Book 2, Chapter 31


When Theo picks up Miriam and Julian in the car, they inform him that Julian is beginning to go into labor. Theo immediately decides to set off for Wychwood Forest, a small forest less than twenty miles from Oxford. He reasons that the closeness will buy them some time, as Xan will assume that the group continues to drive away from London. The group travels for hours, stopping occasionally to let Julian walk around. By the early morning, Julian’s contractions are strong and Theo chances driving on a main road. Miriam tells Theo that without him they wouldn’t have stood a chance, and Theo is grateful for her praise. The group continues driving into the middle of the forest to a small lake. They wash in the lake, and Theo turns on the car’s radio. The announcer issues a warning about a group of dissidents traveling in a stolen car and identifies Theo by name. He reveals that the old woman Theo tied up was found dead in the morning; Theo is now wanted for murder. Theo feels sick with guilt, while Miriam realizes that Rolf must have already reached the Warden since the announcer knew Luke was no longer traveling with them. Miriam tries to convince Theo that the old woman’s death is not his fault, but Theo, disgusted by himself, admits that he enjoyed the thrill of power he felt when he realized he was capable of overpowering the old couple.

When Julian tries to comfort him, Theo turns on her in anger, telling her that her unborn baby has already cost so many lives. He angrily questions her certainty that there will be other children and points out that if Julian is wrong, her child will be condemned to a terrible and lonely life. Julian replies that she has thought about it but cannot be anything but happy about the child....

(The entire section is 758 words.)