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Farther down the road comes the noise of a truck. The father quickly hides their belongings and runs away with the boy. The men in the truck pass them, but the truck sputters to a stop. The men in the truck dismount in order to push it past the slope. The father sees a man from the truck standing only twenty feet away.
The father pulls the pistol on the man and tells him to approach them, warning him not to call to the others or else be shot. The man was in the process of sharpening his knife on his belt. The father questions the man about where he and his crew are going, whether their weapons have ammunition, and so on. The man does not believe the father will shoot him because of the boy's presence. He correctly guesses that the father has only one or two bullets (he has two). The father does not like the way the man looks at his son. The man attempts to cajole the father and son into joining them with promises of food.
The confrontation comes to a nasty climax when the man dives for the boy, "holding him against his chest with the knife at his throat" (56). The father shoots the man in the head, then grabs his son, puts him on his shoulders, and runs away. They continue on their journey, freezing cold, the man coughing. "They neither spoke nor called to each other, the more sinister for that" (57).