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: But Spooky had already figured it out. “And the Ingenium.”
“Yes,” Chick said. “We would be putting two species into extinction.”
“And I vote we don’t place them on the endangered species list either. Just get rid of them all. Eliminate any future threats.” Spooky couldn’t believe she was saying this. She’d always been a peacemaker as opposed to a warrior. But to ensure Dovie’s and her grandson’s safety plus the survival of the human race, she’d say what everyone was thinking.
Hexer turned his back on the group.
“What, you don’t agree? Don’t tell me you weren’t thinking the same thing,” Spooky insisted.
“Even if I was, you are condoning genocide. As doyen of the League of Starling Scouts, I took a vow to observe but bring no harm to other species. And to never interfere.”
“So what? I’m the bad guy here?”)
Other Worlds: Sacrificing the Soul
Spooky expected some measure of support. Instead, her crew either looked away or ducked their heads. “Bad guy. Really? So I’m the fucking bad guy in all this?”
She’d never been the one to scream, “save the villain” in movies. She thought it stupid when the hero opted not to kill the enemy because of a sudden attack of conscience.
She paced. “What if these two species—you’re determined not to interfere with—are hell-bent on destroying everything that is not them? What then? Isn’t that condoning genocide of us? We stand by and watch as they annihilate everyone and everything we love? We have the opportunity to do something. To bring this to an end for the good of everyone. And all of a sudden you go all holy on me? Why did you ever get me involved then?”
Hexer faced Spooky. “For this very purpose. You see what others do not. A voice of reason so to speak.”
“What my father is trying to say, Spooky, is you see the bigger picture. Unlike we Starlings who have only tunnel vision—we see right and we see wrong—you see the gray areas. The hidden. What’s in-between right and wrong. Our entire existence since the beginning has revolved around the coordination of time on each of the worlds. Making sure the suns rise when needed and the moons are present to light the path of those in the dark. This was our right and there could be no wrongs. No mistakes. We never had to adapt or evolve like humans did. We just were. You must show us the in- between.”
“The in-between is, I see no other option.” Spooky hated being the one to wield the sword of destruction, but it was as if she were dealing with a bunch of little kids. She surveyed the troubled expressions on the faces of her army. “Okay then, in an effort to do the right thing, I’ll give everyone ten minutes to come up with a better plan.”
“Like what kind of plan?” asked Kappa.
“I don’t know. You guys are the ones with the covert super powers.” Heads lowered in pointless consideration. Eyes averted Spooky’s stare. “I don’t know. Guy, you can mind control. Make people see what you want them to see. You did it with me when we first met in Hell Town. Can’t you mind control the Vrag?”
Guy shook his head. “I tried once when I was on my world. I was confident it would work, but I ended up almost getting my entire village destroyed.”
“His mind control doesn’t work on the Vrag because they are mindless,” explained Hexer. “And the ANNs are no more than a machine—a collective with the stored information and memories of millions of Ingenium whose only purpose is the survival of its programs, not people. When the Ingenium handed over their physical beings for the sake of immortality they sacrificed their souls. Guy’s power to manipulate will not work on something that has no tangible intellect.”
“If I’m able to install a virus into the mainframe, it will destroy the ANNs, but what about the Vrag?” Piper asked.
“From my research,” Chick said, “once a Vrag’s receptor is damaged, which I suppose would happen with the virus you implant, the creature dies. The ANNs implemented this as a failsafe in case they lost control of the Vrag.”
The dark, musty lookout went dead quiet in the moments that followed as each of the misfits anticipated the guilt they might experience in agreeing to the genocide of the ANNs and the Vrag. Spooky stared at empty space, trying to etch a face or some object into the void to represent the hapless query that now brewed within her. Was she as much of a monster as the Vrag?
She scrutinized her army. Her anticipated guilt—short-lived. If Aron were capable of making a decision at this time, she felt sure he would agree their only option was the virus. But he remained immobile in his self-healing process.
Spooky had no sympathy for the ANNs. Or the Vrag for that matter. Her justification was the ANNs had initiated their own demise once they returned with the Vrags and rigged them with controlling devices. Sure the Vrag were no more than dumb animals, but the guilt of their termination lay solely on the actions of the ANNs, not her or her army. And if she were a monster for thinking this way, so be it.
Suddenly, the silence and meditation crashed in on itself. “Leo, are you in there? Come out, come out, wherever you are,” the voice taunted. “Are all of you in there?” Then came nefarious laughter. “You sons-of-bitches. Thought you’d outwitted me. Never.” More laughter.
Leo jumped to his feet. “Father?”
“Let my son come to me, and I’ll make sure you experience an almost pain free death,” Trubel said.
Hexer cracked the door enough to see out. “How did you get here?”
“I found your hidden Shimmer. Very clever safehouse. An old run down RV Park on a different Earth than mine. Hahaha. Clever. It accepted a human’s DNA, which allowed me entrance. Granted I ran through several humans before I found the right one, but I did. Do not doubt, I always prevail. I believe the human told me her name was Dovie. But that’s neither here nor there. Oh wait. It is there.” Laughter. Diabolical and vile.
Spooky gasped and bolted toward the door. Hexer caught her and threw her against the back wall. The wind knocked out of her, she struggled to say, “Ask him? Ask him, you fool or I will…” She pulled out her revolver and pointed it.
“Is the human safe?” Hexer asked.
“Let my son go and I’ll share that information with you.”
“He’ll kill me,” Leo said.
Spooky held tightly to her gun. She needed to know if Dovie was okay. She had to know if she were to continue this mission. If her daughter and unborn grandson were dead, then she had no reason to live.
“Please,” Leo urged. “He’ll kill me.”
She lunged at Leo, grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, and placed the gun to his head. “We’ll see won’t we.”
“Spooky don’t,” Shayd begged.
She blocked his voice in her head and waved the gun at Hexer to move away from the door. In front of the dead Vrag, stood Trubel clad in black from head to toe—polo shirt, jeans, and sneakers. He was flanked by two Vrags. One on his right. One on his left. “Hey, asshole. You can have your son. He’s useless to us. But first tell me if Dovie is alive and okay, or I’ll kill him.” She cocked the hammer.
“Oh my dear, go right ahead and shoot the little bastard. It saves me the effort of killing him. When I look at him now, all I see is his betrayal. He’s useless to me as well.”
Spooky closed her left eye and calculated her shot. She sighted-in his knee cap and figured she’d disable the prick, but leave him alive to talk.
Over her shoulder, Spooky asked, “Guy how fast can you transform?” She heard a familiar hiss and within a few moments, something slithered between her legs.
She leaned in close to Leo ear. “When I say, now, duck.” She aimed her revolver at Trubel’s leg and screamed, “Now!”
But instead of getting out of the way, Leo ran straight for his father, yelling, “ Dad. Dad. They forced me to do it. All of it. Please. Save me.”
Spooky hadn’t wavered in her decision that destroying the Ingenium and the Vrag was the right thing to do. But shooting a kid in the back, she couldn’t. Even though Leo knew their plan and would share it with his father.
She lunged out the door and to the left, allowing her a clear shot at Trubel without hitting the boy. Pop. Pop. Trubel grabbed his neck. Blood spurted. She prayed she hadn’t hit an artery.
The closest Vrag’s tentacle charged her with such velocity it created a trench in the moist earth and moss. She dodged the savage appendage and crawled into the underbrush. Guy sprang into the air and sank his fangs into the Vrag’s body. It shrieked and retreated, managing to progress only a few feet before it dropped.
Hexer dragged Leo back to the lookout by his feet and threw him inside. Chick hurled her axe at the other Vrag’s head. It penetrated the Vrag’s skull and opened it up comparable to a rotten melon, but like a jellyfish, it had no brain to come gushing out. Instead, the tissue around the wound sizzled and withered. Chick’s axe fell to the ground as the monster shriveled into a mound of goo.
Spooky crawled from her hiding spot. She and Chick scouted the area for Trubel. He’d managed to escape but left a trail of blood. “He ran like the coward he is. At least I wounded him,” Spooky said.
Chick retrieved her axe. “I’m sorry you didn’t get an answer to your question. But, for some reason, I believe Dovie is okay. You need to believe that too.”
“I know I must if I’m to continue this mission.” Finding it difficult to breathe, or think, Spooky gulped as a stony lump formed in the core of her stomach. “It’s just hard not knowing for sure. Dovie and the thought of my grandson were what made me…” She couldn’t finish. The tears came fast and demanding.
Chick rested her hand on Spooky’s shoulder. “Your children make you fearless. I know. I’ve fostered that fearlessness all these years for Piper. Never knowing if she were alive or if the Earth Timerees had found her and killed her. I wondered if she was being cared for. Was she loved? But now I’m thankful I never gave up picturing her as alive. And happy. You can’t give up either. One day you will be glad you didn’t.”
A thin rain slipped from gray skies, polished leaves to a glistening green, and released the fragrances of the surrounding flowers in aromas similar to gardenia and jasmine. Condor birds hid their heads beneath their wings.
Clouds of mist waved from the hot earth and hid insects within its veil. Yet the bugs’ hungry buzz around the carcasses prevailed in an annoying reminder that death hunted in the hidden like a starved animal.
The two women walked back to the lookout. Their arms wrapped around each other’s waist.
Piper was in Guy’s bare-chested embrace, crying. “How could he? How could Leo turn on us for his father? I trusted him. And I was beginning to believe his sincerity. I thought he was on our side.”
Guy glared at Leo, who shuddered in the shadows of the stairs, and tightened his hold on Piper. “Trust with your heart. Your head tries to balance what should be with what is and can be deceived. But your heart knows.”
Aron sat up and looked at Spooky—her face covered in sweat, dirt, and scratches. Her clothes—one big smudge of grime, green, and blood. He grinned. “What did I miss?”
End of Part 2
To continue reading Hell Town RV Park, click on the link below:
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.