Rays of Hope: Chapter 49

grayscale photo of woman peeking on planks Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

Wow! I have almost enough written about Ray and Marla to create a novella. I suppose that’s a positive outcome from so much isolation. Afterall, I did resurrect this story at the beginning of the pandemic.

And it’s still raging. Yesterday, I read that Mississippi has only 3 ICU bed available in the entire state. Yikes!

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 and 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 49

Ray releases the door handle a millimeter at a time until she hears a quiet click. She swallows her heart, tightens her Outsider, and takes a deep breath, releasing it as slowly as she did the door handle.

I’ll be back before anyone notices, she thinks.

Outside, the dark lifts to a dull gray as she traverses the now-familiar path to the platform. She observes, as always, but now she’s looking for people. People with certain attributes. People who are observing, too. People on the lookout. She passes the crack where she found the dandelion and wills herself to move on. There’s no time for sample collection.

No one who knows Taedan will know who I am, she reasons with herself. I’ll be safe.

She can see from the street that no one is on the platform. Still, she stealths up the ramp, just in case someone is hiding. Empty.

What now? The tracks below her look lonely, as if they wait for the scream of wheels. She kicks a piece of rotten wood onto the track. The sound clunks louder than possible against the tracks. It’s just my imagination.

“Did you hear that?”

Someone is coming and he can’t be alone. Ray squeezes her body under a bench. Her breath comes loud in her ears before she snugs up her Outsider.

“I’m sure I heard someone.”

“It’s your imagination.”

Ray sees a pair of shoes, and then another, and then so many they blur together. Her Outsider fogs and her heart beats so hard, she’s sure she can be heard.

“If we could just find Marla.”

“If wishes were horses,” says a woman. “She’s probably not even in the city. Anyone with half a brain would leave.”

“You didn’t.”

“Maybe that says a lot.”

“Wherever she is, the child is. Wherever the child is, her father will not be far.”

“Well, we don’t have Taedan. So we need to stop looking and spend our energy figuring this thing out.”

“Taedan is the only one I’ve ever known who can pull all these seemingly disparate data together into a sensible explanation.”

“We’ll get there,” a man says. “Eventually.”

The argument muffles as the feet move about the platform and the group collects samples from the banisters and crevices. Ray holds her breath and closes her eyes as a thick man jumps down the rails, busies himself, before hoisting back up onto the platform. He grunts as he creaks across the platform.

The thick man seems to lead them all to another destination. Ray waits so long that she almost dozes off. Maybe she would have if her calf didn’t seize up in a painful cramp.

By the time she descends the platform, the city is awake. A few people walk here and there. A Pedal-about passes by, half-filled with passengers. For the first time that she can remember, Ray wonders where they are all going. Are they looking for something? Or someone? How many people are looking for her Daddy-Long-Legs?

“Where have you been?” Marla wrenches the door open, grabs Ray, and pulls her inside at the first click of the door handle.

“They want Taedan because he knows about desperate data.” Ray says.

“Who?” Marla’s jaws clench so tight, the skin ripples. Her grip on Ray hurts.

“The people on the platform.”

“What were you thinking?” Taedan almost seems to whisper next to Marla’s harshness.

“I think they want your help.”

Uh-oh, I didn’t expect that. I wonder how long the scientists will take to understand Ray heard ‘disparate,’ not ‘desparate.’

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

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