Part 2, Chapters 7-8 Summary
When Claude comes into the house, he sees how ill Trudy is. He rushes her to the doctor, despite the early hour. Doctor Frost gives her some stronger medication, and Trudy begins finally to improve. Claude comes each morning and stays all day, taking care of Trudy and the dogs. He does not stay for supper. Epi improves, but she is skittish. Edgar relives it all, exacerbating his guilt.
Trudy tells Edgar about her miscarriages before she gave birth to him. She does not compare that grief to losing Gar. She is grateful for the twenty years that she had with her husband and knows that if they lived to be a hundred, it would not be enough. She tries to get Edgar to talk to her, telling him again that Gar’s death was not his fault. She tells him that he is hitting himself in his sleep. She opens up his shirt and shows him the bruises on his chest. Edgar uses some twine to fix up a contraption that will hold his hands and keep him from hitting himself.
The spring weather brings heavy storms. The basement begins to flood, as it usually does. One night Edgar hears the dogs barking in the kennel. He looks out, but sees only rain. Abruptly, the dogs stop barking, which makes Edgar feel that, whatever they’re barking at, it is in the kennel with them. Edgar walks out to the kennel through the rain. One of the dogs, Essay, is standing inside a doorway. Edgar looks out through the rain. Suddenly, the raindrops coalesce into the figure of a man. Edgar is stunned. The figure speaks, telling him to release a dog. Edgar lets Essay loose. The figure signs commands to Essay, and the dog obeys them. Edgar finally has to admit that he is seeing the ghost of his father. The ghost tells him that he need not think that he could save him. The ghost tells him that he did not understand what he was seeing. He tells Edgar to look for something that “he” lost. Edgar looks everywhere until he finds a hypodermic syringe lying on the floor against the wall. The ghost tells Edgar that he has seen “him” use it before, and Edgar realizes that the ghost of his father is talking about Claude. The ghost tells Edgar that Claude proposed to Trudy, but Edgar says that his mother will reject him. The ghost tells him that eventually she will accept. Edgar says that he will tell the police and show them the syringe, which he now understands was used by Claude to kill Gar to get him out of his way. The ghost of Gar tells Edgar to find something, but all Edgar can make out from the ghost’s sign is “H-A-A-something-I.” The ghost of Gar leaves, telling Edgar to remember him. After that, there is absolute silence as the dogs wait for Edgar to give them the release signal.