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After his mother’s car accident, Mrs. Abel had driven Samuel to the hospital and stayed until Aunt Janis and Uncle Jack arrived. “Don’t worry,” is all she would say to him. “You must have faith.”
But when Samuel saw the doctors and nurses rush to the Critical Care unit where they had hidden his mother, he worried anyway. He had paced the long hospital hall from end to end while Mrs. Abel read one magazine after another.
At nightfall, Dr. Reed, a frail middle-aged man wearing blue medical garb, emerged through the double doors marked Authorized Personnel Only. With a determined gait, he walked straight to Samuel. Reeking of antiseptic, he asked, “Are your aunt and uncle here yet?” When Samuel shook his head, the doctor stiffened then announced, “Your mother is still in serious condition. We’re doing what we can.” Then, without waiting, he turned and walked back through the double doors as if his job were done.
“What did he mean?” Samuel asked Mrs. Abel.
But instead of explaining, she said his mother was in God’s hands. Then she promised Uncle Jack and Aunt Janis would be with him soon.
Samuel hoped, prayed, and paced. He put all his trust in God to heal his mother.
As the full moon rose high into the night sky, Mrs. Abel fell asleep on the waiting room couch. She was still sleeping when the doctor returned.
“I’m sorry,” Dr. Reed announced. “Your mother passed away.”
With one shove, Samuel slammed the wire magazine stand to the floor, sending the bound pages sliding across the linoleum like racing sleds. “NO!”
He hated the drunk driver who had slammed into his mother’s car and he hated the doctors and nurses who couldn’t heal her. He was especially angry with God for taking her, but the fury that burned most seared straight through his own heart. Why hadn’t his prayers been strong enough to save her?
A fiery pain burned deep inside him, so clear and sharp it almost drove out his sorrow. Raging against faith, Samuel looked up and shouted, “You can’t take my mom!” But when no reply came, he slammed one foot and then the other against the floor. He envisioned cities and people beneath his soles. Bad people. Monsters. He would murder them all as payment for taking his mother. But as he stomped, the truth slowly settled. He was powerless to do anything at all that mattered. Feeling his strength drain, Samuel dropped to his knees, sobbing. His mother was dead.
Karen (K.S.) Jones grew up in California, but now lives in the beautiful Texas Hill Country northwest of San Antonio with her husband, Richard, and their dogs Jack Black, Libby Loo, and Red Bleu. Black Lightning is her first middle-grade novel. She credits her love of fantasy to the early influences of authors J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. Her award-winning first novel, Shadow of the Hawk, a Young Adult Historical, released in 2015.