Jim crosses a marsh and reaches sandy terrain, with a craggy peak in the distance. Excited, he explores the unknown land with its strange plants and snakes. Once he catches sight of the Spy-glass, he hears a noise, and realizes that the ship-mates must be close. Afraid, he ducks behind a tree, but then decides that he should at least spy on the traitors.
Jim sneaks towards the voices, and hears Silver saying that he only wants to save their lives. A red-faced crewman, Tom, declares he must do his duty to the captain. Jim hears a loud angry cry, and then a scream: Tom jumps, but Silver stays calm. Tom then realizes that Alan has been killed by Silver: Tom yells at Silver to kill him too if he must, but he defies him. He turns and heads back toward the beach, but Silver cries out and hurls a tree branch at Tom, who falls. Silver leaps upon him and stabs him several times. Jim is close to fainting: the world spins above him, and when he comes to he sees Silver calmly cleaning his knife.
Jim has stumbled in on a scene of attempted treason: Silver is trying to convince Tom that he should switch sides and support Silver over Captain Smollett. This sailor, though, refuses, even (or especially) once he learns that Silver has already killed another crewman, Alan, for refusing to switch sides. Jim is both appalled by Silver’s sudden violence and amazed at Tom’s bravery: both are extremes of adult behavior with which he’s not yet familiar.
Then Silver whistles: terrified, Jim creeps backward from the thicket and runs as fast as he can until he is entirely lost. In despair, he thinks he’ll never make it back to the Hispaniola—he’ll die here from starvation or be murdered by the pirates. He races towards the foot of a hill with two peaks, then, alarmed again, suddenly stops.
For the first time, Jim lacks any kind of a plan, no matter how ill thought-out, and so he really begins to panic—another reminder that he is so much younger than everyone else and trying to deal with new, shocking realities on his own.