Chapter 8 Summary
As Bod grows older, he finds it increasingly difficult to see the ghosts that are his friends and family. One day he goes to visit Alonso Jones, a dead adventurer who tells great stories about visits to Moscow and Alaska, but he does not come out of his grave. Bod is used to having “the Freedom of the Graveyard” and being able to enter and exit graves at will. He tries to stick his head into Alonso’s grave, but he ends up hurting his forehead on a gravestone.
He goes home, and on his way he meets a ghost named Mother Slaughter. She retells the story of Bod’s adoption, which he has heard many times before. Then she makes mysterious comments about growing older, and she says she is glad Bod came to the graveyard. When he moves on, she tells him to keep safe. It makes Bod nervous.
Bod’s nervousness gets worse when he finds Mr. and Mrs. Owens standing formally to await him at their grave. Mr. Owens says he cannot imagine “a better young man than you, Bod,” and Mrs. Owens weeps and disappears. Mr. Owens refuses to tell Bod what is wrong. Instead he sends him to see Silas.
Silas tells Bod that his time in the graveyard is finished, and that he now has to go out and face the world alone. Silas himself is going away, to a home far away that Bod never even knew existed:
All the people here have had their lives, Bod, even if they were short ones. Now it’s your turn. You need to live.
He gives Bod a suitcase, a wallet full of money, and a passport made out in the name of Nobody Owens. At first, Bod is upset. Soon, however, he grows excited, asking Silas if he can go out and see the world he has heard about from Alonso and other ghosts. He says:
I want to see life. I want to hold it in my hands. I want to leave a footprint on the sand of a desert island. I want to play football with people I want....I want everything.
Bod offers to help Silas if he ever gets in trouble, although they both know Silas never does. Then Bod walks to the cemetery gates and says good-bye to Mrs. Owens. He tells her that he is going to go out and explore, meet people, get into and out of trouble. He steps out of the graveyard and goes to meet his life.