The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

by David Wroblewski

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Part 5, Chapters 15-16 Summary

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Edgar feels something on his neck, as if something has fallen on him. He reaches up to feel but finds nothing. He feels an icy wave radiate down through his back and limbs. He turns and sees Claude sitting at the base of the door, looking frightened and panting through his mouth. Edgar notices that the smoke suddenly triples. He knows he is being overcome, and he looks for some kind of implement. He finds a pitchfork and jabs it up at the ceiling. It strikes only wood. He moves a little and tries again, and he is rewarded with a feeling of movement. He slides the hatch to the side. Smoke eddies through the hatch, just as he knew it would. He still does not see any flames.

As he lies on the floor, Edgar thinks of Glen. He imagines apologizing to him. He begins to feel barriers recede inside him, and he sees Almondine crawl from some hidden place behind the cabinets. He hears her speaking, just as he used to imagine her voice when he was a child. He tells her that he thought he would never see her again. Almondine repeatedly tells Edgar that he was lost. She explains that he did not need to come back. She would have found him some way. Edgar tells her that he finally understood what his grandfather was doing with the dogs. He tries to tell her about Henry, but she tells him to get up and come outside. He apologizes to her for turning away when he saw her with Claude. Edgar sees another figure appear out of the fog. He has a chance to tell him what he wanted to say that day in the rain. He says out loud, “I love you.”

Claude sits back against the door and waits. For a moment, he worries that the poison might not be working. As Edgar lies on the floor, however, he begins to see its effects. He thinks back to the reaction of the dog in the shop where he bought the poison and realizes that the reactions might be different. He debates whether he should drag Edgar’s body out. If he does, at least he would be better for Trudy. He tries to rise but his knees are jittery. He hears a sound from above and realizes that the barn is beginning to collapse. Claude leaves Edgar’s body and goes out into the kennel. In the smoke filling the aisle, he sees a figure. At first he thinks it is Glen, but then he hears Glen’s cries from outside. Suddenly he recognizes it is Gar. Timbers begin to collapse, and Claude becomes confused. He keeps walking until he finds the wire mesh that he knew was there.

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