Night Light (Restoration Series #2)

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9780310269212: Night Light (Restoration Series #2)
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Technology is a thing of the past as a power outage covers the globe. One family struggles to do what’s right when so much is going wrong. #1 Bestselling suspense author Terri Blackstock weaves a masterful what-if series in which global catastrophe reveals the darkness in human hearts―and lights the way to restoration for a self-centered world. An era unlike any in modern civilization is descending without lights, electronics, running water, or automobiles. As a global blackout lengthens into months, the neighbors of Oak Hollow grapple with a chilling realization: the power may never return. Survival has become a lifestyle. When two young thieves break into the Brannings’ home and clean out the food in their pantry, Jeff Branning tracks them to a filthy apartment and discovers a family of children living alone, stealing to stay alive. Where is their mother? The search for answers uncovers a trail of desperation and murder . . . and for the Brannings, a powerful new purpose that can transform their entire community―and above all, themselves.

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About the Author:

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of InterventionVicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com Facebook: tblackstock Twitter: @terriblackstock

 

 

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Night Light Copyright 2006 by Terri Blackstock This title is also available as a Zondervan audio product. Visit www.zondervan.com/audiopages for more information. Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Blackstock, Terri. Night light / Terri Blackstock. p. cm. --- (A restoration novel ; bk. 2) ISBN-13: 978-0-310-25768-4 ISBN-10: 0-310-25768-9 1. Regression (Civilization) --- Fiction. I. Title. PS3552.L34285N54 2006 813'.54 --- dc22 2006007197 All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. The Scripture quotation which is on page 141 is from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means --- electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other --- except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Interior design by Beth Shagene Printed in the United States of America 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 * 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Prologue Civilization as we know it ended on May 24, and no one knows why. Some mysterious force has caused all electronics on the Earth to fail. Plumbing doesn't work because the water treatment plants run on electricity. Trucks and trains don't run, so stores run out of food. Generators no longer work. In this major meltdown of life, people are left stranded where they are, with no transportation, no power, no communication. People are left with a choice: will they hoard what they have until it all runs out, or will they share with those around them who are in need? The Brannings are a Christian family who pride themselves on their righteousness. But in the wake of this disaster, they respond like everyone else at first: they hole up at home, hoarding their food, paranoid that interacting with others will force them to share the few provisions they have. The children are angry that their lives have been disrupted. They're bored without visual and audio entertainment. Deni, the twenty-two-year-old, explodes at the idea that she won't be able to get across country to start her new job on time. But word is slowly making its way to them that the power outage is far-reaching. After a couple of days waiting for this to pass, Doug reluctantly concludes that this may not be temporary. He breaks down before God, realizing that he's not equipped to function without technology. How will he support his family? How will he provide food? How will they survive? Time passes --- and the Brannings, along with all of their neighbors, try to learn to survive with what they have. Everyone works hard just to eat. Everyone is on edge. The Brannings start a church in their home. Doug, who's been a stockbroker for twenty years and has never even taught a Sunday school class, suddenly becomes the preacher. Oak Hollow, the upper middle-class neighborhood where the Brannings live, where neighbors barely know each other, gradually becomes a close-knit, cooperative, and supportive community. But not without hardship. There is, in fact, a near-total breakdown of society. There are killings, robberies --- and a family's most important possessions become their firearms. Tension grows between Deni Branning and her parents until she runs away to join her fiance --- and instead finds herself in the clutches of a psychopath. Finding food and clean water continues to be a daily struggle. Government barely functions, and although rumors abound, information is hard to come by. And still the power outage continues, without explanation . . . Stealing came easy today. Most days, breaking and entering was harder than this for the boys, requiring hours of watching and waiting for families to leave their homes so the two of them could slip in and out, arms full of loot, without being noticed. At nine and seven, Aaron and Joey Gatlin knew how to blend in. They had a system. They would case the ritzy neighborhoods while bouncing a basketball or tossing a Frisbee back and forth, looking like any other kids out playing on a summer day. No threat to anyone. The massive power outage that had set technology back over a hundred years, knocking out everything from cars to electricity, had left millions hungry and desperate. But not Aaron's family. He made sure his brothers and sister had something to eat every day. Some of those who lived in this neighborhood called Oak Hollow had begun plowing up their front yards, and vegetables were growing there instead of grass. Word around town was that they were digging a well, which meant they would have fresh water soon. The lake in the middle of the neighborhood already made them rich, since they didn't have to walk far to get water, and most of them had fancy barbecue pits in the backyard where they could boil the lake water to sterilize it. 'The Br-an-nings.' Joey, Aaron's seven-year-old brother, sounded out the name on the mailbox. 'They have a big family --- they were all working out here in their garden yesterday. Bet they got a lot of food.' Aaron remembered seeing them. 'Nobody around today. They're all at the lake, just like the message board said.' The big wooden message boards were a major source of information in every neighborhood around town, since there weren't any newspapers and people couldn't talk on the phone. According to the boards, Oak Hollow was having some kind of big-deal meeting. The mayor was coming to tell people about something. Most of the neighborhood would be there. There would be bicycle patrols up and down the streets during the meeting, but it was easy for the boys to work around them. If they'd had more boxes and a way to carry them all off quickly, they could have swept a dozen houses clean in Oak Hollow today. As it was, they'd hidden their empty boxes in the woods surrounding the neighborhood. They would hit one house, fill the boxes to the brim, then roll their loot home in their rusty wagon. Then they would come back and do the same with the next house, and the next. The problem was that few of the homes had much of what they wanted, so it took a lot of hits to gather enough to call it a day. The Brannings' house had two stories, with a double front door and a big porch with white wicker rockers and a cushioned swing. It was the kind of house Aaron's mother used to dream about on her good days. She would cut pictures out of magazines and tack them to the walls --- glossy-paged shots of colorful rooms with soft, clean furniture and shiny floors. As if she had a chance of ever owning such a place. There was no one around. The street was quiet. Aaron couldn't have timed things better. He hoped they'd left their windows open, inviting in whatever breeze there was in the sweltering month of August, as many families did since air-conditioning became a thing of the past. He and Joey had easily gotten into most of the houses they'd hit today and found treasures they hadn't expected. This morning, he'd even managed to find nearly new tennis shoes for Sarah and Luke, who'd been barefoot since they'd outgrown their own. His three-year-old sister had stepped on broken glass last month, and it had been a mess trying to get it healed. Now that it was, he didn't want to let her play outside till she had shoes. Luke, his five-year-old brother, was wearing an old pair that Aaron and Joey had both

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