Ralph already knows that he has little chance against the group of boys who hunt him. Samneric have already told him that the group plans to form a single line and hunt him down in the morning. When Ralph awakes, he hears the boys. They determine that he is hiding in a thicket, and they thrust spears at him. Ralph wounds one of the boys before smelling smoke, and he realizes they are trying to burn him out. He runs from the thicket and manages to get past one of the boys. A plan comes to him.
He considers breaking the line, climbing a tree, or hoping they will pass. None of these are attractive alternatives for him. He decides to hide and retreats into what used to be Simon’s secret place. The fire approaches, leaving a huge curtain of smoke between the island and the sun. He hears the fire as it prepares to consume the fruit trees, and he wonders what they will eat tomorrow.
He avoids several other hunters and is wounded before he rolls onto the beach, expecting to soon be killed. But when he looks up, he finds a naval officer staring down at him.