Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Fireside Chat with Travis from the Hell Bent series

Today I have a treat with another Fireside Chat. Our fictional interviewer, Richard Dale, sits down with Travis from the Hell Bent graphic novel series by K Matt. Enjoy!

Fireside Chat with Travis

“Welcome everyone, to another Fireside Chat. I’m Richard Dale, your host. Today, our guest is the genetically enhanced human Travis. Welcome Travis.” Richard Dale holds out a hand in greeting.

Travis’ tail twitches, and he’s clearly appreciative of being considered a human. He reaches forward to shake Richard’s hand. “Hey, thanks for having me here,” he replies with a grin.

“Why don’t we begin with some details of your life. Exactly who is Travis and how did you end up embroiled in genetic experimentation?”

He chuckles slightly at that. “Who am I, you ask…Ask some people from around Hell Bent, they probably know me as ‘that one guy at the comic shop with the tail’. Restaurants see me as a damn good customer. But how would I describe myself?” He shrugs. “I guess I’m just kind of a genetic freak. I dunno. As for how experimentation came into play…well, my sister and I grew up in kind of a shitty home, and I got us both thrown out. See, one of the things we have to deal with back in my hometown is being experimented on if you’re, say, a criminal or a runaway. But lucky for us, we were picked up by this one scientist that sort of adopted us. She had a few things to prove, and we agreed to help her out with it. Fast forward to…” He gestured to himself.

Richard Dale smiles. “So, what are your feelings now towards the genetic DNA experiments you participated in? What are the advantages, or disadvantages, to in essence being part monkey?”

Travis thinks on that one, his finger-like toes flexing a little. “The ones mom did weren’t too bad at all. She did sort of warn Gemmy and I both about some minor discomfort. And I love having the tail and opposable toes. Ooh, and part of the experimentation involved a regenerative factor. I was an X-Men fan as a kid, and always thought that power was kinda cool. On the downside, I tend to get, like, REALLY hungry after I heal from something. The other huge downside of the healing ability is that everyone seems to want to find out how it works. They don’t always ask permission, and when they do, they don’t seem to take no for an answer. But the good points of the experimentation in general? Increased agility, for sure. Plus, it’s kinda nice to know that if I break a leg or something, I’ll be fine in a few hours.”

Fascinating. And what of the difficult situations you’ve found yourself in? I believe you’ve experienced violent run-ins with a serial killer and a maladjusted mage. Do you feel your life has been cursed, or unfair? And how have you dealt with these terrible experiences?”

He cringes at the thought of THEM again. “…You do NOT want to get me started on Jesse or McManus,” he grumbles. “There are a lot of good points about my life, but sometimes I do have to wonder if I’m cursed. As for dealing with this shit? I have the best support system, like, ever. I also tend to stress eat from time to time. But my girlfriend is psychic and has helped me go into my mind to deal with whatever’s going on in there. So it’s thanks to my family I’m not as much of a wreck as I probably should be.” 

"A psychic girlfriend? That must be challenging at times." Richard taps the arm of his chair with a finger. “Tell me about your childhood, your relationship with your father? I know it was troubled. Have you resolved your feelings in regard to that relationship? Any lingering issues?”

Travis’ eye twitches, and his tail begins to follow suit. “Walter…yeah, I’ve always hated that guy. When I found out that making your kid sleep on a closet floor wasn’t normal, that made it even worse. You wanna know how my sister and I got kicked out? It happened when I throat-punched that son of a bitch. Yeah…our childhood wasn’t exactly great. We got put under house arrest for three years for going to a friend’s house. I’d like to say I resolved my feelings, but I really haven’t and am just glad to have gotten out.”

Interesting.” Richard smiles again. “Let’s try a lighter note. What do you like to do for fun?”

Relieved to be on a subject that does not involve his issues with his father, the half-monkey brightens up. “Well, I love comics. So it’s a good thing that the one place that offered to hire me is a comic shop. I also like spending time with my friends and family, spending time with my girlfriend Ivy…OOH, movies. Also like watching those. Especially terrible ones! And then there’s food. I generally like eating.”

“I see. Now for a little introspection. In your own opinion, what is your best trait? Your worst?”

Travis taps his chin for a moment. “Like, physical or psychological? Because if it’s physical, that’d be my hair. Psychological…probably the fact that I don’t believe in giving up. Like, ever. Worst would be either my way-too-big nose and…well, I do kinda have some degree of self-loathing sometimes, where I start thinking that Walter was right about me…”

A sudden interruption of clinking cups and the jingling of bells halts the conversation, as a distinguished gentleman enters the room carrying a festooned tea tray.

Ah, I believe it’s time for some refreshment. And I see you put a bit of holiday cheer on the tray.” Richard frowns slightly. He turns toward Travis. “This is our indispensible butler, Jenkins.” Richard Dale nods at the butler. “Jenkins, our guest Travis.”

Travis offers a small wave to Jenkins, his tail flicking a bit.

“A pleasure, sir, to make your acquaintance. In honour of the season, I’ve prepared some hot chocolate, and cookies fresh from the oven. Would you care for a cup and a bite to eat?” Jenkins sets the tray down and waits.

The half-monkey’s green eyes light up as he notices the hot chocolate and cookies. “Yes, I would, thanks,” he said with a grin. He was something of a chocoholic.

No tea?” Richard stares at the silver pot and sighs.“I’ll suppose I’ll try a cup of chocolate. And a cookie.”

Jenkins pours two cups, serves both men, before retreating back to the adjoining room.

Richard Dale takes a sip of his hot chocolate, a surprised but pleased look on his face, and asks, “Have you ever done something in your past you are ashamed of or deeply regret, that you would undo if you could? Also, what one act in your past are you most proud of?”

Travis scratches the back of his head with a foot, both hands being occupied for now. “Flunking out of college is a big one for me,” he says. “And so was that failure to save a couple of kids from Jesse. I’d promised to protect them, but…” He shivers, taking a swig of hot chocolate to calm himself down. “I don’t wanna think about what she did to them… Now, what I’m proud of? Umm…that might be when I punched Walter. He had it coming, and it got my sister and I out of there. Had we been forced to stay with him, I have no idea if either of us would be alive right now.”

Richard takes another sip from his cup. “Who would you consider your best friend? And who would be your worst enemy?

“Ah, that’s an easy one!” says Travis with a grin. “That’d be Spencer. We’ve been buddies since we were in Kindergarten. He went on to marry my sister, and we all live together now. Spence has always been there for me. Well…except for those three years we couldn’t leave the house. Or that time that he and I got into a fight. But when my first girlfriend dumped me? He took time off from his studies to spend time with me.
“As for my worst enemy…that’s hard to say, really. On the one hand, there’s Walter. He made life Hell for a number of years. But then there’s also McManus…y’know how much it sucks to be called an abomination right to your face? Hm…I’d have to say it’s probably Jesse. She’s done more to me and the people I care about than the others.”

You do seem to be easy-going and friendly, not a loner. Would you consider yourself someone likeable? Do you value friendship and loyalty?

He chuckles a little. “Not sure if I’d be considered likeable or not. I wouldn’t be opposed, of course! And as for friendship and loyalty, hell YEAH, I value those! Seriously, if it weren’t for my friends and loved ones, I’d have cracked a long time ago. So if you guys are seen this…love you all!”

Ah, interesting. Now for the final question, where do you see yourself headed in life? What are your goals, things you want to achieve?”

Travis runs his hands through his long red hair. “I don’t really try to think too much about the future. See, the regeneration thing’s kinda made me start thinking I might be immortal, and I keep thinking of what’d happen if I outlive everyone I care about… But goals? I just want my family to be safe, happy, and as un-traumatized as possible.”

Richard Dale leans forward, holding out a hand. “Thank you, Travis, for agreeing to this interview. It has been delightful.”

Travis shakes his hand once more, smiling. “Thanks for taking the time to interview me,”

You can find Travis and the Hell Bent series at the author's Amazon page or Facebook page

About the Author

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. 

Her artwork can be found at

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