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 on Hell Town: Over the tops of trees, amongst the overgrowth of tropical plants, smoke from three fires could be seen. Each fire was an equal distance from the other and formed a triangle.
“What do you think it means?” asked Piper.
“Some type of signal maybe,” Spooky said and looked at Hexer.
“Yes. I remember my daughter speaking of this. When she was here on Ternion, she communicated with others of the resistance by starting small fires and allowing the smoke to signal a location to meet. I bet in the center of that triangle, we’ll find an ally. I’ll go check it out.”
“No, I should be the one to go,” Spooky insisted.)
Ternion World: Builder of Fires
Once Spooky won the argument with Hexer, and she’d set out on her own through the clawing jungle, she questioned her insistence on being the one to go. Seriously, what was I thinking? I can’t see a thing from the ground. Which way were those fires? Old shoes, really?
Old shoes…she’d been called a lot of things in her life. Freak. Weirdo. Witch. And bitch. But never anything as descriptive and as humorous as old shoes. The corners of her mouth eased into a restrained grin.
Spooky ambled about in her thoughts as she shoved thick vines and moisture laden leaves aside until she reached a small clearing. One in which she could see the sun. Does their sun set in the west, like ours? She’d lost track of time. But it had to be getting late, so probably the sun was setting not rising. While observing the fires from the lookout, the sun was to the right. She’d walk that way and veer left in a couple of miles.
Spooky had often speed-walked several miles for exercise and figured she’d know when to change directions. She knelt and whispered in Ransome’s ear, “Find the fires, boy.” Ransome raised his long yellow snout into the air, sniffed twice, and lunged forward, advancing at the angle Spooky had already decided was best.
He stayed ahead of her a few feet, sniffing and then looking back to see if she was following. If she lagged behind, he returned, nipped at her ankles, and nudged her onward.
Intuitively, Ransome drifted left at the same instant Spooky also thought it time to turn. She constantly checked the path before her and then observed the direction of the sun. They had to be getting close.
Spooky considered Brodie. Had he missed her yet? And Dovie? Was she okay? Was the baby? Had Dovie asked about her and if so what had Brodie said? Did he read the message she left? Had he read the one file that remained on her laptop. He knew her password.
The dog suddenly halted, nosed the air, and whined with a low whimper. Spooky sniffed. Smoke. She put her finger to her lips. “Shshsh,” she said and raised her hand to command the dog to stay.
Ransome sat. Spooky crept forward, inching silently through the thick vegetation until she found the location of the first fire. No sign of anyone. She looked about and then issued a hushed clicking of her tongue for Ransome to come. But she heard nothing. No paws following. No snorts. “Ransome? Ransome?” she whispered and listened.
She retraced her steps and found the downed foliage where the dog had squatted. “Ransome?” He wouldn’t just leave her. Something happened to him. A Vrag? Oh crap, a Vrag. A sudden disturbance behind her. Rustling. Heavy steps. Spooky pulled her .357 and spun around.
Before her stood a handsome young man clothed in garments that reminded her of safari gear. Khaki from high- crowned, wide-brimmed fedora to unbuttoned shirt to skimpy shorts. His bare chest was broad and sported a six pack. His waist tapered into slim hips. And his dark, shoulder-length hair matched his scruffy beard. The clothing he wore was tattered, dirty, and stained with the green abundance surrounding them. He had a small star-shaped scar on his left cheek giving him an air of ruggedness. And his bronzed skin tone added to his manly persona.
Ransome settled beside him and woofed like he was saying, “See what I found.”
“Hold it right there, buster, or I’ll shoot,” Spooky ordered.
The man raised his hands in a surrendering gesture. “No harm will come to you.”
“Are you the one who started the fires?”
“Yes.” He cleared his throat. “This is a signaling method an old friend of mine and I used to indicate we needed to talk. I was trying to reach her.”
“Who is she?”
“A friend I haven’t seen in over sixteen years. Moon Glow. At least that’s what I called her. She was from a different…” He paused. Spooky knew he was looking for a word other than world. “She was from a different tribe than mine, and her birth name was hard for me to pronounce, so I gave her a name easier for me.”
“Uh. Uh. Silver hair. Silver eyes. Her body is covered in blue inkings.”
Spooky knew instantly who he was talking about. “What’s your name?”
“My father named me, Mogotsi. To my people it means, builder of fire.”
Appropriate, Spooky thought. “Okay, Mo, why were you trying to signal this Moon Glow?”
“She went away years ago, and I never knew if I’d see her again. I knew if she returned to Ternion, something was wrong.” He cleared his throat again. No doubt he’d inhaled some smoke, Spooky figured. “I have information I need to share with her. Things…” For the first time, he broke eye contact with Spooky and spoke to some past he remembered. “Things are very different than when she was here before. Can you tell me where she is? I know you are one of her…uh…friends. She came here with you and some others.”
Spooky tightened her grip on the gun and steadied her stance. “How do you know?” If Mo and Trubel managed to find them so easily, they might need a better hiding place.
“Look, I’m not going to hurt you, could you please lower your gun?”
“Nope. I don’t know you, and you’re asking about someone I’ve never heard of.” She lied. “What game are you playing?”
“No game. I know because I’ve been staking out the lookout for over two years now in hopes Moon Glow might return. I was away from—”
“Ternion. Go on say it,” Spooky wanted him to know she wasn’t some dummy but informed. “You were off world. You can quit skating the issue. I know about other worlds. Other dimensions. And if my guess is correct, you were on Gate World Alpha. And Moon Glow? Really? That’s kinda sappy. A man would only give that name to his lover. Does that about sum it up?”
Mogotsi hung his head. “Please, tell her I need to see her.”
Spooky told herself to stand firm. He could be a spy. Or worse. He could work for Trubel. But seeing such a strong man buckle from the weight of love lost, she softened. “If I see someone like you described, I’ll give her a message.”
“Tell her, most of our friends are dead. The entire Timeree population is now down to a couple of thousand individuals. And they have scattered from one end of our world to another. I have a small group of followers who have joined me in the resistance against…” He avoided her eyes again. And Spooky knew it was because he was measuring how much and what information to release.
“The Vrag and Ingenium?” She finished for him.
“If I see her, I’ll tell her. Get over there next to that tall tree and wait. And if you follow, I’ll shoot you.”
Mogotsi obeyed. “Please, before you go, tell me who the young girl is with your group. She has inkings like Moon Glow.”
“I think you already know who she is. But I’d rather Moon Glow speak to you first.”
Tears swelled in his eyes. He lowered his head and walked to the tree. He sat cross-legged at its base and looked away, reliving bits and pieces of his past with Chick, Spooky imagined. And perhaps dreaming of a future with her and their child.
Spooky patted her leg for Ransome to follow and started walking, questioning if she’d done the right thing. Should she have let him follow her to the lookout? He already knew where they were and had been watching them. He seemed like someone she could trust. And she could see a bit of him in Piper. Same dark beauty. But still…
With her thoughts occupied, Spooky failed to make note of the sun and which direction she was headed, until she found a river before her. “Damn. I don’t remember this being here.” After leaving Mogotsi, she’d walked left for too long. But how long?
The vegetation behind her was too dense to get a clear view of the vanishing sun. Tree shadows clutched at her like demon fingers, and a misty dusk careened in and out of the light as if it were a demented dragonfly. “Ransome, which way? Take us home.” She weaved her fingers in and out of the fur on his back. Ransome whined, squatted, and searched with his eyes. He whined again.
“What’s the matter, boy, don’t know which way either?”
She could backtrack but there was no guarantee she could get them home before the jungle mutated into total blackness. “I need a moon. Chick send me a moon,” she said out loud. And as if Chick had heard, a full moon—big, bright, and silvery—popped from its hiding place to Spooky’s right. “Thanks, Chick.”
“She can do that. Another reason I called her Moon Glow.” The fire builder was behind her.
“What the hell? I told you to stay put and not to follow.”
“I couldn’t help it. You didn’t know what you were doing and you were going in the wrong direction.”
She walked right up to him and placed the barrel of her gun to his chest. “What did I tell you I was going to do if you followed.”
He casually brushed the gun aside. “Look, I’m not going to hurt you. I’m here to help. And I don’t think you are going to shoot me. I can see it in your eyes. Violence is something you try to avoid. Besides a good looking guy like me—”
“Yeah, what’s with you Ternion? All of you men look like you stepped out of a billboard for an underwear ad.”
“Is that a compliment?” he asked.
“Not in my book, but if you want it to be, then, sure.” She examined him. He smiled. Jeeze, he had a dimple too. Just below the star-shaped scar. Could he be any cuter? No wonder Chick fell for him. She lowered her gun. “I don’t know what to do with you. I guess if you’re a spy for Trubel—”
” You know Trubel?”
The sudden anger and alarm on his face told Spooky all she needed to know about his and Trubel’s relationship. Dissolving dimple. Forthcoming frown. And wrinkled forehead. All indicated Trubel was no friend of Mo’s.
“Yes, I know him. He’s been trying to kill us,” Spooky said. “How do you know him?”
“He’s the bastard responsible for Moon Glow’s and my separation on Gate World Alpha. Once Moon had hidden the Shimmer, we were supposed to meet up. We were going to run away together. She was pregnant with our child…” His words trailed off. His withdrawn gaze revealed he was in his and Chick’s past again. Spooky allowed him remembering time.
After several moments, Mogotsi continued. “But Trubel located us and sent his men to kill us. We separated, and she returned to Gate World Omega where she’d hidden the Shimmer. When the baby was born, we met in a neutral zone on Gate World Beta. An area that was cloaked from Trubel by Moon’s father. The cloaking could only take place long enough for Moon Glow and I to meet briefly. We decided in order to protect the baby, it would be best to give her up. I was an intern at a hospital. It was easy for me to switch a stillborn infant with our baby girl. No one ever suspected.”
Fire-builder’s lovely tan changed to gray as he recounted his story of love and sacrifice. Spooky thought of her grandson and of the likelihood she’d never get to know him. She understood a heart so broken it hurt to breathe.
Mo grabbed her arm, jarring her back to reality. “Please, tell me, is the young girl with you my daughter?”
“Her name is Piper. And I don’t know to be honest. I guess you will have to find out for yourself. Come on. Lead the way back to the lookout.” She didn’t know why, but she trusted this stranger. His story matched Chick’s. Shayd, am I doing the right thing? she asked.
Instead of giving a yes or no, he said, Trust you are doing the only thing you can.
For some reason the moon Chick had sent disappeared. Was this foreshadowing? Spooky questioned. And as if someone had turned off a light switch, darkness settled in on the pair like an obese black cloud. The slap of a wet leaf in her face woke Spooky to the awareness she was totally blind.
A hand reached back and found hers, enveloping it in gentle strength. “Allow me. I don’t want to lose you,” Mo said.
It had been a long time since a virile, young man had held her hand with such tenderness. It felt good to have someone looking out for her other than herself.
I would hold your hand if I could, Shayd said. And I’ll always protect you.
Yes, I know, she said. It’s just…you’ve never been able to touch me.
If only…he said.
Yes, if only…she replied.
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.
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