against the wall. And it was covered in rust. And it looked like the surface of a planet because the rust was shaped like countries and continents and islands. And then I thought how I could never be an astronaut because being an astronaut meant being hundreds of thousands of miles away from home, and my home was in London now and that was about 100 miles away, which was more than 1,000 times nearer than my home would be if I was in space, and thinking about this made me hurt. Like when I fell over in the grass at the edge of a playground once and I cut my knee on a piece of broken bottle that someone had thrown over the wall and I sliced a flap of skin off and Mr. Davis had to clean the flesh under the flap with disinfectant to get the germs and the dirt out and it hurt so much I cried. But this hurt was inside my head. And it made me sad to think that I could never become an astronaut. And then I thought that I had to be like Sherlock Holmes and I had to detach my mind at will to a remarkable degree so that I did not notice how much it was hurting inside my head. And then I thought I would need money if I was going to go to London. And I would need food to eat because it was a long journey and I wouldn't know where to get food from. And then I thought I would need someone to look after Toby when I went to London because I couldn't take him with me. And then I Formulated a Plan. And that made me feel better because there was something in my head that had an order and a pattern and I just had to follow the instructions one after the other. I stood up and I made sure there was no one in the street. Then I went to Mrs. Alexander's house, which is next door to Mrs. Shears's house, and I knocked on the door. Then Mrs. Alexander opened the door, and she said, "Christopher, what on earth has happened to you?" And I said, "Can you look after Toby for me?" And she said, "Who's Toby?" And I said, "Toby's my pet rat." Then Mrs. Alexander said, "Oh. . . Oh yes I remember now. You told me." Then I held Toby's cage up and said, "This is him." Mrs. Alexander took a step backward into her hallway. And I said, "He eats special pellets and you can buy them from a pet shop. But he can also eat biscuits and carrots and bread and chicken bones. But you mustn't give him chocolate because it's got caffeine and theobromine in it, which are methylxanthines, and it's poisonous for rats in large quantities. And he needs new water in his bottle every day, too. And he won't mind being in someone else's house because he's an animal. And he likes to come out of his cage, but it doesn't matter if you don't take him out." Then Mrs. Alexander said, "Why do you need someone to look after Toby, Christopher?" And I said, "I'm going to London." And she said, "How long are you going for?" And I said, "Until I go to university." And she said, "Can't you take Toby with you?" And I said, "London's a long way away and I don't want to take him on the train because I might lose him." And Mrs. Alexander said, "Right." And then she said, "Are you and your father moving house?" And I said, "No." And she said, "So, why are you going to London?" And I said, "I'm going to live with Mother." And she said, "I thought you told me your mother was dead." And I said, "I thought she was dead, but she was still alive. And Father lied to me. And also he said he killed Wellington." And Mrs. Alexander said, "Oh, my goodness." And I said, "I'm going to live with my mother because Father killed Wellington and he lied and I'm frightened of being in the house with him." And Mrs. Alexander said, "Is your mother here?" And I said, "No. Mother is in London."