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Two children on a shared family vacation find a magic bell, a marvelous traveling cloak and danger on a mysterious island.
A children's fantasy about two children on a shared family vacation who discover a magic bell that summons a marvelous traveling cloak. It whisks them into dangerous adventure on a mysterious island. When the bell is stolen, they must recover it in order to return to their former lives, but in so doing, each child learns the value and strength of character from within.
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
"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
"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
"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
"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.
"It probably doesn't mean anything anyway," her golden hair dimmed as she snapped off the
flashlight. "Just a poem..."
Jason held her hand tightly. "Don't worry, I'll be here to protect you."
He raised the bell and rang it once. The softest, clearest note either had ever heard sounded in
"Now what?" Jewel whispered in his ear.
"I don't know," he replied, shrugging his shoulders. "Call the cloak, I guess."
"Cloak..." he said, his voice no louder than her own.
They stood shivering in the gloom. Nothing moved.
"See?" she announced in a normal tone. "It's just a joke."
"CLOAK, COME..." Jason spoke loudly. Sternly. His commanding attitude surprised her.
Then, in the rustling undergrowth a round, dark green object could be seen spread across the
ground. It looked like a thin blanket no bigger than the width of a baby's crib. The edges were
spun in golden thread and the outline of a bell, surrounded by a circle, had been sewn into the
"Not much space to do a lot of traveling," he commented, stepping onto the surface. Eerily,
the edges began spreading outward, expanding to twice the cloak's original size.
"I really don't think this is such a good idea," Jewel tried pulling away as he tugged her to sit
beside him. "We can't both fit on it."
"Oh, but look we can..." he pointed to the rapidly growing boundaries of the cloth.
"It's just pretend," she squinted at him in the shadows. Trying to keep the fear in her heart
inside. Away from his prying eyes.
"Nonsense..." Jason's face shone with delight as he assumed a captain's stance. Prepared for
some great journey into the unknown depths of their imaginations. He thought a moment,
recalling the parchment he'd placed in his pocket, then called out in the same loud voice that had
called the cloak.
"TO THE LAND REMOTE!!"
Instantly, the cloak grew again, surrounding both children within its folds. Jewel screamed
once, as the fabric rose into the air and began spinning around them. It glowed bright green, as
billions of emerald sparkles flowed around them.
She clung tightly to Jason's chest as they began moving forward. Wrapped within the
marvelous traveling cloak, though, neither could see in which direction it was headed. The
sensation wasn't frightening. Almost like sitting still in an elevator, but shooting forward at
tremendous acceleration. And not knowing how to stop, both were equally alarmed at how they
would end the journey. Would they gradually slow or simply bounce off each other in a sudden
The question was soon answered as the ground once more felt solid beneath their seats. There
had been no warning. Yet, the landing had occurred without any mishap. Unpredictable, but
gentle. Like sitting down on an oversized cushion of feathers.
Then the cloak began unraveling its curtain of protection. Lying flat once again and exposing
the two children to the strangest horizon either had ever witnessed. Rolling waves of purple-green
ocean washed against an endless shore of palm trees. In the distance, wisps of pink clouds dotted
an otherwise clear pale orange sky. The colors mixed together in a confusing rainbow array. But
the diverse combination stirred the urge to explore in Jason's mind.
He rose to step off the cloak, but Jewel's hand held his own tightly.
"No, we should get back," her voice of reason cautioned. "Our parents will be looking for us."
"Just look at it, Jewel," he disagreed. "Have you ever seen anything like this?"
Dragging her from the confines of the travel cloak, they stepped onto the dark glittering grey
surface of their newfound world. A soft twittering sound drew Jason's attention to the left.
"That's a bird," he pointed to a particularly dense clump of trees about five yards away. "Want
"Not exactly," she argued.
As they stepped away from the cloak it faded into dust at their feet. Jewel's sudden gasp froze
Jason in mid-step.
"The cloak is gone!" the young girl cried. "Now, we can't get back."
"I've still got the bell," Jason assured her. "I can always call it again."
"Please, let's just go then," Jewel pleaded. "I don't think we should be here. This was a
"All right," he hugged her. "We'll go back. If that's what you want."
He tugged the bell from his pocket and rang it once.
"CLOAK, COME ..."
Immediately, the traveling cloth reappeared in its original form. They stepped onto it, and
seated themselves quickly.
"Hurry," she said, "I hear something moving through the bushes."
"No problem," Jason grinned. He puffed up his chest and assumed his captain's pose again.
"CLOAK, HOME ..."
"Jason, it's getting closer," Jewel's eyes began to widen as something began running through
the jungle. "It sounds big."
He cut his eyes to left and right. Whatever was approaching would overtake them in a matter
of seconds. There was no time to waste.
"CLOAK, HOME ... "
His voice sounded again. Loud and strong. But nothing happened. They were now at the
mercy of chance and their own foolhardiness. The cloak remained earthbound. Their urge for
adventure gave way to fear of the approaching stalker.
(end of chapter one)