It's time for some hands-on experience with binding boggarts.
The Spook has Tom dig a hole six feet long, six feet deep, and three feet wide. Tom, if you need help calculating volume, we've got you covered.
Then Tom has to make a mixture of salt, iron filings, and glue made from bones. Um, we don't have a video for that... yet.
These items are needed because, "used together, salt and iron form a barrier that a boggart can't cross" (7.16).
Tom has to do a thorough job coating the entire pit because "a boggart can escape through a hole no bigger than a pinhead" (7.18).
When the month is up, the Spook is satisfied with Tom's training. But it's ultimately Tom's decision whether or not he wants to continue. The Spook lets Tom go home to see his family while he decides. Tom doesn't plan on returning.
However, by the time the next paragraph rolls around, Tom's been walking for two days and he decides that farm life would be too boring for him. We understand. Farm life sure isn't as exciting since that farmer dating show got canceled.
At home, Jack's a real jerk to Tom. He says that Tom only thinks about himself. But Tom's Mam is more supportive.
When Tom confesses that he's lonely, Mam convinces him that he has himself and that he has work to do. She tells him, "You're the last hope. Someone has to do it. Someone has to stand against the dark. And you're the only one who can" (7.61). That's either the best pep talk ever or the mother of all guilt trips, we're not sure which.
Tom returns to the Spook's house after three days, but the Spook isn't there. He's left Tom a note, saying he's gone to take care of witch trouble. Which witch, we ask? Also, Tom still needs to do the grocery run, even while the Spook is away.
This grocery run goes about the same as the last, except this time Tom gives the boys some apples.
When Alice shows up, she has a favor to ask of Tom. "Come to me when you hear Old Gregory's bell" (7.104).
Alice rings the big bell that the townspeople use to summon the Spook. Tom trots down there, and Alice gives him food for a change.
The food in the basket isn't meant for Tom, though. The basket contains cakes for old Mother Malkin. Remember her? The upside-down witch? Tom is supposed to give her one a night for the next three nights.