|Book Series||Left Behind: The Kids|
|Author||Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins|
|Release Date||September 1999|
|Preceded By||Facing the Future|
|Followed By||The Underground (book)|
Synopsis retrieved from back of the book.
A new challenge faces Judd Thompson Jr., Vicki Byrne, Ryan Daley, and Lionel Washington. They must take their newfound faith to the classrooms of Global Community Middle School and Nicolae Carpathia High School.
The first chapter begins with Judd Thompson Jr. being stunned. The reason why he is stunned is because Vicki Byrne is gone. Judd demands to know where she is. Lionel Washington and Ryan Daley look up from their spots before the television. Ryan shrugs and says there is a note by the phone. Judd grabs the note and reads that Vicki is hitching to Michigan to see Bub and that she will be back soon. Judd slaps the note on his thigh and catches himself before he swears. What was Judd so mad about? This was his fault. Vicki had asked Judd to drive her to see her brother Eddie's friend Beryl Gaylor. Judd refused, telling her he felt responsible for Lionel and Ryan and had better stay with them. Vicki asked him to let them ride along. Judd declines, telling her the roads are just starting to reopen. He says they don't really know where they're going. Judd says there are rumors school is going to open again, and he would hate to be out of state if that happened. Vicki then asks Judd why he is going back to school and he says because they have to. Vicki then tells him if that if they don't show up to school, the authorities will figure that they disappeared with thousands of others. Vicki then tells them they have only seven years to live, and that it seems pointless to spend half of that time in school trying to prepare for a future that didn't exist. Judd was a junior, but Vicki was only a freshman. School did seem like a waste of time, but Judd didn't know about what he thought about breaking the law by refusing to go. Judd assumes that he and Vicki would go back to Prospect High School, while Lionel and Ryan would go back to Lincoln Junior High School. Judd underestimated how desperate Vicki was to find Bub. She never met Bub. She only had seen pictures of Bub and talked to him on the phone on the morning of the Rapture. Bub had confirmed to Vicki that Eddie had disappeared. Vicki said she was having trouble reaching Bub by phone and that she wants to go find him. Judd thought it was a bad idea and said it was. Judd admits that he misses Vicki. The reason why that of the other three kids, it is easier for Judd to talk to Vicki. Judd is worried about her. Judd liked having Vicki around because she handled arguments between Lionel and Ryan. Judd admits that suddenly worrying about other kids in his home seemed too bizarre. Meanwhile, Vicki worries that she made a mistake when she catches the attention of the driver of an eighteen-wheeler. She was hoping that a family, couple, or woman would give her a ride. But when she approaches the passenger door, she is horrified to see that two men are in the truck. The passenger of the truck says Vicki can sit right between the two of them. The driver then says that they would take a lady like her anywhere she wants to go. Vicki was wondering how far it is to Mount Prospect. She knows there is no way she'd ride with these two. The passenger said she knows well where it is and that she had her thumb out. The passenger then asks where to. Vicki then says nowhere. Vicki then begins to step back down. Vicki drops to the ground and tries to run away. The passenger chases after Vicki while she silently criticizes herself for being so stupid. The passenger is gaining on Vicki when another truck rolls up the side of the road, skidding up dust. Vicki found herself next to the passenger door of that vehicle as it flew open. Vicki is relieved to find out the driver of the second vehicle is alone and older, presumably in his sixties. The man tells Vicki she ought to be careful, hitchhiking by herself these days. The passenger that was chasing Vicki heads back to his own truck. Vicki leaps aboard into the second truck. The old trucker asks where she is going and she says she is going to Michigan. Vicki notices a cross dangling from the CB radio mounted above the dashboard. The man responds by saying he can get her as far as Michigan City, Indiana. The man asks her how that would be and Vicki says its an answer to prayer. The man pulls back onto the road and manages to get it in the right lane. Deacon then asks Vicki if she said that just to get next to him because she saw his crucifix, or if she really is a woman of prayer. Vicki then says she is now. The man introduces himself as Deacon. He says he is a little zealous. Deacon asks Vicki if she is a believer and she says she is. Vicki tells Deacon her whole history before he reaches the state line. Static is heard on the radio and Deacon tells Vicki that he liked to preach over the citizens' band radio. Numerous drivers were scared and curious since the vanishings. Deacon then starts telling Vicki his story. He says his mother told him about her beliefs every day of her life. Deacon blamed God because his mother married the wrong man. Deacon hated his father for the way he treated he and his mother until the day he died. Deacon always thought she deserved better than a man like that. Deacon quit going to church fifty years prior and never went back. Despite that, Deacon's mother continued sending verses, prayers, and letters until her death two years prior. Deacon almost became a Christian at her funeral, but he thought he would have too much apologizing to do, given the fact that he has three former wives. His last wife became a Christian about six months after she ended her relationship with Deacon. She wanted to come back and straighten out Deacon's life, but he didn't want any part of it. When the disappearances occurred, Deacon found Janice's waitress clothes, and that made him become a believer. Vicki says the disappearances also motivated her to become a believer. It caused her to quit drinking and smoking too. Deacon laughs because Vicki doesn't strike her as the type to be living the hard life. Vicki replies by telling him he should have seen her a few weeks ago. Vicki eventually tells Deacon of her plan to find Bub. Deacon tells Vicki that he wants to make sure she catches a ride with somebody he knows and trusts. Vicki thanks him. Meanwhile, Judd is at his house, wishing that Vicki had told him she was going with or without him. He would have at least made her promise to call him once in a while so he'd know she was all right. Judd wonders how he'll get word to Vicki about school. Judd noticed that loudspeakers were blaring Friday night, informing students to tune in certain radio and TV emergency-broadcast stations. These broadcasts would reveal details about school. Lionel and Ryan start arguing and Judd tells them both to knock it off. Lionel expresses disgust about the news that school is going to be re-opening. Lionel and Ryan both confirm that they go to Lincoln Junior High School and Lionel expresses gratitude that he and Ryan are not in the same classes. Judd silences them as the names of the junior high school scrolled past. The three boys find out that the name of Lincoln Junior High School has been changed to Global Community Middle School. Lionel apparently flinches because he liked going to school named after a great president. The phone rings and Ryan says he'll get it. Judd watches as now the high schools are being listed. But the station did more than just list the openings. Film footage of the changing of the sign of Prospect High was shown on the station. Ryan says the phone is for Judd. But Judd is too busy focused on the television as he watches the sign of Prospect High be changed to Nicolae Carpathia High School. The sports mascot would also be changed from the Knights to the Doves. Ryan whines and says that Bruce wants to speak to him on the phone.
The second chapter begins with Bruce Barnes asking if Judd has been watching the news. Judd that he has been watching it, unfortunately. Bruce asks him if he understands what's going on. Judd rhetorically asks him what is to understand and that school starts a week from tomorrow at Nicolae Carpathia High. Bruce laughs, thinking Judd is being sarcastic, and says it may come to that. Judd tells him he was serious and informs him of the school announcements. Bruce says he is not surprised that the name of Lincoln has been changed to Global Community as it is going to happen everywhere with the emphasis on a one-world government. Bruce then says that they'll want to remove nationalism and make everything planet orientated. Bruce then expresses amazement that schools are already being named after Carpathia. Judd says he thought Bruce was calling to make sure he knew school was back on. Bruce says no, that Judd caught that before he did. Bruce says he just finished a meeting with the adult core group he told Judd about, also known as the Tribulation Force. Judd asks if it is the pilot and his daughter. Bruce replies saying that the magazine writer is also a member. Bruce then says they had not heard the big international news that day, and Bruce wanted to make sure Judd heard it. Bruce says he has to prepare his Sunday sermons tomorrow morning, but he wondered if the four kids would come to his office early so they could talk about it. Judd says three of them can and asks what's the news. Bruce then says Carpathia is making himself unavailable for several days while he and his top people work on what he refers to as an 'understanding' between the global community and Israel, and a special arrangement between the UN and the United States. Judd then asks what that means. Bruce says that's what he would like to talk about to the Kids Tribulation Force. Judd then asks to just call it the Young Tribulation Force. Bruce says sure and then asks who can't make it. Judd then tells Bruce where Vicki is and is met with silence on the phone. Bruce finally says this is not going to work. Judd feels his neck flush and asks what's not going to work. Bruce then replies with him being in charge of these kids. Bruce then starts by saying if he can't control these kids, consequences might occur. Judd interrupts by blurting that controlling them is not his job. All he did was give them a place to stay. Judd then says he isn't their parent. Judd also says he can't tell them what to do. Bruce then tells Judd to listen to him. Bruce then says he feels responsible for the Young Tribulation Force too. This is because he knows them and knows where they are. Bruce says they would never get away with living along at their ages if the world wasn't in the middle of a crisis. Bruce says if the police wasn't so busy, they'd never stand for this. Bruce says he ought to call them and have them watch for Vicki, and if they don't have the manpower, he should be out looking for her himself. Bruce then asks, "Where she is headed?" Judd says he is not sure. Judd then says that Bruce isn't responsible for the Young Tribulation Force. He says they don't answer to him, and they don't have to do what he says. Judd mockingly then asks what Bruce is going to do. Judd then rhetorically asks, "Tell on us? What kind of friend is that?". Judd couldn't believe that he is talking that way to a man that he admired and respected as much as he did Bruce Barnes, as the latter led all four kids to God and treated all four of the kids with respect. But Judd didn't like to be lectured or told what to do. Judd senses he has hurt Bruce, who is silent on the phone again. Bruce finally says that he would like to think he's their pastor. Judd feels guilty when he hears the emotion in Bruce's voice. Judd realizes that he had broken Bruce's heart, and he should apologize to the latter. Judd didn't have much experience with that, but he knew he would have to get around to it sometime soon. Bruce then asks Judd and the other YTF members to come early the following morning so he can tell them his interpretation on what is currently happening. Judd agrees, trying to sound encouraging and apologetic. Judd then asks Bruce how early. Bruce tells Judd to come as early as eight because the former has sermon preparation. Judd then says they'll be there, all of them who are there anyway. Bruce then asks Judd if he doesn't mind telling the younger ones what to do, and Judd realizes he had been caught in his own weak logic. Meanwhile, Vicki is with Deacon as the latter looks at his watch. She is aware that they had been getting puzzled stares from other truckers as they ate at the counter in the truck stop. Deacon insists on paying, although Vicki told him she had borrowed an abundance of money from Judd.
Original Members of The Young Tribulation Force:
Other Members of The Young Tribulation Force:
- Bruce Barnes
- Greg Handlesman (first appearance, posing as a non-believer)
- Deacon (only appearance)
- Rayford Steele
- Chloe Steele
- Laverne Jenness (first appearance)
- Beryl "Bub" Gaylor (confirmed death)
- Joyce (first appearance)
- Shelly Malloy
- Mr. Shellenberger (first appearance)
- Mrs. Waltonen (first appearance)
- Miss June (only appearance)
- Claud (only appearance)
- Unnamed driver (only appearance)
- Unnamed passenger (only appearance)
- Unnamed male student (only appearance)
- "Fat Fox" (only appearance)
- Prospect High School becomes Nicolae Carpathia High School.
- Lincoln Junior High School becomes Global Community Middle School.
- First appearance of John Preston.
- First appearance of Mark Eisman.
- John and Mark join the Young Tribulation Force.
- Judd, Vicki, John, Mark, and Shelly start attending Nicolae Carpathia High School.
- Lionel and Ryan start attending Global Community Middle School.
- First appearance of Laverne Jenness.
- First appearance of Coach Greg Handlesman.
- First appearance of Mr. Shellenberger.
- First appearance of Joyce.
- Only appearance of Deacon.
- Only appearance of Claud.
- Only appearance of Miss June.
- Deacon reveals to Vicki that Eddie Byrne's friend, Bub, was killed by a gas leak.
- None of the characters introduced in this book are confirmed to have survived to the Glorious Appearing.
- The first book in the series in which Lionel Washington and Ryan Daley do not have any POVs.
- In the dramatic audio presentation, John Preston introduced himself and Mark Eisman to Judd. In the book, John and Mark both introduce themselves.