Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 456
A week after the storm, Gar goes on a long drive to pick up his brother, Claude, and bring him back. Edgar, knowing he will not be allowed to go along for the ride, helps his mother clean up the spare room, which had been used as a work room. Trudy explains that Edgar has never seen his uncle, and she has seen him only once. When Gar returns with Claude, Edgar sees the resemblance between the two men and reflects that this is what it means to have a brother.
During the night, Edgar awakens and sees Claude going down to the kennel. He watches the lights come on and manages to sneak down the stairs and out the back door without being discovered. He finds Claude lying on the floor with a bottle of alcohol. When Claude wakes up, he explains to Edgar that the spare room seemed just like the prison cell from which he had been released (though he does not explain it in these terms, as Edgar’s parents did not want Claude to tell Edgar about his imprisonment). Claude offers Edgar some whiskey, but Edgar refuses. He returns to his room, and the next morning he discovers Claude looking hung over. Claude offers to re-roof the barn, and he and Gar go to town to pick some lumber and supplies.
One morning, as Edgar and his father are taking their usual morning walk, Edgar spots a stray dog in the distance. He sees its distinctive markings as well as the unusual angles of its body. Eventually, the dog begins coming close to the house. Claude resents the dogs as an intruder, and Trudy worries that some of the female dogs are in heat. Gar and Edgar begin to set out food, hoping to draw the dog closer to the house. Each morning, the food dish is empty, but it is eventually determined that squirrels have been eating out of the dish. When Edgar tells him that the stray, which Edgar has named Forte, took after a deer, Claude states that it will never come to the house once it learns it can find food on its own. Claude takes his gun out one day, tracking some deer. Edgar, followed by Almondine, goes after Claude. When Claude takes aim at a doe, Edgar urges Almondine forward to distract Claude. However, Claude manages to shoot the doe. Claude tells Edgar that it was the stray that killed the doe, while he shot it to put it out of its misery. After that, Edgar and Claude have an unspoken pact: Claude will not try to find and kill the stray, while Edgar will not tell that it was Claude who killed the deer.