It’s the 21st Century, but one rancher in Lamp Creek Valley is being harassed by the dark specter of a dead relative, and ancient beliefs that seem to threaten the environment. He is compelled to face his past in order to quell the mystical chaos that is affecting three families–including his own.
In the Lamp Creek Valley, where Eddie CloudRunner has lived for most of his forty-five years, environmental problems seem to increase in proportion to odd occurrences in his life. He is hounded by an apparition and suffers disturbing dreams–wake and sleep. At the same time, valley crops are failing, livestock is dying and people are becoming ill.
Eddie can’t avoid involvement when local businessman, Pete Waldham, alleges that the Waldham family is suffering from an Indian curse brought on by Pete’s and two other men’s illegal hunting in the myth-ridden Spirit Canyon. That happened twenty-eight years ago, and Eddie and his father were the only witnesses. The lives and families of the other two hunters have already been devastated in quirky or violent ways. Pete insists the curse is to blame, and appeals to Eddie to help him save his family.
Eddie dismisses Pete as paranoid and proceeds about his regular life, but odd things happen around him for which he has explainable foreshadowing. First, Pete Waldham mysteriously falls ill at a rodeo, and recovers fully when Eddie is present. Then a few weeks later, Eddie experiences an odd reaction to hearing the name Beth Hardemann, and soon learns she is Pete Waldham’s daughter come West to see her father. An artist, Beth is plagued by unexplained spells of blindness. Eddie’s friend Jess Stanton, who has returned to the valley to investigate the environmental problems becomes romantically involved with Beth. Eddie recognizes this could have far-reaching repercussions if the Spirit Canyon legend is true: His family, his friends, his new true love, Naomi, might all be in jeopardy.
Eddie’s spiritual and emotional challenges escalate when he meets orphan Martin Bradley–the only grandchild of one of the hunters. He takes the boy in before a blizzard. Desperate for answers, Eddie visits his parents to learn more about a possible curse. During the visit, he has a confrontation with the apparition that has been dogging him–a spirit/relative.
Beth soon insists the legend and curse on the Waldham family is responsible for the problems in the valley, her personal ailment, and the horrifying behavior of her half-brother. Jess wants to dispel her fears by finding the answers for the environmental situation. He determines that illegal dumping of industrial toxins have polluted wells.
When Jess, Beth and Martin are all are put in dangerous situations, Eddie is certain the solution is in Spirit Canyon. He goes there to confront supernatural creatures and attains an understanding beyond what he expected.
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Author Kae Cheatham has published more than a dozen books of fiction and nonfiction. Her juveniles’ biography, of American Indian activist Dennis Banks, was a SPUR Award Finalist. Poetry and articles have appeared in many national publications. she has edited for publishing houses and magazines, and worked as a writer/photographer stringer for a rodeo magazine. Her young-reader book, Spotted Flower and the Ponokomita is in the second printing of the second edition and is the basis for her Humanities Montana (HM) presentation “Before the Horse.” She has been part of the HM Speakers Bureau since 2004.
Along with writing and giving presentations, Kae freelances as an editor, layout and cover designer for print and electronic books through her company Get It Together Productions.