Chapters 109-110 Summary

The Emperor’s Guard

For a while, the boys help August look for the hearing aids, but they have lost the flashlight they were carrying, and there is no chance of finding anything in the dark. August calls off the search, saying they should all get back to the movie.

The boys work their way back to the fairgrounds, where they all look warily for the seventh graders. They do not see anyone, and Amos guesses that the kids probably returned to the fairgrounds to look innocent in case August reported them. At this, everyone looks to August, who says he does not want to tattle. The boys accept this, and Amos offers to walk with August if he needs to go anywhere else tonight.

On the way back to their seats, August tries to pull his hoodie over his head. He feels disoriented without his hearing aids, but he is not scared of the bullies. His four companions walk on all sides of him: front, back, right, and left. He thinks privately that they are like his “emperor’s guard.”

Sleep

It turns out that none of the kids or teachers from Beecher Prep even noticed that August and Jack were gone. They all seem engrossed in the movie, and August reflects that the worst days of his life are like that. As terrible as they are to him, they could be regular or even great days to somebody else. “Maybe somebody won the lottery today,” he muses.

After dropping August and Jack off at their seats, Amos, Henry, and Miles return to their places. This seems the same as before, but August can tell that life is different now. Miles, Henry, and Amos tell their friends what happened, and soon all the kids are talking about it.

The teachers find out about the incident on the bus ride home, and Mr. Tushman takes August to the camp nurse for first aid. The teachers interview all the kids involved, asking for a description of the kids who attacked them. August pretends not to remember their faces, but he does. Above all, he remembers the horror and the hatred in their expressions.

Thinking it over, August remembers how his dad said August would go to middle school “like a lamb to the slaughter.” Now, finally, August really understands what this phrase means.

That night August is exhausted again, but he cannot fall asleep. He reads with his flashlight until 2:00 a.m., afraid to switch off the light and face the memories of the seventh graders’ faces in the dark.