Hee Haw (Nem) Downes

Nem means “nemesis” or “avoid me”

Proverbs 26:18-19 (NKJV)—Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I was only joking.”

The author made up the name 'Nem" because she wanted a unique identity for this character that no one else would relate to. Our uncouth New Age antagonist a wild card among the Burnt Swamp characters who likes to do his own thing. His signature donkey bray laugh and protruding teeth earned him the nickname of Hee-Haw, but there's nothing funny about this character who mocks everything decent.

Beyond his lack of personal hygiene, this 16-year-old, who drives a beat-up Cadillac convertible to middle school, has failed more grades than he can count—well, three, actually; he's still in 8th grade. You might think he would just go ahead and quit school altogether, but he insists on showing up at Sunken Bridge because he enjoys harassing the students, faculty, and administration . . . among other things. Worse than his sneer and general unkempt appearance is Hee-Haw's abrasive personality. He is sly and a loner with seething anger continually lurking beneath the surface.

Is he dangerous? Well, if you take his spirit guide into account, the answer is yes. Hee-Haw was placed with a bearded spirit guide by the name of Ooziss Naturus who has a reputation for being disloyal, manipulative, and corrupt. Ooziss sees all other creatures as beneath him and vile, much like vermin. In fact, Ooziss is quick to profess that he despises humans immensely. Perhaps Hee-Haw has somehow earned his spirit guide's respect but, more likely, Ooziss is leading Nem on a path of evil.

Hee-Haw has his own method of survival. Perfecting his astral projection skills enables him to literally rise above the deaths of his mother and younger brother. Since hardening his heart, the only thing that matters to him is power, power, more power which he finds in the occult, specifically New Age mysticism. The only person he feels the slightest affection for is his Auntie Soshal who owns a candle shop and is grooming him for responsibility in the Order of Laddrach. Thus, he becomes the unlikely partner of Bea and Madam Daark.