Rays of Hope: Chapter 17

close up photo of dominoes Photo by Jonathan Campos on Pexels.com

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I’m struggling to keep a positive attitude.

This week, I decided to do something that brings me joy. I’m helping Jim and John get their memoir written. I call it Jim and John’s Big Adventure. They call it something else entirely.

My word count for my next novel did not go up this week. Instead, I’m taking a pause to re-read what I’ve written and ask these characters where the heck they are going and why.

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

Chapter 17

“What did Taedan do?” Ray sat at the table. Her repetitive breakfast of bean curds replaced with school work. Another repetitive thing in her life.

Marla slapped her own papers down on the table and clenched her teeth until Ray heard them grind together.

“Why are you so fixated on Taedan?”

“You told me nothing is unforgivable.”

“You told me nothing is unforgivable.” Ray willed her voice to steady. Logic and calm were the best way to get answers from Marla. “Why won’t you forgive Taedan?”

“What Taedan did is different. Your mother-” Marla sucked in her breath so sharply, Ray startled and instinctively looked behind her.

“Wait. Taedan knew my mother?” It was Ray’s turn to slap the table. She stood up so fast that her chair punctuated her anger by crashing to the floor.

“I told you I’d tell you when you’re old enough.”

“I’ll never be old enough,” shouted Ray. “You’ll never tell me.” She could feel her neck hot under her ears. She licked her lip and tasted the salty sweat that beaded there.

“Taedan and you mother worked together,” said Marla. “At the same place I did. We all worked at the Tower.”

“Trumble, too?”

Marla nodded. She looked down at her hands threaded together on the tabletop. She loosened her grip and watched the color blossom back into her knuckles.

Ray felt like someone reached into her throat and squeezed her heart. “Did my mother make the dominoes fall?” She felt hot tears threaten to spill from her eyes.

“She and Taedan thought they could stop it. Their solution created another chain of dominoes cascading. One that seemed unstoppable. So many scientists tried.”

Ray exhaled a long, jerky breath. “I need to show you something.”

She led Marla to the aqua garden closet where she tended the bean spouts. She took pride that she’d proven her skill enough that Marla no longer monitored her closely. That pride supported her own little experiment.

Inside one pod grew a shock of what Ray imagined to be wheat. The fronds size and shape matched the Visual Dictionary. However, instead of bright green like the picture, the “wheat” was black as midnight.

Marla gasped, covered her mouth and took a step back. She pulled Ray with her and slammed the closet door.

“What does it mean?” Ray reached for the doorknob, pushing Marla aside. “Is it wheat?”

Black wheat woke me up two mornings ago. If the leaves are black, that means they absorbed all of the visible light.

What does that mean?

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