Rays of Hope: Chapter 16

I am so down in the dumps this week, despite celebrating 24 years of marriage to a man I still call Loved-One. I confided to a friend and sister-author, Ronne Hartfield, that I feel like I’m living in a dystopian world. “That’s because we are living in a dystopia,” she said.

Eldie, Dallas and Ephraim have been all but silent this week. Offering a mere 1,000 more words of their life to me.

If you’re interested in starting at Chapter 1 of Rays of Hope, click here.

Chapter 16

“Taedan’s up to something.”

Marla kept her voice low, but Ray’s ears were pricked for any clues that would tell her more about Taedan. Ray felt like she could almost feel her ears moves out and turn a little toward Marla. Trumble glanced at Ray and made a shushing sound. For a moment Ray wondered if the sound was meant for her or for Marla. She threaded her hair behind her ears with her pinky fingers.

Marla straightened her craned neck and turned toward Ray. She pressed her lips in a tight line, rippling the little muscles in her jaw.

“This one ran off,” she said, keeping her eyes on Ray.

“Why didn’t you tell me you saw Taedan?”

“Didn’t I?”

Trumble raised his eyebrows and bit his upper lip. Ray imagined that this was his way of keeping any words from slipping out. She slipped her hand into her pocket. A habit she had developed since she followed Taedan up all those flights of stairs. The seeds were still there.

“He’s at the top of the Tower?”


“What kind of birds?”

“Sparrows,” said Marla. “Or maybe wrens. I’m not sure. I’m sorry. Emotion overrode my scientific judgement.”

Ray wanted to shout, they were sparrows. She thought there were hundreds, but she only had time to count a few, six in all, bobbing and pecking not too far from her feet. She felt as if the image burned into the back of her eyes. Tiny brown and grey birds, with orangish beaks. The only thing that didn’t quite match the Visual Dictionary was the thatch of rust colored feathers on the tops of the birds’ heads.

“He’s in the Tower?”

“On the rooftop.”

“Anyone else there?”

“I thought that place was unihabitable and locked down,” said Marla. “I didn’t see anyone else.”

“Genetically modified?”

“That’s my guess.”

Ray fingered the seeds in her pocket. A plan began to take root.


I have more questions than answers.

Until next Friday, when we’ll both learn more.