Chapters 11-12 Summary

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Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 767

Egypt Invaded

After the children have presented themselves before the altars of Isis and Set, April decides that the gods are angry at them for their long absence. To appease them, the Egypt gang must offer "a horrible and bloody sacrifice," the nature of which will be revealed to one...

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Egypt Invaded

After the children have presented themselves before the altars of Isis and Set, April decides that the gods are angry at them for their long absence. To appease them, the Egypt gang must offer "a horrible and bloody sacrifice," the nature of which will be revealed to one of them in a message. Following April's example, Melanie, Marshall, and Elizabeth take turns approaching the Crocodile Stone, a distinctive rock they have found and placed before the altar of Set. With great ceremony, they each wait expectantly for a moment, then return to sit in a circle to share the ideas they have "received." Elizabeth's idea is the most audacious; the quiet little girl suggests that they should each stick their finger with a needle and write the gods a letter in their own blood, an action that she has come up with from reading Tom Sawyer in school. Although April and Melanie think this is a "terrific idea," no one has a needle, so the suggestion is scrapped.

April thinks that the sacrifice should be something "very dear" to them, and ventures that they should use Security. As expected, Marshall protests vehemently, jumping up and down and shouting "NO! NO! NO!" at the top of his lungs. Fearful that someone will hear the little boy's outburst and discover their secret land, the older girls assure him that they would not really offer up his stuffed octopus. Somewhat appeased, but still angry, Marshall says that they should sacrifice April instead, which causes everyone to laugh. 

It is Melanie who comes up with the best, most practical idea: she suggests that parts of themselves, in the form of hairs and bitten-off fingernails, be used as the sacrifice. Excitedly, the children make a small fire in an old mixing bowl and walk around it Egyptian-style, with one shoulder forward and arms bent at the wrist. As they process, they drop "scraps of humanity" into the fire.

The ceremony turns out to be the best they have ever had. Finally, though, it is time to end it, but before the children have a chance to leave, Elizabeth gasps in horror. Teetering on the top of the fence is a grotesque, misshapen figure, which leaps down and lands "right in the middle of Egypt."

Elizabethan Diplomacy

As April, Melanie, Elizabeth, and Marshall stand frozen in terror, a second figure, oddly familiar, appears at the top of the fence and also topples into Egypt. When April discerns the identities of the intruders, who are dressed as a hunch-backed monster and a box-man, she explodes in rage. Melanie and Elizabeth hold their hot-tempered friend back as the unwelcome guests, Ken Kamata and Toby Alvillar, roll on the ground with laughter. The two boys have seen everything, and now have the power to ruin it all by revealing to the world the secret of the Egypt Game.

As the boys tease mercilessly, April and Melanie wait with a sense of impending doom to see if they plan to snitch on them or not. Surprisingly, it is Elizabeth who comes up with a plan to defuse the situation. The little girl, who has "probably never spoken to a sixth-grade boy before in her life," bravely steps forward and addresses Ken and Toby in a quavering voice. Breathlessly, she says, "Please don't tell on us, and we'll let you play too."

Ken and Toby are initially rendered speechless by such a guileless invitation. When they recover their faculties, Ken responds ambiguously, "Maybe we won't fink on you guys," and seems anxious to leave. Toby, however, is intrigued by the Egypt Game, and decides that he and Ken should indeed join in. He makes everyone take a "solemn oath" not to tell people what the boys are doing, and then the children all help crush the boxes that make up his costume so that he can get out of Egypt with Ken through the opening in the fence.

Later, April and Melanie reflect on the latest turn of events in the Egypt Game. April laments that they will have to share their magic world with the boys, but Melanie pragmatically suggests that they give Ken and Toby a chance, as they have no other choice anyway. Both girls express wonder at the fact that it was shy little Elizabeth who had saved the day by coming up with the plan to keep the boys from snitching on them. With a sense of quiet satisfaction, Melanie celebrates the small victory they have been able to achieve by using non-violent tactics to appeal to their adversaries' "better natures." 

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