Our heroes argue over whether they should stay on Bankole's land. They've found five skulls and several bones, but they aren't sure exactly whose remains these are or what happened. They think it's probably Bankole's family.
The day after the group arrived, Bankole and Harry hiked to the local cops at the nearest small town, Glory. The police acted suspicious of the newcomers and took money from Bankole, saying it was fees for services.
The officials didn't do anything to help, at all.
Lauren had argued with Bankole, trying to convince him not to risk going to the authorities—they're dangerous and don't help matters, she reasoned—but he felt he needed to do all he could to try to find out what happened to his family.
Bankole finally convinced Lauren to stay back, but Harry volunteered to travel with him since he, Harry, wanted to look for a job.
Bankole and Harry have returned with no answers and no job, but they do have some supplies.
The cops claimed they'd come out to investigate, so the group isn't sure what to do with the bones lying around. Lauren wants to hold a funeral and bury the bones, but Bankole thinks this might antagonize the cops if they do come out.
Lauren's group is happy with Bankole's land in many ways—there's a well, for instance, which supplies reliable water—but uncertain about it in others, especially since the dude's family had been attacked right there.
Our heroes worry that the arsonists might come back, but Lauren argues that if they're careful, they can build a community here.
The group discusses the possibility.
Grayson Mora says anything they build on Bankole's land is a target, but Zahra says that's true anywhere, and Bankole says they could keep a night watch to protect themselves. He also argues they could grow crops and sell the food in nearby towns or on the highway.
Lauren says there aren't any guarantees, but she thinks they can survive on Bankole's land if they work hard and defend themselves and their future children. She asks people one by one to decide if they'll remain or if they'll move on.
Everyone agrees to stay.
Allie agrees only after asking about what seeds Lauren has.
Harry hesitates, saying there's no work available, but Bankole points out that everything they would be doing on the land—growing crops, protecting themselves—is work.
Harry says he's concerned they might run out of money and discover they can't survive here. Emery tells him he could get a job as a driver farther north, and he thinks she means a truck driver. She actually means a slavedriver, and she talks a little about factories that use slave labor up north.
Harry's horrified and decides to stay.
Travis, also agreeing to stay, says Lauren is crazy, but that this is a crazy time, and perhaps she's what the time needs.
Lauren is glad the decision is acknowledged. She's ready for the group to build a shelter.
Sunday, October 10, 2027
The cops don't come, so Bankole finally decides to have a funeral for his sister and her family.
Natividad wraps the bones in her most beautiful possession, a shawl she'd knitted years ago. Bankole is grateful for the gift, and he goes off into the trees to grieve.
Lauren joins Bankole and says she'd like to plant a grove of oak trees around the bones to commemorate them. She also asks if it'd be okay for everyone else to bury their dead, too: her own family, Zahra's, Harry's, everyone's.
Lauren thinks there are enough acorns for everyone to plant live oak trees to their dead. She says everyone should get a chance to speak, even the two little girls.
Bankole warns Lauren that the country won't survive, that state lines now seem to be national borders. According to Bankole, Lauren seems not to understand just how much is changing and just how much has been lost.
Lauren tells Bankole that God is Change, and he says that doesn't mean anything.
Lauren says it means everything.
Bankole says they still haven't hit rock bottom, that things are going to get a lot worse. For instance, money might no longer be accepted in the future.
Lauren remains optimistic and says their group will survive.
The group holds the funeral. Everyone speaks their memories and quotes Bible passages, Earthseed verses, and other texts. Then they bury their dead and plant oak trees. That inspires the group to name the place Acorn.