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Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH


by Robert C. O'Brien

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH Chapter 18 Summary

The Air Ducts

  • Justin continues to practice getting out of and back into his cage. He's in full-on training mode.
  • Finally, Justin teaches Nicodemus how to open his own cage. 
  • Once they're out, Justin tells Nicodemus that he thinks he has found an escape route: through the air ducts. 
  • In order to escape, though, they will have to explore the air ducts and figure out where they go.
  • So the two ringleaders go around from cage to cage and show the rats how to get out. 
  • Several of the rats are selected to explore the ducts, including Justin and Arthur, using string to help them keep their way. Genius.
  • The rats decide to give it one more night before they make their escape. 
  • A group of mice asks to come with the rats. The lead mouse is named Jonathan, who tells them that the mice have also been receiving the injections. They want to tag along on the jailbreak. 
  • The group agrees that the mice can come, and a plan is made to leave the next night. 
  • Of course actually getting out of the lab is only half the battle, so Jenner and Nicodemus have a conversation about where they should go after they escape.
  • They both agree that they no longer know what they are now that they are so intelligent. Are they rats? Humans? A bit of both?
  • On the night of the escape, Justin leads the group out.
  • Disaster promptly strikes. The group is blown back by a fan and several of the smaller, lighter mice are blown away forever. Cue the tragic music and grab a tissue, because those mice are gone.
  • Luckily, the Jonathan blows into Nicodemus and braces himself against his weight. He's safe, and another mouse—a white one—survives the fan, too. 
  • After the fan incident, a new problem arises, of course: there's a screen blocking the animals from the outside.
  • Luckily, the mice are small enough to wiggle through a hole and unscrew the bolts from the outside to allow the rats to remove the screen and escape from NIMH. Teamwork FTW.

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