Rays of Hope: Chapter 37

We passed 490,000 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 my first shot of the Pfizer vaccine. Shot #2 scheduled on the spot.

My progress on May His Tribe Increase is floundering. Eldie and his brothers are so upbeat, I’m having a hard time keeping up with them.

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.

For once in her remembered life, Ray cannot think or speak. Her senses and emotions flood her neurons, drowning logic. Her eyes watch the back of Taedan’s head as he drives the automobile.

“Breathe,” says Marla. She exhales so much in the effort that her Outsider fogs up. She squeezes Ray’s hand and smiles.

Ray lets out the breath she didn’t know she was holding and inhales consciously counting to five and then out again, the same way. She peels her eyes off of Taedan’s head and watches the world speed by outside the window. The drone of the engine floods her ears. Vibration tickle the soles of her feet and rise like an electrical current up through her torso. She flattens her hand against the window and feels the vibrations pass from her fingertips to her chest. Acrid fuel fumes make their way through Ray’s Outsider and she tugs at the straps to tighten the fit.

Taedan and Trumble talk to each other in the front seat, pointing and gesturing. Ray holds on tight hoping Taedan’s wandering attention will not careen them off the road, so filled with holes that vibrations turn into jolts every few seconds.

After what Ray guesses to be an hour of the assault on her senses, Taedan slows the vehicle and turns onto a path covered with dead grass.

“We’re almost there,” Taedan says.

“Look.” Marla leans toward Ray and points out the window on her side. “A bird.”

Ray twists in her seat and tries to see where Marla points, but she fails for reasons she cannot decipher. Perhaps their speed left the bird in a wake of dust. Perhaps Ray looked high for a flying bird and the bird was perched. Perhaps she looked far and the bird was close. The only bird she remembers is the dead one she saw on the platform. How different will a live bird look?

The droning of the automobile echoes in Ray’s ears, even after they stop. Grass crunches under foot as she exits onto firm ground. It seems to Ray that she’s moving in slow motion.

“How long before my ears are normal and I can feel things again?”

“What do you mean?” says Marla.

“All I can hear is the automobile.”

The adults exchanged glances and laughed as if understanding a private joke.

“It’ll pass,” says Taedan. “Let’s not waste any daylight.”

And with that, the adults begin to take samples and write in their notebooks. Ray sits in the dead grass and rakes through the fronds, lost in the annoyance she feels toward Taedan and Trumble, and most of all Marla. Of all people, Marla. How could she make her the butt of some inside joke.

Clods of reddish soil roll around under her gloved fingers. She pries a bit free and it immediately breaks into finer particles, laced with white, and finally it becomes an almost pink dust. A small clod moves on it’s own, startling Ray before curiosity takes over.

“Look.” She scrambles to her feet and shouts to the others fanned out around her.

Marla is bent in a down-dog position, head no longer visible. Trumble kneels, scratching in his tablet balanced on one knee. Taedan sifts soil into an envelope.

“I found something.” Ray shouts. Her voice sounds loud inside her Outsider, but no one stirs from their observations.

Ray’s desire to stay and observe barely overcomes the urge to run and pull at Marla’s hand. She cats down close to where she saw movement and scans the bared soil. A tiny thread emerges, and another, and a third before the threads pull a translucent ball from the underside of a soil particle. Ray’s breath draws in short and stops. The ball is actually three distinct segments. Those threads are legs. An insect.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

What?! An insect? I wonder if the white lace is mycelium? Ah.. Pretty sure it is.

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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