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 said to Piper, “Yes! Yes. Now you see. Once I return the Ternion Shimmer, I will rule Gate World with you by my side.” Leo nodded toward Hexer. “He might offer you royal bloodlines in a dying world. I will give you the power of an empress.”
Piper placed the back of her hand to her forehead in pretense of a swoon. “Ah. Ah. I feel so lightheaded.” When Aron moved to catch her, she shoved him aside and grabbed Leo’s hand. She tumbled backward into the opening of the portal, dragging Leo with her as she went.
Gate World’s army gathered around the arch and stared into the unknown. “Ummm,” Spooky moaned, “that went well, don’t you think?” But no one thought it funny.)
Stranger Earths: On Gate World Omega
The decision making framework in each member of the group was untangling the options. Do we follow? Or, do we devise a Plan B? Spooky understood this was their big chance to convince Piper they were the good guys. And that chance had slipped away as strategically and as cunningly as rain on scorched earth.
“Now, what?” Aron asked. “We should have known an army of freaks didn’t stand a chance against the temptations of young love.”
And, as if the young love cliché triggered a choice, Chick dove head first into the arch. Hexer followed. Guy grabbed River and Creeper and leaped, with Kappa close behind.
Spooky eyed Aron. He eyed her, shrugged, and said, “What the hell.” He bailed into the portal with his hands on the barrels of his sharpshooters and his knees to his chest like he was doing a cannonball off a diving board.
Spooky’s options quickly narrowed—dive or run—and the loss of any clear logic left her fearful of a wrong choice. “Shayd, what do I do?” she asked in desperation.
“Shayd is no longer here. He followed Aron,” Chetan whispered.
“Follow,” Singer hummed.
“Are you coming?” Spooky asked.
“We cannot,” Singer chimed. “We are tethered to this Earth.”
Spooky felt for her gun. “Damn.” She’d left it in the RV. “So much for always being prepared.” She’d have never made it as a boy scout—always in a state of readiness in thought and body—not her, ever. A fact she’d known all her life and was okay with. Except for now. If I go back to get my gun, Brodie will ask all kinds of questions. I’ll never get away. And I’ll never catch up to Chick, Aron, and the others. But without my gun… With her thoughts jumbled and conflicted, she proceeded as she normally did—she leaped. But not before yelling to Chetan and Singer, “Throw me my gun.”
Once before, Chetan and Singer had been able to retrieve her gun. On a hellish afternoon in Texas, she encountered a confrontational rattlesnake in her path. She was going for a short walk, with Dovie in a Baby Bjorn on her chest, when the critter coiled its body and raised its angry head.
That time, Chetan and Singer had been swift in their retrieval of her gun, but Chetan later confessed it had taken some almighty conjuring to accomplish such a task and admitted, they’d almost lost Singer in their efforts. Spooky never again asked her haunts to recover a materialistic item. Until now. Maybe they could be equally as successful, and speedy, this time, without any danger to themselves.
Total free-fall into oblivion forced Spooky’s thoughts of Dovie, snakes, guns, and her spirits into obscurity. She tried to focus on the stars and moon and tried to suppress her screams. But her descent accelerated, and she wondered if all the bodies, who had just now trespassed into the portal, were too much for it to handle. “Shit, I’m gonna die.”
Suddenly, a shift in the atmosphere around her issued a gust of chilling wind. It caught her and she was floating. Rising higher and higher toward the half-moon. Not flying. Not soaring. But floating. Floating as if resting in a hammock, gently and securely swaying.
Spooky closed her eyes and breathed in all the wondrous fragrances. If this was death, she’d be okay with it. Smells of revitalizing spring rains invaded the space about her. Sunny days warming their wintered surroundings. Robins pulling wriggling worms from beneath the greening grasses. And blue, blue skies.
She could smell all this and questioned if these things indeed had aromas. She dreamed. Spooky dreamed of being in love with Brodie like she once had been. Of their beautiful baby girl between them on a spring day. And she asked, is this all mine if I just let go and die? Is this my life in death?
But amidst the depth of her innermost dreams, she heard voices. Voices she recognized. Not Brodie’s. Nor the cooing of her child. Voices raised in anger and judgement. Hexer’s voice.
Stranger Earths: On Gate World Alpha
Spooky felt her body pressed against earth. Not hard or hurtful. More of a thud. She forced herself to open one eye and then another, though all she wanted was to remain in her dream of a spring day with her family.
Hexer had Leo by the nape of the neck, like a dog with a pup, and Piper by her arm. She was struggling for freedom, kicking and punching at Hexer.
“Let us go, you demon,” she yelled. “ You can’t do this. We have rights.”
“You don’t have the right to sentence all living beings to death at the hands of the Vrag. You don’t have that right,” Hexer yelled back.
Aron had his guns drawn on the struggling teens. Chick was trying her best to calm Hexer. “Please, Father, not like this. These young ones need our guidance not a heavy hand.”
Leo twisted and floundered like a hooked fish. “You arrogant sons of bitches. Who are you to say who lives or dies?”
“Isn’t that what you’re doing, you self-serving little runt,” Hexer shook him, giving Leo the appearance of Raggedy Andy. “Your kind is so greedy for power, you can’t see through the lies of the Vrag. Don’t be such idiots. Help us not them.”
An object flew through the portal, and landed between Spooky and the group, about ten feet away. She stood, knocked the dirt and grass from the back of her pants and shouted into the portal, “Thanks, guys, it made it.”
She picked up her gun and advanced toward her army. “Kids, kids. What’s all the shouting about? Can’t we discuss this—”
“Shut-up, bitch. Who are you anyway? The ring leader of this asshole group?” Leo said.
Spooky put her gun to his head. “Do you want listen or do you want me to blow your brains out? We only need the girl. You’re just extra baggage.”
Leo wrestled against his capture’s grip. “You won’t shoot me, old lady. I’m very familiar with your type. All talk and no—”
Spooky cocked her gun. “Really, is that what you think?”
“Hey kid, I’d shut-up if I were you, while you still have your head.” Aron chuckled. “In my vast experience with women, I’ve learned to always take a lady with a gun seriously.”
“Especially, when her grandson’s life is at stake,” Spooky added.
Demure River pushed her way to the center of the crew. She passed off Creeper to Kappa, and then rubbed her tiny hand up and down Leo’s thigh. He quieted immediately. His struggle ceased.
“What did you do to him?” Piper screamed. “You better get the hell away from him.”
River placed her hand on Piper’s abdomen. Immediately, Piper’s eyes glazed over like precipitation on frozen cement. A sweet smile turned the corners of her mouth upward.
“Now, listen,” River ordered and nodded at Spooky.
“Can they hear me?” Spooky muttered. “They look like they’re in lala-land.”
“Just do your mommy thing on her, will ya already.” Kappa demanded. “You only have a few minutes before River’s enchantment wears off.”
Spooky couldn’t believe the look of expectation on her army’s faces. All except for Aron’s. “You all know, a mommy thing is not magic, don’t you?” The look didn’t fade.
She stuffed her gun into the back of her pants and surveyed her surroundings. The portal—the natural rock arch formation—was off in the far distance, barely visible anymore. The moons had vanished. She stood on grass in a lovely park setting. Ancient oak trees, perfectly spaced, shaded the entire area. Rays of sunshine found their way through areas where branches and leaves were sparse, creating an illusionary quality. A beautiful pattern of light and dark mingled and strived, like an intricate puzzle solved.
The beginnings of tiny wildflowers dotted the manicured grass and stretched and yawned toward the sun. Their periwinkle buds pursued the beams and begged for more color. Surreal in all aspects, Spooky pinched herself to make sure and asked, Shayd, what do I do?
Look. See, how beautiful it is. Use this knowledge. Shayd was inside her head, coaching her.
Spooky placed her hand on Leo’s cheek. “Leo, this is your Earth, is it not? The one you hope to rule with Piper by your side?” Leo nodded, still in a daze. “Do you see the beauty? Do you see life?” He nodded.
Spooky channeled Shayd and Aron. I will need you two for this next part. She gently pushed Hexer aside and connected Leo’s and Piper’s hands. She took Leo’s free hand. Aron joined. Shayd cloaked the circle with his essence, completing the roundness Spooky intended.
She didn’t know if this would work, but it was all she had. She was capable of divination, and Aron was gifted in intuition and visions. Shayd was from the future. Combined, she hoped the three of them could show the kids what was in store for them.
“Piper, look around and observe the beauty of your Earth,” Spooky instructed. “Share that feeling, that awe, with the person you love.” Leo smiled. “Now, I’m going to show you your Earth if you continue to cooperate with the Vrag.”
Visions of destruction—withering shadows of devastation—came in waves. The smiles left the kids’ faces and were replaced with wide-eyed dismay and agony. Piper squeezed her eyes shut in hopes of blotting out the carnage, but the apparitions rampaged with the stark reality of what awaited.
Worlds of darkness and nothingness. Worlds empty of life flashed in and out of their consciousnesses. The four shared images of black, soulless worlds, lacking energy and animation. And of the Vrag, who marched like mercenaries of death, from one cosmos to the next, leaving behind not even the smallest hint of life with which to begin anew.
“This can’t be,” Leo murmured.
Tears flowed down Piper’s face as she held tightly to Leo’s and Aron’s hand.
“Leo, you say you come from the lush world of Ternion,” Spooky said. She grabbed images the Avenir had shared with her—the worst of the images. “Creeper once lived on the colorful world of Roz. The Vrag invaded and now nothing of Roz World’s beauty remains.”
She summoned the most mortifying of her Avenir memories—the Vrag eating its victims. Ghastly screams of the dying, visions of shriveling Rooi, and the smell of death assaulted their sensory receptors. Nausea passed through the hand-holders like an electric current. Spooky and Aron doubled over in pain, but held tight to the hands of Piper and Leo.
Spooky repressed her gag response and regained her composure. She continued. “They pluck them up and eat them like we eat cherries from a tree. But these cherries, the Rooi, won’t grow back. And once the Vrag gobble up all the Rooi, who do you think they will turn to for food?
Leo and Piper stood with their mouths agape. Both, now, unable to control their tears.
Spooky squeezed Leo’s hand. “If you truly love Piper, you will join us and help us to defeat the Vrag. And if you still value power over everything else, ask yourself how it will feel to rule a world where nothing living survives, knowing your time to be eaten could come at any moment the Vrag get hungry. How will it feel to watch Piper being feasted upon? I’m sure the Vrag will see to it you have a ringside seat.
To continue reading the Hell Town Web Serial, click the link below.
(NOTE: Please forgive the delayed posts. 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 continued 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.