a bolt of image

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But I think I know which side my diploma is buttered on. Thanks a hell of a lot.’ He put his arms around Johnny and gave him a hug. It came suddenly –a hard, bright bolt of image that made Johnny straighten up and clap his hand against the side of his head as if Chuck had struck him instead of hugging him.
Source: The Dead Zone by Stephen King
Context: Chuck graduation party. When Chuck thanked his English teacher Johnny. Johnny replied “Class always tells”.

What is a bolt of image? A strong emotional reaction with vivid image tantamount to a lightning bolt?

Thank you.
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