Ree eats breakfast and sends her brothers off to school. Harold offers to fight a couple of boys from Hawkfall who are in his grade, but Ree tells him not to. Ree sits in her mother’s rocker and dozes—she briefly has a frightful vision of herself turning into her mother, lost to the world and “crazy.” Gail, after washing up the breakfast dishes, tells Ree that there is somewhere she wants to take her. Before they leave, Ree gets a shotgun out of her bedroom to bring along.
In the aftermath of her attack Ree is both more defensive and more wary of trouble. She’s never encouraged Harold’s fighting, but she’s even more careful now to warn him against it. At the same time, she’s fearful for her own personal safety, making sure to arm herself when leaving he house for the first time since her assault.
On the way out to the truck, Ree and Gail see some Dolly women off in the distance talking hushedly with some Hawkfall women. Gail notes that it “looks like Sonya’s tellin’ ‘em shit—looks to me like Sonya’s took up for you.”
With tensions between the women of Rathlin Valley and Hawkfall at a high, it’s becoming clearer to Ree that women influence more of their community than she’d previously known.
While driving, Gail asks Ree what her plans are. Ree tells Gail that she will send Sonny to live with Sonya and Blond Milton, and that she “guesses” she’ll “carry Mom to the [hospital and] leave her on the steps.” As for Harold, she plans to “beg Victoria’n Teardrop to take [him] in.”
Ree’s desperation shines through here, as her lessened ability to care for her family in her weakened state has caused her to question whether she’ll be able to care at all for them once their land is gone.
Gail and Ree arrive at Bucket Spring—a freezing lake that Gail hopes will help to soothe and heal Ree’s wounds. The girls build a fire, strip, and then take turns swimming. Gail tells Ree that she plans on returning home to Floyd, for Ned’s sake; plus, she says, she doesn’t want to be in the middle of Ree’s troubles. Ree assures Gail that the Thumps are done with her, but Gail insists Ree “can’t know what’s gonna happen.” The girls get dressed and extinguish their fire, and Ree asks Gail if Floyd and his father might want to buy the timberwoods. “If we got to sell,” Ree says, “I’d rather it be to you.”
Gail decides that the cyclical disappointment she faces in her husband’s home is, though painful, ultimately safer for herself and her child than the threat of physical violence she faces as a guest of Ree’s. When Ree offers the timberwoods to Gail, she demonstrates an act of pure friendship, and a chance for each of them to prosper; Ree needs the money, and Gail needs a stake in something other than her loveless marriage.