Ree, back in Hawkfall, climps the hill to Thump Milton’s house once again. She wears her grandmother’s coat, but notes that it feels “heavy in the turning weather.” Nevertheless, she keeps herself wrapped in it.
The weight of her duty to her family is heavy on Ree’s shoulders. Returning to Hawkfall, she knows, will be fraught and dangerous, but she presses on anyway.
Ree approaches the house. Merab looks out the door, then emerges from the house holding a steaming mug. Two women follow her out of the house, and Ree notes that the three look to be relatives. Ree reaches for the cup, “and the world flushe[s] upside down.” The women begin to beat Ree to the ground and, once she is down, kick her with their heavy boots. Ree is kicked into silence, “sunk to a moaning place.”
The Thump women don’t even offer Ree an opportunity to explain herself—instead they resort immediately to an almost methodical violence, having warned her previously that her return or her continued investigation would be most unwelcome, and so simply acting as they feel they must. It’s also worth noting that this central act of violence is perpetrated entirely by women against a woman—speaking again to the power of women in this society that is on the surface very patriarchal, but also showing how that power is not always a positive or supportive one.