Rays of Hope: Chapter 48

black pencil on white paper Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

Wow! I haven’t visited Ray and Marla since May. Still, they’ve been waving at me from the back of my brain.

Back then my state had 52% of the population vaccinated with at least one dose. Now we are at almost 62%. That’s not much improvement in two months. We are Phase 5, opened up with “on your honor” masking. Now we seem to be going back to masks, which is A-OK with me.

Here’s a link to the tool developed by professors at Georgia Tech. Maybe it will help in your decision-making.

My progress on May His Tribe Increase finally moving forward thanks to Scrivener tutorials. I’m at a nitty-gritting revise and focus place, which is both exciting a frustrating. My two fellas’ memoir is back in their hands for a final review.

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

Chapter 48

“Are you sure?” Taedan looks up from his oat groats and dandelion greens. “A wolf spider nest? In the city?”

Marla taps her forefinger on her sketch before tee-peeing her chin between her palms.

Ray slips her hand into Taedan’s as she pushes her sketch toward him. Less detail, but the same image.

“These are shiny droplets,” she says, explaining two circles on the web.

Marla laughs. “I know. I can hardly believe it either.”

“Did you take samples?”

“We didn’t want to disturb anything.” Marla explains the smoothed scratches on the rail, and the other signs that someone else was there. “I didn’t want to leave any evidence.”

“But, other people are working to the same end.” Trumble chipmunks his food into one cheek in his hurry to speak. “That’s a good thing.” His eyes dart from face to face as his jaws slowly begin to masticate. “Isn’t it?”

“Look,” Marla threads her fingers together and pulls her head back in alignment with her shoulders.”I hope it’s a good thing. It should be a good thing.” She rolls her eyes toward Ray and presses her lips together.

“Even if it’s a good thing that there’s a wolf spider living in the city,” Ray says squeezing Taedan’s hand. “People are still looking for my Daddy-Long-Legs.”

You don’t miss a thing,” Taedan smiles at Ray and shakes his lowered head. “She’s got a point, you know.”

Ray wonders if she should tell him that a piece of green lodges between his front teeth. Instead, she folds her sketch pad and busies herself tidying her cot area while the adults devise a plan to scope out the platform. For the most part, they keep their voices lowered, glancing now and then in her direction.

In her corner, Ray pulls out her Visual Dictionary and turns to spiders. She wishes for words to explain how spiders live. Was this one here all along? Was it a stowaway on the feather of a bird? Did a person rescue it from the mined dunes? She jerks to attention when she hears her name.

“Ray and Taedan will go to the beach house until we know more,” says Trumble. “We agree.”

Marla puckers her lips in what Ray recognizes as disagreement, yet she nods. Ray feels her stomach pull into a knot and she tastes bile in the back of her throat.

“I’ve never been away from you.” Her voice trembles as she runs to Marla. Marla’s arms around her allows her body to collapse in sobs.

“It’ll be safer for you there,” Marla says. “Just in case.”

“I’ll keep her safe at all costs,” says Taedan.

“There won’t be any cost,” says Trumble in a voice that Ray recognizes as authority.

“How long?”

“Just a little while,” says Marla. “I’m positive it’ll just be a little while.” She smooths Ray’s hair and kisses her forehead.

Ray is unsure who Marla wants to convince. At the same time, Marla has never lied to her before. Without another word, she leaves her aunt and begins to load her backpack.

“Just for a little while,” she says. Her stomach drops as she thinks: whatever that means.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

I wonder what the adults have planned.

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.

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart (and my stomach, too.)

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly