Part 2, Section 1 Summary

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Snapshot 1 of 3: Activist

Activist Camille Cohen is driving down the road to the desalination machines at Huntington Beach. Upon realizing that the truck in front of her is the supply truck of a nearby water municipality, however, she decides to make a right turn and follow it.

Snapshot 2 of 3: OCWD Transport

Truck driver David Chen works for the Orange County Water District. He drives to the Huntington Beach power plant, nervous because he is surrounded by thirsty and frustrated civilians.

Snapshot 3 of 3: Plant Manager

Plant manager Pete Flores has been sheltering his employees and their families in the plant and providing them with food and water. His supervisor alerts him that the water truck they’ve been waiting for can’t get past the gate, as a large group of angry civilians is blocking the vehicle. The group surrounds the truck and steals its stock of water bottles. Pete watches the security feed with horror as hundreds of civilians then storm the gate.

7) Kelton

Kelton’s mother, Marybeth, is upset at how her husband handled Roger Malecki. At dinner, she and Richard fight over sharing their water with the rest of the neighborhood. Richard argues that people will merely abuse their generosity.

Feeling alienated from his parents, Kelton slips out to visit Alyssa and Garrett. While he is there, the power suddenly goes out. He returns to his house—the only one in the neighborhood that still has power—and retrieves the handgun from under his bed. He stays with Alyssa and Garret for fear that something bad will soon happen.

8) Alyssa

The next day, Alyssa discovers that Kelton has brought a gun into her home and scolds him. She demands the gun’s magazine and keeps it in her pocket.

Mr. and Mrs. Morrow haven’t returned home, nor can their phones be reached. Alyssa, Garrett, and Kelton decide to bike to Laguna Beach to search for them. The freeway is crowded with bumper-to-bumper traffic. At one point, they stop at a convenience store so Garrett can use the bathroom. As one of the regular customers, Alyssa notices that the clerk is a stranger who has unlawfully taken over the store. Fearful for their safety, she rushes Garrett and Kelton out of the store before they can buy anything. She then returns the magazine to Kelton, conceding that they might need to use his gun for protection.

Snapshot: Interstate, Northbound 6:30 a.m.

On her way to her daughter’s house in Henderson, Nevada, a middle-aged woman named Charity finds herself stuck in traffic. After a few hours, she sees people leaving their cars and fleeing in the opposite direction—a fire has broken out on the road. Instead of running from it, Charity discovers which of the vehicles has a fire extinguisher and puts out the fire.

9) Alyssa

Alyssa, Kelton, and Garrett are shocked to find Laguna Beach deserted. Countless mobile phones and tear gas canisters litter the sand. Police in riot gear guard the broken desalination machines. One of them tells the three to go home.

Before they can leave, Alyssa notices three teenagers bullying a middle-aged man. She rushes to the man’s defense and learns that the three want the keys to the man’s BMW, where he is supposedly keeping water. The man tosses his keys in the air before fleeing the scene. Alyssa is able to catch the keys and refuses to hand them over, despite the three teenagers’ threats of violence. Kelton draws his gun to protect her.

10) Kelton

Two of the teenagers flee, but one remains, holding Alyssa in his grip. Garrett yells at Kelton to shoot, but Garrett freezes. The teenager then approaches Kelton and knocks the gun out of his hands. Suddenly, a strange girl emerges from hiding and grabs the gun. She points it at the teenager and threatens to kill him if Alyssa doesn’t give her the keys. Unwilling to let anyone die, Alyssa hands over the keys to the strange girl.

11) Alyssa

Alyssa asks the girl to give Kelton’s gun back, but she refuses, maintaining that it’s the price for saving their lives from the water-crazed teenager. She also refuses when Alyssa asks her to give them a ride home in the BMW. However, she finally agrees when Kelton points out her infected cut and promises her antibiotics. After learning their names, the girl introduces herself as Jacqui.


Part 2 is titled “Three Days to Animal,” after the theory of urban Darwinism that states that it takes three days for people to revert to their primal nature following the collapse of civilization. Kelton tries to explain this to Alyssa on their car ride home, but Alyssa is hesitant to accept the reality of their situation. As someone who is naturally altruistic, Alyssa is shocked at the violence and lawlessness she witnesses outside her home. She puts herself and the group in danger when she comes between the three teenagers and the old man. However, Alyssa will eventually grow out of this naiveté as the events of the Tap-Out escalate.

Part 2 also marks the first appearance of so-called “water-zombies”—people who have lost their humanity due to extreme thirst. The three teenagers the group encounters are described as pale and weak-looking, with a rabid gleam in their eyes. Despite this, Alyssa doesn’t realize that she cannot win over the situation with mere diplomacy. Jacqui, however, is able to successfully gauge the threat or danger posed by others at first glance.

Jacqui can be considered the character foil to Alyssa in that she has a natural mistrust of people. She makes it clear that she prefers to work alone, and she remains guarded even when she joins Alyssa, Garrett, and Kelton. Her addition to the group serves to fill in what is missing from their team—street smarts. Alyssa can be described as emphatic and “people smart.” Meanwhile, Kelton’s extensive knowledge on different matters makes him “book smart.” Jacqui, meanwhile, has the necessary grit and street savvy the two seem to lack.

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Part 1 Summary


Part 2, Section 2 Summary