Rays of Hope: Chapter 36

We passed 470,000 COVID-19 deaths in the USA. 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.

Good News: I got a message from my healthcare network that I can make an appointment to get the vaccine.

Bad News: There are no appointments available at any of their locations at any time of the day on any day on the calendar.

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 36

“You should be sleeping.” Taedan’s whisper causes a shiver to run from Rays’s neck to her knees, but she doesn’t turn away from the dirty window.

“What is it?” she whispers.

Ray glances to their bedrolls. Trumble stirs in what she hopes is sleep and Marla tucks her own blanket up around her neck. Ray swallows a lump in her throat that seems to hold back a single tear that now rolls down her cheek. So many times, she’s been the silent recipient of blankets tucked over her shoulders and around her neck. A silent act of love with no desire for reciprocity.

“What do you think it is?”

Ray grits her teeth remembering what Trumble and Marla said about Taedan and his cunning avoidance of direct answers. He’ll be honest, I’m sure.

“I saw a picture of the moon in the Visual Dictionary,” Ray offers.

“Did it look like that?”

“No.” Ray pauses searching for what she wants to say next. “In the picture, the moon was rounder. And it was pocked in a way that almost looked like a face.”

“Ahh, the Man in the Moon.”

“Marla said she and my mother had a story about the moon. If you were good, you’d see the moon smile. If you were naughty, you’d see a scowl.”

“Do you believe that?”

“I think it’s a story that adults tell children to keep them in line.”

Taedan’s woofs a grin and covers his mouth. They both look at the sleeping Marla and Trumble.

“They must be exhausted,” says Taedan.

“So is it the moon?”

“You are a tenacious one.”

“Marla said you’re as honest as the day is long.”

“She did?”

“Withholding information can also be dishonest.”

“So you believe I’m dishonest.”

“Is it the moon or not? And if it’s the moon, why can’t I see stars? The Visual Dictionary had stars. And why is it blurry? And why can I see it here and not at home?”

Taedan chuckles low in his chest and lifts her onto the countertop so she can see more of what lays beyond the window. Dead reeds and grasses wave in silhouettes above mounds of grey sand.

“It is the moon,” says Taedan. “Back behind layers and layers of clouds, so thick that it’s as if only the memory of the moon remains for those of us who know it’s there. Here there’s fewer people. Progress is a bit more visible.”

Taedan crosses his arms over Ray and rests his chin on the top of her head. The two of them sit silently. She wishes she has her notebook, yet Ray dares not move for fear of breaking the spell. Instead she whispers questions at the window and Taedan whispers answers over her head. He tells her about the moon and that he’s certain the stars are still there and he tells her the name of the grasses and the reeds and the special type of sand that is only found on the shores of Lake Michigan and how people mined it in some places almost down to bedrock, but not here because Alice and he would not allow it and even after he disappeared no one could break the decree they had published.

The door Taedan creates leading to her mother opens a tiny fissure in Ray’s heart. She wants to drink in more, but her body betrays her with fatigue. Taedan deposits the sleeping child next to Marla. Ray’s eyes move under closed lids, following a familiar dream-scene of endless water and sand, and white birds landing so close to her, she reaches out to touch them.

Marla rouses by a bleat from her niece’s fitful sleep. She reaches over and tucks the blanket up around Ray’s neck and shoulders before she works soothing circles on her back. Slower and wider Marla caresses, until they both drift into a deep, unshielded slumber.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Finally, some answers. What will they find on their road-trip.

I hope you are enjoying Ray’s journey.

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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