Rays of Hope: Chapter 18

Warning, today’s chapter seems a little bleak at first, but brightens at the end. A bit like my day: Rainy with a chance of sun.

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

Although my novel’s word count is rising slower than I’d like I feel like I’m making progress.

Editing May His Tribe Increase leads me to understand where my characters are going and what conflicts need clarifying.

Jim and John’s Big Adventure is moving along and bringing smiles to my face.


Chapter 18

How many weeks had passed since Trumble was a new face to Ray? She could hardly remember a time that she didn’t know him. Trips on the Pedal-about, once rare, became routine in the weeks since she first climbed the deserted stairs to Trumble’s home, turned laboratory-in-a-home.

Each trip sent her silently searching in vain for signs of Taedan. No Raincoat man whispering, “Keep your eye on the sparrow.” No sign of a bird, dead or alive. No more scraggly plants pushing up in a sidewalk crack.

After their argument and the information that fell out of Marla’s mouth, Ray waited for the right time to ask for more information about her mother and Taedan’s work. She waited so long that she almost believed she misunderstood.

Can silence do that? Is that why Marla kept so much inside? Why did her mother die? What made all the dominoes fall? Why couldn’t Marla stop it? These were the questions that pummeled Ray’s brain, bruising her sleep only to fade in the morning, so that it all seemed like a bad dream.

Except for the hushed conversations between Trumble and Marla. Ray buried her nose in a book, tended Trumble’s hydroponic garden, or otherwise shadowed herself into invisibility. Anything to make it easier to eavesdrop.

“So our hypothesis was correct?” Marla said.

“The wheat Taedan engineered is almost 100% efficient. Almost as efficient as red algae or cyanobacteria.”

“And the kernels are non-toxic?”

Ray swallowed a giggle. Remember, you only ask questions for which you already know the answer, she remembered Marla telling her. It needled her before, but today she understood.

“Did the kernels turn the sparrows feathers red?” The question spilled out before Ray had a chance to bite it back.

Marla straightened her back and let Ujjayed her exhalation as she did during yoga practice. Something the two of them did together each morning. A practice Ray found calming and at the same time made her, somehow, feel taller and older than her years. Ray felt her chest feel lighter as she straightened. She moved closer to the table.

“The pigment in the wheat made Taedan’s birds look different,” Ray formed her question into a statement. One she thought could be proved or nullified.

“Tell me more about what you noticed on Taedan’s rooftop,” Marla said. She circled one arm around Ray’s waist and pulled her close.

Trumble turned a page in his notebook and printed in block letters, TAEDEN’S ROOFTOP, followed by the date.


I feel like a bridge is building across a chasm. More questions coming.

How did Ray’s mother die? What about the bright light Ray saw?

Is the wheat responsible for lowering the sulfuric acid?What does it all mean? What’s the dandelion connection?

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

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