From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
Christopher keeps his eyes closed for a long time and he notices that the silences between trains have become longer now.
Finally he looks at his watch and realizes he's been sitting on the bench for five hours. Time really seems to fly for Chris.
He also notices that Toby is no longer in his pocket. Uh oh.
Christopher looks up and sees a small electronic sign showing when the next trains will arrive. This makes him feel a little better, knowing "everything had an order and a plan" (227.6).
He spots Toby down by the rails, with some regular subway mice. He climbs down to get him, but someone shouts to stop him.
Christopher ignores the shouting, and tries to grab Toby. But the rat will have none of it.
As a train approaches, a man tries to grab Christopher off the tracks. (We're officially freaking out now.)
Christopher is otherwise engaged: he grabs Toby with both hands and the oh-so-sweet pet rat bites him on the thumb.
The man picks Christopher up off the tracks just as the train approaches. Whew. But instead of being grateful, Christopher screams: when the man picked him up, it hurt his shoulder.
The man yells at Christopher for going onto the tracks, but Christopher says he was just trying to catch his pet rat. Obvi.
A woman asks if she can help him, and Christopher tells her that he has a Swiss Army knife that can cut a person's fingers off. Hmm. We're guessing this doesn't go over well.
Eight more trains come and go, and then Christopher decides to finally get on the next one.
It's noisy on the train and he keeps his eyes closed. Eventually, they arrive at Willesden Junction. That's his stop!
He doesn't want to talk to any more strangers, knowing it only becomes more and more likely that he'll meet someone dangerous. But he needs help, so he walks up to a man in a shop and asks him how to get to his mother's address.
The man tells him that he can buy one of the maps of London he sells in the store. Perfect.
Christopher sits on the floor of the station and looks in the book of maps.
He figures out the way, and then walks all the way there: it takes twenty-seven minutes. Whew. He made it.
He sits down on the ground in front of his mother's place and waits for her. In the meantime, it starts raining and he gets really cold. (It's after 11:30PM at this point, after all.)
Finally, he hears two people approaching – a woman's voice and a man's voice. It's his mother and – you guessed it! – Mr. Shears.
Christopher stands up and says to his mom, "You weren't in, so I waited for you" (227.82).
His mother throws her arms around him. Christopher of course doesn't like that so he pushes her away and falls down.
She apologizes, saying that she forgot about the "no touching" thing. Instead, she holds her hand with her fingers spread.
She asks him where his father is and Christopher says he thinks he's at home.
Then Christopher gives a brief summary of his trip (or, as we prefer to think of it, his wild ride). With a little prodding, he also confesses that his father killed Wellington (who, of course, was Mr. Shears' dog, too, before he left his wife).
They all go inside, and Christopher's mom runs a bath for him. To make himself feel safer, Christopher makes a mental map of their apartment.
She gives Toby some food and water. Meanwhile, Christopher gets into the bath, which is warm and nice.
Christopher's mother comes into the bathroom to talk some more. In particular, she wants to know why he never wrote her any letters.
Christopher explains that his father told him that she was dead this whole time.
Wait for it –
Yep! She's every bit as horrified and saddened as you can imagine she would be.
She wants to hold Christopher's hand, but he won't let her, and she says that's okay.
Christopher gets out of the bath, puts on some of his mother's clothes, and heats himself up some tomato soup.
A policeman shows up at the apartment, and says he has to speak with Christopher.
Christopher's mother argues, saying he's been through enough, but the policeman insists.
The policeman asks Christopher why he ran away from home, and Christopher tells the honest truth: because his father killed Wellington.
Then the policeman asks if he would like to go back to his father or stay with his mother. It's his call.
Christopher wants to stay and his mom is fine with that: this makes Christopher really happy.
Okay, then. The policeman says that if his father shows up, they can call the police.
At 2:31am, Christopher wakes up because people are shouting. One of the voices is his father's. Uh oh.
A big argument ensues between Christopher's mother, Christopher's father, and Mr. Shears.
His mother is (obviously) really mad that his father told Christopher she was dead. But his father wants some recognition for having taken care of him all this time.
His dad insists on speaking to him, so Christopher gets his Swiss Army knife ready. Again – just in case.
Dad comes in the room and apologizes again and again… and again. He's crying.
Christopher is frightened and doesn't respond at all (but at least he doesn't stab him).
Mr. Shears calls the police and they come take his father away.