Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Chapter 19

By Carrie Ryan

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Chapter 19

  • Cass starts to have a hissy fit, banging against the fence, and Travis and Harry try to comfort her.
  • Travis gives her a bear hug, Mary feels a bite of jealousy, and Cass continues to sputter and melt down about everything they've lost.
  • Jed says they should camp there for the night; Mary expects him to mention Beth's illness, but he keeps his lips sealed.
  • Mary explodes, yelling at Jed and asking him about his "little secret about Beth" (19.7).
  • Everyone looks at her, and she suddenly wants to hurt Travis for not coming for her.
  • She tells the world that Beth is a goner, and Jed whacks her in the face. So much sibling love here.
  • Beth wakes up and her shawl slips down so everyone can see the bite in her skin. Now it's melt down time for everyone.
  • Mary runs away, wandering along the path leaving Hansel and Gretel twigs and rocks to mark her way. She's bummed because she can't find anything that will help them find their way. Shucks.
  • Mary gets back to the first fence break and calls out Gabby's name. She comes running to the sound of a live human and devours the fence links as Mary watches her.
  • Mary wonders if zombies can feel anything except flesh-hunger; she also wonders if she should just bite the bullet and let Gabby infect her.
  • Mary touches Gabby's only intact pinky and talks with her. She asks if it's easier to be a super-zombie than a human. She tells her she's sorry. Gabrielle doesn't understand or care—she's in zombie world, and she ain't a-comin' back.
  • Mary starts a tearfest.
  • She sees a glimmer on the ground. Turns out it's a marking of XXIX in the floor metal. She runs down another side of the path, and she finds one with XXIII.
  • She makes a mad dash to the next split and finds them marked, too: VII, IV.
  • She remembers the letters Gabby wrote on the window: XIV.
  • Eureka moment—Mary knows it's a code, but she can't for the (literal) life of her, figure it out.
  • She heads back to camp, running the letters through her brain.
  • She knows they are a message from Gabrielle. She has to crack the code and figure out who she was.
  • She runs along the paths, giggling every time she finds a new set of letters.
  • Then she barrels into camp, and Cass tells her that Beth is dead, that the guys are burying her and that's why she's sitting apart with Jacob.
  • Mary feels like a total jerk. She didn't even say good-bye, and only caused pain in Beth's final hours.
  • Mary crumples to the ground—she feels like living in a world of zombies is just useless.
  • The wind picks up and it starts to pitter patter rain.
  • Mary decides to keep mum on the whole letter thing, figuring there's no use getting everyone's hopes up. What if the letters are just bogus and meaningless?
  • She thinks that maybe there is no escape, that no matter which path they follow, it's gonna lead them to hungry zombies.

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