Chapters 23-25 Summary
Although he cannot visit Freak the next day, Max goes to the hospital anyway. He runs into the Fair Gwen, who greets him tearfully. Gwen tells Max that Freak wants to see him despite the fact that he is not allowed visitors. Because Freak is so insistent, Dr. Spivak has given permission for Max to see him for a little while.
Max is surprised when the Fair Gwen takes him into the intensive care unit at the regular hospital instead of the Medical Research Building in the back. Freak looks very small on the bed, and he has a hole in his throat that allows him to breathe. Although his voice is faint and “whistly,” he seems to be as sassy as ever—but when Max asks when he will be coming home, Freak gravely responds, “I’m not coming home...not in my present manifestation.”
Freak then gives Max a book similar to the dictionary he made for him, except all the pages are blank. Freak tells Max that he wants him to “fill it up with [their] adventures.” When Max protests that he cannot write, Freak says that he would do it himself but he “won’t have the time.” He tells Max just to “write it all down like [he’s] talking...the story of Freak the Mighty.”
Freak then begins to cough; Dr. Spivak and several nurses come in, and Max has to leave. The next morning, Max runs back to the hospital to see how his friend is doing. When he gets there, all the nurses are crying, and Max must face the truth that Freak is dead.
Screaming incoherently, Max turns and races down the halls, “ready to just blast anybody who dares touch” him. He runs until he gets to the Medical Research Building and breaks through the glass on the door. When security officers finally corner him, Dr. Spivak arrives. As she bandages his hand, Max accuses her of lying to Freak about the new body he would get from the Bionics Unit, but Dr. Spivak quietly tells him, “You couldn’t lie to Kevin.”
Dr. Spivak tells Max that Freak had known “from a very young age that he wasn’t going to have a very long life.” She conjectures that, despite his courageous acceptance of his fate, he had needed “something to hope for” and so had “invented this rather remarkable fantasy” about receiving a bionic transplant. When Max finally asks, “What happened to him really?” Dr. Spivak answers simply, “His heart just got too big for his body.”
Max withdraws into the down under “for days and days.” He refuses to come out...
(The entire section is 673 words.)