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The Vanishings: Four Kids Face Earth's Last Days Together (Left Behind: The Kids Series #1)

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Overview

This series is based on the best-selling adult Left Behind series. Readers will see the Rapture and Tribulation through the eyes of four kids who have been left behind. Tyndale House Publishers

Four former Christian teenagers find themselves alone and afraid following the Rapture when God spirits His followers away to Heaven.

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Overview

This series is based on the best-selling adult Left Behind series. Readers will see the Rapture and Tribulation through the eyes of four kids who have been left behind. Tyndale House Publishers

Four former Christian teenagers find themselves alone and afraid following the Rapture when God spirits His followers away to Heaven.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780842321938
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/1998
  • Series: Left Behind: The Kids Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 119,881
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Read an Excerpt




Chapter One


Judd— The Runaway


JUDD Thompson Jr. had always hated having the same name as his father. Until now.

    Every time the phone rang and someone asked for Judd, it was "Which one? Big Judd or Little Judd?" The funny thing was, Little Judd was already taller than his father. He had just gotten his driver's license, and the whiskers on his chin formed a thin goatee. He was tired of being called Junior, and if he were never called Little Judd again for the rest of his life, it would be too soon.

    But now, for once, being Judd Thompson Jr. was working in Judd's favor.

    This break was meant to be, Judd decided. After days of fighting with his parents about where he was going, who he was with, what he was doing, and how late he would be in, he had just happened to be home one afternoon. And his mother picked that day to ask him to bring in the mail. If that didn't prove this was meant to be, Judd didn't know what did.

    Judd sighed loudly at his mother's request. She said he acted like any small chore or favor was the biggest burden in the world. That was exactly how he felt. He didn't want to be told to do anything.

    "Why can't you get it?" he asked her.

    "Because I asked you to," she said.

    "Why do I have to do everything?"

    "Would you like to compare what you do around here with what I do?" she asked, and that began the usual argument. Only when his mother threatened to ground him did he stompout to the mailbox. He was glad he did.

    On the way back to the house, idly flipping through catalogs and letters and magazines, he had found it—an envelope addressed to him. It was clearly a mistake—obviously intended for his father. He knew that as soon as he saw it. It was business mail. He didn't recognize the return address.

    Just to be ornery, he slipped it inside his jacket and gave the rest of the mail to his mother. Well, he didn't actually give it to her. He tossed it onto the kitchen table in front of her, and half of it slid to the floor. He headed to his room.

    "Just a minute, young man," she said, using another of his least favorite names. "Get back here and give me this mail properly."

    "In a minute," he said, jogging up the steps.

    "Oh, never mind," she said. "By the time you get back here, I'll have it picked up, read, and answered."

    "You're welcome!" he hollered.

    "A job not finished is not worthy of a thank-you," she said. "But thanks anyway."

    Judd took off his jacket, cranked up his music, and lay on his bed, opening the envelope. Onto his chest dropped a credit card in his name, Judd Thompson Jr. A sticker on it told him to call a toll-free number and answer a few questions so he could begin using the card. The letter told him they had honored his request. He could spend tens of thousands of dollars using that card alone.

    Judd couldn't believe his luck. He dialed the number and was asked his mother's maiden name and his date of birth. He knew enough to use his grandmother's maiden name and his father's birthday. This was, after all, really his father's card, wrong name or not. The automated voice told Judd he could begin using the card immediately.

    It was then that he planned his escape.

    Judd felt desperate to get away. He wasn't sure what had happened or why, but he was sure his family was the problem.

    Judd's father owned a business in Chicago and was wealthy. His mother had never had to work outside the home. Judd's little brother and sister, nine-year-old twins Marc and Marcie, were young enough to stay out of his hair. They were OK, he guessed.

    Marc's and Marcie's rooms were full of trophies from church, the same as Judd's had once been. He had really been into that stuff, memorizing Bible verses, going to camp every summer, all that.

    But when Judd had gone from the junior high to the senior high youth group at New Hope Village Church in Mount Prospect, Illinois, he seemed to lose interest overnight. He used to invite his friends to church and youth group. Now he was embarrassed to say his parents made him go.

    Judd felt he had outgrown church. It had been OK when he was a kid, but now nobody wanted to dress like he did, listen to his kind of music, or have a little fun. At school he hung with kids who got to make their own decisions and do what they wanted to do. That was all he wanted. A little freedom.

    Even though they could afford it, Judd's parents refused to buy him his own car. How many other high school juniors still rode the bus to school? When Judd did get to drive one of his parents' cars, one of them told him where he could go, whom he could go with, what he could do, and when he had to be back.

    If only his parents knew what he was doing when they thought he was just out with the guys," Judd thought. How he hated his curfew, his parents' constant watch over his schoolwork, their criticizing his hair, his clothes, and his friends.

    Worst of all, he was grounded if he didn't get up for Sunday school and church every Sunday. Just the Sunday before, he had put up such a fuss that his mother had come into his room and sat on his bed. "Don't you love Jesus anymore?" she asked.

    What a stupid question, Judd thought. He didn't remember ever really loving Jesus. Oh, he had liked all the stories and knew a lot of verses. But loving Jesus? Loving God? That was for little kids and old ladies. But what could he say to his mother?

    "If you want the truth, I only go to church so I can go out on weekends and use the car."

    That was clearly not what she had wanted to hear. "All right then, just forget it!" she said.

    "I can stay home from church?"

    "If you don't want to go anywhere for a week."

    Judd swore under his breath. It was a good thing his mother hadn't heard that. He'd have been grounded for life.

    In Sunday school, Judd copped an attitude. He wore clothes his parents only barely approved of, and he stayed as far away as possible from the "good" kids. What losers! They never had any, fun. Judd didn't smile, didn't carry a Bible, didn't look at the teacher, didn't say anything. When the teacher asked his opinion of something, he shrugged. He wanted everyone to know he was there only because he had to be.

    In church, he slouched when his father wasn't looking. He wanted to burrow within himself and just make it through to the end of the service. He didn't sing along, he didn't bow his head during prayer, he didn't shut his eyes. No one had ever said those were rules; Judd was simply trying to be different from everyone else. He was way too cool for this stuff.

    As usual, Pastor Vernon Billings got off on his kick about what he called the Rapture. "Someday," he said, "Jesus will return to take his followers to heaven. Those who have received him will disappear in the time it takes to blink your eye. We will disappear right in front of disbelieving people. Won't that be a great day for us and a horrifying one for them?"

    The kindly old pastor talked about how important it was for everyone to be sure of his own standing before God and to think and pray about friends and loved ones who might not be ready. Judd's little secret was that he had never really believed any of that.

    He'd had enough chances. At vacation Bible school, his friends had prayed and received Christ. He was embarrassed. He told them he had already done that at home. At camp a few years later, Judd felt guilty and sinful when a young speaker talked about church kids who weren't really Christian believers. He had wanted to go forward; he really had. But he had also just been named Camper of the Week for memorizing a bunch of Bible verses and being the fastest to look up some others. What would people say?

    Judd knew he didn't have to go forward or talk with anyone to receive Christ. He knew he could do it by himself. He could pray sincerely and ask God to forgive his sins and make Jesus the Lord of his life. But later, when the meeting was over and the emotion wore off, he told himself that was something he could do anytime.

    Judd felt the most guilty when he was twelve years old and many of his Sunday school classmates signed up to be baptized. Their teacher and Pastor Billings made clear to them that this was an act of obeying Christ, a step taken by Christians to declare themselves followers of Jesus.

    As the students were baptized, they were asked to tell about when they had received Christ. Judd had done the unthinkable. He had quoted Scripture and made up a story about when he had become a Christian "once by myself at camp."

    He felt guilty about that for weeks, never having the guts to tell his parents or his Sunday school teacher. Yet something kept him from confessing to God and getting things right with Christ. Now he was sixteen and had feelings and thoughts he believed no one would understand. He was bored with his church, frustrated with his parents, and secretly proud that he wasn't really part of the church crowd. He went because he had to, but someday soon he would make his own decisions.

    With the small error on that credit card, Judd Thompson Jr. had his ticket to freedom. He had seen his dad get cash with his credit card at the bank and at the automatic teller machines. And he knew that almost anything could be paid for with that magic card.

    Of course, one day the bill would come and his parents would be able to trace where he had been. But he could put a lot of miles between himself and them in the meantime.

    For several days, Judd saved cash, withdrawing as much as he could each day from the automatic teller machine. He hid the money with the passport he had gotten the year before when his father took him along on a business trip to Asia. He had been miserable on that trip and let his dad know it every chance he got. Judd Sr. had finally given up trying to convince Judd Jr. that this was "the opportunity of a lifetime."

    Secretly Judd had to admit that he enjoyed the hotels, the meals, and even learning how to get around in foreign cities with different cultures and languages. But he wasn't about to tell his dad that. Judd knew Dad had dragged him along only to get him away from his new friends, the ones his mother called the "evil influences." It was also supposed to be a time for him and his dad to bond—whatever that meant. Dad had tried, Judd had to give him that, but there had been no bonding. Mostly it was just Judd scowling, complaining, arguing, and begging to go home.

    At least he got a passport out of the deal. That, along with his new driver's license and the credit card, gave him what he thought was complete freedom. A friend had told him he looked old enough to pass for twenty-one and that he should get a fake identification card that would allow him to buy liquor in Illinois. It was cheaper and easier than he thought to get both his driver's license and his passport copied with a new birth date.

    His plan was to take his stash of cash and go to O'Hare International Airport some night. He would take the first flight he could get to another English-speaking country. Beyond that, his plan was not clear. One thing was sure: He wasn't going to bum around begging for a place to stay. He would live first-class all the way.

    Now Judd was a criminal. He told himself he wasn't scared. Breaking the law only made him bolder about his plan, and he began making up reasons why he had to get away from home as soon as possible.

    As he made his plans, Judd became more and more angry. He disagreed with everything his parents did or said. He was mean and sarcastic.

    One day after school his little brother came into his room.

    "What do you want?" Judd asked Marc.

    "I just wanted to ask you a question. Are you still a Christian?"

    Judd lied. "Of course," he said. "What's it to you?"

    "I was just wonderin' because it doesn't seem like you're happy or acting like one."

    "Why don't you get out of here and mind your own business!"

    "Will you be mad at me if I pray for you?"

    "Don't waste your breath."

    "You're makin' Mom cry, you know that?"

    "She shouldn't waste her tears either."

    "Judd, what's the matter? You used to care—"

    "Out! Get out!"

    Marc looked pale and tearful as he left. Judd shook his head, disgusted, and told himself Marc would be a lot better off when he outgrew his stupidity. I used to be just like that, Judd thought. What a wuss!

    Judd stuffed some of his favorite clothes in his book bag and jogged downstairs. "And where do you think you're going, mister?" his mother said. Did she always have to talk like that? Couldn't she just ask a simple question?

    "I'm going to the library to study," Judd said. "I'll be there till closing, so don't wait up for me."

    "Since when did you get interested in studying?" his mother asked.

    "You said you wanted my grades to improve!"

    "You don't need to go to the library to study, Judd. Why don't you stay here and—"

    "I need some peace and quiet, all right?"

    "What will you do for dinner?"

    "I'll get something out."

    "Do you need some money?"

    "No! Now leave me alone!"

    "All right! Just go! But don't be late!"

    "Mom! I already told you! I'm staying till closing, so—"

    "Don't wait up, yeah, I know. Are you meeting someone there?"

    "No!"

    "I'd better not find out you've been out with your friends, young man...."

    But Judd was already out the door.


* * *


At O'Hare, Judd found a flight on Pan-Continental Airlines that left early in the evening and was scheduled to arrive in London the following morning. His phony identification cards worked perfectly, and he enjoyed being referred to as Mr. Thompson. His first-class ticket was very expensive, but it was the only seat left on the 747.

    Judd knew it wouldn't be long before his parents started looking for him. They would discover his car at the airport, and they would quickly find his name on the passenger list of the Pan-Con flight. He'd better enjoy this freedom while he could, he decided. He would try to hide in England for as long as possible, but even if he was found and hauled back to the United States, he hoped he would have made his point.

    What was his point, exactly, he wondered. That he needed his freedom. Yeah, that was it. He needed to be able to make some decisions on his own, to be treated like an adult. He didn't want to be told what to do all the time. He wanted the Thompson family to know that he was able to get along in the world on his own. Going to London by himself, based on his own plans, ought to prove that.

    Judd sat on the aisle. On the other side of the aisle sat a middle-aged man who had three drinks set before him. Beyond him, in the window seat, a younger man sat hunched over his laptop computer.

    Judd was stunned at the beauty of the flight attendant, whose name badge read "Hattie." He'd never known anyone with that name, but he couldn't work up the courage to say so. He was excited and pleased with himself when she didn't even ask to see any identification when she offered him champagne.

    "How much?" he asked.

    "It's free in first class, Mr. Thompson," she said.

    He had tried champagne a few times and didn't like it, but he liked the idea of its sitting on the tray table in front of him. He would pretend to be on business, on his way to London for important meetings.

    Captain Rayford Steele came over the intercom, announcing their flight path and altitude and saying he expected to arrive at Heathrow Airport at six in the morning.

    Judd Thompson Jr. couldn't wait. This was already the most exciting night of his life.

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Table of Contents

Part One The Four Kids
1. Judd—The Runaway 3
2. Vicki—The Rebel 17
3. Lionel—The Liar 31
4. Ryan—The Skeptic 45
Part Two The Lull
5. The Eve of Destruction 61
Part Three The Morning After
6. Judd Returns Home 77
7. Vicki's Sad Awakening 91
8. Lionel and Uncle André 105
9. Ryan Left Alone 121
10. Finding Each Other 135
About the Authors 147
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First Chapter

ONE

Judd—The Runaway

JUDD Thompson Jr. had always hated having the same name as his father. Until now.

Every time the phone rang and someone asked for Judd, it was "Which one? Big Judd or Little Judd?" The funny thing was, Little Judd was already taller than his father. He had just gotten his driver's license, and the whiskers on his chin formed a thin goatee. He was tired of being called Junior, and if he were never called Little Judd again for the rest of his life, it would be too soon.

But now, for once, being Judd Thompson Jr. was working in Judd's favor.

This break was meant to be, Judd decided. After days of fighting with his parents about where he was going, who he was with, what he was doing, and how late he would be in, he had just happened to be home one afternoon. And his mother picked that day to ask him to bring in the mail. If that didn't prove this was meant to be, Judd didn't know what did.

Judd sighed loudly at his mother's request. She said he acted like any small chore or favor was the biggest burden in the world. That was exactly how he felt. He didn't want to be told to do anything.

"Why can't you get it?" he asked her.

"Because I asked you to," she said.

"Why do I have to do everything?"

"Would you like to compare what you do around here with what I do?" she asked, and that began the usual argument. Only when his mother threatened to ground him did he stomp out to the mailbox. He was glad he did.

On the way back to the house, idly flipping through catalogs and letters and magazines, he had found it—an envelope addressed to him. It was clearly a mistake—obviously intended for his father. He knew that as soon as he saw it. It was business mail. He didn't recognize the return address.

Just to be ornery, he slipped it inside his jacket and gave the rest of the mail to his mother. Well, he didn't actually give it to her. He tossed it onto the kitchen table in front of her, and half of it slid to the floor. He headed to his room.

"Just a minute, young man," she said, using another of his least favorite names. "Get back here and give me this mail properly."

"In a minute," he said, jogging up the steps.

"Oh, never mind," she said. "By the time you get back here, I'll have it picked up, read, and answered."

"You're welcome!" he hollered.

"A job not finished is not worthy of a thank-you," she said. "But thanks anyway."

Judd took off his jacket, cranked up his music, and lay on his bed, opening the envelope. Onto his chest dropped a credit card in his name, Judd Thompson Jr. A sticker on it told him to call a toll-free number and answer a few questions so he could begin using the card. The letter told him they had honored his request. He could spend tens of thousands of dollars using that card alone.

Judd couldn't believe his luck. He dialed the number and was asked his mother's maiden name and his date of birth. He knew enough to use his grandmother's maiden name and his father's birthday. This was, after all, really his father's card, wrong name or not. The automated voice told Judd he could begin using the card immediately.

It was then that he planned his escape.

Judd felt desperate to get away. He wasn't sure what had happened or why, but he was sure his family was the problem.

Judd's father owned a business in Chicago and was wealthy. His mother had never had to work outside the home. Judd's little brother and sister, nine-year-old twins Marc and Marcie, were young enough to stay out of his hair. They were OK, he guessed.

Marc's and Marcie's rooms were full of trophies from church, the same as Judd's had once been. He had really been into that stuff, memorizing Bible verses, going to camp every summer, all that.

But when Judd had gone from the junior high to the senior high youth group at New Hope Village Church in Mount Prospect, Illinois, he seemed to lose interest overnight. He used to invite his friends to church and youth group. Now he was embarrassed to say his parents made him go.

Judd felt he had outgrown church. It had been OK when he was a kid, but now nobody wanted to dress like he did, listen to his kind of music, or have a little fun. At school he hung with kids who got to make their own decisions and do what they wanted to do. That was all he wanted. A little freedom.

Even though they could afford it, Judd's parents refused to buy him his own car. How many other high school juniors still rode the bus to school? When Judd did get to drive one of his parents' cars, one of them told him where he could go, whom he could go with, what he could do, and when he had to be back.

If only his parents knew what he was doing when they thought he was "just out with the guys," Judd thought. How he hated his curfew, his parents' constant watch over his schoolwork, their criticizing his hair, his clothes, and his friends.

Worst of all, he was grounded if he didn't get up for Sunday school and church every Sunday. Just the Sunday before, he had put up such a fuss that his mother had come into his room and sat on his bed. "Don't you love Jesus anymore?" she asked.

What a stupid question, Judd thought. He didn't remember ever really loving Jesus. Oh, he had liked all the stories and knew a lot of verses. But loving Jesus? Loving God? That was for little kids and old ladies. But what could he say to his mother?

"If you want the truth, I only go to church so I can go out on weekends and use the car."

That was clearly not what she had wanted to hear. "All right then, just forget it!" she said.

"I can stay home from church?"

"If you don't want to go anywhere for a week."

Judd swore under his breath. It was a good thing his mother hadn't heard that. He'd have been grounded for life.

In Sunday school, Judd copped an attitude. He wore clothes his parents only barely approved of, and he stayed as far away as possible from the "good" kids. What losers! They never had any fun. Judd didn't smile, didn't carry a Bible, didn't look at the teacher, didn't say anything. When the teacher asked his opinion of something, he shrugged. He wanted everyone to know he was there only because he had to be.

In church, he slouched when his father wasn't looking. He wanted to burrow within himself and just make it through to the end of the service. He didn't sing along, he didn't bow his head during prayer, he didn't shut his eyes. No one had ever said those were rules; Judd was simply trying to be different from everyone else. He was way too cool for this stuff.

As usual, Pastor Vernon Billings got off on his kick about what he called the Rapture. "Someday," he said, "Jesus will return to take his followers to heaven. Those who have received him will disappear in the time it takes to blink your eye. We will disappear right in front of disbelieving people. Won't that be a great day for us and a horrifying one for them?"

The kindly old pastor talked about how important it was for everyone to be sure of his own standing before God and to think and pray about friends and loved ones who might not be ready. Judd's little secret was that he had never really believed any of that.

He'd had enough chances. At vacation Bible school, his friends had prayed and received Christ. He was embarrassed. He told them he had already done that at home. At camp a few years later, Judd felt guilty and sinful when a young speaker talked about church kids who weren't really Christian believers. He had wanted to go forward; he really had. But he had also just been named Camper of the Week for memorizing a bunch of Bible verses and being the fastest to look up some others. What would people say?

Judd knew he didn't have to go forward or talk with anyone to receive Christ. He knew he could do it by himself. He could pray sincerely and ask God to forgive his sins and make Jesus the Lord of his life. But later, when the meeting was over and the emotion wore off, he told himself that was something he could do anytime.

Judd felt the most guilty when he was twelve years old and many of his Sunday school classmates signed up to be baptized. Their teacher and Pastor Billings made clear to them that this was an act of obeying Christ, a step taken by Christians to declare themselves followers of Jesus.

As the students were baptized, they were asked to tell about when they had received Christ. Judd had done the unthinkable. He had quoted Scripture and made up a story about when he had become a Christian "once by myself at camp."

He felt guilty about that for weeks, never having the guts to tell his parents or his Sunday school teacher. Yet something kept him from confessing to God and getting things right with Christ. Now he was sixteen and had feelings and thoughts he believed no one would understand. He was bored with his church, frustrated with his parents, and secretly proud that he wasn't really part of the church crowd. He went because he had to, but someday soon he would make his own decisions.

With the small error on that credit card, Judd Thompson Jr. had his ticket to freedom. He had seen his dad get cash with his credit card at the bank and at the automatic teller machines. And he knew that almost anything could be paid for with that magic card.

Of course, one day the bill would come and his parents would be able to trace where he had been. But he could put a lot of miles between himself and them in the meantime.

For several days, Judd saved cash, withdrawing as much as he could each day from the automatic teller machine. He hid the money with the passport he had gotten the year before when his father took him along on a business trip to Asia. He had been miserable on that trip and let his dad know it every chance he got. Judd Sr. had finally given up trying to convince Judd Jr. that this was "the opportunity of a lifetime."

Secretly Judd had to admit that he enjoyed the hotels, the meals, and even learning how to get around in foreign cities with different cultures and languages. But he wasn't about to tell his dad that. Judd knew Dad had dragged him along only to get him away from his new friends, the ones his mother called the "evil influences." It was also supposed to be a time for him and his dad to bond—whatever that meant. Dad had tried, Judd had to give him that, but there had been no bonding. Mostly it was just Judd scowling, complaining, arguing, and begging to go home.

At least he got a passport out of the deal. That, along with his new driver's license and the credit card, gave him what he thought was complete freedom. A friend had told him he looked old enough to pass for twenty-one and that he should get a fake identification card that would allow him to buy liquor in Illinois. It was cheaper and easier than he thought to get both his driver's license and his passport copied with a new birth date.

His plan was to take his stash of cash and go to O'Hare International Airport some night. He would take the first flight he could get to another English-speaking country. Beyond that, his plan was not clear. One thing was sure: He wasn't going to bum around begging for a place to stay. He would live first-class all the way.

Now Judd was a criminal. He told himself he wasn't scared. Breaking the law only made him bolder about his plan, and he began making up reasons why he had to get away from home as soon as possible.

As he made his plans, Judd became more and more angry. He disagreed with everything his parents did or said. He was mean and sarcastic.

One day after school his little brother came into his room.

"What do you want?" Judd asked Marc.

"I just wanted to ask you a question. Are you still a Christian?"

Judd lied. "Of course," he said. "What's it to you?"

"I was just wonderin' because it doesn't seem like you're happy or acting like one."

"Why don't you get out of here and mind your own business!"

"Will you be mad at me if I pray for you?"

"Don't waste your breath."

"You're makin' Mom cry, you know that?"

"She shouldn't waste her tears either."

"Judd, what's the matter? You used to care—"

"Out! Get out!"

Marc looked pale and tearful as he left. Judd shook his head, disgusted, and told himself Marc would be a lot better off when he outgrew his stupidity. I used to be just like that, Judd thought. What a wuss!

Judd stuffed some of his favorite clothes in his book bag and jogged downstairs. "And where do you think you're going, mister?" his mother said. Did she always have to talk like that? Couldn't she just ask a simple question?

"I'm going to the library to study," Judd said. "I'll be there till closing, so don't wait up for me."

"Since when did you get interested in studying?" his mother asked.

"You said you wanted my grades to improve!"

"You don't need to go to the library to study, Judd. Why don't you stay here and—"

"I need some peace and quiet, all right?"

"What will you do for dinner?"

"I'll get something out."

"Do you need some money?"

"No! Now leave me alone!"

"All right! Just go! But don't be late!"

"Mom! I already told you! I'm staying till closing, so—"

"Don't wait up, yeah, I know. Are you meeting someone there?"

"No!"

"I'd better not find out you've been out with your friends, young man... ."

But Judd was already out the door.

At O'Hare, Judd found a flight on Pan-Continental Airlines that left early in the evening and was scheduled to arrive in London the following morning. His phony identification cards worked perfectly, and he enjoyed being referred to as Mr. Thompson. His first-class ticket was very expensive, but it was the only seat left on the 747.

Judd knew it wouldn't be long before his parents started looking for him. They would discover his car at the airport, and they would quickly find his name on the passenger list of the Pan-Con flight. He'd better enjoy this freedom while he could, he decided. He would try to hide in England for as long as possible, but even if he was found and hauled back to the United States, he hoped he would have made his point.

What was his point, exactly, he wondered. That he needed his freedom. Yeah, that was it. He needed to be able to make some decisions on his own, to be treated like an adult. He didn't want to be told what to do all the time. He wanted the Thompson family to know that he was able to get along in the world on his own. Going to London by himself, based on his own plans, ought to prove that.

Judd sat on the aisle. On the other side of the aisle sat a middle-aged man who had three drinks set before him. Beyond him, in the window seat, a younger man sat hunched over his laptop computer.

Judd was stunned at the beauty of the flight attendant, whose name badge read "Hattie." He'd never known anyone with that name, but he couldn't work up the courage to say so. He was excited and pleased with himself when she didn't even ask to see any identification when she offered him champagne.

"How much?" he asked.

"It's free in first class, Mr. Thompson," she said.

He had tried champagne a few times and didn't like it, but he liked the idea of its sitting on the tray table in front of him. He would pretend to be on business, on his way to London for important meetings.

Captain Rayford Steele came over the intercom, announcing their flight path and altitude and saying he expected to arrive at Heathrow Airport at six in the morning.

Judd Thompson Jr. couldn't wait. This was already the most exciting night of his life.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 95 )
Rating Distribution

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(72)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 95 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Good book

    I couldnt stop reading it. It is a good christian read. I totes recomend it. I first heard about the series from my sister who heard it from her friend. So i rushed to my school library and amazingly they had all 40 books.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2013

    WHOEVER LOVES THESE BOOKS, TAP YES OR WRIGHT A NOTE PROCLAIMING JUSTICE!!!!

    B&N HAS A LOT OF GREAT BOOKS, BUT I WANT LEFT BEHIND: THE KIDS, A LOT! PLZ BARNE AN NOBLE! ITLL GET YA MORE MONEY!!! :):):) Whos with me!!!!?????

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2001

    jESUS WILL BE HERE

    This was an 'Ok' book because in the beginning it was boing. It told about all of their lives and stuff like that. In the middle and the end of the book it became a whole lot better. I reccomend this book and please keep reading the sequels (etc.).

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2014

    Left Behind is the bestselling series of 16 books by Jerry B. Je

    Left Behind is the bestselling series of 16 books by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye dealing with the end times, the Rapture, tribulation. What few do not know is there is also a series for teens and preteens, "The Kids" version. (I would not recommend this series for kids under 10, simply due to the intense nature of the series. There is nothing offensive, except obviously very-real violence.) This series of 40 books deal with exactly what the adult series did, except from the point of view of teenagers. Each book is about 150 pages, and each ending flows right into the next book with non-stop action.

    ---


    Judd Thompson Jr. - The Runaway. Typical 16 year-old Judd is sick and tired of everything his mom asks him to do. The simplest tasks will set off a debate. After a credit card company mistakenly puts Judd Jr's name on Judd Sr.'s (Judd's father) credit card, Judd realizes he can spend thousands of dollars on this little card. Angry at his parents for bossing him around and for making him go to church, Judd runs away - both from his family, and symbolically, Jesus. As a child, he had never actually accepted Christ into his heart, but he had memorized tons of verses and stories. By himself on a plane to London (with Hattie and Rayford Steele from the adult Left Behind series), he begins smirking about how grown up he is and how "this will show them."

    Vicki Byrne - The Rebel. 14 year old redhead Vicki was the rocker type - short clothes, leather, jewelry and heavy makeup, tough. Growing up in a trailer park, followed by the constant "trailer trash" stereotype - Vicki felt the need to be rough and tough. Two years ago, her party-parents had a drastic change in their lives - they accepted Christ - and she wanted nothing to do with it.

    Lionel Washington - The Liar. 13 year old African-American Lionel is growing up in a rich part of town, causing ridicule from his cousins who claim he's "rich" and "white" now. Lionel loves his parents, but he, and his uncle, have a secret; despite the family church history, he and his uncle are not Christians. Lionel is in no way proud of his secret, and unlike Judd, feels horribly guilty.

    Ryan Daley - The Skeptic. Best friend of Raymie Steele, 12 year old Ryan was my favorite character of Left Behind: The Kids series. (until Conrad came into view around book 12) He is the only one who had never grown up in a Christian household.


    ---

    Then the Rapture happens. Reading the Rapture, specifically from the view of Judd, gives me chills. I could not imagine something so horrific as realizing you've been left behind - especially if you grew up in a strong Christian household, and every single person close to you was raptured. Judd, Vicki, and Lionel's whole family (and most of their friends) were raptured. Ryan's parents both die in the midst of the chaos.
    There is really nothing more to the book than their pre-rapture lives, the Rapture, and the immediate aftermath, most of the action starts in future novels. Being a short book, I would HIGHLY recommend buying/loaning at least 5 books of the series at once. The writing is nothing really unique (throughout the whole series), even a little too bland and simple, but I didn't really mind this. Background plots (and characters) are from the adult Left Behind series, so it would be interesting for an adult and teen to read them simultaneously. 

    I read all the books up until about 35-ish. My library didn't have 2 of the books, and this isn't really a series where you want to skip a book, although each book does catch you up with what previously happened. When I finally figured out how to transfer books, months had passed and my memory was fuzzy exactly which book I last read. Now, rereading The Vanishings makes me want to reread the series again and see how it ends! But, I won't be able to reread the series without reading the whole series again...so...
    Warning: You will not be able to put them down. ALSO: A remake of the adult Left Behind movies is coming out this year!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Awesome book!!!

    I toads love this book. It is soooo good! It is about 4 kids who are "left behind". Jesus comes down and judges the living and dead. All the good people go with Him. These 4 kids are left behind without parents. Some parents of theirs are in Hevan while others......um...sorry......NO SPOILS!!! It is a great book! Espically for Christians, but anybody can read it. I highly encourage you to read it! Enjoy!!! :-)
    ~ B

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2013

    Scary book

    If you are reading this and you are not a chritian the you should read

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2013

    Im with you too

    Put the whole series

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2004

    Fantastic!!!!!!

    Wow! This book is great! I have been looking for a Christan book series that my school has and I finally found one. This is written in 2004 which is past the publication date so I know how the series turns out. The coolest part of this series is the fact that if you comb through the Bible you can find all the things they talk about. Like the seven seals. Those explanations are in Revolation. So if you decide to read these books, stick with them!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2014

    Lzkd jty

    Cfte

    .

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  • Posted August 25, 2014

    What a riveting novel for young people (teens and late elementar

    What a riveting novel for young people (teens and late elementary). It is the story of four teens – Judd, the runaway who has hopped on a plane for London; Vicki, the rebel, whose entire family has become changed and become Christians but she refuses; Lionel, the liar, who has told his family he is a Christian when he is not; and Ryan, the skeptic, whose parents both die in crashes or events after the disappearance of so many people. All 4 young people have heard the good news of Christ – and have refused it. Now, their world has changed. What will happen to them? Do they realize they all have a connection of sorts? Most of the book deals with who they are and what happened to them when they realized their families were missing, leading up for the next book in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2014

    GREAT for all ages!

    :)

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  • Posted August 14, 2014

    Based on the best-selling Left Behind series for adults, this yo

    Based on the best-selling Left Behind series for adults, this youth fiction book tells the story of four teens (Judd, Vicki, Lionel, & Ryan) in the suburb of Mount Prospect, Illinois. They are connected in ways they won't begin to understand until later in the series, but for this book they are all greatly impacted by the disappearances of millions around the globe. They soon find out their loved ones have been "raptured" - as believers in Jesus, they were taken to heaven in a flash. Judd, Vicki, and Lionel's families are all gone, as they were the only ones who chose a different path; Ryan's parents die as a result of the disappearances, and he is actually orphaned.


    This is a strong beginning to the "Young Trib Force" books and I can easily recommend it for your pre-teens and teens.

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  • Posted August 1, 2014

    The Vanishings is the introduction to the kids Left Behind Serie

    The Vanishings is the introduction to the kids Left Behind Series by Lahaye and Jenkins. This book introduces four teens—Judd, Viki, Lionel, and Ryan—and gives a brief background of each. Then it throws them, family-less, into the aftermath of the rapture.

    The short book progresses as may be expected with few surprises, following along with the adult series and sometimes interacting with those adults. It is an interesting introduction to the series, promising much in the following dozens of books.

    The first chapter is a little slow and has more a feel of narration than of being part of the character, but it gets better as the book progresses.

    The book was written for kids and teens and is definitely appropriate for them. Drugs, disobedience, lies, and other sins are mentioned several times and even done by the main characters, but not described in detail. However, the authors only made the characters do these sins to prove the teens are sinful.

    Also, the authors go to great lengths to show that none of the kids, despite two of the them growing up in Christian homes, never actually accepted Christ as their Savior—they did not lose their salvation by rebelling or any other means.

    Overall, The Vanishings was an interesting book, appropriate for kids.

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  • Posted July 30, 2014

    In this book four kids: Judd (the runaway), Vicki (the rebel), L

    In this book four kids: Judd (the runaway), Vicki (the rebel), Lionel (the liar), and Ryan (the skeptic), who had heard about Jesus through their parents, siblings, and church found themselves left behind when believers were suddenly taken to heaven. Judd was actually running away from home on a plane to Europe when this event took place. Fortunately for him, the pilot was still in the plane after the “rapture” so the plane could safely return. Vicki lived in a trailer park and was considered trash by other kids. Although her parents and little sister became Christians when they heard an evangelist speak about Jesus with confidence and authority, Vicki thought it was all superstitious mumbo jumbo. Lionel's parents thought he was a Christian, but neither his uncle nor Lionel believed. That night Lionel fell asleep in the basement with his uncle. When the phone rang and rang in the morning, Lionel figured he’d be a hero who would wake up his family. But surprise! No one was there! Ryan figured anything was OK as long as you didn’t get caught. Someday he’d go to church to see what it was about. But meanwhile he just slept as usual and ignored the sound of sirens. Ultimately the four would meet at church and figure out what to do. It’s an interesting and exciting story for kids to read and figure out which person most resembles them. Is it one of the four or one of the missing siblings?

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  • Posted July 22, 2014

    Great book!  I've read the actual Left Behind series and wanted

    Great book!  I've read the actual Left Behind series and wanted to preview this series for my kids before having them read it.  The book recommendation is for ages 10-14, however, I really feel the recommendation should be for 13 and up.  Some more mature issues are dealt with in the book that my 10 year olds wouldn't be ready for--drugs, alcohol, running away, stealing, etc.  I really liked that four very different kids are featured in the book--3 boys and a girl (a liar, a skeptic, etc.)  The story flowed quickly, the plot was great, and the gospel message is clear.  Definitely recommend for the teenager in your life!

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  • Posted July 19, 2014

    This is the first book in a series that is based on the best-sel

    This is the first book in a series that is based on the best-selling adult Left Behind series. The difference is that readers will see the Rapture and Tribulation through the eyes of four kids who have been left behind.

    I'm a big fan of the Left Behind series and was interested to read this one geared for kids. I thought it was really, really good. I was impressed with how Jenkins and LaHaye were able to take the ideas from Left Behind and change their writing style to make it interesting and engaging for teen readers. I think they also did a great job with capturing teen characters that readers can see themselves in.

    I continually struggle with finding books for teens that are engaging and will make them want to read for recreation in the midst of all the required reading they do for school. This book is a very quick read that would fit easily in a weekend afternoon, or perhaps over several nights during the school week. I think it is interesting enough to hold the attention of even the most resistant reader.

    If you are looking for a great end times book for teens, this one fits the bill!

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  • Posted July 12, 2014

    The Vanishings grabs the reader's attention right off. I thought

    The Vanishings grabs the reader's attention right off. I thought it was a good book that could relate with teenagers. A good way to show them how they should live and become close to God before the end begins. 4 1/2 stars. 

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  • Posted July 10, 2014

    Good Book! I read the adult Left Behind series a few years ago

    Good Book!

    I read the adult Left Behind series a few years ago and decided to read the kids series.  I recognized and remembered a lot of the same characters from the adult series but the authors were able to put a different spin on so that the main characters were the kids.  The story followed 4 different kids in the weeks/days/hours leading up to the Rapture and the chaos that happened immediately after.

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  • Posted June 25, 2014

    Excellent, Exciting; and So Well Written! So well-written! This

    Excellent, Exciting; and So Well Written! So well-written! This is a compelling series; it is so realistic and chilling. It spurs us to make sure we are right with God. The book ties in with the original Left Behind series, but stands on its own. The descriptions of the characters and action pull me right into the story. This is a short, easy to read YA book. Even for me, not so young, it grabs the interest. Be aware, there are cliffhangers at the end of each book to get us to read the next one in the series. It works for me!

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  • Posted June 22, 2014

    This was a very interesting book. This book revolves around teen

    This was a very interesting book. This book revolves around teenagers Judd, Ryan, Vicki and Lionel. The end times are coming and these teenagers are warned but do they listen? They are trying to find answers to their questions. This book was written for older children/young adults but I believe this would be a great book for even adults especially those curious about the end times. I would recommend this book to everyone!

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