Meet Henry Lapp…

Vannetta Chapman’s newest book, When the Bishop Needs an Alibi, is available now!

But let’s start at the beginning…

What the Bishop Saw is the first book in The Amish Bishop Mysteries, and is one of seven books we’re giving away this month! Continue reading to meet Henry Lapp, the main character of the series, who has an intriguing ability that sometimes seems like a blessing, and sometimes like a curse…

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Henry Lapp needed an escape.

He sat at the kitchen table, his chin propped on his hands, staring out the window at his brothers and sister. That was where he should be, in the field, playing ball. One glance at his mother told him that was not going to happen, which didn’t stop him from arguing about it. At twelve years old, he’d learned parents could sometimes be persuaded if one nagged with determination.

“I promise not to bat.”

“Absolutely not.”

“I’ll stand in the outfield. No one ever gets a ball to the outfield.”

“It’s not going to happen. And baseball. I never want to see you playing baseball again. It’s not up for discussion, Henry.”

“And yet we are discussing it, ya? So maybe there’s a possibility.” He offered his crooked smile, the one that always made her laugh, but it did nothing to diminish the worry lines around his mother’s eyes.

“You’ve been home three days, Henry. Only three days after… what? Three weeks in the hospital?”

He gingerly touched the side of his head. The stitches were gone. As for the three weeks, he remembered very little of that time since he’d spent much of it in a medically induced coma.

His mother sat down beside him and waited until he turned his gaze from the window to look at her. “You almost died, Henry. Your dat and I sat by your hospital bed, not knowing if you would wake up.”

“I’m better now.”

“And we praise Gotte for that every night, but you will follow the doctor’s orders. She said for you to take it easy for a few weeks.”

“Weeks?”

“Getting sick is easy. Getting well is the trick.”

“Not a gut time for proverbs, Mamm.”

“The best time for a proverb is when you think you don’t need one.”

“But I’m bored.”

“How about you write your mammi?”

“I did that yesterday. Besides, writing feels like school, and it’s summertime.”

“I’ll have dinner ready in an hour. Until then, you can draw her a picture.” She stood and turned back to the stove, and he knew the discussion was over.

At least he’d given it his best try. He fetched a large sheet of construction paper and a pencil from the supply his mother kept near the table for school projects. He paused to consider what he should draw. Mammi was always asking about their church dinners. She missed the folks in Goshen since moving to Illinois to help one of his onkels. He would draw the picnic they’d had the day before. He bent over the sheet of paper and set to work.

And then his father was coming in the back door asking about dinner, and his brothers were trooping in the front talking about the baseball game, and his little sister was standing beside him.

“Look what Henry drew, Mamm. I can see me! And I can see my doll too.”

“That’s great, honey. Now wash your hands.”

Henry pushed the sheet of paper away and rubbed his eyes. Suddenly he felt tired, as if he’d been clutching the pencil for hours. How long had he been drawing? Before he could work out the answer to that question, his three brothers stepped behind his chair.

“Whoa.”

“That’s a little spooky.”

“Mamm, you’d better come look at this.”

Henry wasn’t entirely sure what they were talking about, but then his father reached over him and pulled the sheet of paper closer. Henry glanced down to see what looked like a photograph. Every person, every facial expression, every leaf looked real down to the smallest detail.

“Boys, take your sister outside.” Henry’s siblings left, and his father sat down next to him as his mother joined them. Her face paled when she looked at the drawing.

“You did this?” His father was still staring at what he’d drawn.

“Ya. I guess.”

“How—”

“I don’t know. Mamm told me to draw, so I did.”

“But this… you shouldn’t be able to do this.”

Henry touched the paper, and that was when he noticed that perhaps he’d been a little too detailed. A husband was berating his wife about something, his face wreathed in a mask of anger. Two boys were fighting over a volleyball. Henry could imagine the unkind words they were saying by the expressions on their faces. A teenage boy stood next to a tree with a girl, no doubt thinking they couldn’t be seen. In the drawing he was kissing her, one hand touching her face and the other hand resting on her hip. The look on their faces was one of complete happiness.

Anger and sadness and love. They weren’t merely words. They were played out over every inch of the sheet of paper.

“I didn’t mean to draw those things.” Henry picked up his pencil, flipped it over, and frantically began erasing.

His father slipped his drawing off the table as his mamm pulled the pencil out of his grasp. “Perhaps you should go rest,” she murmured.

Henry had made it to the sitting room when he noticed his shoes were untied. He squatted to tie them, not intending to eavesdrop.

“This is from the brain injury,” his father said. “It has to be.”

“I don’t understand. How could being hit in the head by a baseball cause… cause this?”

“Remember? The doctor said he could lose things—abilities, balance, whatever. And that he could gain things too.”

“This? He gained this?”

“Maybe.”

“And he drew it from his memory?”

“How else?”

“What do we do about it?” his mother asked.

“We’ll speak to the bishop, and we’ll pray.”

“It will frighten people if they see this. No one wants their actions, their every emotion recorded.” She paused, and Henry knew she was looking at the angry expressions, not the joyful ones.

“It’s a gift,” his father said, though his voice sounded anything but certain.

“It could be,” his mother agreed. “Or perhaps it’s a curse.”

 

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Continue reading What the Bishop Saw by Vanetta Chapman!

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One Response to “Meet Henry Lapp…”

  1. Can’t Wait To Read! WOW Exciting.

    [Reply]

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