I was assigned to rewrite the ending of Out Of the Dust by Karen Hesse. It's about a little girl struggling through life during the Dust Bowl. I have no intention of copyrighting or infringing on the rights of the original work.
I'm walking through the roaring dust. My sight is blinded. This is the worst storm yet. The screeching sound of horrified children are filling my ears, as well as the piercing noise or windows on the schoolhouse shattering from the fierce winds. The schoolhouse is n longer bounded to the ground. It's about to roll away just like everything eventually does in the Oklahoma Panhandle. I hear someone calling my name but the location of the voice is unknown. It sounds like my father but I can't see him through the dust. The voice is getting closer and I am positive it belongs to my father. I can barely see him and I am overwhelmed when he reaches me. My heart is pumping faster than a train engine and after what I have seen I swear it stopped. My Father was taken by the thieving winds. He was ripped from my grasp faster than a running stallion in wild country. The last thing I heard was my father screaming my name, until I woke up.
I sat up abruptly shaking and sobbing. I don't know what I would do if I lost my father too. I sat there letting my tears fall down my cheeks, thinking about what I would do without Father and wondering where I would be without him. My thoughts begin to explore the options without Father. It scares me, but I feel as if I need to be prepared, as if I'll lose Father like I did Ma. I wish he would check out the bumps on his face. That way he could take away the possibility of it harming him or worse, taking him away from me. That is my biggest fear right now.
I finally decided to abandon my bed and journey down the stairs. I was hoping to find Father in the kitchen but he was no where to be found throughout the house. My search for his whereabouts led me to venture outside to the backyard. I eventually locate him in the hole, digging like a mad man. He looked to be crying. I jumped into the hole to see if he was okay. I watched him for a few moments and then I asked, "Pa, are you alright?" He continued to dig so I asked again, "Pa, are you alright?" Still no response so I decided to try and ask once more. "Pa."
"Yes, I'm alright...I just want to dig for awhile. Go in the house and clean up a bit. I'll be in in awhile to eat, so go ahead and start making lunch." Pa responded.
"Okay. What do you want for lunch?"
"Just some beans and biscuits will be fine. We don't have much of anything else."
"Alright, I'll go start that then." I replied and then turned to leave.
" Unless you want to help dig?" my father questioned unexpectedly.
"Really? I can really help you?"
"Yes. If you want you can. Get the other shovel from the shed and start digging."
"Okay!" I replied almost to excitedly. I leaped out of the hole and scampered to the tool shed. I opened the door and removed the shovel from the hook. I ran back to the hole and hopped down into it. I began to dig with my father. For the first time in a long time I was doing something with my father. After some thought I decided to strike up a conversation. "Hey Pa, I want to play piano again. I want to be as good as Ma was, but my hands, they hurt, but-"
"Tomorrow. I'll take you to the doctor tomorrow. We will get your hands checked out."
"Thank you Pa. Can you get those spots on your face checked too? They worry me Pa and I don't want to lose you like I lost-"
"Okay, I'll get them checked too. I think you've been digging long enough. Go inside and start lunch now. I'll be in shortly."
"Yes Father, and thank you for letting me dig."
"You're welcome, now get going."
"Okay." I said quietly as I turned to leave. I started forward towards the house slowly at first until the air went silent. I knew what was about to happen. It was another dust storm.
"Get in the house now!" my father exclaimed. I started sprinting inside and I could hear my father's footsteps at my heels. As soon as I got in the house I started covering the windows with sheets, and my father did the same. Before it was too late, I grabbed two cloths and dampened them for us to cover our mouths with, leaving our only chance for a clean breathe. The dust began to swarm into the house, devouring everything it contacts. My father locates me through the dust and holds me tightly, shielding my face from the obscurity of the dust, I want to start weeping because of my constant want to leave this place, but I keep my composure.
The dust begins to fade away and leave us for the time being. My father releases me and pats the dust off of him and me. I steal a glance from my father and he begins to smirk. He begins to chuckle. I start to let out a laugh as well. We are both laughing. I do not believe we know why either. I do know it was very well needed. My father concludes his mindless laughter and gazes at me. "You are so beautiful Billie Jo. I'm glad I received you instead of the son I dreamed of having. You are so good to be even dreamed of. O love you Billie Jo and I'm sorry for how it's been lately. I miss Ma, but you know that and I know you do too. We need to stay together. We don't know how long we have. I'm sorry baby girl."
"I stood there, stunned, unable to speak or to move. For moments that seemed to last forever, I stood there motionless. I finally was able to able to recollect myself enough to respond. "I love you too Daddy and I'm sorry too."
Father then took me and cradled me in his arms. For the first time I believed that he truly didn't hate for the accident with Ma. I felt the he truly loved me again. I couldn't confine myself a second time and I began to weep. Moments later my father joined me in the flowing of tears. After what seemed like hours he let go of me and kissed my forehead.
"You need to go rest. I'll clean up here, you just go rest. I love you sweetheart. I'll be up in a bit."
"I love you too Daddy." I whispered before I started my descent up the stairs. When I reached my bed and climbed in, I covered myself with blankets, letting them devour my entire body. I laid there waiting for my father's visit before I fall asleep but my ability to stay awake had failed me. I crept into a deep sleep.
I awoke to the slight nudge of my shoulder by my father. "Hey there sleepyhead." he began, "Breakfast is ready. Time to get up." The sweet smell of bacon developed around my nose. The smell began to awaken my other senses and I begin to taste it. My eyes flutter open revealing my father standing at my bedside. "Are you going to get up?" he asked.
"Yes, eventually." I said with a sleepy grin. I then rolled out of bed and faltered to steady myself as I stood. My father began to return back downstairs and I followed him, or more like the aroma of the bacon. My father had everything laid out and ready for us to eat, which is unusual for him. He placed some bacon and eggs on my plate and we began to feast on our glorious breakfast.
After eating, I went back upstairs to change into the proper attire to go to the doctor. I changed into the appropriate clothing and headed back downstairs. Father was waiting by the door, ready to leave. "You ready?" he asked.
"Yes, I am." I replied. We started out the door and made our way through town to the doctor's without a word. I did notice that Father was grasping his chest, every so often, as if in pain, on our walk here. We entered Doc Rice's office and he greeted us with a welcoming hello.
"I need you to check Billie Jo's hands and then the spots on my face." my father requested.
The doctor began to examine my hands. He decided he was going to give me medicine to apply to them. As he was telling me what I needed to do, my father began clutching his chest again. Suddenly he fell to the ground. Doc Rice rushed over to him. A nurse came in and removed me from the room. I tried to get away from her so I could go to Daddy but she pulled me back tightly. I began to holler to him, yelling Daddy over and over again. Tears began to fall once more. I was scared for him. I wanted to see Daddy but the nurse would not release her attachment to me. I wanted to know what was going on. Eventually Doc Rice emerged from the room.
"Let me see my daddy!" I screamed, my eyes filled with tears.
"I'm sorry Billie Jo, there was nothing I could do." Doc Rice whispered.
"No! Daddy! No!" I repeated, constantly weeping, as I screamed. The nurse held me in her arms as I cried. I had lost my father as I did my mother. I have no one now, besides Aunt Ellis. I have no choice but to go there now. The nurse told me I could stay with her until my aunt got here.
My aunt arrived a few days later and we buried my father next to Baby Franklin and Ma, well where we believe they were. After the funeral I went to house to pack my things. I packed most of my clothes, some of my father's, and Ma's book of poetry. I wanted to bring Ma's piano but Aunt Ellis refused for it was too heavy and to hard to move. She made me leave it behind. Aunt Ellis grabbed my bags and put them in the car. She got into the driver's seat without a word. I stood there, gazing at the farm, thinking of all the memories, and remembering how father let me dig me dig with him the day before. It troubled me and my ability to leave had shrank. Aunt Ellis had to put me in the car because of my inability to leave everything behind. She eventually succeeded in getting me in the car. I cried as we pulled away. I wanted to leave this place, but I never dreamed it would happen like this.