Award-winning and USA Today Bestselling author P.D. Workman's compelling and poignant account of Native teen Nadie Laplante's quest for meaning and purpose. This thought-provoking and eye-opening story of poverty, prejudice and addiction will inspire readers of all ages and remind them that they are not alone.
Nadie is a bright, caring teen growing up Manitoba Cree growing up in abject poverty. She tries to balance school attendance, caring for her younger cousin Luyu, and spending time with handsome, impish Mouse, her best friend and confidante. Together, they strive to find the path to happiness on the reservation.
But tragedy strikes and Nadie's is devastated by Luyu's accidental death. Unable to find comfort in Mouse's arms or Grandfather's traditional mourning rites, Nadie leaves the band and strikes off on her own, searching for meaning and a new life in the outside world.
Can Nadie find happiness and a place of her own in a foreign world where she is abused and discriminated against? Completely alone for the first time in her life, it is a challenge such as Nadie has never before faced.
By the author of the award-winning Ruby, Between the Cracks, this engaging and unforgettable story of Nadie's journey to find a place in the world amidst heartache and hopelessness will inspire you to face your challenges with courage and become a happier and stronger person. Praise for Questing for a Dream
“P.D. Workman's skilled narrative of Nadie and her poignant journey to wholeness is a thoughtful expose of shattered dreams and tragic youth sure to resonate with every reader.”
“An inspiring book which can encourage the reader to face the challenges in life's journey and to accept the lessons that come as a result.”Read it today.
Release date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: pd workman
Print pages: 373
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Questing for a Dream
"GRANDFATHER!” NADIE SHOOK HIM hard, trying to rouse him. She tried their native Nehiyaw—what the white man called Cree. “Nimosôm! Willie Laplante!” She shouted in his ear and shook him so hard she nearly pulled him off of the couch, but to no avail. He wasn’t waking up. Nadie made a noise of disgust and let go of his arm. “Have a nice sleep!” she muttered.
She didn’t have a lot of time before school started. She knew everybody would be late getting there anyway, including the teacher, and they wouldn’t start until all were there who were expected to come. What was the point in being on time? But Nadie still wanted to get there to say that she, at least, was on time every day.
Nadie went to the baby room, a tiny room barely bigger than a closet, and found the door locked. She rattled the handle as if she might have been mistaken, or it might have just been stuck, but it was no use. She went back to Grandfather and went through his pockets. Nadie knew it was disrespectful. But what other choice did she have?
“If you were awake, you would give it to me,” she reasoned aloud.
Grandfather just snored in response. His breath was powerfully strong. He must have a new batch of home brew ready, on top of the medicine he usually took to sleep. Nadie’s fingers touched the key, and she pulled it out with a flourish. She hurried over to the baby room and unlocked the door.
Luyu sat on the floor, cross-legged, leaning down to study something on the floor. There was little light coming through the dirty window; Nadie wondered how Luyu could see anything at all. Luyu didn’t look up when Nadie opened the door.
“Tân’si, Luyu,” Nadie greeted softly, letting Luyu know she was there before she tried to pick her up. She had startled Luyu enough times, touching her without speaking first when she was intently focused on something.
Luyu’s head went up slightly, like a bird listening. She still didn’t look at Nadie, but she knew Nadie was there. Nadie stepped into the room and stooped to pick tiny Luyu up.
“Hello, baby.” She cuddled Luyu against her and kissed her head. Luyu grasped Nadie’s long black hair and wound it around her fingers.
“Say ‘Hello, sister,’” Nadie prompted.
Luyu didn’t respond. Nadie took Luyu to the living room where she had room to move. She laid Luyu down on the floor and stripped off the sopping wet diaper.
“Hello,” Luyu said suddenly. “Hello, sister.” Her lisp made it sound more like ‘thith-ter’, which always made Nadie laugh. She loved Luyu’s lisp.
“Hi. Did you rest well?”
Luyu squirmed to get up before Nadie had a clean diaper on her. Nadie held her still and sang in a low voice to keep Luyu calm while she finished. Luyu stilled, her eyes intent on Nadie’s face. Once Nadie had the new diaper on, she released Luyu and let her get up. While Luyu pattered around, Nadie threw the wet diaper in the kitchen garbage and splashed water from the water bottle on the counter over her fingers to wash up. Drying them on her pants, she went back to the baby room and picked up the discarded shirt and pants from the floor. Luyu had already disappeared when Nadie came back out. Nadie found her in the kitchen cupboard, rifling through the meager contents.
“Come on, mischief maker.”
Nadie pulled Luyu out of the cupboard and stood her up. She pulled Luyu’s t-shirt on over her head before Luyu anticipated what was happening, and threaded Luyu’s arms through the sleeves despite the girl’s angry squawk of protest. Luyu tried to twist free, but Nadie was expert at this job and had the shirt on Luyu before she could squirm away. Luyu stopped struggling and just plucked at the shirt in irritation. Nadie sat Luyu in her lap and pulled on the pants. The elastic waist meant she didn’t have to pin Luyu down for long enough to zip and button them, so the procedure was quickly over. She released Luyu.
“Now you keep those on,” she told Luyu. “It’s cold, and you can’t just go around in your diaper and your pony undershirt. You will get sick.”
But Luyu rarely got sick, and Nadie knew that when she got out of school, Luyu would be stripped back down to her underwear, even if it was cold enough to see her breath.
“Pony?” Luyu repeated. She pulled her t-shirt up to look at and show off the dingy pink pony undershirt.
“Yes, there is your pony.” Nadie pulled the t-shirt back down and took Luyu by the hand. “Let’s find something to eat.”
Luyu pulled her to the cupboard and they looked at the options. Grandfather had not been back to the grocery in town for a few weeks and the cupboard would be bare before long. Nadie grabbed a plastic box of cereal and put it on the counter. The plastic container was supposed to keep out the mice, but Nadie could see they had been chewing on the corners. Before long, there would be a hole large enough for them to squeeze in through. Luyu was tapping Nadie on the leg, eager for her breakfast.
“One minute, Luyu.”
Nadie grabbed a bowl from the sink and wiped it out. She poured cereal into it. Luyu’s tapping became more insistent. Nadie was going to use some powdered milk and the water bottle to mix Luyu up some milk for the cereal, but Luyu started to pinch her, and Nadie changed her mind. Luyu would just make a mess with milk. It was tidier if she ate the dry cereal with her fingers.
“Okay, okay. Here you go.” Nadie walked over to the table with difficulty, Luyu hanging onto her legs and tripping her up. She put the cereal down in front of the one unbroken chair. Luyu climbed up into the chair as quick as a squirrel and thrust both hands into the bowl.
Nadie’s stomach growled loudly enough for Luyu to hear it. Luyu laughed and looked at Nadie. She reached out her hand, offering Nadie a handful of her cereal.
“Thank you, no,” Nadie said, not taking it. Luyu was too skinny; she needed all the food she could get. Last year, Mona’s baby boy had died and the social worker and policeman who had come to talk to them said it was because he had not gotten enough to eat. Nadie lived in fear that Luyu would suffer the same fate.
As Luyu ate, Nadie grabbed the rag beside the sink and moistened it with water from the water bottle. While Luyu sat chewing the cereal she had packed into her mouth, Nadie held her head still and cleaned her the best she could. Luyu would only get dirty again the minute she went back to her room to play on the dusty floor.
It only took Luyu a couple of minutes to finish the cereal.
“All gone,” she announced. ‘Gone’ sounded like ‘don.’ Nadie wasn’t sure why Mouse had such a hard time understanding Luyu. She couldn’t form the words properly, but Nadie didn’t have any trouble understanding what she meant.
Luyu climbed down from the chair to make a break for it. Nadie grabbed her and swung her up in the air. Luyu shrieked, a sound partly of protest at being caught and partly delight at being swung around. Nadie twirled around to keep her occupied and danced her way back to the baby room. She put Luyu in the crib and Luyu started to wail.
“Where’s your ball?” Nadie asked, looking around at the floor and under the crib. It wasn’t there. She went back out to the living room and found it beside the couch. Nadie went back to the baby room and offered it to Luyu. “Here you go. Something to play with.”
Luyu just fired the ball back at Nadie. Her face was getting red. Nadie backed out of the room. “Goodbye, Luyu. See you later.”
She pulled the door shut. Nadie hesitated, trying to decide whether to lock it or not. Grandfather said it needed to be locked, or Luyu would get out and get into mischief, but Nadie hadn’t seen her open the door and wasn’t sure she believed it. Probably Grandfather had forgotten he left it open, or the catch hadn’t clicked into place and Luyu only had to push the door to get out.
With a sigh, Nadie turned the key in the lock. She wouldn’t want Luyu to get into something that might harm her if she could get out of the room by herself.
She went back to the living room to put the key back in Grandfather’s pocket. She shook him in one last attempt to wake him up. But she still couldn’t rouse him. Leaving the house, Nadie glanced up at the position of the sun. She was pretty sure she could still make it on time, but she needed to hurry.
Nadie turned around at the call and saw Mouse trying to catch up to her. Her heart warmed at the sight of him. He had a doo-rag around his head, a dark blue, patterned cloth. His braids, starting just behind his ears, hung in front of his shoulders. His eyes, slanted slightly down, always looked pensive, belying his natural good humor. He was munching on what appeared to be freshly-made bread. Nadie eyed the flat piece of bread, her mouth watering. When he caught up with her, Mouse delved into his pocket and pulled out another and offered it to Nadie.
“Thank you!” Nadie brought it up to her nose and inhaled the sweet smell. It was still warm in her hand. “And thank your mother.”
Mouse nodded. “She told me to bring extra for you.”
Nadie smiled and took a big bite.
“I would have brought you one anyway,” Mouse advised.
“I know you would.” Nadie gave him a one-armed hug as they walked side-by-side.
“It’s a nice day. I hope we spend time outside today,” Mouse said.
The air was cool and crisp. The sky was clear and it looked like it would warm up to a summer-like day. “I want to spend time on my blanket today.”
“Is it almost done? You’ve been working on it for a long time.”
“Good workmanship takes time.”
Mouse cleared his throat. “Especially when you make a mistake and have to go back to take it out,” he teased.
Nadie smacked his arm. “You be nice! I don’t see you attempting any big projects.”
“Exactly. Running Deer doesn’t demand big school projects. She’s just as happy with small demonstrations of our skills.”
It was true. Running Deer would accept and praise any attempt to demonstrate what they had learned or mastered. Nadie could have chosen to do a small, doll-sized weaving without any special pattern or knots, something she could have produced in a single afternoon, and their teacher would have been satisfied.
“But don’t you want to learn more? Don’t you want to get really good at something? I never would have learned so much and gotten good at it if I had just spent a couple of hours on it.”
Mouse stretched out his arms, embracing all of nature. “Mother Earth does not ask me to be good at everything. She provides food for the hunt, beauty for the eye, sleep to refresh myself at night… It is better we work with the earth, not to try to control everything, like the white man.”
Nadie snorted. “And how much sleep do you think Mother Earth would give you without a blanket?”
“I’m a man. I’ll bring home the food. My wife can make blankets. Or… I will buy one at the store in town.”
“Nobody’s going to marry a good-for-nothing who just wants to sleep all day.”
“Who said I would sleep all day? I will sleep at night and hunt during the day. My wife won’t even need to make blankets, with all of the furs and skins I will bring home.”
“Oh, great hunter,” Nadie mocked. “A challenge: you bring in sufficient skins and furs to keep your manly body warm for the winter by the time I finish my blanket.”
“But you’re almost done!” Mouse protested. “You started long before me. And the animals haven’t finished putting on their winter coats yet.”
“I’m not a weasel! It’s not a fair challenge!”
They reached the school house. A small trailer had been pressed into use for the band’s school. Nadie and Mouse were the oldest students. No one else was there yet and Nadie knew it would be too cold to concentrate on the school work. Sweltering hot in the summer, freezing in the winter. At least in the winter, they could keep the wood stove stoked all day. During the summer, they let out once it got too hot to use. On fall days like today if the temperature rose above normal, they would go outside for the hottest part of the day. Without a word, Nadie loaded up her arms with firewood and went into the school building to light the fire. Mouse stripped off his jacket and started chopping more wood, wearing only a thin muscle-shirt. Nadie shook her head at this display, but when she got the fire going and went out for a second load, sweat was already glistening on Mouse’s slim arms. He stopped chopping for a moment while she loaded up.
“In the spring,” he said.
Nadie squinted her eyes at him. “What?”
“I will bring you enough furs to keep you warm before the first flowers bloom. Except crocuses. Crocuses don’t count.”
Nadie paused before going back into the school. “Okay, deal. You do that, and I won’t bug you any more about being lazy.”
“And you make me a blanket.”
“What? I’m already making a blanket.”
“You’ll be done before the snow flies. You’ll be sitting around all winter watching me work; hunting, trapping, cleaning, curing… If I don’t make it, you keep the blanket for yourself. Because you won’t have any furs to keep you warm. But if I do it, you give me the blanket. That’s fair.”
Nadie stomped the dirt off her shoes before re-entering the school. She stacked the wood and warmed her cold fingers near the stove. When she went back outside, Mouse was putting away the newly split wood.
“You see?” he pointed out. “I’m not lazy. I work as hard as you do.”
His tone was injured and Nadie realized her words had wounded him. “I’m sorry. I know you work too.” She couldn’t bring herself to say ‘work hard,’ because he was always lounging around, shirking whatever duties he could get away with not doing. Nadie felt like she worked from sunup to sundown. It wasn’t the same.
“So is it a deal?” Mouse asked.
Nadie sighed. Mouse spending time hunting and preparing furs all winter? Even if he won the challenge, she would have secretly won too, making him actually work and learn a skill properly. One that was important to his future family and to the band.
“Fine,” she said. “But I think you’re getting the easy part of the deal. Weaving a blanket properly takes a lot more time than shooting a couple of animals.”
“Shooting a couple of animals? You make it sound like I can go out and do that in an afternoon. It takes time to track and kill an animal or to set a trapline. And you need a lot more than two animals to make a blanket!”
Nadie laughed. At least he had an idea of what he was getting into. Mouse put his jacket back on and pulled out another piece of bread. Nadie thought he was going to break it in half and offer her a piece, but he shredded a few crumbs off the edge and started tossing them to the birds. Nadie’s mouth dropped open.
“Don’t do that!”
Mouse looked at her and raised his eyebrows. “Just feeding the birds. What’s wrong with that?”
“Somebody… somebody might be hungry. One of the other students. You shouldn’t waste it on the birds! It’s not even stale!”
“Oh…” Mouse scratched the back of his head. “Sorry. Do you want it?”
“I wasn’t asking for it,” Nadie clarified, a bit embarrassed by her own reaction. “Maybe one of the other children…”
“They’re not here yet.” Mouse held the bread out toward Nadie. “Here. You have it while it’s still warm.”
Nadie took it from him without further protest. “You’re very generous. Even with the birds.”
He gave a modest shrug and looked away while she ate the bread. “I’d better go stand by the fire before I cool off too much.” Mouse went into the schoolhouse while Nadie stood outside, trying to force herself to eat slowly while watching for the smaller children.
SCHOOL LET OUT MID-afternoon and Nadie headed straight for the house. Mouse had been rough-housing with some of the younger students, but chased after her when he realized she was leaving without him.
“Come to my place,” he suggested. “You can have some more baking. My mother has probably baked all day.”
Nadie’s stomach growled and her mouth watered at the suggestion, but she shook her head. “I have to look after Luyu. Make sure she gets dinner. Maybe I can come over later after I put her down for bed.”
Mouse sighed dramatically. “Yeah. Sure. Whenever is good for you.”
“I need to look after Luyu,” Nadie said firmly, giving him a glare. “She depends on me.”
“Somebody else can look after her today. Your grandfather will be up by now.”
“No. I need to make sure she’s okay. Grandfather… even when he’s there, I can’t be sure she’ll be fed…”
“Fine. Maybe I’ll see you later,” Mouse grumbled. He gave her a wave and broke off toward his house.
Nadie returned to Grandfather’s house. A lot of the houses in the band were trailers or other prefabricated homes, especially since the flooding had wiped out a lot of the older homes, forcing them to relocate. But Grandfather’s had been built by his grandfather with his own two hands, up above the flood plain. So even though it was further from the school than most of the others, it was sturdy and didn’t rattle and sway in the wind. Grandfather complained about the trailers being firetraps and not being able to hold the heat in the winter. Not that his house stayed warm, but at least the water bottles didn’t freeze indoors.
She touched the wind chimes hanging beside the door and went in.
“Hello, Nadie!” There was a woman in the kitchen who gave Nadie a big smile of welcome when she came in, but it took a few seconds for Nadie to recognize her. She had dyed her hair blond and had put on weight. There were heavy bags under her eyes that her makeup could not disguise. One of Grandfather’s daughters, Melinda.
Nadie nodded at her. “Hi, Mel. When did you get here?”
Mel laughed. “I’ve been in and out for a couple of days. Just kept missing you.”
“Oh. Well, it’s nice to see you.”
“Melinda, are you getting drinks?” Her tall, lean husband walked into the room and frowned when he saw Nadie standing there. He had a big, crooked nose and Nadie didn’t know if he was Nehiyaw or some other nation. Maybe Apache. She didn’t know anyone else with his features. “What are you doing here?” he asked Nadie, scowling.
Melinda made a noise of protest.
“I live here,” Nadie said. “You don’t.”
“Well, we’re staying here for a few days.”
People who came to stay with Grandfather for a few days seldom stayed for a few days. Sometimes they were there for months. Nadie at least had her bedroom to herself, mostly, unless girls came to stay, and then she had to put up with other children camping out in her room as well. She wasn’t sure where Melinda and the Nose were staying. They had to be in Cam’s old room, along with the four Foxes who had come for ‘a few days’ and had been living there for almost a month now.
“This is a dry reservation,” Nadie told the Nose. “You aren’t allowed to bring alcohol in.”
He snorted. “We’re not bringing any booze in.” He and Melinda exchanged a sly look, as though they were pulling one over on Nadie, and she was too naive to know how many households made their own mash.
Nadie rolled her eyes. “Don’t leave any cups out where little ones can reach them,” she warned. “Lu is really quick at getting into things. She could get sick.”
She knew most of the members of the band didn’t worry much about whether their kids drank out of their glasses. Some even gave them a taste when they begged at the table or were fussy going to bed. It was no wonder all of the teens in the band drank.
Luyu didn’t need all of the problems alcohol would bring.
Neither adult bothered to answer Nadie. They would leave their drinks wherever they pleased. Nadie couldn’t force them, and Grandfather wouldn’t enforce any rules. Nadie shook her head and went to the baby room. She tried the handle and found it unlocked.
Luyu was lying on her side on the floor like she’d fallen asleep, but her eyes were open. She didn’t look at Nadie.
“Luyu? Are you okay?”
Nadie crouched down and put her hands around the girl, expecting her to sit up and squirm away. But Luyu didn’t resist. Nadie picked her up and held Luyu against her body.
“Lu? What’s wrong, little sister? Are you sick?”
Luyu made a little noise of protest. Nadie tried to analyze it. Sick? Hurt? Was she weak from hunger? Scared? She could be tired, but Luyu was never tired unless she was sick. She would play for half the night and still be awake before anyone in the house the next morning. Nadie studied Luyu’s face. Under the dirt, she might have a bruise under her eye. Nadie touched it with gentle fingers and thought it was a little puffy. But Luyu didn’t flinch or pull away.
Nadie sat down on the floor. She was too uncomfortable in a crouching position and there was no furniture for her to sit on. She started with Luyu’s feet, gently feeling and squeezing the limbs every couple of inches, feeling for anything out of the ordinary. Luyu had broken her arm once and no one had realized for several days. Nadie moved up the legs to the hips and felt Luyu’s soft belly, ribs, and arms. It wasn’t until she got to Luyu’s head that she realized she had started at the wrong end.
There was a big bump on the front of Luyu’s head, just above her brow, hidden under her tangled, uncombed black locks. Nadie prodded it gently and Luyu pulled away, making another sound.
“That’s it,” Nadie murmured.
She went back to the kitchen. Mel and the Nose were already gone, either back to Cam’s room or out to meet with another couple or group of friends. Trying to hang onto Luyu, Nadie wet the rag beside the sink with the water bottle and held it to the bump on Luyu’s head. Ice would work better, but that would require electricity, and the nearest freezer that actually worked was probably Grandmother Dora’s ancient propane-powered one. Nadie didn’t feel like going all that way, either having to carry Luyu with her or leaving her behind again.
“School out already?”
Nadie turned at Grandfather’s rumbling grumble. He was vertical. While he looked like a grumpy old man—not that old, Nadie realized, but still a lot older than she—Nadie knew he was really a softie.
Lately, Nadie had worried about how tough he was on Luyu. She didn’t know whether it was his pills, Luyu’s incessant activity, or just his advancing years. But he wasn’t quite the same Grandfather with Luyu that he had been when Nadie was a young child.
“How did Luyu bump her head?” Nadie asked, holding the wet cloth in place despite Luyu’s moans of protest.
“Did she bump her head?” He looked away and didn’t answer the question.
“Did she fall?” Nadie suggested. “I know she climbs on things…”
“Maybe she fell down,” Grandfather agreed.
“You don’t know?”
“Did school let out early today? Running Deer needs to make sure she is keeping you for long enough. You need to be taught.”
“Outdoor education,” Nadie said. “We are supposed to be outside communing with Mother Earth.”
Grandfather didn’t like her irreverence. “You treat your teacher with respect. And Mother Earth too. You would do well to learn some lessons from our earth mother.”
“I did Running Deer’s meditations all the way home. I’m enlightened. I saw lots of birds and trees on the way home.”
“What did they say to you?”
“The birds said cheep cheep cheep. And the wind rustled the leaves in the trees. Just like always.”
“Cheep,” Luyu echoed faintly.
Nadie smiled and stroked her cheek. “Cheep cheep cheep,” she repeated.
“Are you okay, little one?”
“She is fine,” Grandfather assured her.
“She’s got a big bump on her head and she’s not acting like herself. Do you think we should take her to the doctor?”
“In town?” Grandfather objected. “I’m not driving for hours just because she has a little bump on her head. She’s fine.”
“Have you given her anything to eat today?” Nadie nudged open the cupboard. “You need to go to town anyway to get food. When are you going to get some?”
“Harrumph. Maybe next week.”
“Maybe?” Nadie repeated. “What is she supposed to eat until then? You have a dozen people living in the house; can’t anyone help put food in the cupboards?”
“People stay here when they don’t have anywhere to go,” Grandfather said. “They don’t have money for food; they are trying to get on their feet.” He gazed into the cupboard himself. “There’s cereal. Canned beans. Mac and cheese. If she’s hungry, she’ll eat anything.”
Nadie bent down to pick up a box of macaroni and cheese. The generic stuff that cost less than a dollar per box, if he got them by the case on sale.
“The little ones need their fruits and vegetables. All of this white man’s food…”
“Fruits and vegetables don’t keep. I’ll get us some venison. That will hold us over until I go to town.”
The stove was already stoked and radiating heat into the kitchen. Hitching Luyu up further on her hip, Nadie filled a pot halfway with water and put it on the stove. Luyu was leaning back, pressing against Nadie’s arm and making the muscles ache. As light as she was, she was difficult to hold when she refused to cuddle up. Nadie took Luyu over to the chair and set her down. She kept her hands close for a minute. Luyu seemed wobbly and Nadie wanted to make sure she was going to stay there and not topple over and bang her head again. Luyu leaned forward and laid her head on the table, blinking sleepily. Nadie didn’t like it.
“Don’t you think—” She turned to talk to Grandfather and realized he was gone again. She couldn’t pursue him with a pot on the stove and a sick child who might fall off the chair or else decide to climb up on the stove or pull the pot down. Nadie sighed loudly, hoping he heard her frustration.
Luyu didn’t want to eat, which was a big red flag. Luyu was always hungry, and as far as Nadie knew, she had not eaten since breakfast. Nadie managed to get a few spoonfuls of macaroni down her, but Luyu kept pushing the spoon away and trying to put her head down.
“Poor baby,” Nadie murmured. “You want to go to bed?”
When she picked Luyu back up again, the girl leaned her head into the hollow of Nadie’s neck and snuggled in. Nadie kissed her head and carried her to her crib. Luyu whined as Nadie lay her down. She moved restlessly. Nadie stroked her hair until her eyes closed and she was still.
Nadie headed toward the door. Luyu coughed. Nadie whirled around, realizing Luyu was throwing up. She returned to the crib and rolled her onto her side. She patted Luyu on the back, waiting for her to stop retching.
Grandfather appeared in the doorway a few minutes later and looked questioning.
“She’s throwing up. I think we should take her to a doctor.”
“She is getting the evil out of her system. She’ll be okay.”
“She is hurt and she’s throwing up. She should see a doctor.”
“We can talk to the medicine woman tomorrow and get some herbs and medicine for her.”
“Can you go get her tonight?”
Grandfather walked over to the crib and looked down at Luyu. He touched her cheek. “She doesn’t have a fever. She’ll be okay. She’ll sleep tonight and probably be fine in the morning.”
Luyu had stopped vomiting and Nadie picked her up again. “My poor baby. I’m going to bring her to my bed.”
“She’ll get into mischief,” Grandfather warned.
“She’s too sick right now.” Nadie put steel into her voice. If no one else was going to take care of Luyu, then Nadie needed to be her mother. And when a mother put steel in her voice and in her eyes, then the rest of the band better listen. Best not to get between a mother bear and her cub.
Grandfather recognized this and didn’t argue any further. He turned to go.
“Who is going to clean this up?” Nadie gestured to the vomit in the crib.
“I will do it in the morning.” Grandfather waved a hand, dismissing it.
Grandfather wouldn’t be doing anything in the morning. He would be passed out, like any other morning in recent memory. But Nadie wasn’t going to put Luyu down to clean it up. She was too worried about the little girl. She returned to her own room and lay down on the bed with Luyu in her arms.
“Poor baby,” she murmured again.
She sang a lullaby to Luyu in a low voice and prayed to the Great Spirit that all of the evil had gone out of Luyu with the vomit so she would be okay. Luyu was still. After a long time, Nadie fell asleep as well.
We hope you are enjoying the book so far. To continue reading...