Keith comes home. He and Lauren talk alone, while everyone else is gone.
Keith tells Lauren he's staying in a room in a building on the outside. Lauren knows that means he's squatting in an abandoned structure.
Lauren cooks a meal for Keith to eat now and for everyone else to have later when they return.
Keith and Lauren have never liked each other, but she wants information from him about what it's like to live outside the walls, so they keep talking.
Keith tells Lauren the building he lives in has great TV windows with headsets, touchrings, and other impressive features.
The people in control of the area took Keith in because he can read and write. He claims that's the only reason, but Lauren doesn't believe him, thinking he probably also engages in drugs, prostitution, and/or robbery. (She must really not think highly of her bro.)
Lauren tells her brother that he's causing pain for their father and Cory. Keith retorts that he doesn't care about their father, and that by bringing money, he, Keith, does more for Cory than their dad does.
Lauren says Keith and their father look alike, and that Keith must see himself when he looks at his father.
Keith doesn't like this remark from Lauren at all.
Lauren also tells Keith that their father beat her once when she was caught having sex at age twelve with Rubin Quintanilla.
But Lauren respects her father, and Keith doesn't.
Lauren tells Keith she's never seen evidence of their father hurting Cory.
Lauren asks Keith for information about living outside, and he figures out that she wants to go outside someday. He tells her that when he first went out, he slept in a cardboard box and stole food and a sleepsack. He even shot and killed an old man who was walking to Alaska with twenty-three thousand dollars in his pack.
Wow, not good.
Lauren tells Keith he should have come home instead, but Keith says it didn't bother him to kill someone. Yikes.
Keith says Lauren's hyperempathy would bring her down on the outside. She tells him that's only what he thinks.
Keith talks about some of the violence he's seen, and he attributes it to the fact that people have been taking a new drug that makes them like to set fires. They shave off all their hair and paint their skin strange colors.
Cory and the boys arrive home.
Keith tells Lauren that maybe he'll bring her a gift next time he visits. Lauren, thinking of the Alaska-bound traveler he murdered, tells him not to.
Monday, July 20, 2026
Keith comes to see Lauren on her birthday. He finds her as she's returning home from having sex with her boyfriend Curtis. Keith brings her money.
Lauren says she doesn't want the money and asks Keith to give it to Cory instead.
Keith tells Lauren to give it to Cory herself.
Keith wishes his sister happy birthday and leaves, still in possession of the gate key. Their father hasn't had the lock changed.
Seems like trouble's on the way.
Wednesday, August 26, 2026
Lauren's parents have to go to downtown to identify Keith's body.
Saturday, August 29, 2026
In order to scare them about the dangers of the outside world, Lauren's father tells his children what happened to Keith.
Someone had burned away Keith's eyes and most of his skin and cut into him.
The police say the torture may have been done by drug dealers.
Keith's body was dumped out in front of a burned-out old building, as if someone wanted it found and recognized.
Lauren doesn't tell the police or anyone else about what Keith had told her he'd been doing; she doesn't think it would do any good to reveal it. Lauren also worries that the cops might arrest her parents.
A service is held for Keith. Cory glares at Lauren, presumably upset that her husband's daughter by another woman is still alive while her favorite son is dead.
Curtis is supportive of Lauren, telling her she should cry.
But Lauren hated Keith as much as she loved him, and she doesn't cry. She thinks his killers would have been more compassionate if they'd had to have her hyperempathy syndrome. She wishes she could give it to other people.