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Something Wicked This Way Comes

Ray Bradbury
Summary Chapters 15–18
Summary Chapters 15–18

Jim insists on exploring the merry-go-round, since it is the only ride that they have not looked at. Mr. Cooger, however, is there and seizes the boys. After Mr. Cooger puts the boys down, Mr. Dark begins to develop an interest in Jim. Jim is intrigued by Mr. Dark's tattoos. The fact that Mr. Dark entertains Jim and never once looks at Will implies some sort of sinister plan that Mr. Dark has for Jim. And it also becomes clear that Jim may be a willing part of whatever that plan is, because he is thrilled by his interaction with Mr. Dark. When Jim tells Mr. Dark that his name is "Simon" and then both smile, acknowledging the lie, it is clear that they are alike in some crucial ways. Mr. Dark seems to be a man of action, just as Jim is a child of action. The question that remains is what kind of action Mr. Dark is involved in, and Jim makes Will wait with him in the tree to find out the answer to that question.

What the boys see from their hiding place is beyond anything they could have expected. They watch as Mr. Cooger, on the carousel, grows younger as it turns backwards. He gets off as a twelve-year-old boy. Mr. Cooger scares Will and Jim when he is a grown man, but the thought of him inside the body of a young boy terrifies them. They see the impossible happen, and they come to the conclusion that their only choice is to follow after Mr. Cooger and see what else happens. Bradbury's story has gone from charting the wonder and adventure that thirteen- year-old boys find in the everyday events in life to something far greater. It is now clear that Will and Jim are involved in an adventure that goes way beyond anything they have ever seen before. Although the story has left reality behind, the boys themselves still act in a plausible manner. This is the first of many times in the book that Bradbury weaves together the improbable and the probable, ultimately questioning whether the real world is as clearly distinguishable from fantasy as it appears.