This book is a departure for me, a Young Adult, Paranormal story about a physically challenged teenager named Jeff Hayden. Jeff has troubled dreams of his missing scientist father, very powerful and very realistic dreams. After experiencing them a number of times, he realizes he is actually seeing his father, and learns he is alive and being held prisoner in a secret location. He also learns that his "dreams" have nothing to do with sleep. They are in fact trips through a psychic energy network called The Realm, a place of abstraction and mystery used by other travelers like himself. This out-of-body experience allows Jeff to move from one location to another, and as such, it alters his life dramatically by freeing him from the confines of his wheelchair. Although liberating, traveling presents challenges Jeff doesn't foresee. The Realm, it turns out, holds secrets, and offers an environment as harsh and unforgiving as any in the physical world.
Following is an excerpt from DREAM TRAVELER. Seeing his friends being assaulted outside his specially modified van, Jeff is frustrated by his inability to help them. It is at this point that something happens, and he realizes fully his extraordinary gift of psychic travel:
Inside the van, Jeff was enraged by what he saw. His physical limitation only added to his anger. He groped for the latches securing his chair to the floor. If he could get free, get himself out of the van, he might be able to do something. Dwight and Klein couldn’t do it alone. He had to help them, somehow. He had to get out there.
He heard the smacks of fist against bone. The thuds of a boot against back and side. Both boys were taking a cruel beating. Both could end up in the hospital…or worse. Reese kept trying to intervene, but was batted away. It was too much. He couldn’t stand it, couldn’t sit there useless, doing nothing, letting his friends pay for his stupid idea to drive over there. It was his fault. They should never have come. He should have known better. And for what? To satisfy his curiosity? To see how Reese lived? Why? What was it about Reese Perry? Why should he care? Because of him, Dwight and Klein were getting stomped on. Because of him….
And then quite unexpectedly, something shifted his perspective. Everything looked different. Energy surged through him. Compulsion gripped him. A need so strong, so overwhelming, he knew there would be nothing to stop it. It possessed him, something he felt had been there all along, uncovered, exposed, a veil lifting from a secret strength that lay hidden inside. There was a sensation of release, of buoyancy… an exhilaration…and then he saw himself in the chair, his face a mask of anger and indignation, a boy not yet a man, trying to be more than he could physically be. He felt rage, frustration…and then it was gone, left behind with the boy in the chair. The van was below him now, and he knew he was floating, a consciousness apart from who he was in the wheelchair. He was…in two places at once…and now he saw his friends on the ground, writhing under the blows of their attackers - bloodied, bruised, faces twisted in pain. Jeff watched…composed…still angry, but now resolved. Something in him made him realize this couldn’t continue.
It happened fast - so fast Jeff was hardly aware of it. And no one saw it coming. Not Reese, and certainly not the boys or their attackers. There was no warning, no sign that anything was about to change. And all anyone knew was that Quint was suddenly on the ground, unable to move, shock on his face, groaning in pain and fear. The pirate rushed to help, and went down too. They both lay prostrate, calling for help, looking around in panic for whatever it was that pinned them down. One minute they were dominating forces; the next, useless heaps on the ground.
Dwight and Klein took advantage of the situation, and hobbled back to the van. Dwight cranked-up the engine, backed up quickly and turned around. In five minutes they were racing down the narrow road for the main highway.
DREAM TRAVELER - Coming October 5, 2012