Part 4, Chapters 9-10 Summary
Edgar and Essay stay near the spot where they had spent the Fourth of July. Edgar catches fish to keep them supplied with food, though he eventually gets very tired of it. Every night for three nights, Edgar and the dog change their camp location, moving into the low hills around the lake. Autumn is approaching, and the days are getting shorter. One evening, four nights after leaving Henry, while they were sitting by the fire, Edgar sees a pair of eyes reflecting the flames. As the figure steps out, he realizes that it is Forte, the stray dog he had seen so long ago at home. Forte does not come near the fire, but he eats the fish that Edgar leaves for him. Essay joins Forte out hunting in the woods, often rejecting the food that Edgar gives her.
As Edgar takes off, Forte follows him. The two dogs often run off into the woods, and Edgar keeps walking, trusting them to find him. He notices that Essay is beginning to hunt her own food. He begins to think of Almondine, about how she was a mirror of himself since his birth. By his wandering through the woods, Edgar feels that he has squandered much of the time he has left with the dog, who is rapidly getting older. He realizes that he has to go back home. Finding the Starchild Colony will not complete him as he had once thought it would. Eventually, Edgar and Essay return to the Sawtelle farm.
Almondine sits and misses Edgar. She sleeps as much as she can. If she is not asleep, she lies and waits for sleep to return. In her dreams, Edgar is still there, never having left. But when she awakens, she misses him all over again. She has lived for him since he was a baby in his mother’s arms. She knows that time lives inside you. She sleeps in his bed. If he returns, she will be the first to know. Edgar’s mother continues to train the puppies, and Almondine watches them, feeling that Edgar is sitting next to her. One morning, Almondine awakens and feels that, if Edgar is traveling, she should travel too. She goes through the unlatched door. From far away, she hears a traveler (a car) coming up the road. As the car passes, she silently asks if it has seen her boy. If the car understands, it does not answer.