Chapter 19 Summary
Soon, Jeff’s dream world becomes indistinguishable from his waking world. He no longer goes to school and his parents stop seeing their friends, knowing that it will not be long before no one will have any sympathy to spare for them. They go off for quiet walks at night when there are fewer people out. They feel that their children can take care of themselves, and they are being guarded by the Overlords as well. They have grown closer to each other (more than at any time in their marriage), united in the uncertainty and the tragedy that they know will soon come.
Jennifer Anne, though still a baby, grows in her ability to mentally control her physical surroundings and personal needs. Jean no longer tries to feed the baby, since food seems to disappear from the kitchen, even though Jennifer Anne never leaves her crib. The furniture in the nursery is moved into interesting patterns. The paint on the wall begins to glow brighter. She is beyond relying on her mother and father or needing their love. Jean can no longer bear to enter the nursery. Since the baby no longer needs them, George and Jean cling to Jeffrey, who still at times seems to be normal. Many times, however, he seems not to be aware of them or his surroundings. He does not appear to have the ability to manipulate objects as Jennifer Anne does. He sits quietly for hours on end, his eyes closed as he listens to sounds that only he can hear. The dog Fey watches him constantly, obviously confused as to what is happening to her young master.
Jeff and Jennifer Anne are only the first children to experience this jump in evolution. Soon there are more, and it is not long until almost all children have passed beyond the normal human experiences of their parents. Practically no one over the age of ten is affected, however. It seems to be the end of civilization. In only a few days, all that humankind has striven for has become irrelevant. There is no panic, as there would have been before the Overlords arrived. The world seems to be in mourning of what has gone. For the last time, Karellen speaks to mankind.