Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Chapter 20

By Carrie Ryan

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Chapter 20

  • After the others take off to camp somewhere else, Mary finds Jed next to Beth's grave.
  • She puts his arm around herself, and he actually accepts it (shock); Mary asks him to tell her the story of what happened to Beth.
  • Beth was preggo again, and he and she were on their way to the Cathedral to tell the Sisters. When the sirens went off, they ducked into a little cabin. There they saw Harry/Mary booking it to the path.
  • Jed told Beth they should go to the path, but she thought this was a stupid idea. He forced her to go anyway, but the Fast One—Gabby the super-zombie—grabbed her.
  • Jed shoved Gabby into someone else and kept on keeping on with Beth, which was a good thing since the platform people were shooting at her and her blood was a magnet to the other Unconsecrated.
  • Mary wants to comfort him, but she doesn't. Instead, she puts on her thinking cap and wonders why death surrounds them on all sides, and yet they're still not ready for it.
  • He says he had no choice but to kill her, what with the only other option being to send her to the Forest.
  • Mary agrees with him, but really, she doesn't believe that there's no choice. Ideas like Fate and God are dead to her.
  • The next morning it's sweaty hot and nobody makes a move to leave camp.
  • Cass says they should go back—otherwise, they'll just die without water.
  • Travis says they should scout for water, but Cass insists they need to go back to the village. For all they know after all, people survived there and pushed back the zombies. She goes off about how they'll just wander around and die on the paths.
  • Mary says there is something out there, and Cass gets all up in her face about it. She's all—oh yeah? Will the ocean save us when we're starving? Huh, Mary? It's not pretty.
  • Cass says she's going back and taking Jacob. But Jacob won't go near her in her crazy rage.
  • She grabs Jacob, who squeals, and Harry comes over, so then she grabs Harry and begs him to come with them, promising that she and Harry and Jacob can be a family all by themselves.
  • Everyone is silent as Cass completes her meltdown.
  • Mary remembers how Cass always lived in the moment and never imagined life outside the village.
  • Harry looks to Mary for help.
  • Mary tells them all that the paths are marked with the letters and that she thinks they'll lead them somewhere.
  • Cass snarls. She says the letters don't matter since the path just ended in a dead end. She says it's just like they were taught—the Forest of Hands and Teeth never ends.
  • Travis says that maybe that was a lie, and reminds them about the supplies left by the Guardians. That's got to mean something, right?
  • Cass begs everyone to please go back, but nobody moves so Cass stumbles off to have a massive sobbing breakdown in the middle of the path.
  • Jed goes over to her and pulls her into his lap like a little kid.
  • Travis wonders out loud if they really are the last people in the world. Now there's a happy thought.

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