The Gift of Light: (Revised) (The Gifts Book 1)

BOOK: The Gift of Light: (Revised) (The Gifts Book 1)
7.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub







Jen Gentry




Copyright © Jen Gentry 2012

All rights reserved. This book or parts

thereof may not be reproduced

in any form without written

permission from the author


Visit Jen’s website at


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places,

and incidents either are a product of the author’s

imagination or are used fictitiously, and any

resemblance to actual persons, living or dead,

business establishments, events or

locals is entirely coincidental

Editor, Gayle Farmer

Printed in the United States of America














I dedicate this book to my mother, Virginia

Turner, who always believed in me no matter how

badly I behaved and to my lovely granddaughter,

Kimberlee Gentry, may you both smile down at me

from heaven above. I wrote this poem for you both

The Other Side of the Sky

Looking up into the night sky

As stars twinkle and moon shines

Are you looking from above on the other side?

Can you see my tears

as down my cheeks they slide?























































































     Harold Bell strained his ears to hear the state child welfare’s social worker talking to his foster mother. The boy, only nine, sat on the floor in a narrow dark hallway outside his foster parent’s immaculate living room, his four-year-old baby sister on his lap.

      Muffled though the voices were, Harold could make out the words. “I’ve searched everywhere, Phyllis. No one will adopt them together. There’s nothing else to be done. I have a family who wants to adopt the boy, but they don’t feel they can take the girl, not with her disabilities. At least one them has a chance to have a stable home with a good family. I’m afraid the girl will have to be institutionalized.

     They’ve already been in the system for two years. We’ve no other choice; they’ll have to be separated.”

     Harold didn’t even try to listen to his foster mother’s response as tears began to stream down his face. For once he was glad his sister was deaf and mute. She had no idea that soon they’d be separated, maybe forever.

     “Dear God, if you’re there, please, please don’t let Gemma get taken away from me. I swear I’ll be good and always protect and care for her.” Harold whispered a prayer as he cried.

     A beautiful cherub angel appeared at Harold’s side. The angel placed a hand on his shoulder to comfort him, and whispered into Gemma’s deaf ears.

     “I know you can see and hear me little one. Comfort your brother. He cannot see me as you do. The Lord has heard his prayers and plans are in the making now to keep you two together. I am Staniel, and I am going to stay with you and your brother to help you.”

     Gemma, who’d never heard a single spoken word in her life, understood the angel perfectly. She already knew that she could see things that her brother could not. She smiled up at Harold and wiped away his tears.

     Later that evening, as both children slept, Staniel met with his superior on the roof of the foster home. They were undetected by human eyes.

     “The girl has the gift, Commander. I will help her learn to use it. Do we have a way for both children to stay together?” He was hopeful as he addressed his superior.

     “Yes, the Lord has answered the boy’s prayers. They will stay together.” The much larger angel spread his wings as he got ready to leave. Staniel hurried to ask another question. “What of the girl and her abilities, Commander?”

     “She will be the guide the Lord uses to instruct the one who is to come.” The departing angel lifted himself from the roof.

     Staniel knew it would be many more years on earth before he would meet the one who was to come.

     Until then he would watch over Gemma and her brother. He pondered over this as his commander streaked away at the speed of light.














































Chapter One


For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but

against principalities, against powers, against the

rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual

wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:12

King James Version






     Emily Bell stretched out her thin legs and yawned. She’d been riding in the car for several hours now, and couldn’t wait to be free of the woman who’d been assigned to take her to Aunt Gemma’s. This journey seemed longer to the thirteen-year-old than ever before. The woman hardly spoke more than a handful of words to her since they’d set out from Queens earlier that morning.

     That was just fine with Emily. She didn’t want to talk to anyone, anyway. Not since her father had passed away nearly two weeks ago. Heaving a sigh, she thought of her father now. His death left a gaping hole inside of her and made her feel like she’d been sucked into the black darkness of it.

     Her dad drove her to East Hampton every summer, back as far as she could remember. The trip, always an adventure that she looked forward to with glee, brought her great joy. She would stick her head out the window, loving the feel of the dappled sunlight hitting her face as it shone through the dense foliage of the heavily wooded area.

     Breathing in the salty tang of the air as they drew close to the ocean enhanced her enjoyment at being away from the city.

     Now, in the dead of winter, the trees stood naked and the chilly frost in the air did not allow her to roll the window down, only adding to the coldness inside of her. Finally, the car rounded the final curve that led into Hook Pond. Emily spotted Perry House in the distance. She saw the round spire at the top of the widow’s walk gracing the roof of the main house on the estate, just above the tree line. The sight of it always filled her with giddy anticipation just like

Christmas morning. She wondered if she would ever feel that way again.

     “You have to go behind the garage to the end of the drive. Emily pointed the way to the social worker as they pulled into the crushed-shell driveway of Perry House.

     The older woman let out a low whistle at the French villa-styled mansion. “Wow.”

     Emily didn’t respond to the woman’s awe filled statement as she took in the estate. She’d spent all of her summers here, and it felt like she’d come home at last. A small smile lit up her delicate face.

     The entire estate consisted of several buildings including the main house. All were white washed and trimmed with antique blue shutters. This included the small cottage set at the end of a narrow path behind the large detached garage. Standing in the woods by itself, the cottage was Emily’s final destination.

      When the car stopped, she jumped out and ran the whole way down the path. Tears streamed down her face as she burst through the door and straight into her Aunt Gemma’s familiar embrace. Finally, she was in the capable hands of someone she loved and trusted.

      Outside in the woods, Staniel, the cherub, watched the social worker unloading Emily’s luggage from the trunk of the car. He felt the larger angel behind him.

     “The child is here and safe at last.” His deep soothing voice filled Staniel with peace.

     “Yes, she is here at last. I will watch over her now.” Staniel pulled himself to his full height and spanned his wings as a sign of protectiveness.

     “The girl will need all of us as our Lord has plans for her,” the larger angel commented.

     “Yes, she will need all of us. The battle lines have already been drawn.”

     Staniel felt the strong rush of wings as the great Archangel Michael left the woods and

disappeared into the great blue sky. He sent a silent plea to the Holy Spirit that the prayer coverage would be there when they all needed it the most.

     In the days following her arrival at the cottage, Emily found she could grieve for her father in the privacy and solitude that she did not know she’d craved. Her father had been her sole parent since her mother had left them before Emily’s first birthday. He had raised her alone except for Aunt Gemma, who kept her in the summer.

     Her daddy, Harold Bell, had been no stranger to raising a girl. He’d raised his baby sister from the day she was born.

     Harold and Gemma lived in foster care after their mother died of a drug overdose. He was seven, she was two when she passed away and neither of them had a father to speak of. Gemma, born deaf, made adoption for the two of them difficult. After years of shuffling from one foster home to another, the state finally placed both of them in a Catholic orphanage.

     Harold grew very protective of his little sister over the years. The nuns were kind, but they were a poor substitute for a real family. Big on education, they provided schooling for the both children.

     Gemma learned to use sign language and she taught Harold. When he graduated high school, the nuns helped him get an apprenticeship in plumbing. For Gemma, they found a position with a family who needed a housekeeper who knew sign language.

     Everyone who knew Gemma sensed something special about her. A light of goodness flowed from her. Harold alone knew her real secret, and he had warned her always to keep quiet about her special abilities lest she be labeled crazy and sent away. Gemma and Harold kept the secret from everyone, including Emily.

     Today, as Emily wandered about the cottage, she felt better. The heaviness in her heart began to lift. Standing in front of the old brick fireplace, she paused to look at the painting above it. Aunt Gemma painted it herself.

     It was Emily’s favorite. The angel in the painting was a small cherub with blond curly hair. His wings, trimmed in gold, made him look as if he reflected a bright light from his round, childlike features. A small brass plaque in the bottom center of the frame stated simply Staniel. Emily always felt warm and safe whenever she looked at it.

     That warmth spread through her now as Staniel hovered above her with his wings spread out casting light all around her. Emily did not see the  light or the angel, but her aunt, who sat silent in her favorite rocking chair next to the fireplace, did.

      Aunt Gemma insisted that Emily start school on the first Monday after she arrived. Emily felt nervous and did not want to go, but her aunt brooked no argument. As she stood on the front steps of J.B. Dean Junior High School, she took in the scene. The large building was new and modern.

     Perfectly manicured grounds, dotted with huge elm trees, surrounded the entire campus. A small play area graced the left side of the lawn.

     “Fancy, shamancy,” Emily said to herself.

     She couldn’t help thinking that this was where all the snobby richies went to school. Not that her old school in Queens didn’t have its share snobby kids. This just took it to a whole new level. Emily hoped her faded jeans and sequined tee shirt would help her fit in.

     Convincing her aunt she could start school on her own had been a challenge, but this one small victory her aunt conceded. It had been kind of cool catching a ride to school with Liam, Mr. Perry’s do-it-all guy. Liam was always kind to her in a big brother sort of way. He was tall and sandy headed with a calm strength that made him seem older, although he was only in his early twenties.

     Emily wished with all her soul that he would come back in Mr. Perry’s shiny silver Porsche and take her back home, but that was not happening. With her knees knocking and palms sweating, Emily made her way to the school office.

     An hour later, after handing over her shot record and last report card, Mr. Finn, the principal, escorted her to Mrs. Montgomery’s room. He introduced Emily to the rest of the class and then left. Emily’s knees knocked together.

     “Just take the seat in the back next to Marta, dear.” Mrs. Montgomery pointed to a small girl with long, straight brown hair and brown eyes to match. It was then that Emily realized that all the kids were dressed alike in tan khaki pants and maroon polo shirts with a gold lion’s head crest on the left shoulder.

     A boy to her right caught her eye as she passed his desk in the narrow aisle. He had glorious golden blond hair and beautiful features, but his eyes were dark, almost black. Emily felt a shiver run down her back as those eyes looked her up and down. A crooked smile flashed across the boy’s face, making Emily cringe. She suddenly felt dirty, like she hadn’t bathed in a month and clutching her backpack to her chest, she rushed past the boy’s desk, quickly sliding into her assigned seat in the back of the room. The girl, Marta, reached over and put a small hand on top of Emily’s.

     “Stop shaking,” she whispered in her ear.

     “I’m new here too. You’ll be fine, just stick with me.”

      Emily turned to look at Marta and found herself lost in a sweet face with soft brown eyes. Her nerves calmed instantly. Two kindred spirits clicked together with one shared look. Both girls knew they’d just found a new BFF.

     The rest of the morning passed in a blur. Marta led Emily to the noisy cafeteria after the lunch bell rang. Soon the two sat across from one another at a long table.

     “You’re really pretty.” Marta spoke between bites of her tossed salad.

     Emily’s fork stopped halfway between her plate of grilled chicken and her mouth. She gave Marta a funny look. Only her father had ever told her she was pretty. Emily never gave it much thought. Sure, she wanted to be pretty, she just never thought of herself that way.

BOOK: The Gift of Light: (Revised) (The Gifts Book 1)
7.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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