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The end of October with the late fall rains has arrived. The children trudge to school in the mud, trying to get to the crossroads in time to prevent the Jefferson Davis school bus from spraying them with wet, red mud from the puddles. They are not usually successful. The next day the bus speeds by so close to the them that the children are forced to leap into the ditch to avoid being hit. Stacey figures out a way to get revenge and prevent the splashing from happening again, at least for awhile.
At lunch time, he takes Cassie and the boys through the woods to the spot where the bus had splashed them that morning. Using pails and shovels, they dig a ditch all the way across the road and fill it with water. The plan works even better than they had planned, as continued rain and washout widen their ditch to the proportions of a small lake all the way across the dirt road. The bus driver barrels full speed into the ditch, breaking an axle and getting the bus stuck in the mud. The white children have to walk home in the rain.
That evening the children struggle with fits of giggles over their sweet revenge. Their revelry is brought to a halt when Mr. Avery arrives with the news that the night men are riding again. He mentions the bus driver which makes the kids think that someone knows what they did. They have a miserable, sleepless night, but nothing happens beyond a caravan of cars using their driveway to turn around.
The "night men" are a group of self appointed enforcers who ride around at night terrifying the black families whenever they think one of them has gotten "out of line." Their continuous threat is one of the reasons David Logan has brought Mr. Morrision to their home.