Part 5 Summary

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Last Updated on June 8, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1249

37) Jacqui

Jacqui drives the truck. Weak from thirst, she has difficulty navigating them through the woods leading to the reservoir.

38) Henry

Hands bound, Henry sits against the right side door and contemplates pushing it open and throwing himself out. In the end, he decides to wait for a more opportune moment to escape.

39) Kelton

Kelton lists the symptoms of severe dehydration to himself, knowing that without water, he and the others only have six to seven hours left to live.

40) Garrett

Garrett wonders where his mother and father are and if they are as thirsty as he is. He feels himself turning into a “water-zombie.”

41) Alyssa

Alyssa tries to distract herself from her thirst but fails to do so. Suddenly, Jacqui stops the truck and brings their attention to the sound of music in the air.

42) Kelton

Kelton steps out of the truck to investigate where the music is coming from. From the top of a ridge, he spots a camper and two rough-looking men with weapons. He immediately realizes that the two are dangerous and that they should keep their distance from them. Suddenly, Garrett gets out of the truck and collapses, causing Alyssa to panic. Kelton then realizes that Henry has stolen the truck’s keys and escaped.

43) Henry

Henry rushes to the encampment, keys in his hands. Once in their presence of the two men, he calmly proceeds to negotiate.

44) Alyssa

Kelton leaves to look for Henry. In his absence, the two men approach the truck and claim it as theirs. One of them wants to take Alyssa as well. Jacqui moves to attack them but is thrown to the ground. Garrett wakes up to find his sister being manhandled and bites the perpetrator’s arm. The man’s partner points his gun at Garrett.

45) Jacqui

Kelton fires at the two men with his gun, killing them both. After the initial shock, Alyssa goes to make sure that Garrett is all right. Kelton takes a Desert Eagle from one of the corpses and offers his gun to Alyssa, who takes it out of fear that she will be attacked again. The group takes the keys back and heads to the men’s camper.

46) Alyssa

Alyssa is worried about Garrett, who is too weak to move. She thinks back to what Kelton said about how a “burst of energy” is the last attempt of the body to save itself. She then realizes that Garrett’s attack on the men was his last burst of energy.

47) Kelton

The group sees that the campfire is burning out of control. It has spread to the lawn chairs and the cooler, where the bottles of water are stored. Jacqui tries to reach one of the bottles and burns her hands. Alyssa rushes inside the camper to find water.

48) Alyssa

Inside the camper, Alyssa finds an old woman who seems to be the two men’s mother. She then spots a cup of water on a window ledge, but the woman grabs it before she can. This forces Alyssa to slap the woman so hard she loses focus. She takes the cup and tells the woman to leave the camper if she doesn’t want to die in the surrounding fire.

49) Jacqui

Kelton tries to pull the cooler out of the flames with a branch, but it tumbles over, spilling water onto the ground. Jacqui sees Alyssa rushing past, holding a cup of water. She doesn’t want to take it, however, because she knows who it is for.

50) Alyssa

Alyssa rushes to her dying brother and...

(This entire section contains 1249 words.)

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forces him to drink the water. Garrett regains consciousness. Kelton and Jacqui join them, and Alyssa finds out that the woman did not leave the camper.

51) Kelton

Because Jacqui’s hands are burnt, Kelton takes the wheel. They start to drive down a ridge, but Kelton loses control, and the truck crashes. Fortunately, they find themselves near the East Fork road and proceed to walk to the reservoir. Kelton takes the lead because he feels a sudden burst of energy.

52) Alyssa

The group sees flames up ahead and unsure if they are from the campsite fire or a random forest fire. Kelton convinces them to go around, adding another half mile to their journey. However, Jacqui refuses to follow him, insisting that she can see the water from the other side of the fire. She runs into the flames. Alyssa, Garrett, and Kelton are left to trek around the fire and climb up a hill to the reservoir.

53) Jacqui

Jacqui runs through the fire, ignoring the calls of “the void.”

54) Alyssa

The fire chases Alyssa, Garrett, and Kelton uphill. When they reach the top, they find themselves stranded on a cliff. Alyssa, left with no hope, resolves to shoot Garrett, Kelton, and then herself to keep them all from dying a painful death from thirst.

Snapshot: Los Angeles Fire Department Bombardier 451

An unnamed pilot is tasked with filling up from the San Gabriel Reservoir and putting out forest fires along Lake Arrowhead. On his way out of the reservoir, however, he spots three teenagers trapped between a fire and the edge of a cliff. Despite it being a breach of protocol, he rains water on them, also dousing the fire in the process.

55) Alyssa

Alyssa prepares to pull the trigger. Suddenly, she hears the sound of a plane, accompanied by falling water. She throws the gun to the ground and licks the water falling on her body. Garrett is on his knees, licking water from a boulder. Alyssa sucks in a mouthful of water and kisses Kelton, in the process transferring the water from her mouth to his. Kelton wakes up and joins the two in drinking the falling water.


Part 5 has a more fast-paced structure than the other parts of the novel, switching between perspectives more freely to emphasize everyone’s personal struggles. In fact, part 5 marks the first time in which Garrett’s perspective is explored. The novel shows us Garrett’s supposed final thoughts, as he thinks wistfully of his parents and what awaits him in the afterlife. Garrett’s brief section is meant to hint at his death, which makes his eventual collapse even grimmer.

The incident with the two men and the camper is one of the most significant events of the novel, as it marks the culmination of the journeys of three central characters—Kelton, Alyssa, and Jacqui. Kelton rescues the other members of the group from the men, killing them almost effortlessly. Afterward, Jacqui is surprised to find that Kelton isn’t shaken at all. He has evolved from being merely “book smart” to someone who can take decisive action.

Alyssa, too, has learned to sacrifice the morals of civilized society so that she and her loved ones may survive. In order to save her dying brother, she strikes a helpless woman and leaves her to die in the fire. For better or for worse, Alyssa has come to accept the necessary evils of survival. Conversely, Jacqui has evolved from a lawless lone wolf into a better, more civilized person. Even though she is dying from thirst, she doesn’t take the cup of water from Alyssa, because she knows it’s for Garrett. In the middle of a grave crisis, she has learned the value of teamwork and mutual respect. As Jacqui reports, “even though I’ve seen everyone around me lose their humanity today, I realize that in this moment, I have finally found mine.”


Part 4 Summary


Part 6 Summary