Chapter 15 Summary
Victor watches the door to the little shop and notes when the black boy, the girl, and the spiky-haired boy all come out and walk in opposite directions. Then another boy, a dark-eyed child, comes out. It takes Victor a moment to place the group’s leader without his mask. Nervously, Victor glances back at the window of the shop, where Prosper and Bo are still looking at the junk on the shelves.
Victor is unsure what is going on, but he tells himself that the children cannot know he is watching. He has changed his disguise; besides, he is keeping watch through a reflection in another window. The children are probably all splitting up to go home for lunch. Bo’s story about a gang living together in a movie theater must be just a childish fantasy after all.
Suddenly the dark-eyed boy appears in front of Victor and asks the time. As Victor checks his watch, the boy grins and asks if the watch also tells the time on the moon. Victor nervously wonders what the boy could want. He checks the shop, but he sees that Prosper and Bo are still inside. The dark-eyed boy studies Victor’s face and asks if he is English. Victor claims to be an Eskimo, and the boy moves away.
After that, all of the children except the black boy slip back into the shop. They emerge again as a group, with Prosper and Bo in the middle, giggling and glancing repeatedly in Victor’s direction. Baffled, Victor sets off to follow them, but he finds it difficult. Children are smaller, quicker, and less noticeable than adults are. Luckily for him, however, they move very slowly and occasionally turn around to look at him.
As Victor pursues the little gang through an alley, two big ladies block his way. As he tries to squeeze past them, the little girl breaks away from the other children and runs at him. She throws herself against his body and grabs his coat, screaming, “Let me go, you pig! No! I don’t want to come with you! No!” As she shouts, the boys slip around a corner out of sight. Victor tries to shake the girl off, but she holds on and keeps shouting—and the adults in the alley turn on Victor, assuming he is a child-snatching criminal.
Helplessly, Victor cries out that he is innocent, but nobody listens. A dog jumps on him, barking and biting, and the two big ladies beat him with their purses. Victor falls to the ground, covering his head, as a crowd gathers and a police officer demands to know what is going on. As everyone from the crowd tries to tell the police officer what they have seen, Victor realizes that the little girl is gone—and so are Prosper and Bo.