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This is the story of two very special children, nine-year-old Jewel Adams and eight-year-old Jason Henderson in their first journey to the mysterious Land of Remote. On a shared family vacation, they discover a magic bell that summons a wonderful traveling cloak. Journeying to a strange hidden island, they encounter the power and weakness of life in all its forms. A roster of fantastic creatures and characters aid and hinder the children when the bell is stolen. Their only hope for rescue lies within themselves.
Danger and adventure confront them at every turn as they learn the values of strength and courage in growing up. And moments spent together and apart guide both children to rely on inner insight, a valuable gift for the mysterious Land of Remote and everyday life.
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Residing in Lynchburg, Virginia, he has written numerous articles, poetry, plays, screenplays, short stories, four novels and currently working on two more books. He won placement in Virtual Ireland's International Short Story competition and his writing has been commended by such notables as the late entertainer Danny Thomas, actress Ann Jillian, and the late Princess Diana. Spanning more than three decades of writing, he weaves compelling insights of life into each storyline, drawing characters from everyday life. Current projects also include three screenplays, with an adaptation of THE BELL WISHERS.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Each evening before the shadows close in on everyday things that most of us tend to forget, two small children remember. But what they recall is seldom ordinary and mostly about journeys that few would ever begin. This is the story of their first travel, how it began and where it took them.
Spring always found Jewel Adams and Jason Henderson deep in magnetic chess competition. Their families’ annual camping trip brought the two children together in the close traveling arrangement. Neither set of parents could afford separate vacations. But in pooling resources, a camping trip seemed ideal to satisfy their urge to travel. Visit new places. See unknown portions of the vast country each called home.
Jewel stretched as the mobile home hit a small pothole on the mountainous road. Brushing back a few unsettled wisps of golden hair, her sparkling blue eyes fixed on Jason. His dark brown gaze was cemented intently on the challenge she had posed in moving within two plays of checkmate.
"Aren't you tired of this?' she asked, squirming uncomfortably. "Mother said we'd be there soon. Why don't we play 'I Spy' instead?"
"None of that," Jason replied quickly. "I gave you time to move."
"Silly, what are you talking about?"
"You're just trying to break my concentration," the eight-year-old said defiantly. He scratched a spot in his tousled dark curly hair. It was a nervous habit, but helped him to think.
"Nonsense," Jewel insisted as the large recreation vehicle ground to a halt, presumably in the middle of the road.
"You may be older," he grimaced, giving up the game in disgust, "but at least I'm smarter."
"Is that why you lost the game?" she stared back with the barest trace of amusement curling the corners of her mouth. Jewel could only claim a year's more education than her younger friend. But their constant battles for superiority extended far beyond grade school competition.
There was no time to form an answer as Jason's dad called to them.
"Everybody out, we've had a flat!"
"Great!" Jewel glanced out at the thick forest surrounding them. "And it's getting dark too."
Fire crackled merrily at one end of the makeshift campsite. The flat tire hadn't taken very long to fix, but tackling untraveled back roads at day's end didn't meet with either set of parents' approval. As a result, Jewel and Jason were left to explore as supper was prepared. Thick underbrush kept the children from roaming too deep into the woods. However, a small, makeshift pathway had been forged by the time scents of roasting hamburgers filled the cooling night air.
"We'd better get back," Jewel tugged at her scouting partner's jacket. He was kneeling beside her, examining a small mound of rocks. "If they have to start looking for us, we will be in trouble."
"Wait," Jason whispered as he uncovered a tiny wooden box from under the small stone monument. "Look at this."
A little golden crown had been etched into the face of the dirt-covered box. It gleamed darkly at them as he brushed away the remaining clumps of earth. Rusted hinges and a locked clasp at the side of the miniature chest held the top in place.
"Don't open it," Jewel warned. "It might be some sort of dead animal inside."
"Out here?" he asked, fingering the lock expectantly. "I doubt it."
As he gently pried the top off, a wisp of wind from high overhead blew down, momentarily startling them.
"Stop," she warned again. "We'd better get back."
"Afraid?" this time it was his turn to grin at her indecision.
"No," the young girl fired back. "I just think it would be better to take it back to camp with us. Open it where our parents can see."
"Well, too late," he grinned, folding back the top to expose a blue metal bell inside. It had been intricately engraved by some master craftsman with all sorts of intriguing figures and symbols around the perimeter. A piece of parchment neatly folded had been placed with the musical instrument. But as Jason unfolded the note, its lower half crumbled, scattering as dust in the soft wind.
"What's it say?" Jewel shone her flashlight at the inscription.
"Listen," Jason's voice shrank to a whisper.
Ring the bell,
Call the cloak,
Travel far to a land remote
"Where's the rest of it?" she asked.
"Wind took it," he waved at the creaking dark branches overhead.
"We'd better get back," Jewel grabbed the bell from his hands and began running back up the path.
"Wait! Aren't you curious?" Jason caught up to her and snatched the bell away.
Both children stared at one another. Neither wanted to be the first to give in. The thrill of adventure swept over them, yet the safety of parents and campsite beckoned equally. Silently, Jewel nodded in agreement.
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