Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella


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She took up a kitchen knife and hacked at her arms until steam rose out of her like she was a kettle. My father did love me after a kind. He liked to see me trotted out for supper in a lacy white dress, so he could see my black hair against it. He liked to see me dressed in black so my skin looked lighter against that.

Less regular, he put me into calfskin and two long braids which is how Crow girls dress. I did not like the look of him when I did that. H did not often introduce me to his business acquaintances or his more intimate partners. A daughter was a special doll to be kept in a glass cabinet.

An automatic girl the master of the house brought out to entertain at the table with charming words, to be polished up with powder and elaborate costumes.

The First Kiss

Pull the lever in her heart and she dispenses love, pose her arms and legs and she exhibits grace—then put her away in her cabinet again. I gradually understood the truth of my situation: I was a secret. Gun That Sings had barely outlived the mail service that delivered their nuptial announcements.

H found it more difficult to explain the sudden appearance of a daughter than to have me privately instructed and forbid me to leave the grounds of the slowly growing castle by the sea.

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For a long time this did not trouble me as the grounds would have put the shame to Eden and Babylon. The hills swooped down to the shore in grassy, gentle humps, split up into gardens, fields full of pheasant and grouse for hunting, stables and ponds, good pine forests. Up on the north acreage, my father ordered a tiny zoo built, along with a brass carousel and a miniature boardwalk along the creek. The boardwalk boasted two shooting galleries, a dime museum full of paintings of faraway cities in Europe and South America, and a saloon with a player piano and sarsaparilla taps that never seemed to run dry.

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Inside the saloon stood a black and silver slot machine specially made to accept wooden coins my father had struck as part of my raising—they pictured myself on one side and Mr. H on the other. I received a set and non-negotiable number of these every month and could trade them for toys, extra helpings of dessert, another hour before bedtime, or any other sorts of things for which a child might wheedle and beg. The spinners on the slot machine depicted a lonely tree in winter, spring, summer, and autumn. If I lined up the seasons correct, real coins would spill into the tray, silver dollars like raindrops.

I played alone on the boardwalk. My governess was not allowed there as Mr. H felt every soul required a space to lord over. The sun beat my hair and the magpies watched me hopscotch across the birch slats. The slots spun only for me. I pulled my own mugs of sarsaparilla. I shot the tin geese in the galleries over and over again until dark.


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Sometimes the dime museum paintings changed, but I never saw new canvases hung up or old ones taken down. I had no friends or company other than my father, my governess Miss Enger, and the groundskeeper, who came to feed the animals Mr. H collected on his travels and installed in the zoo. I was powerful afraid of the crocodile, even though she was caged up.

The coyote also lived in a cage, as he could not be trusted to come back if we let him roam like the fox and the bear, who knew a good thing and an easy meal. I recall specially a pair of enormous emerald-colored parrots with red and yellow and purple feathers my father had brought by sea from the West Indies. They could talk a little but they did not speak English. It had a grip pounded out of the first silver bars of Mr.

That would have been gun enough for any girl, but I reckon my father had nowhere else to spend his love back then. He had great big red pearls stuck into it like drops of blood spattered on the snow, one for every time I pleased him. On my tenth birthday he presented me a black opal the size of his thumb which he set himself into the pommel. I saw fire. Veins of fire like anger in the dark. Like coal. Like coals. And in the silver I saw my face reflected like a terrible, wonderful mirror. I could shoot that gun easy as spitting. The tin gallery-geese, the apples off the orchard trees.

I named my gun Rose Red for them fancy cranberries nubbling up against my palm. It was some years before I understood that pearls were more usually white.

My main observation on the matter of the opal was that it changed the weight of my gun, which did not please me. He took the meat and returned me the pelts and I judged that a sound bargain.

【MMD】Fronnie - Kiss in the snow

On occasion I shot big black rats which I gave to the coyote, as I do not prefer rat fur. He crunched their skulls between his jaws. He watched me with yellow eyes while he did it. When he howled he sounded like a body dying. Once, I took a bead on a seagull and shot it plumb out of the sky.

See a Problem?

I did not expect to come close to it. As soon as it dropped down toward the sea my heart fell through a hole in my chest. I looked for the bird all over the meadowy grass, crying miserable.


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  7. The sun set my tears to boiling. I talked myself into the notion that I would find the seagull wounded through the wing and keep her and mend her and teach her to love humans and live in a house. She would help me and bring me fish and be my companion. She would sleep in my bed with her soft head against my shoulder. I found the poor bird down at the bottom of a green hill. I had put my bullet straight through her black eye.

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    H paid wages to these folk, though I am not accounting for the men he employed in San Francisco, Sacramento, Chicago, and New York as I never met them. Most all got some extra scratch for keeping quiet about my person. Thomas Button, Butler Mr. George Button, Valet Mr. Simon Paget, Hall Boy Mr. Garland Clague, Groundskeeper Mr. Linus Healy, Stablemaster Mr. Peter Fjelstad, Stablehand Mr. The wedding occurred at high summer in the castle by the sea.

    A whole mess of new people suddenly tramped all over my private kingdom, tying gardenias to every damn thing and building silk tents in the golden grass. The Mr. Buttons were so fussed I thought their heads would fly off and Mrs.

    Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella
    Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella
    Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella
    Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella
    Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella
    Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella
    Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella Kisses in the Snow-Melt: A Novella

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