Chapters 11 and 12 Summary

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As time passes, Phillip begins to explore the island with Timothy's help. He becomes increasingly independent as he grows familiar with his surroundings. From what he can feel and hear, he concludes that the cay must be a beautiful place and wishes he could see it. It seems to Phillip that Timothy is doing everything he can to enable him to survive on his own. They never talk about the worst-case scenario, however, and Phillip tries hard not to think about “the possibility of Timothy dying and leaving [him] alone on the cay.”

Frustrated that they have not yet been rescued, Timothy grumbles one night that the island “mus’ ’ave a jumbi.” He believes Stew Cat is the source of their bad luck, and Phillip begins to fear for the creature’s safety. Sure enough, when Phillip awakens the next morning, Timothy and Stew Cat are gone.

Phillip circles the island in search of his companions, and he finds Timothy sitting on the North beach carving something out of wood. Timothy is evasive when Phillip asks him about Stew Cat, so after they return to the hut to eat and Timothy takes off again, Phillip decides to search for the cat on his own. Walking along the shoreline, Phillip realizes that the raft is also inexplicably gone. Although he trusts Timothy completely, he is uneasy with the old man’s odd behavior; the idea of voodoo, “the whole mysterious jumbi thing,” is frightening.

In the midafternoon, Timothy returns to the shelter and nails something to the framing. When he goes away again, Phillip feels around the edges of the hut and discovers a carving of a cat; Timothy has riddled it with nails to kill “the evil jumbi.”

When Timothy comes back a short time later, he is carrying Stew Cat. He explains that he had put the feline on the raft and anchored it offshore to chase away the jumbi. Timothy is positive that now their luck will change. Things do change—but not for the better.

One morning in the middle of May, Timothy awakens in the throes of a terrible fever. He gasps that it is malaria, and as he lies alternately burning up and shivering, Phillip can do little more than sit by him, cool his brow, and hold his hand. As the illness progresses, Timothy sinks into delirium. Around noon, he struggles to his feet and incoherently runs down to the water. Phillip goes to search for him and stumbles over his body floating near the shore. After determining that Timothy is still alive, Phillip clasps his hands under the big man’s chin and manages to pull him onto the beach. He stays by his stricken friend’s side there as he sleeps throughout the long afternoon.

By evening, the fever finally breaks, and Timothy sits up weakly; he remembers nothing of what has happened in the intervening hours since the attack’s onset. With Phillip’s help, Timothy staggers back to the hut. Although he recovers, he never regains his full strength.

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