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       The Traveler (The Traveler Series, #1), p.1

          Holly Newhouse / History & Fiction / Romance & Love / Western
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The Traveler (The Traveler Series, #1)


















The Traveler

(A New Adult Novella)



By Holly Newhouse

Cover Art Image By Photographer Patty Pickett





Newhouse Publishing

Copyright ? 2014 by Holly Newhouse



Copyright

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, or placed upon any forum for the purpose of getting it for free, or by any means existing now or in the future, in whole or in part, without the express written permission or the author.



This further includes fan made copies of this book; they also require express written permission of the author before they are made. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, organizations, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.



First Printing: 2014

Cover Artwork Image ? 2014 by Photographer Patty Pickett

https://www.flickr.com/photos/34121831@N00/sets/

Image used with permission of Photographer Patty Pickett

Book Interior Copyright ? 2014 by Holly Newhouse

Edited by Toni M. Lewis

E-Book ISBN: 978-1311690753

Paperback Print ISBN: 978-1503399945



Newhouse Publishing

P.O. Box 52

Havelock, IA 50546-0052

Dedication





This book is dedicated to three very special

friends. All three of these ladies helped me

to have the courage to write my own stories

and have the guts to publish them for the world

to read.

These three ladies are not only my special friends

they are wonderful and magnificent authors

as well in their own right. I passionately love

each of their books and look forward to reading more!

They have taught me so much about myself as I have

grown with them, with their books, and with their

characters in their books, grown in my own life.

I can never thank each of them enough for what they

have unknowingly and selflessly done for me.

So....I feel it pertinent to dedicate my book to them,

to these ladies who helped me find my feet in this

literary world and who encouraged

me with their tremendous love and support.

This is dedicated to you:

Angela Hudson

Josephine Harwood

Judy Matthews



I also dedicate this book to a tremendously selfless new friend

who has become my best friend and without her, I would never

be where I am today. Thank you hon, from the bottom of my heart for not only caring enough to know my personal story. but for helping me as only you can. I love you girl!

For Toni M. Lewis, my brilliant book editor and best friend.



Acknowledgements

I would like to say a special thank you to a magnificent photographer Patty Pickett who is the one responsible for the beautiful book cover image which was taken by her and she very generously gave me permission to use it for my book cover. I can't thank you enough Patty!! If you love magnificent photography, please check out her Flickr page at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/34121831@N00/sets/ !



I would like to personally thank all of the members of my Author Beta Discussion Team, who have been wonderful at catching mistakes in my writing, and in critiquing my work. Once again, another book would not have been completed without my wonderful team of individuals who do so much behind the scenes! They more than deserve this recognition for everything they do. Thank you to all of you for everything you have done for me and especially to Brittany and Jennifer who so selflessly promote my books along with Toni.



I would also like to thank my children: Nikita, Brady, and Tristan, for all of their continuing tremendous support of my writing. You will always have the first copies of my books, my sweet angels.



Author's Note





You can befriend this author on Facebook

authorhollynewhouse

Official Fan Page:

facebook: hollynewhouse

Twitter username:

@hollynewhouse2

Goodreads:

authorhollynewhouse

Join my Beta Team:

facebook dot com/groups/551305874954029/







Preface









THIS STORY IS a work of fiction that begins in the present. It involves a historical paranormal event that occurred in the fall of 1903. According to many newspaper accounts, this event put terror into the hearts of residents in the small town of Van Meter, Iowa. A town with a population at that time of approximately 407. This paranormal event included the 407 resident in 1903 being terrorized by a giant winged monster and a small version of it for the extent of five days.

Back then, it had been dubbed "The Van Meter Monster." The event faded into the archives of history as the residents of that time tried to forget that dark moment in an otherwise proud history. the question of what it was that residents really saw during those nights in 1903 is still unknown to this day, one hundred and eleven years later; just as the ever pressing question remains. Does the monster still reside within the abandoned coal mine on the property of the old Platt Fire Brick and Tile Company, as some current residents believe it does? No one knows for sure as no one really wants to dig out the abandoned coal mine to see for themselves. The mine had been boarded up in 1903 by the townsfolk. This incident was a black mark on the history of the town of Van Meter, Iowa. Even today there are those who still question what really happened all those years ago. Some current residents also believe that the town is haunted especially on the grounds of the old Fire Brick and Tile factory. Is it residents of the past guarding the entrance to the mine or does the Van Meter Monster still have a supernatural hold on that particular property of land, even now?

Other than general historical references to the paranormal event of 1903, general descriptions of buildings and landmarks, the characters, specific descriptions, and events in this book are entirely works of fiction created up in this author's mind.



This book is further dedicated to the residents of Van Meter, Iowa in 1903 and to their descendents. It is also dedicated to the current residents of Van Meter, Iowa who always welcome visitors with a smile and their generous hospitality.



Chapter One ~ Mariana's Journal









THIS IS GOING to be the most boring summer ever! I have to clean out this whole attic? It has over one hundred and twenty years of accumulated history and junk! I thought graduating from the Van Meter Community School District meant a summer of freedom, of laziness and relaxation. I should have known! Bethany Clayton thought to herself as pools of sweat and years of caked on grime covered her body.

Only four days before, she had graduated high school as valedictorian, being the highest grade point average in her class. She's decided to take the summer off and just relax or maybe spend some time in the town's history section at the public library a couple blocks away. Her dream was to become a historian or curator at a large museum filled with ancient history. She knew she should be happy being up in this huge attic at the top of her family home as she'd always loved being up there. this summer though, was unusually hot and there was no electricity in the attic.

She'd gone through one small corner of the attic as she decided what would go in the new town museum her parents are creating in the old abandoned building in town. It was said to have been built around 1900 as a hotel. Bethany was more than ready to call it a day as evening set in when she noticed one of the floor boards was quite loose. Curious to see if it had any treasures, she pulled out the old crow bar and pried up the board then used her flashlight to peer down into the vacant space. She was shocked by what she'd found. There sat two old leather wrapped packages that looked to be quite ancient. She pulled them out and planned to sneak them down to her bedroom since the light was fading fast.

Once in her room, Bethany, very carefully untied the old twine over what felt like a leathery hide of some sort. When she opened up the hide, she found a leather bound journal, an ancient one! She could hardly contain her excitement, especially since everyone in the house was gone for the night on a shopping trip to Des Moines. She opened the cover and saw yellow parchment paper with it's beautiful female penmanship and she knew it was a female's journal of some sort. The front page confirmed this. The life and trials of Mariana Stump......Summer of 1845-death.

"Holy moly! This belonged to my great-great-great-great Grandmother, one of the first pioneers to settle this area! Wow, what a find! I won't tell anyone about it until I've read it first. It is bound to be full of history!" Bethany exclaimed in her overwhelming excitement then laid the journal carefully aside and turned to the other leathery package. She opened it only to find that it is another ancient journal. This one though, was more recent than the first. The first page of the second one is also quite different in its inscription as if the last entry had been written first.







October 15, 1904



This journal belongs to my son Daniel and his descendents. This will be my last entry in this journal of mine. It has been my faithful friend for some time now. It was a gift from my mother along with Grandmother Mariana's Journal that she had saved all these years for me. Both were my Christmas presents my seventh year in 1899. Together, they make up a great portion of the town's meager beginnings or at least, my grandmother's does. Most of the Indians were moved out of Van Meter by the time I received this journal. I want it to go to Daniel someday, but for now, I have to hide it and hide it well. I just know in my bones that I'll never get another chance to write in here. I will allow my ghost to remain behind when I'm dead to tell my son where to find it and pray he keeps it well hidden. I know in my heart that he has the gift too, just like me. this book must remain hidden until it's safe to be found again as it contains a dark secret that has caused others to believe I am insane or possessed by the Devil himself. Who knows, maybe I am......

Clarice Clayton



Bethany Clayton wanted to read more, completely intrigued now, but wanted to do the right thing and offer them first to her grandpa Peter Clayton, since his dad, Daniel had died back in 2011 at the age of one hundred and ten years old. Having a very limited amount of patience, she hid the journals in her oversized bag and immediately drove toward the other side of town where her Grandfather lived. At the house, Bethany knocked on the door then entered to see her Grandfather sitting at his kitchen table.

"Bethany my girl, what brings you over to my side of town sweetheart? I thought you were busy cleaning out that old attic of my father's?" He joked with her seeing as how she was covered in grime.

"I have been as you well know Grandpa but I found something I think you should see!" Bethany exclaimed, unable to contain her excitement as she bounced up and down in place.

"Well then, by all means show me, my girl!" Peter smiles at his granddaughter. Her excitement was becoming contagious. That is, until she pulled out the journals of two lives lost too young due to hardships and the cruelty life has to offer. Bethany did not notice her grandpa's look of sadness at first. Not until she handed the journals to him, to which he handed right back to her.

"Grandpa, what's wrong? These are journals from our ancestors. Wouldn't you like to read them?" Bethany didn't understand why they caused her grandpa to look so pained.

"I have already read them, my girl, when I was around your age if not a bit younger. I found where my father had hidden them, never to again see the light of day. My father never wanted them to be found, at least of all, by me. Especially not the one his mother wrote before she left him at the court's order, for the poor farm/insane asylum. It was where the undesirables were sent and forgotten by their families. It's a dark part of our family's history and for the history of the town. After I read them, I confronted my father. He took them from me and hid them once again after he told me what had become of my poor grandmother."

"I did not mean to cause you any pain Grandpa." Bethany said as she scolded herself for being rash and insensitive. She loved history and genealogy, so such a find was a treasure to her. She didn't realize it would be painful to another.

"It's alright child. those journals have a way of being found especially, if you have the sight. they can only be found by one who does. You may keep them and read them yourself. Who knows, my grandmother may have led them to you in fact, I'm almost sure of it. A word of warning, Bethany, the stories in those journals are not all pretty tales, my girl. but they are indeed full of our family history and some of this town's beginnings and of the missing years that you won't find mention of anywhere else. I also want you to know that once opened, some doors can't be shut again. Furthermore, I ask that you let no one else in the family read them and when you are done, please hide them again or better yet, just burn them ok?" Peter knew by the look in his granddaughter's eyes that she will be reading the journals the first chance she gets. He hoped that she could handle the gift once the journals awakened it.

Bethany ran to her grandfather, hugged him tightly and promised not to let a soul see the journals and she would indeed be careful although, his warning only made her want to read them even more.

"Grandpa, what really happened to your grandma?"

"I can only tell you what my father told me. He was only three years old when she was taken away and twelve years old when she died. the courts signed an order to take grandmother Clarice away to the local poor farm/insane asylum as being insane and possessed by the Devil. She died nine years later when a session of electroshock therapy to restore her mind failed or malfunctioned. Apparently Dad's stepfather, John Clayton found out from a nurse that the doctor let it go on for too long and not only fried her brain but her nervous system as well. Dad was, as I said, only twelve years old at the time and he sat by her side, refusing to leave for forty eight hours after that therapy. his beautiful, intelligent, book smart mother lays in bed as an invalid in a catatonic state and dying a horrid death. She could not move or speak, only drool constantly and stare at the ceiling. On the morning of the third day, he couldn't stand to see her suffer anymore and suffocated her with her pillow. He said after the funeral at Clayton Cemetery, she came to him as a ghost and thanked him for what he did to her and she forgave him for making the hardest decision of her life. Dad once told me before he died, that her ghost still roams the grounds of that old abandoned asylum on the top floor. He died never knowing the full story behind his mother's catatonic state as he knew the doctor and nurses had lied to his stepdad but after they closed down, he gave up trying to avenge his mother. The doctor had died only five years after Grandma did from mysterious causes. Even with her forgiveness, he never forgave himself and it messed him up real bad." Peter explained to his granddaughter with great sadness.

"Dad was raised by mom's best friend and her husband as John Clayton died a few days after mom was taken away. Some saw it as a mysterious death and others say it was from a broken heart. Like I said, those journals represent a very dark part of our family's history and in the town's history and one best left alone to remain dead and buried." Peter finished saying all he was going to say on the matter.

Bethany did all she could to hold the tears back as she said goodbye to her Grandpa. She then drove out to Clayton Cemetery to find her great-great grandma's grave where she could properly mourn her, alone. she found it in the back with all of the oldest tombstones. She plopped down by the stone and let the tears flow, aware she was crying for an ancestor she never even knew. She suddenly felt an invisible hug that radiated peace and love through her body. It was strangely comforting and she didn't think to question it.

Bethany squared her shoulders, stood up and was determined to get at least half of the attic done so she could sit and read the journals in order along with her best friend and younger sister, Daphne. They both loved history and that there is no mention of 1903 or 1904 in their family archives or in the towns' either for that matter. This had not escaped Bethany's notice and at least she had a partial answer as to why, now.

**********

"How much longer is this going to take? this place is filthy and full of junk! I can't believe Mom and Dad volunteered us out to everyone in town, to clean their attics as well!" Daphne complained as she moved another box of things to keep for the museum pile for her parents to carry down.

"You know, if dad put some electricity up here, this would be the best bedroom ever! It's huge and there's so much space up here. Would you mind if I talk to Dad about it?"

Bethany laughed and told her sister to go right ahead. She'd be leaving for college in the fall. "Thank you, really, for helping me with this Daphne. I really appreciate it."

"No problem sis. I'm as curious as you are about what's in those journals and why Grandpa wanted to keep them hidden. It has to be more than great-great grandmother's tragedy and how she died."

"I guess we will find out, little sis. Let's finish up this attic." Bethany said as the girls continued to work on cleaning out the last half of the attic the next day. By nightfall they were finally done, as their father carried out the last box of things to take to the museum after he promised to rig up some electricity in the attic and helped Daphne move her belongings up there after the girls had given it a good cleaning with a rag.
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