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Chapters 211-229

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Summary: Chapter 211

The train continues traveling, and Christopher attempts to judge the distance he has gone by noting the amount of time between stops. When the train stops again, Christopher leaves his hiding place. He sees a policeman in the next car and gets off the train. The station he enters overwhelms him again. He imagines his red line and follows it to the far end of the station. A man tells him a policeman is looking for him, but Christopher keeps on walking. The huge number of signs makes all of them incomprehensible to Christopher. He makes his hands into a tube and looks through it in order to focus on one sign at a time. He follows the sign that reads “Information” to a small shop and asks if he is in London. The shopkeeper says he is. When he asks the way to Mother’s address she tells him to take the subway to Willesden Junction or Willesden Green, and points him in the right direction.

In the subway, he hides in a photo booth. Through its curtain he watches people purchase tickets and enter the subway station. He gets up the courage to go and buy his own ticket from a machine, then follows the signs to his platform. People begin to fill the station and Christopher starts to feel very sick. Trains keep pulling in and leaving, but Christopher can only sit paralyzed on the bench, wishing he were at home but unable to go there, because Father murdered Wellington.

Summary: Chapter 223

Christopher describes an advertisement for Malaysia located opposite him on the platform while he remains frozen in the station. Christopher doesn’t see the point of going on holiday to see new things and relax when a person can always discover new things where he is. Christopher gives the example of filling glasses with different amounts of water to form different notes when you run your finger along the lip.

Summary: Chapter 227

Christopher sits in a trance for five hours on the platform before realizing that Toby has run away. Christopher spots Toby between the tracks among some other mice and climbs onto the tracks to get him. The sound of an approaching train grows louder as a man runs forward to haul Christopher, clutching Toby, back onto the platform. The man shouts at Christopher for being so reckless, and a lady approaches to ask if there is anything she can do to help. Christopher tells her to back away, revealing that he has his Swiss Army knife. The man and lady both leave Christopher alone and get on the next train.

After eight more trains pass by Christopher decides to board. Christopher stays on the train until Willesden Junction, where he gets off. He approaches a shop and asks for directions. The shopkeeper sells him a book called London AZ Street Atlas and Index for £2.95. He uses the atlas to get to Mother’s address, but no one answers when Christopher rings the bell. He sits down to wait. At 11:32 p.m. he hears Mother’s voice as she approaches the apartment. Mother tries to hug Christopher but he pushes her away. She makes a fan out of her fingers instead and they touch hands. Mr. Shears is with Mother. Christopher tells her about his frightening journey from Swindon.

Inside the flat Mother draws Christopher a bath. She sits down next to the bath and asks why Christopher never wrote to her. Christopher explains that Father kept all the letters hidden in his closet and said Mother was dead. A policeman comes to the door of the apartment and says Father reported Christopher as a runaway. The policeman asks Christopher if he wants to go back to Father or if he prefers to stay with Mother. Christopher chooses to stay with Mother, and the policeman leaves. Exhausted, Christopher goes to bed on an air mattress in the spare room. He wakes up to the sound of Father shouting in the living room at 2:31 a.m. Mother, Mr. Shears, and Father have a heated argument. Father bursts through the door of the spare room to find Christopher, who has his Swiss Army knife open and ready. Father cries and apologizes and spreads his fingers in a fan, but Christopher refuses to touch him. The policeman comes back and escorts Father from the flat. Christopher goes back to sleep.