Part 3, Section 2 Summary

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Last Updated on June 8, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1059

24) Henry

Henry separates himself from the others and returns to the entrance of the evacuation center. On the way there, he finds a dozen body bags on the pool deck. One of the military men berates Kelton for falling out of line, and he decides to make a life-changing deal.

25) Alyssa

The line stops, and speakers overhead announce that the evacuation center is at capacity—buses will be arriving shortly to take them to an overflow facility. Kelton points out that more than half of the people who board the buses will most likely die from thirst. Suddenly, Henry appears in their midst and informs them that he has retrieved the keys to Uncle Basil’s truck.

When the group arrives at the truck, they are dismayed to find the box of Agua Viva missing—Henry traded it for the keys. Alyssa then realizes that Jacqui has disappeared. Henry is prepared to leave without her. Moments later, however, Jacqui reappears with the box of Agua Viva, and the group hurriedly makes their escape. Jacqui wants to resume control of the steering wheel, but Henry insists it is he who must drive.

Snapshot: 13 Ridgecrest, Dove Canyon

Herb is relieved to see that Alyssa and Garrett are all right, even though he senses something is wrong regarding his sister and brother-in-law. He has difficulty walking up the stairs, as he expended much energy in simply talking to Alyssa and the others. In the master bedroom, he spots a bottle of antibiotics near Daphne and feels moved at this miracle.

26) Kelton

Kelton is still mourning his brother’s death and feels alienated from the rest of the group. Despite this, he guides them past Santiago Creek, which proves to be a challenge due to the rocky terrain. They come across a chain-link fence and have to drive through it. After that, they turn on the radio and enjoy a brief moment of camaraderie.

They draw nearer and nearer Angeles National Forest, where the bug-out is located. Unfortunately, the truck’s low-fuel light comes on past the Foothill Freeway. The group decides to go back to the freeway and siphon gasoline from abandoned cars.

27) Alyssa

The group rummages in the back of the truck and finds a hookah hose. They try to use it to siphon gasoline from one of the abandoned cars without success. At some point, Alyssa realizes Garrett is missing.

The four look for Garrett and find him in an encampment of at least a dozen people. Garrett introduces them to Charity, an older woman referred to as the “Water Angel” by the people in the camp. Charity offers them a place in their commune, and they decide to stay the night and travel to the bug-out in the morning. Charity enlists Max to help the group siphon gas, and Alyssa, Kelton, and Jacqui go with him. Meanwhile, Henry and Garrett help Charity’s people collect supplies from the cars in the northbound lanes.

28) Henry

Henry discovers that Charity collects washer fluid from the abandoned cars and disinfects it through boiling. He is impressed by the small commune she has managed to bring together. Wishing to win Garret over, Henry hands him a crowbar to start smashing car windows with. While Garrett is having fun, he shares with Henry his personal insights and stories concerning the group. One of them involves Kelton having a crush on Alyssa and spying on her with a helicopter drone when they were in eighth grade.

Back at the camp, Alyssa, Jacqui, Kelton, and Henry argue over human nature and why Charity’s commune works despite all...

(This entire section contains 1059 words.)

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odds. Jacqui half-jokingly threatens them with a gun.

29) Alyssa

Henry wakes Alyssa at some point after midnight, claiming that she was talking in her sleep. Ash from the forest fires falls down on them, brought by the Santa Ana winds. The two talk about what they’ve been through so far. He then tells her she’s a forgiving person, as she apparently forgave Kelton for spying on her with a drone. Having not known about it before, this information upsets Alyssa. She then wakes Kelton and angrily confronts him about his actions. Henry apologizes to Alyssa for upsetting her but feels secretly pleased at having caused a rift between the two.


The escape from the evacuation shelter marks the first chapter told from Kelton’s perspective since the violent incident at the McCrackens’ house. Still traumatized over his brother’s death, he feels disconnected from the rest of the group–especially from Henry, whom he mistrusts. In the midst of his suicidal thoughts, however, he realizes that he must move forward and utilize all of what his parents have taught him:

And I realize I have a mission. To take the blast. To be strong enough to block the shrapnel from hitting the others. Yeah, a part of me wants everyone to feel the pain, but I’m better than that. Stronger than a shotgun blast. My brother is dead. But I am not. And I will do what I have to do today.

One of Kelton’s most shining moments follows, as he guides the group toward Angeles National Forest, putting his claim to have memorized the map to the bug-out to the test.

One of the most significant events of the novel is the group’s discovery of Charity’s commune. Up until then, they have been under the impression that the crisis has turned most—if not all—of the residents of California into selfish and ruthless “water-zombies.” Charity’s encampment, however, proves that people are able to work together toward the greatest happiness of the greatest number. In fact, Charity refuses to give Jacqui water because her skin is still “elastic” and there are people in the commune who need it more than she does, such as a newborn baby. Their discovery of the commune sparks a debate between Alyssa, Garrett, Henry, and Jacqui. While the others agree that the commune will soon fall apart because it is human nature to be selfish, Alyssa maintains that theirs is a system that works. This is one of the key moments of the novel, as it very clearly illustrates the ideological differences between the members of the group—and the fact that, so far, they have been able to work together despite these differences.


Part 3, Section 1 Summary


Part 4 Summary