Rays of Hope: Chapter 34

asperitas dark clouds in gloomy sky Photo by Andrew Beatson on Pexels.com

More than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths in the USA yesterday. Remember back when the President said with no mitigation, we could have 400-500,000 deaths? We’re there now.

Here’s a link to the tool developed by professors at Georgia Tech. Maybe it will help you make the decision to stay home.

My state is #47 in vaccine distribution. I’m on the wait-list.

I wonder how my real world experiences will impact my distopian world.

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

Chapter 34

“We’re leaving after breakfast dishes are done.”

Marla’s voice is even and calm, yet something is off about how she moves. Ray studies her aunt.

“Come on, let’s get moving.”

She doesn’t sound impatient, but she is, thinks Ray. How do I know? She studies Marla clearing dishes, loading her backpack. It’s her shoulders. They are too close to her ears. Ray moves her own shoulders up toward her ears and feels instant tension between her temples.

“What’s wrong?” Ray says without moving from the table.

“What’s wrong?” Marla lowers her chin and looks over her eyebrows at Ray. “It’s going to be a long day, and you’re making it longer.”

Trumble interrupts, “Let’s get your pack together. I’ll help.”

“Why do we need so much stuff,” Ray says as she packs her notebook, spare clothes, and a clean filter for her Outsider. “Taedan’s is just a walk from here. We don’t even need to take the Pedalabout.”

“Maybe we’ll be back tonight.” Trumble glances at Marla’s back before lowering his voice. “Maybe we won’t.”

Ray feels her heart give a now familiar flip-flop in her chest before it pounds loud in her ears. She slows her breath, zips her pack, and moves to help Marla.

Trumble and Marla talk over Ray’s head, as they walk, daisy-chained together; linked together with a singular purpose, aiming at different goals.

“What do you think he’ll say about the pH of the droplets we collected?” says Trumble. Ray follows his eyes to the grey skies.

“I’m sure he’ll have an answer.” Marla kisses her teeth. “He always does.”

“He’ll tell us the truth, of that I’m certain. But, will we ask the right questions? You know he won’t answer the questions we don’t know enough to ask.”

Marla kisses her teeth again and squeezes Ray’s hands.

“This time, I’m prepared to stay as long as it takes.”

“As long as it takes,” whispers Ray and squeezes both Trumble’s and Marla’s hands. Her heart lightens inside her chest and her mind caresses the notebook tucked safely inside her pack. She can picture her questions written there, as if she holds the page itself.

“I hope he can get us out of the city,” says Trumble.

Ray feels herself go dizzy before she realizes she’s holding her breath. A cacophony of questions hammer inside her head. She wills herself to mentally turn the page in her notebook and write new questions. Some for Taedan, some for Marla. Some Trumble will choose to answer. Her lower eyelids pulse upward before she exhales.


Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Darn it! I want to know what’s beyond the city. When will they leave?

I hope you are enjoying Ray’s journey.

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

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

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