Chapter 28 Summary

Chapter 28 shifts back in time again; now it is twenty years after Sam’s death. Kate Barlow returns to Green Lake. It has not rained a drop since the townspeople killed Sam, and Green Lake is now a ghost town. The peach trees are dead, and the lake is almost dry. The only trees left are two oaks by an old cabin five miles from the edge of the little water that remains. Kate moves into the cabin.

By now Kate is crazy. Sometimes she hears Sam’s voice outside, calling out for people to buy his onions. Kate sits in the cabin and speaks to him. She tells him she knows it is hot, but she feels cold anyway. Sometimes she hears him answer back, saying he could fix her discomfort. When she hears that, she feels better, at least for a little while.

Three months after Kate moves into the cabin, she wakes to the sound of her door being kicked in. She opens her eyes and sees Trout Walker pointing his rifle at her face. He and a red-haired woman ransack the cottage, dumping out all the drawers. She asks where Kate has hidden the loot from her many robberies.

Kate recognizes Trout’s red-haired companion as Linda Miller, who had been one of Kate’s students in Green Lake twenty years before. When Trout tells Kate he and Linda are now married, Kate says she is sorry. Linda admits she married Trout for his money, but the money is now gone.

Trout jabs Kate with the rifle, pressing her again to say where the loot is. He knows she robbed banks all around Texas. Kate tells him she has nothing left. Linda and Trout assume she is lying. They find a shovel and guess she buried her treasure.

Kate says Trout can kill her if he wants:

But I sure hope you like to dig. ’Cause you’re going to be digging for a long time. It’s a big vast wasteland out there. You, and your children, and their children, can dig for the next hundred years and you’ll never find it.

Trout and Linda force Kate outside and make her walk barefoot over the hot earth. They keep it up all day but Kate does not give in. As Trout shouts at Kate, demanding to know where her treasure is buried, a yellow-spotted lizard leaps up. Trout and Linda both try to kill it, but they fail. It bites Kate.

Kate smiles. Now that the lizard has bitten her, she knows she is going to die. “Start digging,” she says, and she laughs.