Chapters 44-45 Summary
Sitting in his hole, Stanley listens to the sounds of Camp Green Lake until he falls asleep. After several hours, he hears Zero calling for him to wake up. They climb up and find the hole where Stanley thinks he found the lipstick tube. Stanley digs, hoping to find a treasure, while Zero goes to steal water and food.
After a while, Zero returns and gives Stanley some sugary breakfast cereal. After eating nothing but onions for so long, Stanley has trouble adjusting to the starchy sweetness, but he manages to eat a little. Zero digs for a while and then goes to get more water while Stanley resumes shoveling.
Stanley reasons that Kate Barlow could not have dug terribly deep, so he works on widening the hole rather than digging downward. He worries that he may miss the treasure in the dark, but soon he finds a smooth object, like a box. It is buried beneath a great deal of dirt, and he has found it by digging sideways into the wall of the hole. He does not have time to dig down to it, so he digs underneath instead. When he gets it out, a small avalanche of dirt falls on top, but Stanley is able to get it anyway. It turns out to be a suitcase.
As soon as the boys get the suitcase out of the hole, a light comes on, and they hear the Warden’s voice. She is there with Mr. Sir and Mr. Pendanski. She thanks the boys and says they have been a great help.
The Warden starts to tell the boys that they came just in time, but she stops halfway through her sentence. Stanley looks into the beam of her flashlight and sees a yellow-spotted lizard climbing on top of the suitcase, which Zero is holding. Zero freezes, and another lizard joins the first one. Stanley realizes he has been digging in a lizard nest. Looking down at himself, he sees lizards crawling all over his body. He freezes, too.
The Warden tells the counselors to wait because it will not be long before the boys are dead. “At least we’ll have a body to give that woman,” Mr. Pendanski says. They say “that woman” will ask questions about the deaths, but the Warden says the suitcase is all that matters. She has been looking for this treasure her whole life. When she was a child, her parents made her dig holes “even on Christmas.”
Stanley does not know who is going to ask the Warden questions, and for now he does not care. He listens to his heart beat, concentrating on the fact that he is still alive.