Study Guide

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Chapter 36

By Carrie Ryan

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Chapter 36

  • When Mary wakes up, she hears wind in the trees and water tickling her toes.
  • She lies still and feels a river of guilt flow through her; she feels terrible for losing Jed.
  • She wants to have a little guilt tantrum, but her body hurts like crazy, so she can't move.
  • Instead, she listens to the wind and the sound of a shovel cracking a root.
  • She smiles because the sound reminds her of the harvest season back home.
  • A shadow crosses her face, and she opens her eyes. Good thing, too—a man with a shovel swings down at her throat.
  • She rolls out of the way just in time and yells for the guy to stop.
  • He's pretty much shocked that she's not dead.
  • Mary warns him about a zombie about to attack him from behind, and he expertly shovel-slices her head off.
  • She sees the ocean, then freaks out and starts running from zombie body to body.
  • Shovel Dude asks her what is going on and she tells him she's looking for her brother.
  • They both go from body to body to body to body to… (there are hundreds of them) looking for Jed and killing the rest. No dice.
  • Shovel Dude calls the zombies Mudo, and Mary asks him why.
  • He says it's what the pirates call them; the word means "speechless," and he thinks it has a nice ring to it.
  • She takes a look at the ocean finally and falls to her knees.
  • She likes Shovel Dude's voice because it reminds her of the Travster.
  • He tells her that the water is especially nasty because of the storm debris, and that this is the first time he's seen so many Mudo come washing down at one time.
  • He says he lives in a lighthouse, and that his job is to shovel-slice all the zombies to protect the town.
  • Mary is bummed about all the bodies and debris, but Shovel Dude assures her it's no biggie and that the water will wash them away after awhile.
  • She's still feeling like Debbie Downer and reminds him that they'll still come back.
  • He says it's still worth it, that this is life.
  • Mary goes out into the water and swims for awhile. She thinks about her friends and feels rotten again about losing Jed, but hopes that he'd be happy she found the ocean.
  • She gets out and walks up to Shovel Dude.
  • Shovel Dude asks her where she's from, and when she tells him the Forest of Hands and Teeth, he says he had no idea anyone lived in there.
  • Apparently, there used to be a path to Mary's town, but people took it down when his grandpa was just a kid. Nobody believed there were actually people in there anymore.
  • He says nobody talks about that kind of stuff, and she says maybe they're smart not to.
  • She thinks of her friends and Jed and Travis. She thinks there must be a way to get Harry and the others off the path and out to the beach.
  • Shovel Dude takes her hand and leads her to the lighthouse.

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