The boys on the island reacted wildly when their first fire on top of the mountain burned hotly, sending "a great beard of flame twenty feet into the air." They piled piece after piece of dry, rotten timber to the fire, and it appeared to quickly burn out, providing little smoke for possible rescue ships to see. The boys met again, recognizing that their carelessness had led to a wasteful use of the wood, and Maurice suggested that they use green limbs on the next fire to produce more smoke. But the fire was not out. The hot embers spread by the wind ignited other areas, and most of the mountain was soon aflame. The fires apparently claimed the life of one of the littluns.
"That little 'un--"gasped Piggy--"him with the mark on his face. I don't see him. Where is he now?"
The boy with the purple birthmark had apparently been caught in the fire, and he was never seen again.