Through the layers of sackcloth and muslin that we used for curtains, I could see the sun hovering like a rotten orange over the straight black Kansas horizon. Dust carried by the wind scratched and pattered against the windowpane, trying to get inside.
Once, it was the finest hotel in the county, with its Moonlight Room, and the smoking lounge all decked out in red velveteen and gold fringe, and a ladies' parlor sporting an Italian marble fireplace so big I could stand up in it. Even empty, it was the biggest, grandest home imaginable. Slow Run itself was not a place you ever heard of, unless you had to live there or stop overnight on your way somewhere else.
Used to be a lot of people did stay overnight. A lot of things used to happen in Slow Run. The trains used to bring in travelers and take out carloads of wheat from the grain elevator. Mama used to make plenty of money running the hotel her parents started. It used to rain. I could just about remember the time when I looked out my window to see the green wheat rippling all around the straight lines of clapboard buildings that made up Slow Run. Now there was nothing but the blowing dirt under that rotten orange sun.
I jumped off my brass bed, ran to the bathroom, and switched on the tap. Water came out in a thin gray stream, but at least it came. It didn't always. I drank a little to rinse my mouth.
It tasted like old tin. I plugged the basin drain and ran about an inch of water into the sink so I could scrub my face and hands with the little piece of store-bought soap. I wiped myself down with the washrag so the soap wouldn't get into the basin water.
Dust Girl: The American Fairy Trilogy Book 1
I got store-bought soap because of my good skin, Mama said. My skin was cream-colored and soft with not too many freckles. But that meant I had to take special care of it, and always wear a hat and gloves when I went outdoors so I wouldn't turn brown. I had good eyes too, she said, a stormy blue-gray color that people said turned steel gray when I got mad.
See a Problem?
My hair was another story. My black hair was my mother's worst enemy. She'd wash it in lye water and lemon juice, when we could get them. But even when we couldn't, it had to be brushed a hundred strokes every night and kept done up in tight braids so it would be nicely wavy. Until then, we'll just have to do our best. It meant keeping ourselves and the hotel clean, and minding our manners even when there was no one to see or care.
It meant being patient, even on the worst days when my lungs felt so heavy from breathing in the blow dust all the time that they dragged my whole body down. My workday dress used to be yellow, but wash soap and dust had turned it a kind of pale brown. I looped my scarf over my arm and carefully carried my wash water down the short, narrow hallway. Our staff quarters at the back of the hotel had two bedrooms, the kitchen, and a little sitting room.
As expected, the kitchen was empty. Mama would be somewhere in the main part of the hotel, trying to chase Gray County back outside. I scooped one cup of water out of my basin and poured slow drips onto the tomatoes growing in soup cans on the windowsill. The rest went into the tin bucket by the door for the chickens. Before opening the door, though, I pulled on my canvas work hat and gloves and tied my scarf securely over my face. As soon as I stepped off the porch, sweat prickled on the back of my neck and at the edges of my scarf.
The stems from our dead garden rattled in the hot wind. A brown grasshopper clung to one broken twig, waiting for a chance to get into the house and between my sheets. I tried not to hate the hoppers, even when they got into the water basin or my shoes.
Dust Girl: The American Fairy Trilogy - Sarah Zettel - Google книги
The only reason we still had chickens was that the birds could live on hoppers and the little green worms that crawled out of the sunbaked fence posts. The hens fought each other over the water while I helped myself at the nesting boxes. We were lucky today. Six warm brown eggs went into my pockets. My mouth watered. Maybe we could sell a few at the store for flour, or milk, or even butter, if there was any at Van Iykes's Mercantile. The mercantile was the last store in town. There used to be a choice between Van Iykes's and Schweitzer's Emporium.
But last week, Mr. Schweitzer locked their doors, tossed the key in the dust, climbed into their truck with their babies, Sophie and Todd, and drove away. Mama and I stood out on the porch and watched them leave. As if that thought was a signal, my cough started up again, in sharp little bursts. Support our work! Want personalized picks that fit your family? Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids. Intricate historical novel contrasts Dust Bowl, fairy world. Sarah Zettel Fantasy Rate book. Read or buy. Parents say No reviews yet Add your rating. Kids say No reviews yet Add your rating.
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Positive Messages. What parents need to know Parents need to know that Dust Girl is a clever, thoughtful, intricate fantasy that mixes U. Continue reading Show less. Stay up to date on new reviews. Get full reviews, ratings, and advice delivered weekly to your inbox. User Reviews Parents say Kids say. There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
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What's the story? Is it any good? Talk to your kids about Magic and Fantasy. Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More.
Arts and Dance. Fairy Tales. Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires. For kids who love fantasy and historical fiction. Fantasy Books for Kids. Historical Fiction. Our editors recommend. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Original American fairy tale more spare, magical than movie. A spirited retelling of tales old and new. Two dozen folktales full of humor and history. About these links Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase.
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