G. Brett Williams #23 – Sarah Smith (Rumspringa)

| November 24, 2011 | 0 Comments

Sarah Smith is a young Amish girl with a quiet rebellious streak.  The night of her birth, her pregnant mother, her father, and her older brother Zach (nine years her elder) were traveling by carriage from a grocery shopping trip in a nearby town.  There was a terrible storm that night full of driving rain and big, cloud to ground lightning.  The storm created so much stress that the mother went into labor.  Too far from their village, the father knew the only way to save his wife and child was to return to the town, though he was hesitant to do so.  He wasn’t trustful of outsiders and their medicine.  But his wife’s condition was worsening, as were the conditions of the roads, and his young son implored with him to return to the town.  The father relented and headed toward the town’s hospital, rain beating against the buggy and lightning crackling in the air.  Despite the conditions, the family reached the hospital as the mother’s condition was worsening.  They rushed inside and explained their predicament and the orderlies rushed out to help the woman.  As they were loading her onto the gurnee, a great crack of thunder let out through the town and lightning ripped from the sky, finding the metal on the gurnee and churning through the body of the pregnant mother.  She died on that hospital bed, but the doctors were able to save and revive the baby, so not all was lost.  That baby, dubbed by papers as the “Lightning Child” was Sarah Smith.

In Amish culture there is the concept of rumpsringa.  Rumspringa says that any member of the sect is able to leave for a short time (usually around 16 or 17 years of age) and explore the outside world.  It is meant to strengthen their faith and help them realize that the world they’ve known is better than the outside world of which they’ve dreamed.  Many return, but those who do not are shunned from the sect and are never invited to return.  Sarah’s brother Zach, who knew from an early age that he was attracted to men and that the sect considered this evil, was one of those people.  At seventeen he escaped the community and made it to Gateway City where he managed to start a new life.  That life wasn’t easy, but he made it work.  Over the years, he always found ways to spirit books, magazines, art and other things to his baby sister, helping her to gain a knowledge of the beauty of the world outside her Amish community and a fervent desire to live in it.  So when it came time for Sarah’s rumspringa, she had a plan for escape, a plan she, her brother and her friend from town, Mary, had conspired on for years.  But the best laid plans, as they say, often go astray.

During Sarah’s escape to Gateway City, a series of events allows her to uncover her control over electricity.  Having never been exposed to electricity for prolonged amounts of time, her powers have only ever briefly manifested and usually in ways that would arise no suspicion.  Things like machines or certain instruments malfunctioning when she walks past them, etc.  Nothing that would ever clue her into her gift.  But when she gets to GC, things happen that inexorably change her life and unlock the potential inside of her.

Sarah is really the first superhero in this world.  Before her, there have been on people with special gifts.  She’s unique, which means there isn’t really anyone that can help her control her power.  She has the ability to direct bolts of energy in the form of arc lightning, has the ability to control the flow of electricity to and from things, can control things that run on electricity and could, at the height of her power, even act as something of a battery, a power source.  These powers make her a target, but luckily Sarah makes friends who help her fight and help her learn to control herself and utilize her new gift to help people.

In case you’re wondering, I describe Rumspringa thusly: Terminator meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Oh yeah.  Oh yeah.

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Category: 2011, Scifi, Superhero

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