What’s really going on?
Mixed in with the various flashes to this fantasy are memories of what Claire has been through up to this point. There’s a Jamaican man, who fears that Claire really is a witch. He worries about being harmed by the spirits and shows Claire some kindness. Claire asks him to allow her to be with the Kelpie at one point in the river—likely to let her swim away. He agrees but it’s Hodgepile who takes her to the water instead, so she doesn’t get a chance to escape.
We see the beatings that she experiences from the men, especially Lionel Brown. He has worked out that Claire is Dr. Rawlings and wants to take Claire to Brownsville so she can admit to the women that she’s been the one writing the recommendations. Lionel is angry that she’s been telling women how to avoid a man’s “God-given right.”
Claire is tied up, gagged, and has a rope around her neck when they all camp to avoid her running away. That’s when she gets a visit from the Native man who we wondered whether Wendigo Donner.
“Does Ringo Starr mean anything to you?” the Native man asks, and it’s clear that he’s a time traveler. Wendigo tells Claire that he traveled with four others but they were separated and Clarie realizes that he’s connected to Otter Tooth.
All Wendigo wants is to get back home to his own time. Claire offers him that help but he needs to get her out of this situation. Wendigo says he’ll help when everyone is asleep. She’s not happy, but honestly, it would have been suicide for both of them to try to escape when the others were still awake!
That night, the men in the group take their turn raping Claire, starting with Lionel’s nephew and then Lionel himself.