Chapter 2 Summary

As Nobody Owens grows older, the ghosts nickname him Bod. He learns to talk and often asks questions, but he does not think to question his strange abilities to see in the dark and to pass through the walls of graveyard buildings. The cemetery is old, and no new people are buried there any longer. However, the area is set aside as a nature preserve, and families sometimes come there for an afternoon. A little girl, Scarlett Amber Perkins, spots Bod one day as he is working on his letters by using paper and crayons—gifts from Silas—to copy the inscriptions on graves. The two children become friends.

Scarlett cannot see the ghosts of the graveyard, but Bod tells her all about them. She asks who the oldest is, and Bod says he thinks it is Caius Pompeius, who arrived in England about a hundred years after the Romans. Afterward, he asks Caius if he is indeed the oldest, and Caius says hesitantly that someone was buried there before him, a person who lived in the area long before the Celts. He explains that there is a barrow inside the hill, and that over the hundreds of years the graveyard has existed, two living people have gone inside looking for treasure. One emerged with his hair all white, and the other never emerged at all.

Intrigued, Bod tells Scarlett about the barrow, and the two of them climb down into the hill. Bod can see in the dark, so he leads the way. They see an odd figure of a man whose skin is painted or tattooed with purple markings. The man tries to scare them, but Bod knows what ghosts are like. He realizes that the figure is imaginary, put there to scare people who come after the treasure. He says so, and the figure disappears. Then a voice speaks, calling itself the Sleer, and says it is protecting the treasure for its master. Bod thinks the treasure is basically worthless, and he takes Scarlett back up to the surface. The police are up there, and they whisk Scarlett away. She returns only once more to say that her family is moving away.