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= ROOT|In_Russian|William_Golding|Lord_Of_The_Flies.txt =

page 12 of 88



the sea on either side, and the crystal heights of air, they had known by some instinct 
that the sea lay on every side. But there seemed something more fitting in leaving the 
last word till they stood on the top, and could see a circular horizon of water.
  Ralph turned to the others.
  "This belongs to us."
  It was roughly boat-shaped: humped near this end with behind them the jumbled descent 
to the shore. On either side rocks, cliffs, treetops and a steep slope: forward there, 
the length of the boat, a tamer descent, tree-clad, with hints of pink: and then the 
jungly flat of the island, dense green, but drawn at the end to a pink tail There, where 
the island petered out in water, was another island; a rock, almost detached, standing 
like a fort, facing them across the green with one bold, pink bastion.
  The boys surveyed all this, then looked out to sea. They were high up and the afternoon 
had advanced; the view was not robbed of sharpness by mirage.
  "That's a reef. A coral reel. I've seen pictures like that."
  The reef enclosed more than one side of the island, tying perhaps a mile out and 
parallel to what they now thought of as their beach. The coral was scribbled in the sea 
as though a giant had bent down to reproduce the shape of the island in a flowing chalk 
line but tired before he had finished. Inside was peacock water, rocks and weed showing 
as in an aquarium; outside was the dark blue of the sea. The tide was running so that 
long streaks of foam tailed away from the reef and for a moment they felt that the boat 
was moving steadily astern.
  Jack pointed down.
  "That s where we landed."
  Beyond falls and cliffs there was a gash visible in the trees; there were the 
splintered trunks and then the drag, leaving only a fringe of palm between the scar and 
the sea. There, too, jutting into the lagoon, was the platform, with insect-like figures 
moving near it.
  Ralph sketched a twining line from the bald spot on which they stood down a slope, a 
gully, through flowers, round and down to the rock where the scar started.
  "That's the quickest way back."
  Eyes shining, mouths open, triumphant, they savored the right of domination. They were 
lifted up: were friends.
  "There's no village smoke, and no boats," said Ralph wisely. "We'll make sure later; 
but I think it's uninhabited."
  "We'll get food," cried Jack. "Hunt. Catch things . . . until they fetch us."
  Simon looked at them both, saying nothing but nodding till his black hair flopped 
backwards and forwards: his face was glowing.
  Ralph looked down the other way where there was no reef.
  "Steeper," said Jack.
  Ralph made a cupping gesture.
  "That bit of forest down there ... the mountain holds it up."
  Every point of the mountain held up trees-flowers and trees. Now the forest stirred, 
roared, flailed. The nearer acres of rock flowers fluttered and for half a minute the 
breeze blew cool on their faces.
  Ralph spread his arms.
  "All ours."
  They laughed and tumbled and shouted on the mountain.
  "I'm hungry."
  When Simon mentioned his hunger the others became aware of theirs.
  "Come on," said Ralph. "We've found out what we wanted to know."
  They scrambled down a rock slope, dropped among flowers and made their way under the 
trees. Here they paused and examined the bushes round them curiously.
  Simon spoke first.
  "Like candles. Candle bushes. Candle buds."
  The bushes were dark evergreen and aromatic and the many buds were waxen green and 
folded up against the light. Jack slashed at one with his knife and the scent spilled 
over them.
  "Candle buds."
  "You couldn't light them," said Ralph. "They just look like candles."
  "Green candles," said Jack contemptuously. "We can't eat them. Come on."
  They were in the beginnings of the thick forest, plonking with weary feet on a track, 
when they heard the noises -squeakings-and the hard strike of hoofs on a path. As they 
pushed forward the squeaking increased till it became a frenzy. They found a piglet 
caught in a curtain of creepers, throwing itself at the elastic traces in all the madness 
of extreme terror. Its voice was thin, needle-sharp and insistent. The three boys rushed 
forward and Jack drew his knife again with a flourish. He raised his arm in the air. 
There came a pause, a hiatus, the pig continued to scream and the creepers to jerk, and 
the blade continued to flash at the end of a bony arm. The pause was only long enough for 
them to understand what an enormity the downward stroke would be. Then the piglet tore 
loose from the creepers and scurried into the undergrowth. They were left looking at each 
other and the place of terror. Jack's face was white under the freckles'. He noticed that 
he still held the knife aloft and brought his arm down replacing the blade in the sheath. 
Then they all three laughed ashamedly and began to climb back to the track.
  "I was choosing a place," said Jack. "I was just waiting for a moment to decide where 
to stab him."
  "You should stick a pig," said Ralph fiercely. "They always talk about sticking a pig."
  "You cut a pig's throat to let the blood out," said Jack, "otherwise you can't eat the 
meat" 
  "Why didn't you-?"
  They knew very well why he hadn't: because of the enormity of the knife descending and 
cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood.
  "I was going to," said Jack. He was ahead of them and they could not see his face. "I 
was choosing a place. Next time-!"
  He snatched his knife out of the sheath and slammed it into a tree trunk. Next time 
there would be no mercy. He looked round fiercely, daring them to contradict. Then they 
broke out into the sunlight and for a while they were busy finding and devouring rood as 
they moved down the scar toward the platform and the meeting.
  
  CHAPTER TWO
  Fire on the Mountain
  
  By the time Ralph finished blowing the conch the platform was crowded. There were 
differences between this meeting and the one held in the morning. The afternoon sun 
slanted in from the other side of the platform and most of the children, feeling too late 
the smart of sunburn, had put their clothes on. The choir, noticeably less of a group, 
had discarded their cloaks.
  Ralph sat on a fallen trunk, his left side to the sun. On his right were most of the 
choir; on his left the larger boys who had not known each other before the evacuation; 
before him small children squatted in the grass.
  Silence now. Ralph lifted the cream and pink shell to his knees and a sudden breeze 
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