Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 4.0 MB
Ree Dolly’s father has skipped bail on charges that he ran a crystal meth lab, and the Dollys will lose their house if he doesn’t show up for his next court date. With two young brothers depending on her, 16-year-old Ree knows she has to bring her father back, dead or alive. Living in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks, Ree learns quickly that asking questions of the rough Dolly clan can be a fatal mistake. But, as an unsettling revelation lurks, Ree discovers unforeseen depths in herself and in a family network that protects its own at any cost.
MOM SAT in her chair beside the potbelly and the boys sat at the table eating what Ree fed them. Mom’s morning pills turned her into a cat, a breathing thing that sat near heat and occasionally made a sound. Mom’s chair was an old padded rocker that seldom rocked, and at odd instants she’d hum ill-matched snips of music, notes unrelated by melody or pitch. But for most of any day she was quiet and still, wearing a small lingering smile prompted by something vaguely nice going on inside her head. She was a Bromont, born to this house, and she’d once been pretty. Even as she was now, medicated and lost to the present, with hair she forgot to wash or brush and deep wrinkles growing on her face, you could see she’d once been as comely as any girl that ever danced barefoot across this tangled country of Ozark hills and hollers. Long, dark, and lovely she had been, in those days before her mind broke and the parts scattered and she let them go.
Ree said, “Finish up eatin’. Bus’ll be along soon.”
The house had been built in 1914, the ceilings were high, and the single light overhead threw dour shadows behind everything. Warped shadow-shapes lay all across the floor and walls and bulged in the corners. The house was cool in the brighter spots and chill in the shadows. Windows set high into the walls, and outside the panes torn plastic sheeting from the winter before whipped and fluttered. The furniture came into the house when Mamaw and Grandad Bromont were alive, had been in use since Mom was a child, and the lumpy stuffing and worn fabric yet held the scent of Grandad’s pipe tobacco and ten thousand dusty days.
Ree stood at the sink rinsing dishes, looking out the window onto the sharp slope of bare trees, looming rock ledges and a thin mud trail. Storm wind shoved limbs around and whistled past the window frame, hooted down the stovepipe. The sky came into the valley low, glum and blustery, about to bust open and snow.
Sonny said, “These socks smell.”
“Would you just put ’em on? You’ll miss the bus.”
Harold said, “My socks smell, too.”
“Would you just please, please, please put those fuckin’ socks on! Would you do that? Huh?”
Sonny and Harold were eighteen months apart in age. They nearly always went about shoulder to shoulder, running side by side and turning this way or veering that way at the same sudden instant, without a word, moving about in a spooky, instinctive tandem, like scampering quotation marks. Sonny, the older boy, was ten, seed from a brute, strong, hostile, and direct. His hair was the color of a fallen oak leaf, his fists made hard young knots, and he’d become a scrapper at school. Harold trailed Sonny and tried to do as he did, but lacked the same sort of punishing spirit and muscle and often came home in need of fixing, bruised or sprained or humiliated.