Calling her predicament "an irony of fate," Frances writes a letter to her father explaining that she has run away. She tells her father not to "capture" her. She steals his pistol and takes off into the night, but not before John Henry hears her and alerts Mr. Addams. She runs towards town in an attempt to evade her father, comforted by the notion that he will have to get dressed before he chases after her.

Frances sees the train tracks and thinks about hopping a freight train. She notices that some of the freight cars sitting on the tracks are not connected to anything. She realizes that Big Mama's fortune—that she would return after the journey—was true. She contemplates suicide. A Packard drives by and for a second, Frances thinks it is her brother and new sister-in-law coming to pick her up. But it is just an unknown couple.

Frances thinks that she should go check to see if she really did kill the Soldier when she hit him over the head. Remembering that part of Big Mama's fortune was that Frances would marry a light-haired man with blue eyes, Frances thinks that perhaps she should just go marry the Soldier and then they can run away together. She has finally realized that she is too afraid to go out into the world alone and that she needs a partner.

She goes to the Blue Moon, where she is quickly picked up to the police, whom Mr. Addams had informed of Frances' disappearance. Presently, France's father comes and picks her up.

In a rapid denouement, McCullers describes the following three months. This is a time when "the changes had come," she writes. In that time, Frances turns thirteen and finally makes a friend in Mary Littlejohn. Mary is two years older than Frances and the two of them plan to travel the world together. But, in the meantime, they attend the fair, which is in town, though they avoid the house of the freaks. The Addamses decide to move into a suburban house with Aunt Pet and Uncle Ustace. Honey, high off of pot, robs a store and is sent to jail. And finally, John Henry gets meningitis, which first makes him blind, and ten days into the illness kills him. After his death, Frances remembers John Henry the way he was before the illness, and not his sickly "solemn, hovering and ghost-gray self."

They receive a letter saying that Jarvis is in Luxembourg. Frances imagines that she will pass by there when she tours the world. The novella closes when she begins to say "I am simply mad about—" but never finishes her sentence, because her pause is interrupted by "the ringing of the bell."