Now the actual funeral for Lauren's father is held, even though nobody knows what happened to him.
The uncertainty really plagues Lauren. She thinks she must be feeling the same way the Dunns must have felt when Tracy vanished. Speaking of that, Lauren decides she'll go out dressed as a man when she heads north—for protection.
Lauren decides her father must be dead, or else he'd have found his way home by now.
Tuesday, December 22, 2026
The Garfields—Phillida, Jay, and Joanne—leave for Olivar. A truck from KSF comes to collect them. The uniformed and armed KSF people look like cops.
Cory asks one of the KSF personnel about Olivar.
Lauren doesn't know how her family will support itself without her father's income. She and Joanne cry together as Joanne leaves Robledo.
Curtis and Lauren make love and talk about their plans. He says Robledo is dying and that they should get married and leave.
From her expressions, Curtis can tell Lauren has already been thinking about leaving Robledo without him. He's upset and demands an explanation.
Lauren says she couldn't ask someone else to leave security, and she's not sure what her responsibilities to her remaining family members are.
Curtis wants to get married right away, get Lauren's family on its feet, and leave only after.
Lauren hasn't even told Curtis about Earthseed. She does tell him they can get married once her family is strong again, and then they'll leave after that. But she wants to tell him about Earthseed to see what his reactions are before truly deciding they'll get married.
Thursday, December 24, 2026
It's Christmas Eve.
Instead of getting a visit from Santa Claus, Lauren's community manages to set the Payne-Parrish house set on fire.
When the emergency bell goes off during the burning of the Payne-Parrish house, Lauren runs outside to help. Her family can't afford to call the fire department, but Kayla Talcott is able to.
Lauren lets the firefighters in at the gate. The Paynes don't escape the fire, and Wardell Parish, the only survivor, is distraught.
Lauren wonders what it must be like to be the only survivor. Hmm, foreshadowing much?
Once the fire is almost out, the bell rings again—it's Caroline Balter alerting people that thieves have broken into houses.
The thieves have stolen from three houses. Lauren and her family rush back to their home and luckily aren't killed. They manage to scare away the thieves.
From Lauren's house, the robbers have stolen clothing, money, Cory's sewing machine, their last radio, and more. Lauren says they'll have to adapt—and after all, God is Change. She says it helps her to remember that.
Lauren also attributes the rise in arson to people feeling hopeless since they lack the ability to improve their lives.
There's also the new homebrew drug known as pyro that makes watching fire extremely pleasurable.
Tuesday, December 29, 2026
Cory takes over part of her presumably dead husband's job, which Lauren suspects may not be quite a legal arrangement.
Cory has managed to obtain the position by begging people and calling in favors. She'll now have to travel to the college and back regularly, and she will have to pay neighborhood men to escort her.
Since Cory is now busier, Lauren will have to help even more with teaching neighborhood kids.
Alex Montoya and Kayla Talcott will take over Lauren's father's preaching. Basically, the community has to adapt, as Lauren predicted.
Wednesday, December 30, 2026
Wardell Parrish has been staying with Lauren's family since the burning of the Payne-Parrish home, but now he drags himself back home to where he resided before. Lauren thinks he may not live much longer.