Stanley wakes up in a meadow, staring up at the thumb. Finally, he rolls over to look at his water hole and discovers two inches of brown water in the bottom. He tries to rinse his mouth of the dirty water with little success. Zero stirs, moans, and tells Stanley he's not doing well. Zero crawls to the water hole, sips some water, and then has another painful episode. Stanley considers going back down the mountain to look for the shovel and the jars, but he's not sure he has the strength. He walks to the thumb through a field of white flowers, touches it, and then heads back to Zero. He realizes that he needs to look for the shovel now while the trail is fresh, but he's afraid Zero will die while he's gone.
Now, the shovel is even more of a life-saving implement than it was when Zero used it as a cane—near God's Thumb, it becomes something the boys can use to make use of nature, rather than a way for the Warden to try to exert dominance over the natural world like at camp. When Stanley goes to touch God's Thumb for the sake of touching it, it shows that he's learned the importance of following through on the things he's decided to do, even when it's only for his own satisfaction.
With difficulty, Zero says that he needs to tell Stanley something. Zero grits his teeth through the pain and tells Stanley that he stole Clyde Livingston's shoes from the shelter. This confession seems to make Zero feel better, and Zero falls asleep. Stanley sings him the old family lullaby.
When Zero feels better after confessing, it suggests that this personal acknowledgement of justice is one way to help right the ills of the world. Stanley's song shows that he cares more for Zero now than he does about looking cool.