Mo's story: Meggie was three years old, and Mo was reading to Meggie's mom as he often did. She picked a book called Inkheart, which was an adventure story like the ones she tended to like.
As Mo began to read the seventh chapter, three men suddenly appeared in their house: Capricorn, Basta, and Dustfinger. Basta was holding Dustfinger, and when he tried to draw his sword, it fell from his hands; Capricorn looked dizzy too. Maybe the transition had drained them?
Mo snatched up the sword, and somehow forced Capricorn and Basta out of the house. Dustfinger begged Mo not to kill him.
Meggie's mother and the two cats had disappeared completely.
Mo searched the house and the whole area, and he tried reading the book aloud again. One time the mailman disappeared from outside the house while Mo was reading, and a man made of glass appeared in his place—and that's when Mo realized that if he read aloud, it'd put Meggie, or anyone near him, in danger.
Dustfinger turned up again, begging Mo to send him back to his own world. Mo couldn't, but Dustfinger kept showing up and looking for the book, prompting Mo to disappear with Meggie.
Elinor is amazed that Mo feels pity for Dustfinger—in her view, it's Dustfinger's fault that they're in this mess.
Meggie asks if her mother is happy in that story, and Mo answers that there are things she'd like about the Inkheart world (fairies and goblins and such).
Eventually Meggie falls asleep, but she wakes up and hears Elinor and Mo talking. Mo says that he's been able to read other things out of stories, but he's always kept it from Meggie. Mo dodges the rest of Elinor's questions (especially those about Capricorn), and Meggie falls asleep again.