Rays of Hope: Chapter 27

CeCe and her family are recovering for COVID-19. I found a new website that helps determine how likely I am to get exposed. Here’s a link to the tool developed by professors at Georgia Tech.

If you’re here for the first time, and you’re interested in starting at Chapter 1 of Rays of Hope, click here.

It’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I intend to finish the first draft of May His Tribe Increase. Some of it’s already drafted, so I’ll be re-writing some, filling in detail, and doing some polishing, too.

As for Ray and Marla, every week they surprise me.

Chapter 27

The cinnamon, the tangy seetness of molasses, the greenness of the black wheatgrass swirls together inside and outside Ray’s head. Marla’s tone relaxes into a drone of scientific questions that leaves Trumble scribbling and Ray fighting heavy eyelids.

“You think I haven’t learned my lesson?” Taedan’s tone snaps Ray to attention.

“I believe you want to make things right,” Marla’s voice pinches in controlled gentleness. The same way she sounds when Ray tests her Aunt’s patience. She continues, “You can’t.”

“It wasn’t our fault,” Taedan says.

Ray’s legs want to spring out of her chair. Instead, she brings her teacup to her lips and breathes into it, making little ripples in the grey-brown liquid. Who’s Taedan talking about? Her mother?

“Maybe we could have fixed things if the government didn’t decide to distribute the biggest body of fresh water to the rest of the country.”

“Finding fault is wasted energy,” says Trumble. “What matters is now.” His words seem to cause the whole room to exhale a long cleansing breath.

“Was my mother part of your plan?” Ray hiccups.

“I loved your mother,” Taedan lays his head on forearms crossed on the table. Uneven breathing spasms his sweatshirt against his back. Ray feels her stomach lurch up against her chest and tighten around her heart. She can’t help herself; she goes to Taedan and rubs circles on his back.

“She used to do that,” Taedan lifts his head, smiling through wet eyes.

“My mother?”

“She would have wanted me to try to fix things.”

“Genetic engineering is forbidden,” says Marla. “Why can’t you learn?”

“Nature is my only engineer.” Taedan goes on to describe how he scoured the city for signs of life: seeds, a bird, or an egg, a fish egg, and weed. Anything that might revive the ecosystem.

“Did you scavenge the dandelion?” Trumble asks.

“I figured if it could grow outside, I could get it to reproduce. I was right.” Taedan pushes himself up and leads them through the laboratory where they inspect the plants.

Ray notices something she missed earlier. Taedan’s aquaponic garden is very different from hers: movement amidst the tangle of roots. At first, she thinks it’s her imagination. The adults’ voices drone around her as she studies the murky water.

“Fish,” Ray shouts. “You have fish in here.”

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

I admit it, those fish woke me up yesterday morning.

Do you ever have stories wake you up, begging to be told?
Until next Friday, when we’ll both learn more.


Reading is like food for the soul. u003cbru003eWriters like to eat biscuits, too.

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