingertips. “You’re beautiful,” Piper murmured.
Chick looked into Piper’s eyes. A sparkle, clear as a raindrop, and warmth radiated from the warrior’s eyes. She cupped Piper’s cheek in the palm of her hand. “So are you, my daughter. I’ve waited patiently for the day I might come face to face with you. And lived every minute longing to hold you in my arms, but knowing I might never. Wondering who you would favor. Me or your father.”
To continue following Spooky and her adventures in Hell Town, click on the link below.
(NOTE: Please forgive the delayed post. I underwent emergency abdominal surgery after the New Year and am finding it a struggle to get back on my feet. Hopefully, I am on the mend now, and will be finishing up Spooky’s journey before summer. Then we will be on to my newest web serial: White Owl Dancing. Thank you for your concern and support.)
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 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.