Dear readers, tonight with me are two people who started their day as anyone would.
Looking for a present to one’s wife, they came across a photography studio. What they uncovered there shocked them – and will no doubt shock and disturb you too.
Read on to learn more about the gruesome underbelly of city of Hell Bent.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
Spencer: About Hell Bent… Well, there’re laboratories everywhere, for one thing. See, where Travis and I are from, science is the most likely career option for most people. My own parents pushed me to pursue medicine. It might not be the most respected job one could take, but it’s still a necessary one.
Travis: Yeah, our hometown might be all science-y and shit, but some of their laws are kinda crappy. Someone commits a crime or ends up homeless for some reason, they won’t get a lawyer or any sort of aid. Nope, they get shipped right to a lab the moment they’re found out. And when they reach those labs, that’s when the experiments begin.
Spencer: So…yes. Our hometown is that odd combination of progressive and practically barbaric at the same time.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
Travis: I don’t really think dad let me or my sister have that many toys. Dude was…seriously, SERIOUSLY not fit to be a parent. He kicked us both out when I throat-punched the hell out of him. We got lucky, though, that the first person to encounter us post-evol…em…uh, Spence, what’s that word for when you get kicked out of your house?
Travis: Right, right. Thanks. Anyway, post-eviction, we were taken in by one of the city’s best geneticists. Yeah, she sort of tweaked our DNA a bit, but she didn’t do anything without our okay. So, I’d say that meeting Dr. Taylor was one of the best memories I have.
Spencer: What, nothing about meeting me?
Travis: (shrugs) Dude, I’ve known you since before I could remember.
Spencer: Ah, right. Anyhow, my parents were both quite loving and supportive, even if they were rather insistent upon my studying medicine. A lot of the toys I had were related to that. I was a whiz at Operation by the time I hit the second grade. But I had this skeleton I kept stored in my closet. His name was Geoff.
Travis: Geoff was creepy.
Spencer: To each his own, I suppose. My best childhood memory, though, was when Travis and I reconnected. We were separated for a few years, so to see him again was a blessing.
What do you do now?
Spencer: I stuck with medicine, and now work as a General Practitioner at Hell Bent General.
Travis: And I work at the comic shop my ex opened.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
Spencer: I don’t really want to talk about it…
Travis: I got this! So, me and Spence—
Spencer: That should be “Spence and I”, Trav.
Travis: Right, right. Anyway, we’ve had all kinds of problems with a serial killer, and Spence wanted to learn magic to defend himself. His teacher turns right around and gets him framed for two murders he committed. Like, right in front of us. So then we both go into hiding so Spencer doesn’t get arrested. But then Spence kinda started to lose it, and…yep, shit got crazy.
What did you first think when you first met Jesse?
Spencer: At first, we thought she could help us out with the pictures I’d wanted to get for my anniversary to my wife.
Travis: I kinda thought she was hot, at first.
Spencer: As it turned out, she was luring us to what she had intended to be our death. Key word: intended. We’ve gotten away from her, run into her again, escaped once more…
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
Travis and Spencer (in unison): JESSE.
Spencer: The nightmares have mostly subsided by now. But there are a few reminders of her that will always be there: the scar from that crossbow bolt, the spot where she branded me with “42” in Roman numerals, the leg she took from me.
Travis: There was that year or so that she kept me separated from everyone I care about…I can still sometimes feel her fingers creeping all over my body late at night.
What is the worst thing about your cybernetic (or genetic) enhancements?
Spencer: Sometimes, if I’m not careful, the joints on my new leg can get jammed. I’m also much more paranoid now about the existence of EMP generators.
Travis: The half-monkey thing’s pretty sweet, and so’s the regeneration. The thing that sucks about regenerating, though, is that sometimes, I’ll lie awake at night, wondering just how strong this ability is. Like, what if it’s strong enough that I’m immortal and end up outliving everyone I care about, and—and—I’m gonna need a minute…
What is the best thing about it?
Spencer: It took me less time than anticipated to adjust to the feel of it. My mother-in-law did an excellent job with it.
Travis: No hospital bills, for the most part. That part’s especially awesome.
Tell us a little about your friends.
Travis: Does family count? Because my current family kicks ass. Let’s see, there’s my mom Dr. Taylor: part cat, works with genetics, also really good with cybernetics… Her sister Beast—my aunt—kills people for a living. She’s also part-cat and has big hulking cybernetic limbs. She also loves kids. My sister Gemmy is, like me, part-monkey. She can also run really fast, but doesn’t like to use that ability very much. She married Spence a couple years ago, and they have a little monkey-like kid named Daniel. Aunt Beast works with these twins: Ivy and Yvette Sangre. Ivy drinks a lot, reads minds, moves stuff with her own mind and loves scary movies. Yvette’s a witch and is a big fan of fashion. And of course, there’s Spencer. We’ve been friends since we were kids, and I couldn’t picture life without him.
Spencer: Travis is easily one of the more loyal people I’ve ever known, even if he can get to be a handful at points. A few of those we associate with may be a bit…dubious, given their career in murder. But there’s a system in place, here: you harm one person in the family, you incur the wrath of the others.
Travis: No argument there.
Any romantic involvement?
Spencer: Definitely. I love Gemmy immensely, and could not imagine life without her. I don’t think we’ve moved past the honeymoon phase yet.
Travis: Well…I used to date this one woman named Sloane. She dumped me because of my being kind of a genetic freak. She’s my boss now. But now? Now I’m with Ivy, and she’s…aw, DAMN, she’s great. Freaking gorgeous, fun to talk to… Sure, she’s about 10 years older than me, but who cares?
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
Travis: Ooh, let’s see…there’s Jesse, of course. Seriously, it’s hard not to hate someone that’s killed you multiple times. And then there’s that McManus prick. He used my best friend, had the nerve to call me an abomination because of what I am… My dad, of course. You don’t throat-punch someone you like, after all, right?
Spencer: I try not to hate very often…but Jesse Lynn Belle and Slade McManus can burn, for all I care. Abducting and trying to slaughter myself or anyone I care about can make me cross that line into hatred.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
Travis: Ooh…I tend to like anything chocolate-flavored. Hot chocolate’s probably my favorite drink, though. I sort of like the color red, and I guess my favorite pastime would be a toss-up between reading comics and eating. It helps that my metabolism is insane and keeps me from getting huge.
Spencer: Iced tea with lemon, blue, and a nice long Doctor Who binge.
What does the future hold for you?
Spencer: The murder charges are resolved, I believe. And things can finally get back to normal.
Travis: Or they could if McManus weren’t still out there.
Travis: I think there’s something about Aunt Beast hanging around more. Can’t go into too much about it all yet, though.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
Travis: Doesn’t that kinda defeat the point of it being a secret?
Spencer: I’m pretty sure that anything I’ve considered to be a secret has already been discovered and therefore disclosed by Travis by now, anyway.
Travis: Hey, man. It happens, okay? Secrets are hard to keep.
K. Matt is a graduate of Philadelphia, PA’s University of the Arts. Her interests in sci-fi, fantasy, horror, comics, and anime have inspired her to both write and illustrate her own work. The books in the Hell Bent series are a combination of prose and graphic novels, and tend to be a mixture of (somewhat soft) sci-fi, urban fantasy, and horror. It is something of a pet project for her, a pet that she feeds with time, and that feeds on her sleep.
You can find Travis and Spencer on the pages of the Hell Bent Series.
Join us next week For a surprise mid-week visit by an elven prince, who takes inordinate pride in his glowing tattoos. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right), via Twitter, or like our Facebook page to be notified when the next interview is posted.