Silas has been leaving the graveyard for longer and longer periods of time lately. Miss Lupescu came out to stay with Bod over Christmas, but now she’s gone again and Silas still isn’t back.
Mrs. Owens is worried because there’s no one to take care of Bod.
Mr. Owens points out that Silas left some money behind at least, so Bod can go buy food for himself. This just upsets Mrs. Owens even more.
When Mrs. Owens goes to talk to Bod, Bod wants to talk about the man who killed his family.
He doesn’t understand why Silas didn’t kill the man that night, when he came to look for Bod in the graveyard.
Mrs. Owens tells him that Silas isn’t like that. Plus, the situation is complicated. She doesn’t know exactly how to explain it to Bod.
He asks her to tell him the name of the man who killed his family.
She doesn’t want to at first. Then she thinks about how little time she has left with Bod, because eventually he’ll leave the graveyard.
For some reason, all this emotional thinking makes her tell Bod the name of the man – Jack.
At the same time, Scarlett Amber Perkins (remember her from way back in Chapter 2?) is back in England. Her parents are getting divorced, and Scarlett’s mother moved back here with fifteen-year-old Scarlett.
Scarlett is furious because she didn’t want to leave Glasgow, Scotland, where she grew up, and where all her friends are.
She’s riding the bus home after school, or trying to anyway. When her usual bus doesn’t come on time, she gets on one that she thinks is going to her part of town.
She soon realizes this bus isn’t going her way and asks the bus driver to stop.
The bus driver lets her off near the gates of Bod’s graveyard.
Her mom is going to be so mad because she’s late, yet her mother won’t buy her a cell phone for situations like this.
She starts to walk down the hill when she gets a flash of memory. She feels like she’s been here before. So she turns back around and walks into the graveyard.
Inside the graveyard, a man calls out to her. He is doing a grave-rubbing. He asks Scarlett to help him hold the paper while he colors it with charcoal, revealing the inscription on the gravestone. The inscription is so faded it’s hard to read.
Then it starts to rain. The man offers Scarlett a ride home. She knows she shouldn’t ride with strangers, but the man convinces her to hop in his car anyway.
When they get to her house, the man comes to the door with her.
Scarlett is surprised that her mother Noona isn’t mad and even invites the man in for tea.
He introduces himself as Jay Frost.
But, when Mr. Frost and Scarlett tell Noona that Scarlett was at the graveyard, Noona gets unfriendly all of a sudden.
Noona explains that the graveyard is a bit of a sore subject. Scarlett played in that graveyard as a child and even had an imaginary friend there who lived in a grave.
Mr. Frost smiles at this. Scarlett says she doesn’t remember any of it.
Before Mr. Frost leaves, Noona invites him for Sunday dinner.
That night Scarlett goes to the graveyard in her dreams and meets Bod. The two old friends talk in the dream and Bod tells her he saw her today. Scarlett remembers everything as they talk– Bod, the graveyard, and meeting the Indigo Man and the Sleer. We’re sort of surprised she could forget.
Then she wakes up in her dark room.
In the meantime, Silas is still away but he enough food for Bod to eat for several months at least.
Bod is staying put in the graveyard, even though he misses life outside. He knows it’s too dangerous for him to go outside without Silas or Miss Lupescu around.
The graveyard is his home and he loves it, but everybody stays the same here, while he changes.
For example, Fortinbras Bartleby (see Chapter 5) used to be his BFF. But he’s still ten and Bod is now fifteen, so they don’t have much in common anymore. Now Bod gets along better with Thackeray Porringer (see Chapter 6) who’s about his age.
Liza, who Bod used to be close to, now avoids him, and acts like she’s mad at him.
Mr. Owens hints that Liza (who was, it seems, a teen when she died) might have the attitude change because she has a crush on him now that he’s closer to her age.
Bod hasn’t gotten close to any live people. The whole Mo and Nick incident in Chapter 6 has scared him a little.
Bod has never forgotten Scarlett and has really missed her all these years, especially now that she’s back in his graveyard.
Bod is thinking and walks deeper and deeper into the overgrown part of the graveyard – the part that’s dangerous for people to walk in. Of course, Bod’s been exploring these areas for years, so he’s plenty safe.
He’s on a mission to find Nehemiah Trot, the poet.
When Bod finds Nehemiah, he tells him about Scarlett and asks if he should try to find her and talk to her, or just leave things the way they are.
Nehemiah tells him to go for it, to write her love poems, and sing her love songs!
It’s not that Bod is in love with Scarlett, or that he’s afraid to talk to her. He knows it would be dangerous if he shows himself to her and others see him too.
Bod also wants to know about revenge, but the poet’s ideas on revenge aren’t quite what he’s after.
Well, the decision gets made for Bod this time – Scarlett comes looking for him. Neither of them are sure why she can see Bod, even though he’s faded.
She wants to hug Bod and he lets her. Now she’s satisfied that he’s real, and alive.
Her parents had convinced her that he really was an imaginary friend.
She’s relieved to find out that he’s actually real.
When it’s time for her to leave, she promises to come back in a few days, over the weekend.
Bod climbs up on top of the Sleer’s tomb and looks out at the world beyond the graveyard, remembering how good it felt when he and Scarlett hugged.
Scarlett walks down the hill and says hello to Mr. Frost, and he gives her a ride home.
Now the story’s setting changes. Suddenly, we’re in Krakow, Poland, in some secret, underground caves.
Silas and Miss Lupescu are there, along with Kandar, who is a mummy with wings. He’s also carrying a pig, which (as he tells Miss Lupescu) is for luck.
They’d lost the fourth being in their party, someone named Haroun, who is an Ifrit.
Silas tells Miss Lupescu and Kandar to be quiet. He can hear who or whatever they’re about to fight coming.
Miss Lupescu is totally ready for them.
OK, now we’re back in the graveyard with Bod and Scarlett. They’re talking about the fact that Bod’s family was killed. Bod shares his desire for revenge.
Scarlett wants him to tell her about Silas, but he says he can’t. She’s hurt, and Bod apologizes.
She says she has to go. As she leaves, Bod hears Liza’s voice make a snide comment about Scarlett, but Liza never shows herself.
After Scarlett and Mr. Frost do a little grave-rubbing, they have fish and chips together.
Scarlett tells Mr. Frost she wants to find out about the murder of her friend’s family.
Mr. Frost thinks the library is a good place for Scarlett to start her research, and he offers to drive her over there.
She looks in the newspapers from thirteen years ago and finds a newspaper article about the murder of Bod’s family.
She learns that Bod’s father was a thirty-six-year-old architect named Ronald Dorian. Bod’s mother was a thirty-six-year-old publisher named Carlotta. His sister Misty was seven years old.
There is nothing about a little boy, and Scarlett can’t find any other articles about the murder.
The address of the home they lived and died in is 33 Dunstan Road.
Wait – Scarlett has been to this house.
When Scarlett gets home from the library, she calls Mr. Frost and tells him what she’s learned: thirteen years ago a family was murdered in the house he’s living in.
Mr. Frost seems kind of excited about this news, and promises to use his historical research skills to find out the rest of the story for her.
That evening, Mr. Frost has dinner with Scarlett and her mother Noona, and everybody enjoys themselves.
After dinner, Mr. Frost tells Scarlett that he’s off to do that research for her.
Meanwhile, Silas, Miss Lupescu, and Kandar the mummy are still in the underground caves in Krakow, Poland.
Miss Lupescu is wounded and is halfway between her wolf form and her human form.
She begs Silas to leave her here so he can go and save Bod from something or someone she doesn’t specifically mention.
Kandar’s also wounded. One of his wings is broken so he can't fly.
Apparently, who or whatever they’ve been fighting will be back soon.
Miss Lupescu, who reminds Silas that she’s a Hound of God, stands up and readies herself for the final battle.
Meanwhile, on Sunday afternoon, Mr. Frost calls Scarlett and tells her that he has some info.
It seems that there were four people in Dorian family and there was a baby that wasn’t killed. No one investigated the murders or looked for the baby. Mr. Frost says Scarlett should bring her friend to his house so he can tell him the rest of the story.
Excited, Scarlett agrees.
It’s been six years since Bod last visited the Sleer. Since the Sleer is the oldest being in the graveyard, Bod goes to see him now, to ask for advice.
Bod asks the Sleer if he should go out in the world to try to do battle with the person or people who killed his family.
The Sleer doesn’t have an answer. The Sleer doesn’t really give out advice, as it turns out. It “GUARDS” (7.305) and it “WAITS” (7.305) but advice isn’t part of its job description.
The Sleer wants to know if Bod is the master it’s been waiting for.
The Sleer’s says that if Bod will be its master, it will keep Bod with it forever and ever and ever.
Bod says he isn’t that guy.
Now the Sleer changes its mind about giving advice and says, “THEN FIND YOUR NAME” (7.322).
Back above ground, Scarlett is waiting for Bod. They head over to Mr. Frost’s house together.
First, Bod, Scarlett, and Mr. Frost have tea together.
Then, Mr. Frost says he found a letter upstairs, under a loose board, that explains why Bod’s family was killed, and who killed them.
He says Scarlett should wait here while he shows Bod the letter. If Bod says it’s OK, he’ll fill Scarlett in afterwards.
Mr. Frost leads Bod up to the bedroom that used to be his. He pulls up a board to get the letter.
But when his hand comes up again it doesn’t hold a letter – it holds… a knife!
He tells Bod he’s Jack, and has come back to finish his work.
Bod fades and manages to lock Jack in the room.
He runs down the stairs and tells Scarlett that Mr. Frost is actually the evil Jack who killed his family, and who now wants to kill him, and probably Scarlett too.
When they try to leave the house, four men named Jack, come to the door asking for Mr. Frost.
Scarlett says that Mr. Frost left to get a newspaper, and that she has to be going.
She makes a quick exit and runs toward Bod, who’s already outside, and who leads her up the hill toward the graveyard.
Then Bod trails back so he can spy on the Jacks’ conversation.
He learns that the men’s names are Jack Tar, Jack Ketch, Jack Nimble, and Jack Dandy (the man at the convocation in The Interlude, as you’ll recall).
Apparently, all the Jacks in Krakow (in Poland), Vancouver (Canada), and Melbourne (Australia) are no longer alive. (Now we have a better idea of who Silas, Miss Lupescu and Kandar were battling back in Poland: the Jacks!) These might be the last four Jacks in existence.
The men want to find Scarlett and see what she knows. They think she might be one of the beings trying to destroy them too.
They go into the house and they hear a loud banging sound coming from the upstairs bedroom.
Using a magic spell, they open the locked door and free Jack Frost. They give him a hard time because he still hasn’t killed Bod and managed to get locked up instead.
They leave the house and race up the hill to the graveyard.
Back at the graveyard, Bod transports both himself and Scarlett through the locked gate.
Jack Ketch stands outside the gate calling to Scarlett. He’s holding a silk cord (all the better to choke you with, my dear) in his hands in a very threatening way.
As Jack Nimble arrives at the graveyard gates, Bod tells Scarlett to run.
Jack Ketch climbs over the railings into the graveyard, while the other Jacks look for another way in.
Bod and Caius Pompeius decide that the safest place for Scarlett is down with the Sleer.
So, Bod takes her to the mausoleum and then, with only the LED light on her keychain to lead her, she walks down the stone steps in the dark by herself.
Next, Bod runs into his father, Mr. Owens, and learns that one of the Jacks is over by the Egyptian Walk, which leads to the overgrown part of the graveyard near the poet Nehemiah Trot’s grave.
The other Jacks are on their way into the graveyard now too.
Bod finds Jack Ketch in the Egyptian Walk and he leads him into the woods, tricking him into falling in a deep grave. Jack Ketch breaks his ankle when he falls.
Liza appears and tells him there are four Jacks left. She says that she is only breaking her silence and talking to him to help him out.
Plans are forming in Bod’s head, and he knows he’ll have to use everything he’s learned in the graveyard to fight the remaining Jacks.
First, he makes himself very visible. Then he lures Jack Nimble, Jack Dandy, and Jack Tar toward the ghoul gate (see Chapter 3 for the lowdown on the ghoul gate).
Bod begins questioning Jack Dandy. He wants to know why Jack Frost killed his family.
Jack Tar decides to explain things to Bod.
He says that he and the other Jacks are “members of fraternal organization, known as the Jacks of All Trades, or the Knaves, or by other names” (7.601)
(Fraternal organizations are also known as “brotherhoods.” They’re male-only, like college fraternities.)
The Jacks are a very old organization.
They gain some kind of magical power from killing.
(How exactly this works isn’t explained.)
But they didn’t kill Bod’s family to get magical powers – it was to protect them from Bod.
They never imagined Bod would survive the Jack attack.
Why did they need protection from baby Bod? Well, an ancient prophecy said that Bod would put an end to the Jacks of All Trades?. They sent the most dangerous of all the Jacks (Jack Frost) to kill Bod – but he failed (obviously).
Bod asks Jack Dandy where Jack Frost is now. Uh oh. Jack Dandy tells him that Jack Frost is hunting Scarlett. Super eek.
Now Bod makes a move and tells the Jacks to come get him.
As they move toward him, he says some ancient magic words and opens the ghoul gate.
Jack Nimble and Jack Tar are instantly sucked into the hole.
Jack Dandy come close to Bod and pulls a gun on him.
Bod tricks him into looking away, though, and then fades.
The gaping hole of the ghoul gate shudders and makes the ground shake. Jack Dandy falls into the ghoul gate, but grabs onto the gravestone just in time.
Bod tells Jack Dandy what he’s figured out: that Silas has been battling Jacks all this time, and now the Jacks have almost been destroyed. The prophecy is coming true.
Jack Dandy’s face tells Bod that he’s exactly right.
Then, Jack Dandy lets go of the gravestone and falls down into Hell.
Bod says more magic words, then closes the ghoul gate.
Meanwhile, Jack Frost has found Scarlett in the Sleer’s hill. And he has a knife to her throat.
A few minutes later, Bod joins them, and shows himself to Jack Frost. Bod starts taunting him, telling him that he’s failed and that the Jacks of All Trades is over.
He tells Jack Frost what the other Jacks have been hiding from him – that all the Jacks of the world have been destroyed, except for him, Jack Frost. (He doesn’t tell him that Jack Ketch is still alive, just in a deep grave with a broken ankle.)
Jack says, “If this is true […] and I’m a Jack-all-alone, then I have an excellent reason for killing you both” (7.644). It’s all about finishing the job he started.
The Sleer chooses this moment to make its presence known.
Jack gets curious.
Bod asks Jack to tell him his name, but Jack just throws out a bunch of random names, teasing Bod.
Jack notices that there’s an alter stone, with a knife, a cup, and a brooch. (Things that might be good for some kind of magical ceremony, let’s say.) This makes Jack very happy.
He says he’s found the place the Jacks have been searching for forever. He’s finally found the place where they can have their perfect ceremony.
Still holding the knife to Scarlett’s throat with one hand, Jack tells Bod to put the Sleer’s treasure in his hand.
Bod does it, and Jack, grinning wickedly, releases Scarlett, but makes her lie down on the ground, which is not much better. She’s pretty sure that Jack will kill them both.
Jack tells Bod to kneel down near the altar stone. Bod does it. He can feel the Sleer knife at his neck. (It looks like Jack is planning to sacrifice Bod on the Sleer’s altar.)
The Sleer is getting excited.
Jack says, “You want to know your name, boy, before I spill your blood on the stone?” (7.736)
Suddenly, Bod has a moment of extreme clarity. He knows exactly who he is. He says, “I know my name […]. I am Nobody Owens. That’s who I am” (7.736).
Then he asks the Sleer if it’s still looking for a master.
The Sleer gets excited by this, and Bod finally gets to see what the thing looks like. It’s definitely a humongous snakelike creature, and with three heads. The heads are especially freaky, though.
They look like they’re made up of different dead animal and people parts (ew!) and are painted with purple ink, like the Indigo Man.
These creepy faces are getting really close to Jack Frost, who wants to know what’s going on.
Bod explains that the Sleer has been waiting for a master.
Jacks says, “Of course. It’s been waiting for me. And yes. Obviously, I am its new master” (7.744).
The Sleer turns puppy-dog happy at this news. Jack, puppy-dog happy in his own way, prepares to slit Bod’s throat. Bod says,
“Sleer, what will you do with your new master?”(7.747).
The Sleer says, “WE WILL PROTECT HIM UNTIL THE END OF TIME. THE SLEER WILL HOLD HIM IN ITS COILS FOREVER AND NEVER LET HIM ENDURE THE DANGERS OF THIS WORLD” (7.748).
Bod tells the Sleer to go ahead and start the protecting.
And the Sleer sure does. It starts wrapping itself around Jack Frost like a boa constrictor wraps itself around its prey.
Scarlett can’t see the Sleer, but she can see the fear on Jack’s face, and it makes her feel sorry for the guy now. She watches as Jack, yelling and screaming, is pulled through the rock of the chamber.
Then there’s just silence.
Bod picks up the goblet, knife, and brooch that Jack dropped and puts them back on the altar.
Scarlett figures out that Bod knew the Sleer was looking for a master. She asks if he Bod knew the Sleer would do that to Jack.
Bod says that he didn’t know for sure, but hoped the Sleer would react like that in some way.
Not exactly what Scarlett wants to hear. She says, “Was that why you hid me down there? Was it? What was I, then, bait?” (7.764).
Bod, in his calm way, tries to tell her that he didn’t have the plan yet when he decided to hide Scarlett in the Sleer’s hill.
She wants to know if he killed the other Jacks too. He says no, which is, technically, true.
This doesn’t seem to make Scarlett fell better, though. She says, “You aren’t a person. People don’t behave like you. You’re as bad as he was. You’re a monster” (7.772).
Ouch. Scarlett’s words are the worst thing that’s happened to him today, and a lot of bad stuff just happened.
Just as Scarlett is about to run, Silas shows up and sticks up for Bod.
He says that he’s going to make Scarlett forget everything.
This doesn’t sit well with Bod or Scarlett, but Silas is doing things his way.
Bod tries to talk to Scarlett but she’s basically in shock and exhausted. She asks Silas to take her home, and doesn’t look back at Bod.
Back at Scarlett’s place, Silas has a nice conversation with Scarlett and Noona.
Neither of them remembers much about it, but at the end of it, they’re planning to move back to Scotland.
Back in the graveyard, Bod gets the sad news that Scarlett’s memories of Bod are all gone.
Silas confirms for Bod that he and Miss Lupescu were battling the Jacks in Krakow, Melbourne, and Vancouver.
Then Silas gives Bod more bad news: Miss Lupescu died in the battle.
On the upside, Silas invites Bod to eat pizza with him. This is the first time they’ve gone somewhere together.
But now that all the Jacks are dead (well, we’re not sure what Silas did to Jack Ketch, but still), it’s no big thing. It’s safe for them to chill together in public, finally.
Over the pizza (which only Bod actually eats), Bod surprises Silas by knowing about the Honor Guard.
We get yet another hint about what kind of creature Silas is – you can’t see his reflection in the shiny table-top.
Bod asks Silas why Scarlett reacted the way she did, why she got scared of Bod.
Silas doesn’t answer, and they walk out of the pizza place and into the night.