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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
Adam summons Brint and reiterates his distrust of him. Brint suggests they talk of things that do not distress Adam. Adam talks of Amy. Brint repeatedly asks Adam if he ever told Amy anything about his family’s secret. Adam says no.
Adam remembers a Saturday morning when he and Amy were pulling one of her Numbers in a church parking lot. During a wedding Amy wanted to go into everyone’s car and turn the volume all the way up on the radios and turn the windshield wipers on so that when everyone got into their cars, they would be surprised. The plan did not work. Someone saw Amy. She ran away. Since no one saw Adam, he nonchalantly strolled away.
They met up at the drug store like always. Adam felt love for her and realized she was his girl.
He went home for lunch to discover something bad had happened. His mother met him at the door telling him Grey had called. There was an emergency; his mother said they would have to go away for a few days. She said Grey told her he overheard their town on a wiretap, as well as the date of the next day. He wanted to make sure that nobody knew their identities. She told Adam that this had happened before. Once when television crews came to town to observe the bicentennial of the town; they were sent to Maine on a two-week vacation. Another time was when someone gave a vague testimony saying they had knowledge of a former newspaperman who was in the Northeast. The family went to California for a week; Adam was sick the whole time and it rained.
Adam’s father returned. He decided they should go north for the weekend. Adam realized his father was lying in case the house was bugged.
This chapter is rising action. Rising action is the events that will lead to the climax and resolution of the plot. Adam finally seems committed to getting to the bottom of the story.
Cormier juxtaposes the first scene Adam describes of he and Amy, with the second scene of he and his family. Adam’s life with Amy is sweet and innocent. He is experiencing life as a true fourteen year old. His life with his family has taken a new direction and he is not a child at all.
Adam is headed toward the Rest-A-While Motel in Belton Falls. He remembers when he stayed there with his family. He felt very secure. Once he reaches the hotel, no one is there. The door is unlocked and he goes in. It feels as though it has been neglected for years, even though he was just there last year with his family. He hears something outside, and finds a dog near his bike. The dog leaves with his tail wagging. Adam begins to feel lonely when he sees a teenaged gas attendant across the street. He thinks about the boy’s family and friends.
Adam goes to the gas station for food and to call Amy. He calls the same wrong number as before. The man confirms the number that Adam has called. However, he says he has had it for three years and he does not know of any Hertz family. Adam calls directory assistance. They tell him there is no Hertz family in Monument. Trembling, Adam asks the gas station attendant how long the motel across the street has been closed. He tells Adam two or three years. Adam wonders why he did not take his medicine that morning, and heads back to the hotel. He begins to scream. He bangs on the cabin door, asking them to let him in.
This is an important chapter, because we learn that something is truly wrong with Adam. His signs of paranoia and panic may have been ignored before, but now we realize his medicine is vitally important to his health. This is juxtaposition with the medicine in the sections of the story involving Brint. Perhaps because the reader has been led to distrust Brint, the medicine seems to be administered to Adam in an effort to stop him from feeling--or as a truth serum that will make him talk.
The family rode off into the sunset. Adam thought it was like an adventure. His father suggested they all sit together in the front seat, just in case. They sang The Farmer in the Dell. Adam’s mother suggested that they not talk about anything gloomy, since this was a pleasure trip. That night they stayed in the Rest-A-While motel.
The next day they headed farther North, to a town called Barre that was reminiscent of Blount. While driving, Adam’s father thought he saw someone following them. He said it was probably nothing, or maybe one of Grey’s men. He decided to pull over to the side of the road. When the car drove past, as the family pretended to look at the scenery on the side of the road, Adam’s father said the two men in the car belonged to Grey; he could recognize them anywhere. Later they stopped to stretch their legs. Adam heard a car coming at them fast. Someone screamed. The car hit them: his father, his mother, him.
Adam saw his mother, dead on the hood of the car. He heard the voices saying they saw “him” get away, but he was hurt. Adam knew it was his father they were talking about. The men said the mother was dead and the father got away. They scooped up Adam, saying he might be useful.
Brint asks Adam who the men were. Adam has apparently withdrawn. He does not answer.