What happens in Chapter 8 of The Egypt Game?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this chapter, which is entitled "Prisoners of Fear", Elizabeth turns out to be a perfect addition to the Egypt Game group because she is "just crazy about every part" of it.  The four children have fun in Egypt, with Marshall playing the role of the young pharaoh, Elizabeth being the queen, Neferbeth, and April and Melanie acting as priestesses.  Their play in interrupted, however, when a little girl who lives in the neighborhood is killed, and her body found in the marshland near the bay.  Because the same thing had happened about a year before to a little boy, and the police think the perpetrator might be someone who lives in the area. 

Parents become very frightened as a result of these incidents, and forbid their children from playing outside as much as possible.  People start talking, and suspicion falls upon the Professor.  No one actually knows that the Professor is guilty, or even that he is being investigated by the police, but someone had purportedly seen two policemen going into the Professor's store on the morning after the little girl had been killed, and that is enough to set tongues wagging.  A campaign is undertaken by some neighbors to get the old man to move out of the area, but April, Melanie, Marshall, and Elizabeth believe the Professor is innocent.

Bored, the children decide to make costumes and other things they can use when they are allowed to return to Egypt.  Their parents do not become suspicious because Halloween is coming, and "making costumes (is) a perfectly natural thing to be doing".  As time goes by, people begin to forget about the murders, and children "very gradually...(begin) to play out-of-doors again".  Elizabeth's and Melanie's and Marshall's parents are especially conscientious, however, and they continue to watch over their children closely.  The waiting is particularly hard on April, because, despite the fact that she has written her mother tons of letters, she receives only one back, and it says "nothing at all about April's coming home".  So the days pass, and the children continue to make costumes and things for Egypt, and plan for the day when they will be allowed to return (Chapter 8).