The next morning, the kids start out again and Dicey decides to give picking a try, so they turn and walk up the driveway of a random farm where tomato pickers are wanted.
Right away, things just seem weird. The house is kind of run down, and there's a creepy snarling dog out front.
Suddenly, a man steps out of the farmhouse and the dog quiets down.
Dicey hesitates, but tells him that they're there about the picking job—she and James would like to apply, and the younger two will help.
The man—named Mr. Rudyard—asks her name and Dicey gives him a fake last name. But the man is also weirdly interested in Maybeth. Uh-oh… We don't like where this is going.
Mr. Rudyard drives them in his pickup truck out into the tomato fields, then he tells them he'll be back at dark to get them. This guy is ultra weird.
Dicey feels strange about this whole thing, but figures they can pick their bushels and get their money and then get the heck out of dodge.
Picking turns out to be tough work and soon the two little kids are worn out. Dicey tells them to take a break, so they explore and end up finding a river. It's the Choptank, which Dicey was planning on crossing after they finish here.
Maybeth really wants to go before Mr. Rudyard comes back to pick them up, but Dicey is determined to be paid—after all, they've earned a couple bucks and they could really use the money.
This doesn't turn out to be the best idea, though. Mr. Rudyard comes back with some food for them… and his dog. He ties the snarling beast up to a tree and basically tells them that if they try to run, the dog will break his rope and come after them. By the way, he keeps the dog hungry so it can eat little children. Holy crud.
The kids are so scared they can't even eat. What are they going to do? What does this guy want with them?
Dicey gets her money, map, and knife out of her bag and puts them in her pockets. She warns her siblings not to get in Mr. Rudyard's truck again—no matter what. When he comes back for the dog, they're going to make a run for it toward the river.
It's late when Mr. Rudyard comes back and Dicey has to think quickly. When he goes to get the dog, Dicey hops into his truck and shifts it into neutral. The truck starts rolling off one way and the Tillermans run in the opposite direction toward the river.
Dicey sees Mr. Rudyard run off to chase the truck and he tries to get the dog to run after them, but the dog won't do it.
The Tillermans book toward the river and wade in. They float along and listen to the sounds of an engine driving around—someone's trying to find them in the fields.
Luckily, they manage to cross to the other side of the river safely, falling asleep once they get to some shelter. Whew.