puffyboa.xyz Speedreed

Speedreed

LORD

OF

THE

FLIES

a

novel

by

WILLIAM

GOLDING

CHAPTER

ONE

The

Sound

of

the

Shell

The

boy

with

fair

hair

lowered

himself

down

the

last

few

feet

of

rock

and

began

to

pick

his

way

toward

the

lagoon.

Though

he

had

taken

off

his

school

sweater

and

trailed

it

now

from

one

hand,

his

grey

shirt

stuck

to

him

and

his

hair

was

plastered

to

his

forehead.

All

round

him

the

long

scar

smashed

into

the

jungle

was

a

bath

of

heat.

He

was

clambering

heavily

among

the

creepers

and

broken

trunks

when

a

bird,

a

vision

of

red

and

yellow,

flashed

upwards

with

a

witch-like

cry;

and

this

cry

was

echoed

by

another.

"Hi!"

it

said.

"Wait

a

minute!"

The

undergrowth

at

the

side

of

the

scar

was

shaken

and

a

multitude

of

raindrops

fell

pattering.

"Wait

a

minute,"

the

voice

said.

"I

got

caught

up."

The

fair

boy

stopped

and

jerked

his

stockings

with

an

automatic

gesture

that

made

the

jungle

seem

for

a

moment

like

the

Home

Counties.

The

voice

spoke

again.

"I

can't

hardly

move

with

all

these

creeper

things."

The

owner

of

the

voice

came

backing

out

of

the

undergrowth

so

that

twigs

scratched

on

a

greasy

wind-breaker.

The

naked

crooks

of

his

knees

were

plump,

caught

and

scratched

by

thorns.

He

bent

down,

removed

the

thorns

carefully,

and

turned

around.

He

was

shorter

than

the

fair

boy

and

very

fat.

He

came

forward,

searching

out

safe

lodgments

for

his

feet,

and

then

looked

up

through

thick

spectacles.

"Where's

the

man

with

the

megaphone?"

The

fair

boy

shook

his

head.

"This

is

an

island.

At

least

I

think

it's

an

island.

That's

a

reef

out

in

the

sea.

Perhaps

there

aren't

any

grownups

anywhere."

The

fat

boy

looked

startled.

"There

was

that

pilot.

But

he

wasn't

in

the

passenger

cabin,

he

was

up

in

front."

The

fair

boy

was

peering

at

the

reef

through

screwed-up

eyes.

"All

them

other

kids,"

the

fat

boy

went

on.

"Some

of

them

must

have

got

out.

They

must

have,

mustn't

they?"

The

fair

boy

began

to

pick

his

way

as

casually

as

possible

toward

the

water.

He

tried

to

be

offhand

and

not

too

obviously

uninterested,

but

the

fat

boy

hurried

after

him.

"Aren't

there

any

grownups

at

all?"

"I

don't

think

so."

The

fair

boy

said

this

solemnly;

but

then

the

delight

of

a

realized

ambition

overcame

him.

In

the

middle

of

the

scar

he

stood

on

his

head

and

grinned

at

the

reversed

fat

boy.

"No

grownups!"

The

fat

boy

thought

for

a

moment.

"That

pilot."

The

fair

boy

allowed

his

feet

to

come

down

and

sat

on

the

steamy

earth.

"He

must

have

flown

off

after

he

dropped

us.

He

couldn't

land

here.

Not

in

a

place

with

wheels."

"We

was

attacked!"

"He'll

be

back

all

right."

The

fat

boy

shook

his

head.

"When

we

was

coming

down

I

looked

through

one

of

them

windows.

I

saw

the

other

part

of

the

plane.

There

were

flames

coming

out

of

it."

He

looked

up

and

down

the

scar.

"And

this

is

what

the

cabin

done."

The

fair

boy

reached

out

and

touched

the

jagged

end

of

a

trunk.

For

a

moment

he

looked

interested.

"What

happened

to

it?"

he

asked.

"Where's

it

got

to

now?"

"That

storm

dragged

it

out

to

sea.

It

wasn't

half

dangerous

with

all

them

tree

trunks

falling.

There

must

have

been

some

kids

still

in

it."

He

hesitated

for

a

moment,

then

spoke

again.

"What's

your

name?"

"Ralph."

The

fat

boy

waited

to

be

asked

his

name

in

turn

but

this

proffer

of

acquaintance

was

not

made;

the

fair

boy

called

Ralph

smiled

vaguely,

stood

up,

and

began

to

make

his

way

once

more

toward

the

lagoon.

The

fat

boy

hung

steadily

at

his

shoulder.

"I

expect

there's

a

lot

more

of

us

scattered

about.

You

haven't

seen

any

others,

have

you?"

Ralph

shook

his

head

and

increased

his

speed.

Then

he

tripped

over

a

branch

and

came

down

with

a

crash.

The

fat

boy

stood

by

him,

breathing

hard.

"My

auntie

told

me

not

to

run,"

he

explained,

"on

account

of

my

asthma."

"Ass-mar?"

"That's

right.

Can't

catch

my

breath.

I

was

the

only

boy

in

our

school

what

had

asthma,"

said

the

fat

boy

with

a

touch

of

pride.

"And

I've

been

wearing

specs

since

I

was

three."

He

took

off

his

glasses

and

held

them

out

to

Ralph,

blinking

and

smiling,

and

then

started

to

wipe

them

against

his

grubby

wind-breaker.

An

expression

of

pain

and

inward

concentration

altered

the

pale

contours

of

his

face.

He

smeared

the

sweat

from

his

cheeks

and

quickly

adjusted

the

spectacles

on

his

nose.

"Them

fruit."

He

glanced

round

the

scar.

"Them

fruit,"

he

said,

"I

expect--"

He

put

on

his

glasses,

waded

away

from

Ralph,

and

crouched

down

among

the

tangled

foliage.

"I'll

be

out

again

in

just

a

minute--"

Ralph

disentangled

himself

cautiously

and

stole

away

through

the

branches.

In

a

few

seconds

the

fat

boy's

grunts

were

behind

him

and

he

was

hurrying

toward

the

screen

that

still

lay

between

him

and

the

lagoon.

He

climbed

over

a

broken

trunk

and

was

out

of

the

jungle.

The

shore

was

fledged

with

palm

trees.

These

stood

or

leaned

or

reclined

against

the

light

and

their

green

feathers

were

a

hundred

feet

up

in

the

air.

The

ground

beneath

them

was

a

bank

covered

with

coarse

grass,

torn

everywhere

by

the

upheavals

of

fallen

trees,

scattered

with

decaying

coconuts

and

palm

saplings.

Behind

this

was

the

darkness

of

the

forest

proper

and

the

open

space

of

the

scar.

Ralph

stood,

one

hand

against

a

grey

trunk,

and

screwed

up

his

eyes

against

the

shimmering

water.

Out

there,

perhaps

a

mile

away,

the

white

surf

flinked

on

a

coral

reef,

and

beyond

that

the

open

sea

was

dark

blue.

Within

the

irregular

arc

of

coral

the

lagoon

was

still

as

a

mountain

lake--blue

of

all

shades

and

shadowy

green

and

purple.

The

beach

between

the

palm

terrace

and

the

water

was

a

thin

stick,

endless

apparently,

for

to

Ralph's

left

the

perspectives

of

palm

and

beach

and

water

drew

to

a

point

at

infinity;

and

always,

almost

visible,

was

the

heat.

He

jumped

down

from

the

terrace.

The

sand

was

thick

over

his

black

shoes

and

the

heat

hit

him.

He

became

conscious

of

the

weight

of

clothes,

kicked

his

shoes

off

fiercely

and

ripped

off

each

stocking

with

its

elastic

garter

in

a

single

movement.

Then

he

leapt

back

on

the

terrace,

pulled

off

his

shirt,

and

stood

there

among

the

skull-like

coconuts

with

green

shadows

from

the

palms

and

the

forest

sliding

over

his

skin.

He

undid

the

snake-clasp

of

his

belt,

lugged

off

his

shorts

and

pants,

and

stood

there

naked,

looking

at

the

dazzling

beach

and

the

water.

He

was

old

enough,

twelve

years

and

a

few

months,

to

have

lost

the

prominent

tummy

of

childhood

and

not

yet

old

enough

for

adolescence

to

have

made

him

awkward.

You

could

see

now

that

he

might

make

a

boxer,

as

far

as

width

and

heaviness

of

shoulders

went,

but

there

was

a

mildness

about

his

mouth

and

eyes

that

proclaimed

no

devil.

He

patted

the

palm

trunk

softly,

and,

forced

at

last

to

believe

in

the

reality

of

the

island

laughed

delightedly

again

and

stood

on

his

head.

He

turned

neatly

on

to

his

feet,

jumped

down

to

the

beach,

knelt

and

swept

a

double

armful

of

sand

into

a

pile

against

his

chest.

Then

he

sat

back

and

looked

at

the

water

with

bright,

excited

eyes.

"Ralph--"

The

fat

boy

lowered

himself

over

the

terrace

and

sat

down

carefully,

using

the

edge

as

a

seat.

"I'm

sorry

I

been

such

a

time.

Them

fruit--"

He

wiped

his

glasses

and

adjusted

them

on

his

button

nose.

The

frame

had

made

a

deep,

pink

"V"

on

the

bridge.

He

looked

critically

at

Ralph's

golden

body

and

then

down

at

his

own

clothes.

He

laid

a

hand

on

the

end

of

a

zipper

that

extended

down

his

chest.

"My

auntie--"

Then

he

opened

the

zipper

with

decision

and

pulled

the

whole

wind-breaker

over

his

head.

"There!"

Ralph

looked

at

him

sidelong

and

said

nothing.

"I

expect

we'll

want

to

know

all

their

names,"

said

the

fat

boy,

"and

make

a

list.

We

ought

to

have

a

meeting."

Ralph

did

not

take

the

hint

so

the

fat

boy

was

forced

to

continue.

"I

don't

care

what

they

call

me,"

he

said

confidentially,

"so

long

as

they

don't

call

me

what

they

used

to

call

me

at

school."

Ralph

was

faintly

interested.

"What

was

that?"

The

fat

boy

glanced

over

his

shoulder,

then

leaned

toward

Ralph.

He

whispered.

"They

used

to

call

me

'Piggy.'"

Ralph

shrieked

with

laughter.

He

jumped

up.

"Piggy!

Piggy!"

"Ralph--please!"

Piggy

clasped

his

hands

in

apprehension.

"I

said

I

didn't

want--"

"Piggy!

Piggy!"

Ralph

danced

out

into

the

hot

air

of

the

beach

and

then

returned

as

a

fighter-plane,

with

wings

swept

back,

and

machine-gunned

Piggy.

"Sche-aa-ow!"

He

dived

in

the

sand

at

Piggy's

feet

and

lay

there

laughing.

"Piggy!"

Piggy

grinned

reluctantly,

pleased

despite

himself

at

even

this

much

recognition.

"So

long

as

you

don't

tell

the

others--"

Ralph

giggled

into

the

sand.

The

expression

of

pain

and

concentration

returned

to

Piggy's

face.

"Half

a

sec'."

He

hastened

back

into

the

forest.

Ralph

stood

up

and

trotted

along

to

the

right.

Here

the

beach

was

interrupted

abruptly

by

the

square

motif

of

the

landscape;

a

great

platform

of

pink

granite

thrust

up

uncompromisingly

through

forest

and

terrace

and

sand

and

lagoon

to

make

a

raised

jetty

four

feet

high.

The

top

of

this

was

covered

with

a

thin

layer

of

soil

and

coarse

grass

and

shaded

with

young

palm

trees.

There

was

not

enough

soil

for

them

to

grow

to

any

height

and

when

they

reached

perhaps

twenty

feet

they

fell

and

dried,

forming

a

criss-cross

pattern

of

trunks,

very

convenient

to

sit

on.

The

palms

that

still

stood

made

a

green

roof,

covered

on

the

underside

with

a

quivering

tangle

of

reflections

from

the

lagoon.

Ralph

hauled

himself

onto

this

platform,

noted

the

coolness

and

shade,

shut

one

eye,

and

decided

that

the

shadows

on

his

body

were

really

green.

He

picked

his

way

to

the

seaward

edge

of

the

platform

and

stood

looking

down

into

the

water.

It

was

clear

to

the

bottom

and

bright

with

the

efflorescence

of

tropical

weed

and

coral.

A

school

of

tiny,

glittering

fish

flicked

hither

and

thither.

Ralph

spoke

to

himself,

sounding

the

bass

strings

of

delight.

"Whizzoh!"

Beyond

the

platform

there

was

more

enchantment.

Some

act

of

God--a

typhoon

perhaps,

or

the

storm

that

had

accompanied

his

own

arrival--had

banked

sand

inside

the

lagoon

so

that

there

was

a

long,

deep

pool

in

the

beach

with

a

high

ledge

of

pink

granite

at

the

further

end.

Ralph

had

been

deceived

before

now

by

the

specious

appearance

of

depth

in

a

beach

pool

and

he

approached

this

one

preparing

to

be

disappointed.

But

the

island

ran

true

to

form

and

the

incredible

pool,

which

clearly

was

only

invaded

by

the

sea

at

high

tide,

was

so

deep

at

one

end

as

to

be

dark

green.

Ralph

inspected

the

whole

thirty

yards

carefully

and

then

plunged

in.

The

water

was

warmer

than

his

blood

and

he

might

have

been

swimming

in

a

huge

bath.

Piggy

appeared

again,

sat

on

the

rocky

ledge,

and

watched

Ralph's

green

and

white

body

enviously.

"You

can't

half

swim."

"Piggy."

Piggy

took

off

his

shoes

and

socks,

ranged

them

carefully

on

the

ledge,

and

tested

the

water

with

one

toe.

"It's

hot!"

"What

did

you

expect?"

"I

didn't

expect

nothing.

My

auntie--"

"Sucks

to

your

auntie!"

Ralph

did

a

surface

dive

and

swam

under

water

with

his

eyes

open;

the

sandy

edge

of

the

pool

loomed

up

like

a

hillside.

He

turned

over,

holding

his

nose,

and

a

golden

light

danced

and

shattered

just

over

his

face.

Piggy

was

looking

determined

and

began

to

take

off

his

shorts.

Presently

he

was

palely

and

fatly

naked.

He

tiptoed

down

the

sandy

side

of

the

pool,

and

sat

there

up

to

his

neck

in

water

smiling

proudly

at

Ralph.

"Aren't

you

going

to

swim?"

Piggy

shook

his

head.

"I

can't

swim.

I

wasn't

allowed.

My

asthma--"

"Sucks

to

your

ass-mar!"

Piggy

bore

this

with

a

sort

of

humble

patience.

"You

can't

half

swim

well."

Ralph

paddled

backwards

down

the

slope,

immersed

his

mouth

and

blew

a

jet

of

water

into

the

air.

Then

he

lifted

his

chin

and

spoke.

"I

could

swim

when

I

was

five.

Daddy

taught

me.

He's

a

commander

in

the

Navy.

When

he

gets

leave

he'll

come

and

rescue

us.

What's

your

father?"

Piggy

flushed

suddenly.

"My

dad's

dead,"

he

said

quickly,

"and

my

mum--"

He

took

off

his

glasses

and

looked

vainly

for

something

with

which

to

clean

them.

"I

used

to

live

with

my

auntie.

She

kept

a

candy

store.

I

used

to

get

ever

so

many

candies.

As

many

as

I

liked.

When'll

your

dad

rescue

us?"

"Soon

as

he

can."

Piggy

rose

dripping

from

the

water

and

stood

naked,

cleaning

his

glasses

with

a

sock.

The

only

sound

that

reached

them

now

through

the

heat

of

the

morning

was

the

long,

grinding

roar

of

the

breakers

on

the

reef.

"How

does

he

know

we're

here?"

Ralph

lolled

in

the

water.

Sleep

enveloped

him

like

the

swathing

mirages

that

were

wrestling

with

the

brilliance

of

the

lagoon.

"How

does

he

know

we're

here?"

Because,

thought

Ralph,

because,

because.

The

roar

from

the

reef

became

very

distant.

"They'd

tell

him

at

the

airport."

Piggy

shook

his

head,

put

on

his

flashing

glasses

and

looked

down

at

Ralph.

"Not

them.

Didn't

you

hear

what

the

pilot

said?

About

the

atom

bomb?

They're

all

dead."

Ralph

pulled

himself

out

of

the

water,

stood

facing

Piggy,

and

considered

this

unusual

problem.

Piggy

persisted.

"This

an

island,

isn't

it?"

"I

climbed

a

rock,"

said

Ralph

slowly,

"and

I

think

this

is

an

island."

\"They're

all

dead,"

said

Piggy,

"an'

this

is

an

island.

Nobody

don't

know

we're

here.

Your

dad

don't

know,

nobody

don't

know--"

His

lips

quivered

and

the

spectacles

were

dimmed

with

mist.

"We

may

stay

here

till

we

die."

With

that

word

the

heat

seemed

to

increase

till

it

became

a

threatening

weight

and

the

lagoon

attacked

them

with

a

blinding

effulgence.

"Get

my

clothes,"

muttered

Ralph.

"Along

there."

He

trotted

through

the

sand,

enduring

the

sun's

enmity,

crossed

the

platform

and

found

his

scattered

clothes.

To

put

on

a

grey

shirt

once

more

was

strangely

pleasing.

Then

he

climbed

the

edge

of

the

platform

and

sat

in

the

green

shade

on

a

convenient

trunk.

Piggy

hauled

himself

up,

carrying

most

of

his

clothes

under

his

arms.

Then

he

sat

carefully

on

a

fallen

trunk

near

the

little

cliff

that

fronted

the

lagoon;

and

the

tangled

reflections

quivered

over

him.

Presently

he

spoke.

"We

got

to

find

the

others.

We

got

to

do

something."

Ralph

said

nothing.

Here

was

a

coral

island.

Protected

from

the

sun,

ignoring

Piggy's

ill-omened

talk,

he

dreamed

pleasantly.

Piggy

insisted.

"How

many

of

us

are

there?"

Ralph

came

forward

and

stood

by

Piggy.

"I

don't

know."

Here

and

there,

little

breezes

crept

over

the

polished

waters

beneath

the

haze

of

heat.

When

these

breezes

reached

the

platform

the

palm

fronds

would

whisper,

so

that

spots

of

blurred

sunlight

slid

over

their

bodies

or

moved

like

bright,

winged

things

in

the

shade.

Piggy

looked

up

at

Ralph.

All

the

shadows

on

Ralph's

face

were

reversed;

green

above,

bright

below

from

the

lagoon.

A

blur

of

sunlight

was

crawling

across

his

hair.

"We

got

to

do

something."

Ralph

looked

through

him.

Here

at

last

was

the

imagined

but

never

fully

realized

place

leaping

into

real

life.

Ralph's

lips

parted

in

a

delighted

smile

and

Piggy,

taking

this

smile

to

himself

as

a

mark

of

recognition,

laughed

with

pleasure.

"If

it

really

is

an

island--"

"What's

that?"

Ralph

had

stopped

smiling

and

was

pointing

into

the

lagoon.

Something

creamy

lay

among

the

ferny

weeds.

"A

stone."

"No.

A

shell."

Suddenly

Piggy

was

a-bubble

with

decorous

excitement.

"S'right.

It's

a

shell!

I

seen

one

like

that

before.

On

someone's

back

wall.

A

conch

he

called

it.

He

used

to

blow

it

and

then

his

mum

would

come.

It's

ever

so

valuable--"

Near

to

Ralph's

elbow

a

palm

sapling

leaned

out

over

the

lagoon.

Indeed,

the

weight

was

already

pulling

a

lump

from

the

poor

soil

and

soon

it

would

fall.

He

tore

out

the

stem

and

began

to

poke

about

in

the

water,

while

the

brilliant

fish

flicked

away

on

this

side

and

that.

Piggy

leaned

dangerously.

"Careful!

You'll

break

it--"

"Shut

up."

Ralph

spoke

absently.

The

shell

was

interesting

and

pretty

and

a

worthy

plaything;

but

the

vivid

phantoms

of

his

day-dream

still

interposed

between

him

and

Piggy,

who

in

this

context

was

an

irrelevance.

The

palm

sapling,

bending,

pushed

the

shell

across

the

weeds.

Ralph

used

one

hand

as

a

fulcrum

and

pressed

down

with

the

other

till

the

shell

rose,

dripping,

and

Piggy

could

make

a

grab.

Now

the

shell

was

no

longer

a

thing

seen

but

not

to

be

touched,

Ralph

too

became

excited.

Piggy

babbled:

"--a

conch;

ever

so

expensive.

I

bet

if

you

wanted

to

buy

one,

you'd

have

to

pay

pounds

and

pounds

and

pounds--he

had

it

on

his

garden

wall,

and

my

auntie--"

Ralph

took

the

shell

from

Piggy

and

a

little

water

ran

down

his

arm.

In

color

the

shell

was

deep

cream,

touched

here

and

there

with

fading

pink.

Between

the

point,

worn

away

into

a

little

hole,

and

the

pink

lips

of

the

mouth,

lay

eighteen

inches

of

shell

with

a

slight

spiral

twist

and

covered

with

a

delicate,

embossed

pattern.

Ralph

shook

sand

out

of

the

deep

tube.

"--mooed

like

a

cow,"

he

said.

"He

had

some

white

stones

too,

an'

a

bird

cage

with

a

green

parrot.

He

didn't

blow

the

white

stones,

of

course,

an'

he

said--"

Piggy

paused

for

breath

and

stroked

the

glistening

thing

that

lay

in

Ralph's

hands.

"Ralph!"

Ralph

looked

up.

"We

can

use

this

to

call

the

others.

Have

a

meeting.

They'll

come

when

they

hear

us--"

He

beamed

at

Ralph.

"That

was

what

you

meant,

didn't

you?

That's

why

you

got

the

conch

out

of

the

water?"

Ralph

pushed

back

his

fair

hair.

"How

did

your

friend

blow

the

conch?"

"He

kind

of

spat,"

said

Piggy.

"My

auntie

wouldn't

let

me

blow

on

account

of

my

asthma.

He

said

you

blew

from

down

here."

Piggy

laid

a

hand

on

his

jutting

abdomen.

"You

try,

Ralph.

You'll

call

the

others."

Doubtfully,

Ralph

laid

the

small

end

of

the

shell

against

his

mouth

and

blew.

There

came

a

rushing

sound

from

its

mouth

but

nothing

more.

Ralph

wiped

the

salt

water

off

his

lips

and

tried

again,

but

the

shell

remained

silent.

"He

kind

of

spat."

Ralph

pursed

his

lips

and

squirted

air

into

the

shell,

which

emitted

a

low,

farting

noise.

This

amused

both

boys

so

much

that

Ralph

went

on

squirting

for

some

minutes,

between

bouts

of

laughter.

"He

blew

from

down

here."

Ralph

grasped

the

idea

and

hit

the

shell

with

air

from

his

diaphragm.

Immediately

the

thing

sounded.

A

deep,

harsh

note

boomed

under

the

palms,

spread

through

the

intricacies

of

the

forest

and

echoed

back

from

the

pink

granite

of

the

mountain.

Clouds

of

birds

rose

from

the

treetops,

and

something

squealed

and

ran

in

the

undergrowth.

Ralph

took

the

shell

away

from

his

lips.

"Gosh!"

His

ordinary

voice

sounded

like

a

whisper

after

the

harsh

note

of

the

conch.

He

laid

the

conch

against

his

lips,

took

a

deep

breath

and

blew

once

more.

The

note

boomed

again:

and

then

at

his

firmer

pressure,

the

note,

fluking

up

an

octave,

became

a

strident

blare

more

penetrating

than

before.

Piggy

was

shouting

something,

his

face

pleased,

his

glasses

flashing.

The

birds

cried,

small

animals

scuttered.

Ralph's

breath

failed;

the

note

dropped

the

octave,

became

a

low

wubber,

was

a

rush

of

air.

The

conch

was

silent,

a

gleaming

tusk;

Ralph's

face

was

dark

with

breathlessness

and

the

air

over

the

island

was

full

of

bird-clamor

and

echoes

ringing.

"I

bet

you

can

hear

that

for

miles."

Ralph

found

his

breath

and

blew

a

series

of

short

blasts.

Piggy

exclaimed:

"There's

one!"

A

child

had

appeared

among

the

palms,

about

a

hundred

yards

along

the

beach.

He

was

a

boy

of

perhaps

six

years,

sturdy

and

fair,

his

clothes

torn,

his

face

covered

with

a

sticky

mess

of

fruit.

His

trousers

had

been

lowered

for

an

obvious

purpose

and

had

only

been

pulled

back

half-way.

He

jumped

off

the

palm

terrace

into

the

sand

and

his

trousers

fell

about

his

ankles;

he

stepped

out

of

them

and

trotted

to

the

platform.

Piggy

helped

him

up.

Meanwhile

Ralph

continued

to

blow

till

voices

shouted

in

the

forest.

The

small

boy

squatted

in

front

of

Ralph,

looking

up

brightly

and

vertically.

As

he

received

the

reassurance

of

something

purposeful

being

done

he

began

to

look

satisfied,

and

his

only

clean

digit,

a

pink

thumb,

slid

into

his

mouth.

Piggy

leaned

down

to

him.

"What's

yer

name?"

"Johnny."

Piggy

muttered

the

name

to

himself

and

then

shouted

it

to

Ralph,

who

was

not

interested

because

he

was

still

blowing.

His

face

was

dark

with

the

violent

pleasure

of

making

this

stupendous

noise,

and

his

heart

was

making

the

stretched

shirt

shake.

The

shouting

in

the

forest

was

nearer.

Signs

of

life

were

visible

now

on

the

beach.

The

sand,

trembling

beneath

the

heat

haze,

concealed

many

figures

in

its

miles

of

length;

boys

were

making

their

way

toward

the

platform

through

the

hot,

dumb

sand.

Three

small

children,

no

older

than

Johnny,

appeared

from

startlingly

close

at

hand,

where

they

had

been

gorging

fruit

in

the

forest.

A

dark

little

boy,

not

much

younger

than

Piggy,

parted

a

tangle

of

undergrowth,

walked

on

to

the

platform,

and

smiled

cheerfully

at

everybody.

More

and

more

of

them

came.

Taking

their

cue

from

the

innocent

Johnny,

they

sat

down

on

the

fallen

palm

trunks

and

waited.

Ralph

continued

to

blow

short,

penetrating

blasts.

Piggy

moved

among

the

crowd,

asking

names

and

frowning

to

remember

them.

The

children

gave

him

the

same

simple

obedience

that

they

had

given

to

the

men

with

megaphones.

Some

were

naked

and

carrying

their

clothes;

others

half-naked,

or

more

or

less

dressed,

in

school

uniforms,

grey,

blue,

fawn,

jacketed,

or

jerseyed.

There

were

badges,

mottoes

even,

stripes

of

color

in

stockings

and

pullovers.

Their

heads

clustered

above

the

trunks

in

the

green

shade;

heads

brown,

fair,

black,

chestnut,

sandy,

mouse-colored;

heads

muttering,

whispering,

heads

full

of

eyes

that

watched

Ralph

and

speculated.

Something

was

being

done.

The

children

who

came

along

the

beach,

singly

or

in

twos,

leapt

into

visibility

when

they

crossed

the

line

from

heat

haze

to

nearer

sand.

Here,

the

eye

was

first

attracted

to

a

black,

bat-like

creature

that

danced

on

the

sand,

and

only

later

perceived

the

body

above

it.

The

bat

was

the

child's

shadow,

shrunk

by

the

vertical

sun

to

a

patch

between

the

hurrying

feet.

Even

while

he

blew,

Ralph

noticed

the

last

pair

of

bodies

that

reached

the

platform

above

a

fluttering

patch

of

black.

The

two

boys,

bullet-headed

and

with

hair

like

tow,

flung

themselves

down

and

lay

grinning

and

panting

at

Ralph

like

dogs.

They

were

twins,

and

the

eye

was

shocked

and

incredulous

at

such

cheery

duplication.

They

breathed

together,

they

grinned

together,

they

were

chunky

and

vital.

They

raised

wet

lips

at

Ralph,

for

they

seemed

provided

with

not

quite

enough

skin,

so

that

their

profiles

were

blurred

and

their

mouths

pulled

open.

Piggy

bent

his

flashing

glasses

to

them

and

could

be

heard

between

the

blasts,

repeating

their

names.

"Sam,

Eric,

Sam,

Eric."

Then

he

got

muddled;

the

twins

shook

their

heads

and

pointed

at

each

other

and

the

crowd

laughed.

At

last

Ralph

ceased

to

blow

and

sat

there,

the

conch

trailing

from

one

hand,

his

head

bowed

on

his

knees.

As

the

echoes

died

away

so

did

the

laughter,

and

there

was

silence.

Within

the

diamond

haze

of

the

beach

something

dark

was

fumbling

along.

Ralph

saw

it

first,

and

watched

till

the

intentness

of

his

gaze

drew

all

eyes

that

way.

Then

the

creature

stepped

from

mirage

on

to

clear

sand,

and

they

saw

that

the

darkness

was

not

all

shadow

but

mostly

clothing.

The

creature

was

a

party

of

boys,

marching

approximately

in

step

in

two

parallel

lines

and

dressed

in

strangely

eccentric

clothing.

Shorts,

shirts,

and

different

garments

they

carried

in

their

hands;

but

each

boy

wore

a

square

black

cap

with

a

silver

badge

on

it.

Their

bodies,

from

throat

to

ankle,

were

hidden

by

black

cloaks

which

bore

a

long

silver

cross

on

the

left

breast

and

each

neck

was

finished

off

with

a

hambone

frill.

The

heat

of

the

tropics,

the

descent,

the

search

for

food,

and

now

this

sweaty

march

along

the

blazing

beach

had

given

them

the

complexions

of

newly

washed

plums.

The

boy

who

controlled

them

was

dressed

in

the

same

way

though

his

cap

badge

was

golden.

When

his

party

was

about

ten

yards

from

the

platform

he

shouted

an

order

and

they

halted,

gasping,

sweating,

swaying

in

the

fierce

light.

The

boy

himself

came

forward,

vaulted

on

to

the

platform

with

his

cloak

flying,

and

peered

into

what

to

him

was

almost

complete

darkness.

"Where's

the

man

with

the

trumpet?"

Ralph,

sensing

his

sun-blindness,

answered

him.

"There's

no

man

with

a

trumpet.

Only

me."

The

boy

came

close

and

peered

down

at

Ralph,

screwing

up

his

face

as

he

did

so.

What

he

saw

of

the

fair-haired

boy

with

the

creamy

shell

on

his

knees

did

not

seem

to

satisfy

him.

He

turned

quickly,

his

black

cloak

circling.

"Isn't

there

a

ship,

then?"

Inside

the

floating

cloak

he

was

tall,

thin,

and

bony;

and

his

hair

was

red

beneath

the

black

cap.

His

face

was

crumpled

and

freckled,

and

ugly

without

silliness.

Out

of

this

face

stared

two

light

blue

eyes,

frustrated

now,

and

turning,

or

ready

to

turn,

to

anger.

"Isn't

there

a

man

here?"

Ralph

spoke

to

his

back.

"No.

We're

having

a

meeting.

Come

and

join

in."

The

group

of

cloaked

boys

began

to

scatter

from

close

line.

The

tall

boy

shouted

at

them.

"Choir!

Stand

still!"

Wearily

obedient,

the

choir

huddled

into

line

and

stood

there

swaying

in

the

sun.

None

the

less,

some

began

to

protest

faintly.

"But,

Merridew.

Please,

Merridew

.

.

.

can't

we?"

Then

one

of

the

boys

flopped

on

his

face

in

the

sand

and

the

line

broke

up.

They

heaved

the

fallen

boy

to

the

platform

and

let

him

lie.

Merridew,

his

eyes

staring,

made

the

best

of

a

bad

job.

"All

right

then.

Sit

down.

Let

him

alone."

"But

Merridew."

"He's

always

throwing

a

faint,"

said

Merridew.

"He

did

in

Gib.;

and

Addis;

and

at

matins

over

the

precentor."

This

last

piece

of

shop

brought

sniggers

from

the

choir,

who

perched

like

black

birds

on

the

criss-cross

trunks

and

examined

Ralph

with

interest.

Piggy

asked

no

names.

He

was

intimidated

by

this

uniformed

superiority

and

the

offhand

authority

in

Merridew's

voice.

He

shrank

to

the

other

side

of

Ralph

and

busied

himself

with

his

glasses.

Merridew

turned

to

Ralph.

"Aren't

there

any

grownups?"

"No."

Merridew

sat

down

on

a

trunk

and

looked

round

the

circle.

"Then

we'll

have

to

look

after

ourselves."

Secure

on

the

other

side

of

Ralph,

Piggy

spoke

timidly.

"That's

why

Ralph

made

a

meeting.

So

as

we

can

decide

what

to

do.

We've

heard

names.

That's

Johnny.

Those

two--they're

twins,

Sam

'n

Eric.

Which

is

Eric--?

You?

No--you're

Sam--"

"I'm

Sam--"

"'n

I'm

Eric."

"We'd

better

all

have

names,"

said

Ralph,

"so

I'm

Ralph."

"We

got

most

names,"

said

Piggy.

"Got

'em

just

now."

"Kids'

names,"

said

Merridew.

"Why

should

I

be

Jack?

I'm

Merridew."

Ralph

turned

to

him

quickly.

This

was

the

voice

of

one

who

knew

his

own

mind.

"Then,"

went

on

Piggy,

"that

boy--I

forget--"

"You're

talking

too

much,"

said

Jack

Merridew.

"Shut

up,

Fatty."

Laughter

arose.

"He's

not

Fatty,"

cried

Ralph,

"his

real

name's

Piggy!"

"Piggy!"

"Piggy!"

"Oh,

Piggy!"

A

storm

of

laughter

arose

and

even

the

tiniest

child

joined

in.

For

the

moment

the

boys

were

a

closed

circuit

of

sympathy

with

Piggy

outside:

he

went

very

pink,

bowed

his

head

and

cleaned

his

glasses

again.

Finally

the

laughter

died

away

and

the

naming

continued.

There

was

Maurice,

next

in

size

among

the

choir

boys

to

Jack,

but

broad

and

grinning

all

the

time.

There

was

a

slight,

furtive

boy

whom

no

one

knew,

who

kept

to

himself

with

an

inner

intensity

of

avoidance

and

secrecy.

He

muttered

that

his

name

was

Roger

and

was

silent

again.

Bill,

Robert,

Harold,

Henry;

the

choir

boy

who

had

fainted

sat

up

against

a

palm

trunk,

smiled

pallidly

at

Ralph

and

said

that

his

name

was

Simon.

Jack

spoke.

"We've

got

to

decide

about

being

rescued."

There

was

a

buzz.

One

of

the

small

boys,

Henry,

said

that

he

wanted

to

go

home.

"Shut

up,"

said

Ralph

absently.

He

lifted

the

conch.

"Seems

to

me

we

ought

to

have

a

chief

to

decide

things."

"A

chief!

A

chief!"

"I

ought

to

be

chief,"

said

Jack

with

simple

arrogance,

"because

I'm

chapter

chorister

and

head

boy.

I

can

sing

C

sharp."

Another

buzz.

"Well

then,"

said

Jack,

"I--"

He

hesitated.

The

dark

boy,

Roger,

stirred

at

last

and

spoke

up.

"Let's

have

a

vote."

"Yes!"

"Vote

for

chief!"

"Let's

vote--"

This

toy

of

voting

was

almost

as

pleasing

as

the

conch.

Jack

started

to

protest

but

the

clamor

changed

from

the

general

wish

for

a

chief

to

an

election

by

acclaim

of

Ralph

himself.

None

of

the

boys

could

have

found

good

reason

for

this;

what

intelligence

had

been

shown

was

traceable

to

Piggy

while

the

most

obvious

leader

was

Jack.

But

there

was

a

stillness

about

Ralph

as

he

sat

that

marked

him

out:

there

was

his

size,

and

attractive

appearance;

and

most

obscurely,

yet

most

powerfully,

there

was

the

conch.

The

being

that

had

blown

that,

had

sat

waiting

for

them

on

the

platform

with

the

delicate

thing

balanced

on

his

knees,

was

set

apart.

"Him

with

the

shell."

"Ralph!

Ralph!"

"Let

him

be

chief

with

the

trumpet-thing."

Ralph

raised

a

hand

for

silence.

"All

right.

Who

wants

Jack

for

chief?"

With

dreary

obedience

the

choir

raised

their

hands.

"Who

wants

me?"

Every

hand

outside

the

choir

except

Piggy's

was

raised

immediately.

Then

Piggy,

too,

raised

his

hand

grudgingly

into

the

air.

Ralph

counted.

"I'm

chief

then."

The

circle

of

boys

broke

into

applause.

Even

the

choir

applauded;

and

the

freckles

on

Jack's

face

disappeared

under

a

blush

of

mortification.

He

started

up,

then

changed

his

mind

and

sat

down

again

while

the

air

rang.

Ralph

looked

at

him,

eager

to

offer

something.

"The

choir

belongs

to

you,

of

course."

"They

could

be

the

army--"

"Or

hunters--"

"They

could

be--"

The

suffusion

drained

away

from

Jack's

face.

Ralph

waved

again

for

silence.

"Jack's

in

charge

of

the

choir.

They

can

be--what

do

you

want

them

to

be?"

"Hunters."

Jack

and

Ralph

smiled

at

each

other

with

shy

liking.

The

rest

began

to

talk

eagerly.

Jack

stood

up.

"All

right,

choir.

Take

off

your

togs."

As

if

released

from

class,

the

choir

boys

stood

up,

chattered,

piled

their

black

cloaks

on

the

grass.

Jack

laid

his

on

the

trunk

by

Ralph.

His

grey

shorts

were

sticking

to

him

with

sweat.

Ralph

glanced

at

them

admiringly,

and

when

Jack

saw

his

glance

he

explained.

"I

tried

to

get

over

that

hill

to

see

if

there

was

water

all

round.

But

your

shell

called

us."

Ralph

smiled

and

held

up

the

conch

for

silence.

"Listen,

everybody.

I've

got

to

have

time

to

think

things

out.

I

can't

decide

what

to

do

straight

off.

If

this

isn't

an

island

we

might

be

rescued

straight

away.

So

we've

got

to

decide

if

this

is

an

island.

Everybody

must

stay

round

here

and

wait

and

not

go

away.

Three

of

us--if

we

take

more

we'd

get

all

mixed,

and

lose

each

other--three

of

us

will

go

on

an

expedition

and

find

out.

I'll

go,

and

Jack,

and,

and

.

.

."

He

looked

round

the

circle

of

eager

faces.

There

was

no

lack

of

boys

to

choose

from.

"And

Simon."

The

boys

round

Simon

giggled,

and

he

stood

up,

laughing

a

little.

Now

that

the

pallor

of

his

faint

was

over,

he

was

a

skinny,

vivid

little

boy,

with

a

glance

coming

up

from

under

a

hut

of

straight

hair

that

hung

down,

black

and

coarse.

He

nodded

at

Ralph.

"I'll

come."

"And

I--"

Jack

snatched

from

behind

him

a

sizable

sheath-knife

and

clouted

it

into

a

trunk.

The

buzz

rose

and

died

away.

Piggy

stirred.

"I'll

come."

Ralph

turned

to

him.

"You're

no

good

on

a

job

like

this."

"All

the

same--"

"We

don't

want

you,"

said

Jack,

flatly.

"Three's

enough."

Piggy's

glasses

flashed.

"I

was

with

him

when

he

found

the

conch.

I

was

with

him

before

anyone

else

was."

Jack

and

the

others

paid

no

attention.

There

was

a

general

dispersal.

Ralph,

Jack

and

Simon

jumped

off

the

platform

and

walked

along

the

sand

past

the

bathing

pool.

Piggy

hung

bumbling

behind

them.

"If

Simon

walks

in

the

middle

of

us,"

said

Ralph,

"then

we

could

talk

over

his

head."

The

three

of

them

fell

into

step.

This

meant

that

every

now

and

then

Simon

had

to

do

a

double

shuffle

to

catch

up

with

the

others.

Presently

Ralph

stopped

and

turned

back

to

Piggy.

"Look."

Jack

and

Simon

pretended

to

notice

nothing.

They

walked

on.

"You

can't

come."

Piggy's

glasses

were

misted

again--this

time

with

humiliation.

"You

told

'em.

After

what

I

said."

His

face

flushed,

his

mouth

trembled.

"After

I

said

I

didn't

want--"

"What

on

earth

are

you

talking

about?"

"About

being

called

Piggy.

I

said

I

didn't

care

as

long

as

they

didn't

call

me

Piggy;

an'

I

said

not

to

tell

and

then

you

went

an'

said

straight

out--"

Stillness

descended

on

them.

Ralph,

looking

with

more

understanding

at

Piggy,

saw

that

he

was

hurt

and

crushed.

He

hovered

between

the

two

courses

of

apology

or

further

insult.

"Better

Piggy

than

Fatty,"

he

said

at

last,

with

the

directness

of

genuine

leadership,

"and

anyway,

I'm

sorry

if

you

feel

like

that.

Now

go

back,

Piggy,

and

take

names.

That's

your

job.

So

long."

He

turned

and

raced

after

the

other

two.

Piggy

stood

and

the

rose

of

indignation

faded

slowly

from

his

cheeks.

He

went

back

to

the

platform.

The

three

boys

walked

briskly

on

the

sand.

The

tide

was

low

and

there

was

a

strip

of

weed-strewn

beach

that

was

almost

as

firm

as

a

road.

A

kind

of

glamour

was

spread

over

them

and

the

scene

and

they

were

conscious

of

the

glamour

and

made

happy

by

it.

They

turned

to

each

other,

laughing

excitedly,

talking,

not

listening.

The

air

was

bright.

Ralph,

faced

by

the

task

of

translating

all

this

into

an

explanation,

stood

on

his

head

and

fell

over.

When

they

had

done

laughing,

Simon

stroked

Ralph's

arm

shyly;

and

they

had

to

laugh

again.

"Come

on,"

said

Jack

presently,

"we're

explorers."

"We'll

go

to

the

end

of

the

island,"

said

Ralph,

"and

look

round

the

corner."

"If

it

is

an

island--"

Now,

toward

the

end

of

the

afternoon,

the

mirages

were

settling

a

little.

They

found

the

end

of

the

island,

quite

distinct,

and

not

magicked

out

of

shape

or

sense.

There

was

a

jumble

of

the

usual

squareness,

with

one

great

block

sitting

out

in

the

lagoon.

Sea

birds

were

nesting

there.

"Like

icing,"

said

Ralph,

"on

a

pink

cake."

"We

shan't

see

round

this

corner,"

said

Jack,

"because

there

isn't

one.

Only

a

slow

curve--and

you

can

see,

the

rocks

get

worse--"

Ralph

shaded

his

eyes

and

followed

the

jagged

outline

of

the

crags

up

toward

the

mountain.

This

part

of

the

beach

was

nearer

the

mountain

than

any

other

that

they

had

seen.

"We'll

try

climbing

the

mountain

from

here,"

he

said.

"I

should

think

this

is

the

easiest

way.

There's

less

of

that

jungly

stuff;

and

more

pink

rock.

Come

on."

The

three

boys

began

to

scramble

up.

Some

unknown

force

had

wrenched

and

shattered

these

cubes

so

that

they

lay

askew,

often

piled

diminishingly

on

each

other.

The

most

usual

feature

of

the

rock

was

a

pink

cliff

surmounted

by

a

skewed

block;

and

that

again

surmounted,

and

that

again,

till

the

pinkness

became

a

stack

of

balanced

rock

projecting

through

the

looped

fantasy

of

the

forest

creepers.

Where

the

pink

cliffs

rose

out

of

the

ground

there

were

often

narrow

tracks

winding

upwards.

They

could

edge

along

them,

deep

in

the

plant

world,

their

faces

to

the

rock.

"What

made

this

track?"

Jack

paused,

wiping

the

sweat

from

his

face.

Ralph

stood

by

him,

breathless.

"Men?"

Jack

shook

his

head.

"Animals."

Ralph

peered

into

the

darkness

under

the

trees.

The

forest

minutely

vibrated.

"Come

on."

The

difficulty

was

not

the

steep

ascent

round

the

shoulders

of

rock,

but

the

occasional

plunges

through

the

undergrowth

to

get

to

the

next

path.

Here

the

roots

and

stems

of

creepers

were

in

such

tangles

that

the

boys

had

to

thread

through

them

like

pliant

needles.

Their

only

guide,

apart

from

the

brown

ground

and

occasional

flashes

of

light

through

the

foliage,

was

the

tendency

of

slope:

whether

this

hole,

laced

as

it

was

with

the

cables

of

creeper,

stood

higher

than

that.

Somehow,

they

moved

up.

Immured

in

these

tangles,

at

perhaps

their

most

difficult

moment,

Ralph

turned

with

shining

eyes

to

the

others.

"Wacco."

"Wizard."

"Smashing."

The

cause

of

their

pleasure

was

not

obvious.

All

three

were

hot,

dirty

and

exhausted.

Ralph

was

badly

scratched.

The

creepers

were

as

thick

as

their

thighs

and

left

little

but

tunnels

for

further

penetration.

Ralph

shouted

experimentally

and

they

listened

to

the

muted

echoes.

"This

is

real

exploring,"

said

Jack.

"I

bet

nobody's

been

here

before."

"We

ought

to

draw

a

map,"

said

Ralph,

"only

we

haven't

any

paper."

"We

could

make

scratches

on

bark,"

said

Simon,

"and

rub

black

stuff

in."

Again

came

the

solemn

communion

of

shining

eyes

in

the

gloom.

"Wacco."

"Wizard."

There

was

no

place

for

standing

on

one's

head.

This

time

Ralph

expressed

the

intensity

of

his

emotion

by

pretending

to

knock

Simon

down;

and

soon

they

were

a

happy,

heaving

pile

in

the

under-dusk.

When

they

had

fallen

apart

Ralph

spoke

first.

"Got

to

get

on."

The

pink

granite

of

the

next

cliff

was

further

back

from

the

creepers

and

trees

so

that

they

could

trot

up

the

path.

This

again

led

into

more

open

forest

so

that

they

had

a

glimpse

of

the

spread

sea.

With

openness

came

the

sun;

it

dried

the

sweat

that

had

soaked

their

clothes

in

the

dark,

damp

heat.

At

last

the

way

to

the

top

looked

like

a

scramble

over

pink

rock,

with

no

more

plunging

through

darkness.

The

boys

chose

their

way

through

defiles

and

over

heaps

of

sharp

stone.

"Look!

Look!"

High

over

this

end

of

the

island,

the

shattered

rocks

lifted

up

their

stacks

and

chimneys.

This

one,

against

which

Jack

leaned,

moved

with

a

grating

sound

when

they

pushed.

"Come

on--"

But

not

"Come

on"

to

the

top.

The

assault

on

the

summit

must

wait

while

the

three

boys

accepted

this

challenge.

The

rock

was

as

large

as

a

small

motor

car.

"Heave!"

Sway

back

and

forth,

catch

the

rhythm.

"Heave!"

Increase

the

swing

of

the

pendulum,

increase,

increase,

come

up

and

bear

against

that

point

of

furthest

balance--

increase--increase--

"Heave!"

The

great

rock

loitered,

poised

on

one

toe,

decided

not

to

return,

moved

through

the

air,

fell,

struck,

turned

over,

leapt

droning

through

the

air

and

smashed

a

deep

hole

in

the

canopy

of

the

forest.

Echoes

and

birds

flew,

white

and

pink

dust

floated,

the

forest

further

down

shook

as

with

the

passage

of

an

enraged

monster:

and

then

the

island

was

still.

"Wacco!"

"Like

a

bomb!"

"Whee-aa-oo!"

Not

for

five

minutes

could

they

drag

themselves

away

from

this

triumph.

But

they

left

at

last.

The

way

to

the

top

was

easy

after

that.

As

they

reached

the

last

stretch

Ralph

stopped.

"Golly!"

They

were

on

the

lip

of

a

circular

hollow

in

the

side

of

the

mountain.

This

was

filled

with

a

blue

flower,

a

rock

plant

of

some

sort,

and

the

overflow

hung

down

the

vent

and

spilled

lavishly

among

the

canopy

of

the

forest.

The

air

was

thick

with

butterflies,

lifting,

fluttering,

settling.

Beyond

the

hollow

was

the

square

top

of

the

mountain

and

soon

they

were

standing

on

it.

They

had

guessed

before

that

this

was

an

island:

clambering

among

the

pink

rocks,

with

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

reef.

I've

seen

pictures

like

that."

The

reef

enclosed

more

than

one

side

of

the

island,

lying

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

weeds

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

food

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,

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

scattered

light

over

the

platform.

He

was

uncertain

whether

to

stand

up

or

remain

sitting.

He

looked

sideways

to

his

left,

toward

the

bathing

pool.

Piggy

was

sitting

near

but

giving

no

help.

Ralph

cleared

his

throat.

"Well

then."

All

at

once

he

found

he

could

talk

fluently

and

explain

what

he

had

to

say.

He

passed

a

hand

through

his

fair

hair

and

spoke.

"We're

on

an

island.

We've

been

on

the

mountain

top

and

seen

water

all

round.

We

saw

no

houses,

no

smoke,

no

footprints,

no

boats,

no

people.

We're

on

an

uninhabited

island

with

no

other

people

on

it."

Jack

broke

in.

"All

the

same

you

need

an

army--for

hunting.

Hunting

pigs--"

"Yes.

There

are

pigs

on

the

island."

All

three

of

them

tried

to

convey

the

sense

of

the

pink

live

thing

struggling

in

the

creepers.

"We

saw--"

"Squealing--"

"It

broke

away--"

"Before

I

could

kill

it--but--next

time!"

Jack

slammed

his

knife

into

a

trunk

and

looked

round

challengingly.

The

meeting

settled

down

again.

"So

you

see,"

said

Ralph,

"We

need

hunters

to

get

us

meat.

And

another

thing."

He

lifted

the

shell

on

his

knees

and

looked

round

the

sun-slashed

faces.

"There

aren't

any

grownups.

We

shall

have

to

look

after

ourselves."

The

meeting

hummed

and

was

silent.

"And

another

thing.

We

can't

have

everybody

talking

at

once.

We'll

have

to

have

'Hands

up'

like

at

school."

He

held

the

conch

before

his

face

and

glanced

round

the

mouth.

"Then

I'll

give

him

the

conch."

"Conch?"

"That's

what

this

shell's

called.

I'll

give

the

conch

to

the

next

person

to

speak.

He

can

hold

it

when

he's

speaking."

"But--"

"Look--"

"And

he

won't

be

interrupted:

Except

by

me."

Jack

was

on

his

feet.

"We'll

have

rules!"

he

cried

excitedly.

"Lots

of

rules!

Then

when

anyone

breaks

'em--"

"Whee--oh!"

"Wacco!"

"Bong!"

"Doink!"

Ralph

felt

the

conch

lifted

from

his

lap.

Then

Piggy

was

standing

cradling

the

great

cream

shell

and

the

shouting

died

down.

Jack,

left

on

his

feet,

looked

uncertainly

at

Ralph

who

smiled

and

patted

the

log.

Jack

sat

down.

Piggy

took

off

his

glasses

and

blinked

at

the

assembly

while

he

wiped

them

on

his

shirt.

"You're

hindering

Ralph.

You're

not

letting

him

get

to

the

most

important

thing."

He

paused

effectively.

"Who

knows

we're

here?

Eh?"

"They

knew

at

the

airport."

"The

man

with

a

trumpet-thing--"

"My

dad."

Piggy

put

on

his

glasses.

"Nobody

knows

where

we

are,"

said

Piggy.

He

was

paler

than

before

and

breathless.

"Perhaps

they

knew

where

we

was

going

to;

and

perhaps

not.

But

they

don't

know

where

we

are

'cos

we

never

got

there."

He

gaped

at

them

for

a

moment,

then

swayed

and

sat

down.

Ralph

took

the

conch

from

his

hands.

"That's

what

I

was

going

to

say,"

he

went

on,

"when

you

all,

all.

.

.

."

He

gazed

at

their

intent

faces.

"The

plane

was

shot

down

in

flames.

Nobody

knows

where

we

are.

We

may

be

here

a

long

time."

The

silence

was

so

complete

that

they

could

hear

the

unevenness

of

Piggy's

breathing.

The

sun

slanted

in

and

lay

golden

over

half

the

platform.

The

breezes

that

on

the

lagoon

had

chased

their

tails

like

kittens

were

finding

their

way

across

the

platform

and

into

the

forest.

Ralph

pushed

back

the

tangle

of

fair

hair

that

hung

on

his

forehead.

"So

we

may

be

here

a

long

time."

Nobody

said

anything.

He

grinned

suddenly.

"But

this

is

a

good

island.

We--Jack,

Simon

and

me--

we

climbed

the

mountain.

It's

wizard.

There's

food

and

drink,

and--"

"Rocks--"

"Blue

flowers--"

Piggy,

partly

recovered,

pointed

to

the

conch

in

Ralph's

hands,

and

Jack

and

Simon

fell

silent.

Ralph

went

on.

"While

we're

waiting

we

can

have

a

good

time

on

this

island."

He

gesticulated

widely.

"It's

like

in

a

book."

At

once

there

was

a

clamor.

"Treasure

Island--"

"Swallows

and

Amazons--"

"Coral

Island--"

Ralph

waved

the

conch.

"This

is

our

island.

It's

a

good

island.

Until

the

grownups

come

to

fetch

us

we'll

have

fun."

Jack

held

out

his

hand

for

the

conch.

"There's

pigs,"

he

said.

"There's

food;

and

bathing

water

in

that

little

stream

along

there--and

everything.

Didn't

anyone

find

anything

else?"

He

handed

the

conch

back

to

Ralph

and

sat

down.

Apparently

no

one

had

found

anything.

The

older

boys

first

noticed

the

child

when

he

resisted.

There

was

a

group

of

little

boys

urging

him

forward

and

he

did

not

want

to

go.

He

was

a

shrimp

of

a

boy,

about

six

years

old,

and

one

side

of

his

face

was

blotted

out

by

a

mulberry-colored

birthmark.

He

stood

now,

warped

out

of

the

perpendicular

by

the

fierce

light

of

publicity,

and

he

bored

into

the

coarse

grass

with

one

toe.

He

was

muttering

and

about

to

cry.

The

other

little

boys,

whispering

but

serious,

pushed

him

toward

Ralph.

"All

right,"

said

Ralph,

"come

on

then."

The

small

boy

looked

round

in

panic.

"Speak

up!"

The

small

boy

held

out

his

hands

for

the

conch

and

the

assembly

shouted

with

laughter;

at

once

he

snatched

back

his

hands

and

started

to

cry.

"Let

him

have

the

conch!"

shouted

Piggy.

"Let

him

have

it!"

At

last

Ralph

induced

him

to

hold

the

shell

but

by

then

the

blow

of

laughter

had

taken

away

the

child's

voice.

Piggy

knelt

by

him,

one

hand

on

the

great

shell,

listening

and

interpreting

to

the

assembly.

"He

wants

to

know

what

you're

going

to

do

about

the

snake-thing."

Ralph

laughed,

and

the

other

boys

laughed

with

him.

The

small

boy

twisted

further

into

himself.

"Tell

us

about

the

snake-thing."

"Now

he

says

it

was

a

beastie."

"Beastie?''

"A

snake-thing.

Ever

so

big.

He

saw

it."

"Where?"

"In

the

woods."

Either

the

wandering

breezes

or

perhaps

the

decline

of

the

sun

allowed

a

little

coolness

to

lie

under

the

trees.

The

boys

felt

it

and

stirred

restlessly.

"You

couldn't

have

a

beastie,

a

snake-thing,

on

an

island

this

size,"

Ralph

explained

kindly.

"You

only

get

them

in

big

countries,

like

Africa,

or

India."

Murmur;

and

the

grave

nodding

of

heads.

"He

says

the

beastie

came

in

the

dark."

"Then

he

couldn't

see

it!"

Laughter

and

cheers.

"Did

you

hear

that?

Says

he

saw

the

thing

in

the

dark--"

"He

still

says

he

saw

the

beastie.

It

came

and

went

away

again

an'

came

back

and

wanted

to

eat

him--"

"He

was

dreaming."

Laughing,

Ralph

looked

for

confirmation

round

the

ring

of

faces.

The

older

boys

agreed;

but

here

and

there

among

the

little

ones

was

the

doubt

that

required

more

than

rational

assurance.

"He

must

have

had

a

nightmare.

Stumbling

about

among

all

those

creepers."

More

grave

nodding;

they

knew

about

nightmares.

"He

says

he

saw

the

beastie,

the

snake-thing,

and

will

it

come

back

tonight?"

"But

there

isn't

a

beastie!"

"He

says

in

the

morning

it

turned

into

them

things

like

ropes

in

the

trees

and

hung

in

the

branches.

He

says

will

it

come

back

tonight?"

"But

there

isn't

a

beastie!"

There

was

no

laughter

at

all

now

and

more

grave

watching.

Ralph

pushed

both

hands

through

his

hair

and

looked

at

the

little

boy

in

mixed

amusement

and

exasperation.

Jack

seized

the

conch.

"Ralph's

right

of

course.

There

isn't

a

snake-thing.

But

if

there

was

a

snake

we'd

hunt

it

and

kill

it.

We're

going

to

hunt

pigs

to

get

meat

for

everybody.

And

we'll

look

for

the

snake

too--"

"But

there

isn't

a

snake!"

"We'll

make

sure

when

we

go

hunting."

Ralph

was

annoyed

and,

for

the

moment,

defeated.

He

felt

himself

facing

something

ungraspable.

The

eyes

that

looked

so

intently

at

him

were

without

humor.

"But

there

isn't

a

beast!"

Something

he

had

not

known

was

there

rose

in

him

and

compelled

him

to

make

the

point,

loudly

and

again.

"But

I

tell

you

there

isn't

a

beast!"

The

assembly

was

silent.

Ralph

lifted

the

conch

again

and

his

good

humor

came

back

as

he

thought

of

what

he

had

to

say

next.

"Now

we

come

to

the

most

important

thing.

I've

been

thinking.

I

was

thinking

while

we

were

climbing

the

mountain."

He

flashed

a

conspiratorial

grin

at

the

other

two.

"And

on

the

beach

just

now.

This

is

what

I

thought.

We

want

to

have

fun.

And

we

want

to

be

rescued."

The

passionate

noise

of

agreement

from

the

assembly

hit

him

like

a

wave

and

he

lost

his

thread.

He

thought

again.

"We

want

to

be

rescued;

and

of

course

we

shall

be

rescued."

Voices

babbled.

The

simple

statement,

unbacked

by

any

proof

but

the

weight

of

Ralph's

new

authority,

brought

light

and

happiness.

He

had

to

wave

the

conch

before

he

could

make

them

hear

him.

"My

father's

in

the

Navy.

He

said

there

aren't

any

unknown

islands

left.

He

says

the

Queen

has

a

big

room

full

of

maps

and

all

the

islands

in

the

world

are

drawn

there.

So

the

Queen's

got

a

picture

of

this

island."

Again

came

the

sounds

of

cheerfulness

and

better

heart.

"And

sooner

or

later

a

ship

will

put

in

here.

It

might

even

be

Daddy's

ship.

So

you

see,

sooner

or

later,

we

shall

be

rescued."

He

paused,

with

the

point

made.

The

assembly

was

lifted

toward

safety

by

his

words.

They

liked

and

now

respected

him.

Spontaneously

they

began

to

clap

and

presently

the

platform

was

loud

with

applause.

Ralph

flushed,

looking

sideways

at

Piggy's

open

admiration,

and

then

the

other

way

at

Jack

who

was

smirking

and

showing

that

he

too

knew

how

to

clap.

Ralph

waved

the

conch.

"Shut

up!

Wait!

Listen!"

He

went

on

in

the

silence,

borne

on

his

triumph.

"There's

another

thing.

We

can

help

them

to

find

us.

If

a

ship

comes

near

the

island

they

may

not

notice

us.

So

we

must

make

smoke

on

top

of

the

mountain.

We

must

make

a

fire."

"A

fire!

Make

a

fire!"

At

once

half

the

boys

were

on

their

feet.

Jack

clamored

among

them,

the

conch

forgotten.

"Come

on!

Follow

me!"

The

space

under

the

palm

trees

was

full

of

noise

and

movement.

Ralph

was

on

his

feet

too,

shouting

for

quiet,

but

no

one

heard

him.

All

at

once

the

crowd

swayed

toward

the

island

and

was

gone--following

Jack.

Even

the

tiny

children

went

and

did

their

best

among

the

leaves

and

broken

branches.

Ralph

was

left,

holding

the

conch,

with

no

one

but

Piggy.

Piggy's

breathing

was

quite

restored.

"Like

kids!"

he

said

scornfully.

"Acting

like

a

crowd

of

kids!"

Ralph

looked

at

him

doubtfully

and

laid

the

conch

on

the

tree

trunk.

"I

bet

it's

gone

tea-time,"

said

Piggy.

"What

do

they

think

they're

going

to

do

on

that

mountain?"

He

caressed

the

shell

respectfully,

then

stopped

and

looked

up.

"Ralph!

Hey!

Where

you

going?"

Ralph

was

already

clambering

over

the

first

smashed

swathes

of

the

scar.

A

long

way

ahead

of

him

was

crashing

and

laughter.

Piggy

watched

him

in

disgust.

"Like

a

crowd

of

kids--"

He

sighed,

bent,

and

laced

up

his

shoes.

The

noise

of

the

errant

assembly

faded

up

the

mountain.

Then,

with

the

martyred

expression

of

a

parent

who

has

to

keep

up

with

the

senseless

ebullience

of

the

children,

he

picked

up

the

conch,

turned

toward

the

forest,

and

began

to

pick

his

way

over

the

tumbled

scar.

Below

the

other

side

of

the

mountain

top

was

a

platform

of

forest.

Once

more

Ralph

found

himself

making

the

cupping

gesture.

"Down

there

we

could

get

as

much

wood

as

we

want."

Jack

nodded

and

pulled

at

his

underlip.

Starting

perhaps

a

hundred

feet

below

them

on

the

steeper

side

of

the

mountain,

the

patch

might

have

been

designed

expressly

for

fuel.

Trees,

forced

by

the

damp

heat,

found

too

little

soil

for

full

growth,

fell

early

and

decayed:

creepers

cradled

them,

and

new

saplings

searched

a

way

up.

Jack

turned

to

the

choir,

who

stood

ready.

Their

black

caps

of

maintenance

were

slid

over

one

ear

like

berets.

"We'll

build

a

pile.

Come

on."

They

found

the

likeliest

path

down

and

began

tugging

at

the

dead

wood.

And

the

small

boys

who

had

reached

the

top

came

sliding

too

till

everyone

but

Piggy

was

busy.

Most

of

the

wood

was

so

rotten

that

when

they

pulled,

it

broke

up

into

a

shower

of

fragments

and

woodlice

and

decay;

but

some

trunks

came

out

in

one

piece.

The

twins,

Sam

'n

Eric,

were

the

first

to

get

a

likely

log

but

they

could

do

nothing

till

Ralph,

Jack,

Simon,

Roger

and

Maurice

found

room

for

a

hand-hold.

Then

they

inched

the

grotesque

dead

thing

up

the

rock

and

toppled

it

over

on

top.

Each

party

of

boys

added

a

quota,

less

or

more,

and

the

pile

grew.

At

the

return

Ralph

found

himself

alone

on

a

limb

with

Jack

and

they

grinned

at

each

other,

sharing

this

burden.

Once

more,

amid

the

breeze,

the

shouting,

the

slanting

sunlight

on

the

high

mountain,

was

shed

that

glamour,

that

strange

invisible

light

of

friendship,

adventure,

and

content.

"Almost

too

heavy."

Jack

grinned

back.

"Not

for

the

two

of

us."

Together,

joined

in

an

effort

by

the

burden,

they

staggered

up

the

last

steep

Of

the

mountain.

Together,

they

chanted

One!

Two!

Three!

and

crashed

the

log

on

to

the

great

pile.

Then

they

stepped

back,

laughing

with

triumphant

pleasure,

so

that

immediately

Ralph

had

to

stand

on

his

head.

Below

them,

boys

were

still

laboring,

though

some

of

the

small

ones

had

lost

interest

and

were

searching

this

new

forest

for

fruit.

Now

the

twins,

with

unsuspected

intelligence,

came

up

the

mountain

with

armfuls

of

dried

leaves

and

dumped

them

against

the

pile.

One

by

one,

as

they

sensed

that

the

pile

was

complete,

the

boys

stopped

going

back

for

more

and

stood,

with

the

pink,

shattered

top

of

the

mountain

around

them.

Breath

came

evenly

by

now,

and

sweat

dried.

Ralph

and

Jack

looked

at

each

other

while

society

paused

about

them.

The

shameful

knowledge

grew

in

them

and

they

did

not

know

how

to

begin

confession.

Ralph

spoke

first,

crimson

in

the

face.

"Will

you?"

He

cleared

his

throat

and

went

on.

"Will

you

light

the

fire?"

Now

the

absurd

situation

was

open,

Jack

blushed

too.

He

began

to

mutter

vaguely.

"You

rub

two

sticks.

You

rub--"

He

glanced

at

Ralph,

who

blurted

out

the

last

confession

of

incompetence.

"Has

anyone

got

any

matches?"

"You

make

a

bow

and

spin

the

arrow,"

said

Roger.

He

rubbed

his

hands

in

mime.

"Psss.

Psss."

A

little

air

was

moving

over

the

mountain.

Piggy

came

with

it,

in

shorts

and

shirt,

laboring

cautiously

out

of

the

forest

with

the

evening

sunlight

gleaming

from

his

glasses.

He

held

the

conch

under

his

arm.

Ralph

shouted

at

him.

"Piggy!

Have

you

got

any

matches?"

The

other

boys

took

up

the

cry

till

the

mountain

rang.

Piggy

shook

his

head

and

came

to

the

pile.

"My!

You've

made

a

big

heap,

haven't

you?"

Jack

pointed

suddenly.

"His

specs--use

them

as

burning

glasses!"

Piggy

was

surrounded

before

he

could

back

away.

"Here--let

me

go!"

His

voice

rose

to

a

shriek

of

terror

as

Jack

snatched

the

glasses

off

his

face.

"Mind

out!

Give

'em

back!

I

can

hardly

see!

You'll

break

the

conch!"

Ralph

elbowed

him

to

ne

side

and

knelt

by

the

pile.

"Stand

out

of

the

light."

There

was

pushing

and

pulling

and

officious

cries.

Ralph

moved

the

lenses

back

and

forth,

this

way

and

that,

till

a

glossy

white

image

of

the

declining

sun

lay

on

a

piece

of

rotten

wood.

Almost

at

once

a

thin

trickle

of

smoke

rose

up

and

made

him

cough.

Jack

knelt

too

and

blew

gently,

so

that

the

smoke

drifted

away,

thickening,

and

a

tiny

flame

appeared.

The

flame,

nearly

invisible

at

first

in

that

bright

sunlight,

enveloped

a

small

twig,

grew,

was

enriched

with

color

and

reached

up

to

a

branch

which

exploded

with

a

sharp

crack.

The

flame

flapped

higher

and

the

boys

broke

into

a

cheer.

"My

specs!"

howled

Piggy.

"Give

me

my

specs!"

Ralph

stood

away

from

the

pile

and

put

the

glasses

into

Piggy's

groping

hands.

His

voice

subsided

to

a

mutter.

"Jus'

blurs,

that's

all.

Hardly

see

my

hand--"

The

boys

were

dancing.

The

pile

was

so

rotten,

and

now

so

tinder-dry,

that

whole

limbs

yielded

passionately

to

the

yellow

flames

that

poured

upwards

and

shook

a

great

beard

of

flame

twenty

feet

in

the

air.

For

yards

round

the

fire

the

heat

was

like

a

blow,

and

the

breeze

was

a

river

of

sparks.

Trunks

crumbled

to

white

dust.

Ralph

shouted.

"More

wood!

All

of

you

get

more

wood!"

Life

became

a

race

with

the

fire

and

the

boys

scattered

through

the

upper

forest.

To

keep

a

clean

flag

of

flame

flying

on

the

mountain

was

the

immediate

end

and

no

one

looked

further.

Even

the

smallest

boys,

unless

fruit

claimed

them,

brought

little

pieces

of

wood

and

threw

them

in.

The

air

moved

a

little

faster

and

became

a

light

wind,

so

that

leeward

and

windward

side

were

clearly

differentiated.

On

one

side

the

air

was

cool,

but

on

the

other

the

fire

thrust

out

a

savage

arm

of

heat

that

crinkled

hair

on

the

instant.

Boys

who

felt

the

evening

wind

on

their

damp

faces

paused

to

enjoy

the

freshness

of

it

and

then

found

they

were

exhausted.

They

flung

themselves

down

in

the

shadows

that

lay

among

the

shattered

rocks.

The

beard

of

flame

diminished

quickly;

then

the

pile

fell

inwards

with

a

soft,

cindery

sound,

and

sent

a

great

tree

of

sparks

upwards

that

leaned

away

and

drifted

downwind.

The

boys

lay,

panting

like

dogs.

Ralph

raised

his

head

off

his

forearms.

"That

was

no

good."

Roger

spat

efficiently

into

the

hot

dust.

"What

d'you

mean?"

"There

wasn't

any

smoke.

Only

flame."

Piggy

had

settled

himself

in

a

space

between

two

rocks,

and

sat

with

the

conch

on

his

knees.

"We

haven't

made

a

fire,"

he

said,

"what's

any

use.

We

couldn't

keep

a

fire

like

that

going,

not

if

we

tried."

"A

fat

lot

you

tried,"

said

Jack

contemptuously.

"You

just

sat."

"We

used

his

specs,"

said

Simon,

smearing

a

black

cheek

with

his

forearm.

"He

helped

that

way."

"I

got

the

conch,"

said

Piggy

indignantly.

"You

let

me

speak!"

"The

conch

doesn't

count

on

top

of

the

mountain,"

said

Jack,

"so

you

shut

up."

"I

got

the

conch

in

my

hand."

"Put

on

green

branches,"

said

Maurice.

"That's

the

best

way

to

make

smoke."

"I

got

the

conch--"

Jack

turned

fiercely.

"You

shut

up!"

Piggy

wilted.

Ralph

took

the

conch

from

him

and

looked

round

the

circle

of

boys.

"We've

got

to

have

special

people

for

looking

after

the

fire.

Any

day

there

may

be

a

ship

out

there"--he

waved

his

arm

at

the

taut

wire

of

the

horizon--"and

if

we

have

a

signal

going

they'll

come

and

take

us

off.

And

another

thing.

We

ought

to

have

more

rules.

Where

the

conch

is,

that's

a

meeting.

The

same

up

here

as

down

there."

They

assented.

Piggy

opened

his

mouth

to

speak,

caught

Jack's

eye

and

shut

it

again.

Jack

held

out

his

hands

for

the

conch

and

stood

up,

holding

the

delicate

thing

carefully

in

his

sooty

hands.

"I

agree

with

Ralph.

We've

got

to

have

rules

and

obey

them.

After

all,

we're

not

savages.

We're

English,

and

the

English

are

best

at

everything.

So

we've

got

to

do

the

right

things."

He

turned

to

Ralph.

"Ralph,

I'll

split

up

the

choir--my

hunters,

that

is--into

groups,

and

we'll

be

responsible

for

keeping

the

fire

going--"

This

generosity

brought

a

spatter

of

applause

from

the

boys,

so

that

Jack

grinned

at

them,

then

waved

the

conch

for

silence.

"We'll

let

the

fire

burn

out

now.

Who

would

see

smoke

at

night-time,

anyway?

And

we

can

start

the

fire

again

whenever

we

like.

Altos,

you

can

keep

the

fire

going

this

week,

and

trebles

the

next--"

The

assembly

assented

gravely.

"And

we'll

be

responsible

for

keeping

a

lookout

too.

If

we

see

a

ship

out

there"--they

followed

the

direction

of

his

bony

arm

with

their

eyes--"we'll

put

green

branches

on.

Then

there'll

be

more

smoke."

They

gazed

intently

at

the

dense

blue

of

the

horizon,

as

if

a

little

silhouette

might

appear

there

at

any

moment.

The

sun

in

the

west

was

a

drop

of

burning

gold

that

slid

nearer

and

nearer

the

sill

of

the

world.

All

at

once

they

were

aware

of

the

evening

as

the

end

of

light

and

warmth.

Roger

took

the

conch

and

looked

round

at

them

gloomily.

"I've

been

watching

the

sea.

There

hasn't

been

the

trace

of

a

ship.

Perhaps

we'll

never

be

rescued."

A

murmur

rose

and

swept

away.

Ralph

took

back

the

conch.

"I

said

before

we'll

be

rescued

sometime.

We've

just

got

to

wait,

that's

all."

Daring,

indignant,

Piggy

took

the

conch.

"That's

what

I

said!

I

said

about

our

meetings

and

things

and

then

you

said

shut

up--"

His

voice

lifted

into

the

whine

of

virtuous

recrimination.

They

stirred

and

began

to

shout

him

down.

"You

said

you

wanted

a

small

fire

and

you

been

and

built

a

pile

like

a

hayrick.

If

I

say

anything,"

cried

Piggy,

with

bitter

realism,

"you

say

shut

up;

but

if

Jack

or

Maurice

or

Simon--"

He

paused

in

the

tumult,

standing,

looking

beyond

them

and

down

the

unfriendly

side

of

the

mountain

to

the

great

patch

where

they

had

found

dead

wood.

Then

he

laughed

so

strangely

that

they

were

hushed,

looking

at

the

flash

of

his

spectacles

in

astonishment.

They

followed

his

gaze

to

find

the

sour

joke.

"You

got

your

small

fire

all

right."

Smoke

was

rising

here

and

there

among

the

creepers

that

festooned

the

dead

or

dying

trees.

As

they

watched,

a

flash

of

fire

appeared

at

the

root

of

one

wisp,

and

then

the

smoke

thickened.

Small

flames

stirred

at

the

trunk

of

a

tree

and

crawled

away

through

leaves

and

brushwood,

dividing

and

increasing.

One

patch

touched

a

tree

trunk

and

scrambled

up

like

a

bright

squirrel.

The

smoke

increased,

sifted,

rolled

outwards.

The

squirrel

leapt

on

the

wings

of

the

wind

and

clung

to

another

standing

tree,

eating

downwards.

Beneath

the

dark

canopy

of

leaves

and

smoke

the

fire

laid

hold

on

the

forest

and

began

to

gnaw.

Acres

of

black

and

yellow

smoke

rolled

steadily

toward

the

sea.

At

the

sight

of

the

flames

and

the

irresistible

course

of

the

fire,

the

boys

broke

into

shrill,

excited

cheering.

The

flames,

as

though

they

were

a

kind

of

wild

life,

crept

as

a

jaguar

creeps

on

its

belly

toward

a

line

of

birch-like

saplings

that

fledged

an

outcrop

of

the

pink

rock.

They

flapped

at

the

first

of

the

trees,

and

the

branches

grew

a

brief

foliage

of

fire.

The

heart

of

flame

leapt

nimbly

across

the

gap

between

the

trees

and

then

went

swinging

and

flaring

along

the

whole

row

of

them.

Beneath

the

capering

boys

a

quarter

of

a

mile

square

of

forest

was

savage

with

smoke

and

flame.

The

separate

noises

of

the

fire

merged

into

a

drum-roll

that

seemed

to

shake

the

mountain.

"You

got

your

small

fire

all

right."

Startled,

Ralph

realized

that

the

boys

were

falling

still

and

silent,

feeling

the

beginnings

of

awe

at

the

power

set

free

below

them.

The

knowledge

and

the

awe

made

him

savage.

"Oh,

shut

up!"

"I

got

the

conch,"

said

Piggy,

in

a

hurt

voice.

"I

got

a

right

to

speak."

They

looked

at

him

with

eyes

that

lacked

interest

in

what

they

saw,

and

cocked

ears

at

the

drum-roll

of

the

fire.

Piggy

glanced

nervously

into

hell

and

cradled

the

conch.

"We

got

to

let

that

burn

out

now.

And

that

was

our

firewood."

He

licked

his

lips.

"There

ain't

nothing

we

can

do.

We

ought

to

be

more

careful.

I'm

scared--"

Jack

dragged

his

eyes

away

from

the

fire.

"You're

always

scared.

Yah--Fatty!"

"I

got

the

conch,"

said

Piggy

bleakly.

He

turned

to

Ralph.

"I

got

the

conch,

ain't

I

Ralph?"

Unwillingly

Ralph

turned

away

from

the

splendid,

awful

sight.

"What's

that?"

"The

conch.

I

got

a

right

to

speak."

The

twins

giggled

together.

"We

wanted

smoke--"

"Now

look--!"

A

pall

stretched

for

miles

away

from

the

island.

All

the

boys

except

Piggy

started

to

giggle;

presently

they

were

shrieking

with

laughter.

Piggy

lost

his

temper.

"I

got

the

conch!

Just

you

listen!

The

first

thing

we

ought

to

have

made

was

shelters

down

there

by

the

beach.

It

wasn't

half

cold

down

there

in

the

night.

But

the

first

time

Ralph

says

'fire'

you

goes

howling

and

screaming

up

this

here

mountain.

Like

a

pack

of

kids!"

By

now

they

were

listening

to

the

tirade.

"How

can

you

expect

to

be

rescued

if

you

don't

put

first

things

first

and

act

proper?"

He

took

off

his

glasses

and

made

as

if

to

put

down

the

conch;

but

the

sudden

motion

toward

it

of

most

of

the

older

boys

changed

his

mind.

He

tucked

the

shell

under

his

arm,

and

crouched

back

on

a

rock.

"Then

when

you

get

here

you

build

a

bonfire

that

isn't

no

use.

Now

you

been

and

set

the

whole

island

on

fire.

Won't

we

look

funny

if

the

whole

island

burns

up?

Cooked

fruit,

that's

what

we'll

have

to

eat,

and

roast

pork.

And

that's

nothing

to

laugh

at!

You

said

Ralph

was

chief

and

you

don't

give

him

time

to

think.

Then

when

he

says

something

you

rush

off,

like,

like--"

He

paused

for

breath,

and

the

fire

growled

at

them.

"And

that's

not

all.

Them

kids.

The

little

'uns.

Who

took

any

notice

of

'em?

Who

knows

how

many

we

got?"

Ralph

took

a

sudden

step

forward.

"I

told

you

to.

I

told

you

to

get

a

list

of

names!"

"How

could

I,"

cried

Piggy

indignantly,

"all

by

myself?

They

waited

for

two

minutes,

then

they

fell

in

the

sea;

they

went

into

the

forest;

they

just

scattered

everywhere.

How

was

I

to

know

which

was

which?"

Ralph

licked

pale

lips.

"Then

you

don't

know

how

many

of

us

there

ought

to

be?"

"How

could

I

with

them

little

'uns

running

round

like

insects?

Then

when

you

three

came

back,

as

soon

as

you

said

make

a

fire,

they

all

ran

away,

and

I

never

had

a

chance--"

"That's

enough!"

said

Ralph

sharply,

and

snatched

back

the

conch.

"If

you

didn't

you

didn't."

"--then

you

come

up

here

an'

pinch

my

specs--"

Jack

turned

on

him.

"You

shut

up!"

"--and

them

little

'uns

was

wandering

about

down

there

where

the

fire

is.

How

d'you

know

they

aren't

still

there?"

Piggy

stood

up

and

pointed

to

the

smoke

and

flames.

A

murmur

rose

among

the

boys

and

died

away.

Something

strange

was

happening

to

Piggy,

for

he

was

gasping

for

breath.

"That

little

'un--"

gasped

Piggy--"him

with

the

mark

on

his

face,

I

don't

see

him.

Where

is

he

now?"

The

crowd

was

as

silent

as

death.

"Him

that

talked

about

the

snakes.

He

was

down

there--"

A

tree

exploded

in

the

fire

like

a

bomb.

Tall

swathes

of

creepers

rose

for

a

moment

into

view,

agonized,

and

went

down

again.

The

little

boys

screamed

at

them.

"Snakes!

Snakes!

Look

at

the

snakes!"

In

the

west,

and

unheeded,

the

sun

lay

only

an

inch

or

two

above

the

sea.

Their

faces

were

lit

redly

from

beneath.

Piggy

fell

against

a

rock

and

clutched

it

with

both

hands.

"That

little

'un

that

had

a

mark

on

his

face--where

is--he

now?

I

tell

you

I

don't

see

him."

The

boys

looked

at

each

other

fearfully,

unbelieving.

"--where

is

he

now?"

Ralph

muttered

the

reply

as

if

in

shame.

"Perhaps

he

went

back

to

the,

the--"

Beneath

them,

on

the

unfriendly

side

of

the

mountain,

the

drum-roll

continued.

CHAPTER

THREE

Huts

on

the

Beach

Jack

was

bent

double.

He

was

down

like

a

sprinter,

his

nose

only

a

few

inches

from

the

humid

earth.

The

tree

trunks

and

the

creepers

that

festooned

them

lost

themlves

in

a

green

dusk

thirty

feet

above

him,

and

all

about

was

the

undergrowth.

There

was

only

the

faintest

indication

of

a

trail

here;

a

cracked

twig

and

what

might

be

the

impression

of

one

side

of

a

hoof.

He

lowered

his

chin

and

stared

at

the

traces

as

though

he

would

force

them

to

speak

to

him.

Then

dog-like,

uncomfortably

on

all

fours

yet

unheeding

his

discomfort,

he

stole

forward

five

yards

and

stopped.

Here

was

loop

of

creeper

with

a

tendril

pendant

from

a

node.

The

tendril

was

polished

on

the

underside;

pigs,

passing

through

the

loop,

brushed

it

with

their

bristly

hide.

Jack

crouched

with

his

face

a

few

inches

away

from

this

clue,

then

stared

forward

into

the

semi-darkness

of

the

undergrowth.

His

sandy

hair,

considerably

longer

than

it

had

been

when

they

dropped

in,

was

lighter

now;

and

his

bare

back

was

a

mass

of

dark

freckles

and

peeling

sunburn.

A

sharpened

stick

about

five

feet

long

trailed

from

his

right

hand,

and

except

for

a

pair

of

tattered

shorts

held

up

by

his

knife-belt

he

was

naked.

He

closed

his

eyes,

raised

his

head

and

breathed

in

gently

with

flared

nostrils,

assessing

the

current

of

warm

air

for

information.

The

forest

and

he

were

very

still.

At

length

he

let

out

his

breath

in

a

long

sigh

and

opened

his

eyes.

They

were

bright

blue,

eyes

that

in

this

frustration

seemed

bolting

and

nearly

mad.

He

passed

his

tongue

across

dry

lips

and

scanned

the

uncommunicative

forest.

Then

again

he

stole

forward

and

cast

this

way

and

that

over

the

ground.

The

silence

of

the

forest

was

more

oppressive

than

the

heat,

and

at

this

hour

of

the

day

there

was

not

even

the

whine

of

insects.

Only

when

Jack

himself

roused

a

gaudy

bird

from

a

primitive

nest

of

sticks

was

the

silence

shattered

and

echoes

set

ringing

by

a

harsh

cry

that

seemed

to

come

out

of

the

abyss

of

ages.

Jack

himself

shrank

at

this

cry

with

a

hiss

of

indrawn

breath,

and

for

a

minute

became

less

a

hunter

than

a

furtive

thing,

ape-like

among

the

tangle

of

trees.

Then

the

trail,

the

frustration,

claimed

him

again

and

he

searched

the

ground

avidly.

By

the

trunk

of

a

vast

tree

that

grew

pale

flowers

on

its

grey

bark

he

checked,

closed

his

eyes,

and

once

more

drew

in

the

warm

air;

and

this

time

his

breath

came

short,

there

was

even

a

passing

pallor

in

his

face,

and

then

the

surge

of

blood

again.

He

passed

like

a

shadow

under

the

darkness

of

the

tree

and

crouched,

looking

down

at

the

trodden

ground

at

his

feet.

The

droppings

were

warm.

They

lay

piled

among

turned

earth.

They

were

olive

green,

smooth,

and

they

steamed

a

little.

Jack

lifted

his

head

and

stared

at

the

inscrutable

masses

of

creeper

that

lay

across

the

trail.

Then

he

raised

his

spear

and

sneaked

forward.

Beyond

the

creeper,

the

trail

joined

a

pig-run

that

was

wide

enough

and

trodden

enough

to

be

a

path.

The

ground

was

hardened

by

an

accustomed

tread

and

as

Jack

rose

to

his

full

height

he

heard

something

moving

on

it.

He

swung

back

his

right

arm

and

hurled

the

spear

with

all

his

strength.

From

the

pig-run

came

the

quick,

hard

patter

of

hoofs,

a

castanet

sound,

seductive,

maddening--the

promise

of

meat.

He

rushed

out

of

the

undergrowth

and

snatched

up

his

spear.

The

pattering

of

pig's

trotters

died

away

in

the

distance.

Jack

stood

there,

streaming

with

sweat,

streaked

with

brown

earth,

stained

by

all

the

vicissitudes

of

a

day's

hunting.

Swearing,

he

turned

off

the

trail

and

pushed

his

way

through

until

the

forest

opened

a

little

and

instead

of

bald

trunks

supporting

a

dark

roof

there

were

light

grey

trunks

and

crowns

of

feathery

palm.

Beyond

these

was

the

glitter

of

the

sea

and

he

could

hear

voices.

Ralph

was

standing

by

a

contraption

of

palm

trunks

and

leaves,

a

rude

shelter

that

faced

the

lagoon

and

seemed

very

near

to

falling

down.

He

did

not

notice

when

Jack

spoke.

"Got

any

water?"

Ralph

looked

up,

frowning,

from

the

complication

of

leaves.

He

did

not

notice

Jack

even

when

he

saw

him.

"I

said

have

you

got

any

water?

I'm

thirsty."

Ralph

withdrew

his

attention

from

the

shelter

and

realized

Jack

with

a

start.

"Oh,

hullo.

Water?

There

by

the

tree.

Ought

to

be

some

left."

Jack

took

up

a

coconut

shell

that

brimmed

with

fresh

water

from

among

a

group

that

was

arranged

in

the

shade,

and

drank.

The

water

splashed

over

his

chin

and

neck

and

chest.

He

breathed

noisily

when

he

had

finished.

"Needed

that."

Simon

spoke

from

inside

the

shelter.

"Up

a

bit."

Ralph

turned

to

the

shelter

and

lifted

a

branch

with

a

whole

tiling

of

leaves.

The

leaves

came

apart

and

fluttered

down.

Simon's

contrite

face

appeared

in

the

hole.

"Sorry."

Ralph

surveyed

the

wreck

with

distaste.

"Never

get

it

done."

He

flung

himself

down

at

Jack's

feet.

Simon

remained,

looking

out

of

the

hole

in

the

shelter.

Once

down,

Ralph

explained.

"Been

working

for

days

now.

And

look!"

Two

shelters

were

in

position,

but

shaky.

This

one

was

a

ruin.

"And

they

keep

running

off.

You

remember

the

meeting?

How

everyone

was

going

to

work

hard

until

the

shelters

were

finished?"

"Except

me

and

my

hunters--"

"Except

the

hunters.

Well,

the

littluns

are--"

He

gesticulated,

sought

for

a

word.

"They're

hopeless.

The

older

ones

aren't

much

better.

D'you

see?

All

day

I've

been

working

with

Simon.

No

one

else.

They're

off

bathing,

or

eating,

or

playing."

Simon

poked

his

head

out

carefully.

"You're

chief.

You

tell

'em

off."

Ralph

lay

flat

and

looked

up

at

the

palm

trees

and

the

sky.

"Meetings.

Don't

we

love

meetings?

Every

day.

Twice

a

day.

We

talk."

He

got

on

one

elbow.

"I

bet

if

I

blew

the

conch

this

minute,

they'd

come

running.

Then

we'd

be,

you

know,

very

solemn,

and

someone

would

say

we

ought

to

build

a

jet,

or

a

submarine,

or

a

TV

set.

When

the

meeting

was

over

they'd

work

for

five

minutes,

then

wander

off

or

go

hunting."

Jack

flushed.

"We

want

meat."

"Well,

we

haven't

got

any

yet.

And

we

want

shelters.

Besides,

the

rest

of

your

hunters

came

back

hours

ago.

They've

been

swimming."

"I

went

on,"

said

Jack.

"I

let

them

go.

I

had

to

go

on.

I--"

He

tried

to

convey

the

compulsion

to

track

down

and

kill

that

was

swallowing

him

up.

"I

went

on.

I

thought,

by

myself--"

The

madness

came

into

his

eyes

again.

"I

thought

I

might--kill."

"But

you

didn't."

"I

thought

I

might."

Some

hidden

passion

vibrated

in

Ralph's

voice.

"But

you

haven't

yet."

His

invitation

might

have

passed

as

casual,

were

it

not

for

the

undertone.

"You

wouldn't

care

to

help

with

the

shelters,

I

suppose?"

"We

want

meat--"

"And

we

don't

get

it."

Now

the

antagonism

was

audible.

"But

I

shall!

Next

time!

I've

got

to

get

a

barb

on

this

spear!

We

wounded

a

pig

and

the

spear

fell

out.

If

we

could

only

make

barbs--"

"We

need

shelters."

Suddenly

Jack

shouted

in

rage.

"Are

you

accusing--?"

"All

I'm

saying

is

we've

worked

dashed

hard.

That's

all."

They

were

both

red

in

the

face

and

found

looking

at

each

other

difficult.

Ralph

rolled

on

his

stomach

and

began

to

play

with

the

grass.

"If

it

rains

like

when

we

dropped

in

we'll

need

shelters

all

right.

And

then

another

thing.

We

need

shelters

because

of

the--"

He

paused

for

a

moment

and

they

both

pushed

their

anger

away.

Then

he

went

on

with

the

safe,

changed

subject.

"You've

noticed,

haven't

you?"

Jack

put

down

his

spear

and

squatted.

"Noticed

what?"

"Well.

They're

frightened."

He

rolled

over

and

peered

into

Jack's

fierce,

dirty

face.

"I

mean

the

way

things

are.

They

dream.

You

can

hear

'em.

Have

you

been

awake

at

night?"

Jack

shook

his

head.

"They

talk

and

scream.

The

littluns.

Even

some

of

the

others.

As

if--"

"As

if

it

wasn't

a

good

island."

Astonished

at

the

interruption,

they

looked

up

at

Simon's

serious

face.

"As

if,"

said

Simon,

"the

beastie,

the

beastie

or

the

snake-thing,

was

real.

Remember?"

The

two

older

boys

flinched

when

they

heard

the

shameful

syllable.

Snakes

were

not

mentioned

now,

were

not

mentionable.

"As

if

this

wasn't

a

good

island,"

said

Ralph

slowly.

"Yes,

that's

right."

Jack

sat

up

and

stretched

out

his

legs.

"They're

batty."

"Crackers.

Remember

when

we

went

exploring?"

They

grinned

at

each

other,

remembering

the

glamour

of

the

first

day.

Ralph

went

on.

"So

we

need

shelters

as

a

sort

of--"

"Home."

"That's

right."

Jack

drew

up

his

legs,

clasped

his

knees,

and

frowned

in

an

effort

to

attain

clarity.

"All

the

same--in

the

forest.

I

mean

when

you're

hunting,

not

when

you're

getting

fruit,

of

course,

but

when

you're

on

your

own--"

He

paused

for

a

moment,

not

sure

if

Ralph

would

take

him

seriously.

"Go

on."

"If

you're

hunting

sometimes

you

catch

yourself

feeling

as

if--"

He

flushed

suddenly.

"There's

nothing

in

it

of

course.

Just

a

feeling.

But

you

can

feel

as

if

you're

not

hunting,

but--being

hunted,

as

if

something's

behind

you

all

the

time

in

the

jungle."

They

were

silent

again:

Simon

intent,

Ralph

incredulous

and

faintly

indignant.

He

sat

up,

rubbing

one

shoulder

with

a

dirty

hand.

"Well,

I

don't

know."

Jack

leapt

to

his

feet

and

spoke

very

quickly.

"That's

how

you

can

feel

in

the

forest.

Of

course

there's

nothing

in

it.

Only--only--"

He

took

a

few

rapid

steps

toward

the

beach,

then

came

back.

"Only

I

know

how

they

feel.

See?

That's

all."

"The

best

thing

we

can

do

is

get

ourselves

rescued."

Jack

had

to

think

for

a

moment

before

he

could

remember

what

rescue

was.

"Rescue?

Yes,

of

course!

All

the

same,

I'd

like

to

catch

a

pig

first--"

He

snatched

up

his

spear

and

dashed

it

into

the

ground.

The

opaque,

mad

look

came

into

his

eyes

again.

Ralph

looked

at

him

critically

through

his

tangle

of

fair

hair.

"So

long

as

your

hunters

remember

the

fire--"

"You

and

your

fire!"

The

two

boys

trotted

down

the

beach,

and,

turning

at

the

water's

edge,

looked

back

at

the

pink

mountain.

The

trickle

of

smoke

sketched

a

chalky

line

up

the

solid

blue

of

the

sky,

wavered

high

up

and

faded.

Ralph

frowned.

"I

wonder

how

far

off

you

could

see

that."

"Miles."

"We

don't

make

enough

smoke."

The

bottom

part

of

the

trickle,

as

though

conscious

of

their

gaze,

thickened

to

a

creamy

blur

which

crept

up

the

feeble

column.

"They've

put

on

green

branches,"

muttered

Ralph.

"I

wonder!"

He

screwed

up

his

eyes

and

swung

round

to

search

the

horizon.

"Got

it!"

Jack

shouted

so

loudly

that

Ralph

jumped.

"What?

Where?

Is

it

a

ship?"

But

Jack

was

pointing

to

the

high

declivities

that

led

down

from

the

mountain

to

the

flatter

part

of

the

island.

"Of

course!

They'll

lie

up

there--they

must,

when

the

sun's

too

hot--"

Ralph

gazed

bewildered

at

his

rapt

face.

"--they

get

up

high.

High

up

and

in

the

shade,

resting

during

the

heat,

like

cows

at

home--"

"I

thought

you

saw

a

ship!"

"We

could

steal

up

on

one--paint

our

faces

so

they

wouldn't

see--perhaps

surround

them

and

then--"

Indignation

took

away

Ralph's

control.

"I

was

talking

about

smoke!

Don't

you

want

to

be

rescued?

All

you

can

talk

about

is

pig,

pig,

pig!"

"But

we

want

meat!"

"And

I

work

all

day

with

nothing

but

Simon

and

you

come

back

and

don't

even

notice

the

huts!"

"I

was

working

too--"

"But

you

like

it!"

shouted

Ralph.

"You

want

to

hunt!

While

I--"

They

faced

each

other

on

the

bright

beach,

astonished

at

the

rub

of

feeling.

Ralph

looked

away

first,

pretending

interest

in

a

group

of

littluns

on

the

sand.

From

beyond

the

platform

came

the

shouting

of

the

hunters

in

the

swimming

pool.

On

the

end

of

the

platform,

Piggy

was

lying

flat,

looking

down

into

the

brilliant

water.

"People

don't

help

much."

He

wanted

to

explain

how

people

were

never

quite

what

you

thought

they

were.

"Simon.

He

helps."

He

pointed

at

the

shelters.

"All

the

rest

rushed

off.

He's

done

as

much

as

I

have.

Only--"

"Simon's

always

about."

Ralph

stared

back

to

the

shelters

with

Jack

by

his

side.

"Do

a

bit

for

you,"

muttered

Jack,

"before

I

have

a

bathe."

"Don't

bother."

But

when

they

reached

the

shelters

Simon

was

not

to

be

seen.

Ralph

put

his

head

in

the

hole,

withdrew

it,

and

turned

to

Jack.

"He's

buzzed

off."

"Got

fed

up,"

said

Jack,

"and

gone

for

a

bathe."

Ralph

frowned.

"He's

queer.

He's

funny."

Jack

nodded,

as

much

for

the

sake

of

agreeing

as

anything,

and

by

tacit

consent

they

left

the

shelter

and

went

toward

the

bathing

pool.

"And

then,"

said

Jack,

"when

I've

had

a

bathe

and

something

to

eat,

I'll

just

trek

over

to

the

other

side

of

the

mountain

and

see

if

I

can

see

any

traces.

Coming?"

"But

the

sun's

nearly

set!"

"I

might

have

time---"

They

walked

along,

two

continents

of

experience

and

feeling,

unable

to

communicate.

"If

I

could

only

get

a

pig!"

"I'll

come

back

and

go

on

with

the

shelter."

They

looked

at

each

other,

baffled,

in

love

and

hate.

All

the

warm

salt

water

of

the

bathing

pool

and

the

shouting

and

splashing

and

laughing

were

only

just

sufficient

to

bring

them

together

again.

Simon

was

not

in

the

bathing

pool

as

they

had

expected.

When

the

other

two

had

trotted

down

the

beach

to

look

back

at

the

mountain

he

had

followed

them

for

a

few

yards

and

then

stopped.

He

had

stood

frowing

down

at

a

pile

of

sand

on

the

beach

where

somebody

had

been

trying

to

build

a

little

house

or

hut.

Then

he

turned

his

back

on

this

and

walked

into

the

forest

with

an

air

of

purpose.

He

was

a

small,

skinny

boy,

his

chin

pointed,

and

his

eyes

so

bright

they

had

deceived

Ralph

into

thinking

him

delightfully

gay

and

wicked.

The

coarse

mop

of

black

hair

was

long

and

swung

down,

almost

concealing

a

low,

broad

forehead.

He

wore

the

remains

of

shorts

and

his

feet

were

bare

like

Jack's.

Always

darkish

in

color,

Simon

was

burned

by

the

sun

to

a

deep

tan

that

glistened

with

sweat.

He

picked

his

way

up

the

scar,

passed

the

great

rock

where

Ralph

had

climbed

on

the

first

morning,

then

turned

off

to

his

right

among

the

trees.

He

walked

with

an

accustomed

tread

through

the

acres

of

fruit

trees,

where

the

least

energetic

could

find

an

easy

if

unsatisfying

meal.

Flower

and

fruit

grew

together

on

the

same

tree

and

everywhere

was

the

scent

of

ripeness

and

the

booming

of

a

million

bees

at

pasture.

Here

the

littluns

who

had

run

after

him

caught

up

with

him.

They

talked,

cried

out

unintelligibly,

lugged

him

toward

the

trees.

Then,

amid

the

roar

of

bees

in

the

afternoon

sunlight,

Simon

found

for

them

the

fruit

they

could

not

reach,

pulled

off

the

choicest

from

up

in

the

foliage,

passed

them

back

down

to

the

endless,

outstretched

hands.

When

he

had

satisfied

them

he

paused

and

looked

round.

The

littluns

watched

him

inscrutably

over

double

handfuls

of

ripe

fruit.

Simon

turned

away

from

them

and

went

where

the

just

perceptible

path

led

him.

Soon

high

jungle

closed

in.

Tall

trunks

bore

unexpected

pale

flowers

all

the

way

up

to

the

dark

canopy

where

life

went

on

clamorously.

The

air

here

was

dark

too,

and

the

creepers

dropped

their

ropes

like

the

rigging

of

foundered

ships.

His

feet

left

prints

in

the

soft

soil

and

the

creepers

shivered

throughout

their

lengths

when

he

bumped

them.

He

came

at

last

to

a

place

where

more

sunshine

fell.

Since

they

had

not

so

far

to

go

for

light

the

creepers

had

woven

a

great

mat

that

hung

at

the

side

of

an

open

space

in

the

jungle;

for

here

a

patch

of

rock

came

close

to

the

surface

and

would

not

allow

more

than

little

plants

and

ferns

to

grow.

The

whole

space

was

walled

with

dark

aromatic

bushes,

and

was

a

bowl

of

heat

and

light.

A

great

tree,

fallen

across

one

corner,

leaned

against

the

trees

that

still

stood

and

a

rapid

climber

flaunted

red

and

yellow

sprays

right

to

the

top.

Simon

paused.

He

looked

over

his

shoulder

as

Jack

had

done

at

the

close

ways

behind

him

and

glanced

swiftly

round

to

confirm

that

he

was

utterly

alone.

For

a

moment

his

movements

were

almost

furtive.

Then

he

bent

down

and

wormed

his

way

into

the

center

of

the

mat.

The

creepers

and

the

bushes

were

so

close

that

he

left

his

sweat

on

them

and

they

pulled

together

behind

him.

When

he

was

secure

in

the

middle

he

was

in

a

little

cabin

screened

off

from

the

open

space

by

a

few

leaves.

He

squatted

down,

parted

the

leaves

and

looked

out

into

the

clearing.

Nothing

moved

but

a

pair

of

gaudy

butterflies

that

danced

round

each

other

in

the

hot

air.

Holding

his

breath

he

cocked

a

critical

ear

at

the

sounds

of

the

island.

Evening

was

advancing

toward

the

island;

the

sounds

of

the

bright

fantastic

birds,

the

bee-sounds,

even

the

crying

of

the

gulls

that

were

returning

to

their

roosts

among

the

square

rocks,

were

fainter.

The

deep

sea

breaking

miles

away

on

the

reef

made

an

undertone

less

perceptible

than

the

susurration

of

the

blood.

Simon

dropped

the

screen

of

leaves

back

into

place.

The

slope

of

the

bars

of

honey-colored

sunlight

decreased;

they

slid

up

the

bushes,

passed

over

the

green

candle-like

buds,

moved

up

toward

the

canopy,

and

darkness

thickened

under

the

trees.

With

the

fading

of

the

light

the

riotous

colors

died

and

the

heat

and

urgency

cooled

away.

The

candlebuds

stirred.

Their

green

sepals

drew

back

a

little

and

the

white

tips

of

the

flowers

rose

delicately

to

meet

the

open

air.

Now

the

sunlight

had

lifted

clear

of

the

open

space

and

withdrawn

from

the

sky.

Darkness

poured

out,

submerging

the

ways

between

the

trees

till

they

were

dim

and

strange

as

the

bottom

of

the

sea.

The

candle-buds

opened

their

wide

white

flowers

glimmering

under

the

light

that

pricked

down

from

the

first

stars.

Their

scent

spilled

out

into

the

air

and

took

possession

of

the

island.

CHAPTER

FOUR

Painted

Faces

and

Long

Hair

The

first

rhythm

that

they

became

used

to

was

the

slow

swing

from

dawn

to

quick

dusk.

They

accepted

the

pleasures

of

morning,

the

bright

sun,

the

whelming

sea

and

sweet

air,

as

a

time

when

play

was

good

and

life

so

full

that

hope

was

not

necessary

and

therefore

forgotten.

Toward

noon,

as

the

floods

of

light

fell

more

nearly

to

the

perpendicular,

the

stark

colors

of

the

morning

were

smoothed

in

pearl

and

opalescence;

and

the

heat--as

though

the

impending

sun's

height

gave

it

momentum--became

a

blow

that

they

ducked,

running

to

the

shade

and

lying

there,

perhaps

even

sleeping.

Strange

things

happened

at

midday.

The

glittering

sea

rose

up,

moved

apart

in

planes

of

blatant

impossibility;

the

coral

reef

and

the

few

stunted

palms

that

clung

to

the

more

elevated

parts

would

float

up

into

the

sky,

would

quiver,

be

plucked

apart,

run

like

raindrops

on

a

wire

or

be

repeated

as

in

an

odd

succession

of

mirrors.

Sometimes

land

loomed

where

there

was

no

land

and

flicked

out

like

a

bubble

as

the

children

watched.

Piggy

discounted

all

this

learnedly

as

a

"mirage";

and

since

no

boy

could

reach

even

the

reef

over

the

stretch

of

water

where

the

snapping

sharks

waited,

they

grew

accustomed

to

these

mysteries

and

ignored

them,

just

as

they

ignored

the

miraculous,

throbbing

stars.

At

midday

the

illusions

merged

into

the

sky

and

there

the

sun

gazed

down

like

an

angry

eye.

Then,

at

the

end

of

the

afternoon;

the

mirage

subsided

and

the

horizon

became

level

and

blue

and

clipped

as

the

sun

declined.

That

was

another

time

of

comparative

coolness

but

menaced

by

the

coming

of

the

dark.

When

the

sun

sank,

darkness

dropped

on

the

island

like

an

extinguisher

and

soon

the

shelters

were

full

of

restlessness,

under

the

remote

stars.

Nevertheless,

the

northern

European

tradition

of

work,

play,

and

food

right

through

the

day,

made

it

possible

for

them

to

adjust

themselves

wholly

to

this

new

rhythm.

The

littlun

Percival

had

early

crawled

into

a

shelter

and

stayed

there

for

two

days,

talking,

singing,

and

crying,

till

they

thought

him

batty

and

were

faintly

amused.

Ever

since

then

he

had

been

peaked,

red-eyed,

and

miserable;

a

littiun

who

played

little

and

cried

often.

The

smaller

boys

were

known

now

by

the

generic

title

of

"littluns."

The

decrease

in

size,

from

Ralph

down,

was

gradual;

and

though

there

was

a

dubious

region

inhabited

by

Simon

and

Robert

and

Maurice,

nevertheless

no

one

had

any

difficulty

in

recognizing

biguns

at

one

end

and

littluns

at

the

other.

The

undoubted

littluns,

those

aged

about

six,

led

a

quite

distinct,

and

at

the

same

time

intense,

life

of

their

own.

They

ate

most

of

the

day,

picking

fruit

where

they

could

reach

it

and

not

particular

about

ripeness

and

quality.

They

were

used

now

to

stomach-aches

and

a

sort

of

chronic

diarrhoea.

They

suffered

untold

terrors

in

the

dark

and

huddled

together

for

comfort.

Apart

from

food

and

sleep,

they

found

time

for

play,

aimless

and

trivial,

in

the

white

sand

by

the

bright

water.

They

cried

for

their

mothers

much

less

often

than

might

have

been

expected;

they

were

very

brown,

and

filthily

dirty.

They

obeyed

the

summons

of

the

conch,

partly

because

Ralph

blew

it,

and

he

was

big

enough

to

be

a

link

with

the

adult

world

of

authority;

and

partly

because

they

enjoyed

the

entertainment

of

the

assemblies.

But

otherwise

they

seldom

bothered

with

the

biguns

and

their

passionately

emotional

and

corporate

life

was

their

own.

They

had

built

castles

in

the

sand

at

the

bar

of

the

little

river.

These

castles

were

about

one

foot

high

and

were

decorated

with

shells,

withered

flowers,

and

interesting

stones.

Round

the

castles

was

a

complex

of

marks,

tracks,

walls,

railway

lines,

that

were

of

significance

only

if

inspected

with

the

eye

at

beach-level.

The

littluns

played

here,

if

not

happily

at

least

with

absorbed

attention;

and

often

as

many

as

three

of

them

would

play

the

same

game

together.

Three

were

playing

here

now.

Henry

was

the

biggest

of

them.

He

was

also

a

distant

relative

of

that

other

boy

whose

mulberry-marked

face

had

not

been

seen

since

the

evening

of

the

great

fire;

but

he

was

not

old

enough

to

understand

this,

and

if

he

had

been

told

that

the

other

boy

had

gone

home

in

an

aircraft,

he

would

have

accepted

the

statement

without

fuss

or

disbelief.

Henry

was

a

bit

of

a

leader

this

afternoon,

because

the

other

two

were

Percival

and

Johnny,

the

smallest

boys

on

the

island.

Percival

was

mouse-colored

and

had

not

been

very

attractive

even

to

his

mother;

Johnny

was

well

built,

with

fair

hair

and

a

natural

belligerence.

Just

now

he

was

being

obedient

because

he

was

interested;

and

the

three

children,

kneeling

in

the

sand,

were

at

peace.

Roger

and

Maurice

came

out

of

the

forest.

They

were

relieved

from

duty

at

the

fire

and

had

come

down

for

a

swim.

Roger

led

the

way

straight

through

the

castles,

kicking

them

over,

burying

the

flowers,

scattering

the

chosen

stones.

Maurice

followed,

laughing,

and

added

to

the

destruction.

The

three

littluns

paused

in

their

game

and

looked

up.

As

it

happened,

the

particular

marks

in

which

they

were

interested

had

not

been

touched,

so

they

made

no

protest.

Only

Percival

began

to

whimper

with

an

eyeful

of

sand

and

Maurice

hurried

away.

In

his

other

life

Maurice

had

received

chastisement

for

filling

a

younger

eye

with

sand.

Now,

though

there

was

no

parent

to

let

fall

a

heavy

hand,

Maurice

still

felt

the

unease

of

wrongdoing.

At

the

back

of

his

mind

formed

the

uncertain

outlines

of

an

excuse.

He

muttered

something

about

a

swim

and

broke

into

a

trot.

Roger

remained,

watching

the

littluns.

He

was

not

noticeably

darker

than

when

he

had

dropped

in,

but

the

shock

of

black

hair,

down

his

nape

and

low

on

his

forehead,

seemed

to

suit

his

gloomy

face

and

made

what

had

seemed

at

first

an

unsociable

remoteness

into

something

forbidding.

Percival

finished

his

whimper

and

went

on

playing,

for

the

tears

had

washed

the

sand

away.

Johnny

watched

him

with

china-blue

eyes;

then

began

to

fling

up

sand

in

a

shower,

and

presently

Percival

was

crying

again.

When

Henry

tired

of

his

play

and

wandered

off

along

the

beach,

Roger

followed

him,

keeping

beneath

the

palms

and

drifting

casually

in

the

same

direction.

Henry

walked

at

a

distance

from

the

palms

and

the

shade

because

he

was

too

young

to

keep

himself

out

of

the

sun.

He

went

down

the

beach

and

busied

himself

at

the

water's

edge.

The

great

Pacific

tide

was

coming

in

and

every

few

seconds

the

relatively

still

water

of

the

lagoon

heaved

forwards

an

inch.

There

were

creatures

that

lived

in

this

last

fling

of

the

sea,

tiny

transparencies

that

came

questing

in

with

the

water

over

the

hot,

dry

sand.

With

impalpable

organs

of

sense

they

examined

this

new

field.

Perhaps

food

had

appeared

where

at

the

last

incursion

there

had

been

none;

bird

droppings,

insects

perhaps,

any

of

the

strewn

detritus

of

landward

life.

Like

a

myriad

of

tiny

teeth

in

a

saw,

the

transparencies

came

scavenging

over

the

beach.

This

was

fascinating

to

Henry.

He

poked

about

with

a

bit

of

stick,

that

itself

was

wave-worn

and

whitened

and

a

vagrant,

and

tried

to

control

the

motions

of

the

scavengers.

He

made

little

runnels

that

the

tide

filled

and

tried

to

crowd

them

with

creatures.

He

became

absorbed

beyond

mere

happiness

as

he

felt

himself

exercising

control

over

living

things.

He

talked

to

them,

urging

them,

ordering

them.

Driven

back

by

the

tide,

his

footprints

became

bays

in

which

they

were

trapped

and

gave

him

the

illusion

of

mastery.

He

squatted

on

his

hams

at

the

water's

edge,

bowed,

with

a

shock

of

hair

falling

over

his

forehead

and

past

his

eyes,

and

the

afternoon

sun

emptied

down

invisible

arrows.

Roger

waited

too.

At

first

he

had

hidden

behind

a

great

palm;

but

Henry's

absorption

with

the

transparencies

was

so

obvious

that

at

last

he

stood

out

in

full

view.

He

looked

along

the

beach.

Percival

had

gone

off,

crying,

and

Johnny

was

left

in

triumphant

possession

of

the

castles,

He

sat

there,

crooning

to

himself

and

throwing

sand

at

an

imaginary

Percival.

Beyond

him,

Roger

could

see

the

platform

and

the

glints

of

spray

where

Ralph

and

Simon

and

Piggy

and

Maurice

were

diving

in

the

pool.

He

listened

carefully

but

could

only

just

hear

them.

A

sudden

breeze

shook

the

fringe

of

palm

trees,

so

that

the

fronds

tossed

and

fluttered.

Sixty

feet

above

Roger,

several

nuts,

fibrous

lumps

as

big

as

rugby

balls,

were

loosed

from

their

stems.

They

fell

about

him

with

a

series

of

hard

thumps

and

he

was

not

touched.

Roger

did

not

consider

his

escape,

but

looked

from

the

nuts

to

Henry

and

back

again.

The

subsoil

beneath

the

palm

trees

was

a

raised

beach,

and

generations

of

palms

had

worked

loose

in

this

the

stones

that

had

lain

on

the

sands

of

another

shore.

Roger

stooped,

picked

up

a

stone,

aimed,

and

threw

it

at

Henry--

threw

it

to

miss.

The

stone,

that

token

of

preposterous

time,

bounced

five

yards

to

Henry's

right

and

fell

in

the

water.

Roger

gathered

a

handful

of

stones

and

began

to

throw

them.

Yet

there

was

a

space

round

Henry,

perhaps

six

yards

in

diameter,

into

which

he

dare

not

throw.

Here,

invisible

yet

strong,

was

the

taboo

of

the

old

life.

Round

the

squatting

child

was

the

protection

of

parents

and

school

and

policemen

and

the

law.

Roger's

arm

was

conditioned

by

a

civilization

that

knew

nothing

of

him

and

was

in

ruins.

Henry

was

surprised

by

the

plopping

sounds

in

the

water.

He

abandoned

the

noiseless

transparencies

and

pointed

at

the

center

of

the

spreading

rings

like

a

setter.

This

side

and

that

the

stones

fell,

and

Henry

turned

obediently

but

always

too

late

to

see

the

stones

in

the

air.

At

last

he

saw

one

and

laughed,

looking

for

the

friend

who

was

teasing

him.

But

Roger

had

whipped

behind

the

palm

again,

was

leaning

against

it

breathing

quickly,

his

eyelids

fluttering.

Then

Henry

lost

interest

in

stones

and

wandered

off.

"Roger."

Jack

was

standing

under

a

tree

about

ten

yards

away.

When

Roger

opened

his

eyes

and

saw

him,

a

darker

shadow

crept

beneath

the

swarthiness

of

his

skin;

but

Jack

noticed

nothing.

He

was

eager,

impatient,

beckoning,

so

that

Roger

went

to

him.

There

was

a

small

pool

at

the

end

of

the

river,

dammed

back

by

sand

and

full

of

white

water-lilies

and

needle-like

reeds.

Here

Sam

and

Eric

were

waiting,

and

Bill.

Jack,

concealed

from

the

sun,

knelt

by

the

pool

and

opened

the

two

large

leaves

that

he

carried.

One

of

them

contained

white

clay,

and

the

other

red.

By

them

lay

a

stick

of

charcoal

brought

down

from

the

fire.

Jack

explained

to

Roger

as

he

worked.

"They

don't

smell

me.

They

see

me,

I

think.

Something

pink,

under

the

trees."

He

smeared

on

the

clay.

"If

only

I'd

some

green!"

He

turned

a

half-concealed

face

up

to

Roger

and

answered

the

incomprehension

of

his

gaze.

"For

hunting.

Like

in

the

war.

You

know--dazzle

paint.

Like

things

trying

to

look

like

something

else--"

He

twisted

in

the

urgency

of

telling.

"--Like

moths

on

a

tree

trunk."

Roger

understood

and

nodded

gravely.

The

twins

moved

toward

Jack

and

began

to

protest

timidly

about

something.

Jack

waved

them

away.

"Shut

up."

He

rubbed

the

charcoal

stick

between

the

patches

of

red

and

white

on

his

face.

"No.

You

two

come

with

me."

He

peered

at

his

reflection

and

disliked

it.

He

bent

down,

took

up

a

double

handful

of

lukewarm

water

and

rubbed

the

mess

from

his

face.

Freckles

and

sandy

eyebrows

appeared.

Roger

smiled,

unwillingly.

"You

don't

half

look

a

mess."

Jack

planned

his

new

face.

He

made

one

cheek

and

one

eye-socket

white,

then

he

rubbed

red

over

the

other

half

of

his

face

and

slashed

a

black

bar

of

charcoal

across

from

right

ear

to

left

jaw.

He

looked

in

the

pool

for

his

reflection,

but

his

breathing

troubled

the

mirror.

"Samneric.

Get

me

a

coconut.

An

empty

one."

He

knelt,

holding

the

shell

of

water.

A

rounded

patch

of

sunlight

fell

on

his

face

and

a

brightness

appeared

in

the

depths

of

the

water.

He

looked

in

astonishment,

no

longer

at

himself

but

at

an

awesome

stranger.

He

spilt

the

water

and

leapt

to

his

feet,

laughing

excitedly.

Beside

the

pool

his

sinewy

body

held

up

a

mask

that

drew

their

eyes

and

appalled

them.

He

began

to

dance

and

his

laughter

became

a

bloodthirsty

snarling.

He

capered

toward

Bill,

and

the

mask

was

a

thing

on

its

own,

behind

which

Jack

hid,

liberated

from

shame

and

self-consciousness.

The

face

of

red

and

white

and

black

swung

through

the

air

and

jigged

toward

Bill.

Bill

started

up

laughing;

then

suddenly

he

fell

silent

and

blundered

away

through

the

bushes.

Jack

rushed

toward

the

twins.

"The

rest

are

making

a

line.

Come

on!"

"But--"

"--we--"

"Come

on!

I'll

creep

up

and

stab--"

The

mask

compelled

them.

Ralph

climbed

out

of

the

bathing

pool

and

trotted

up

the

beach

and

sat

in

the

shade

beneath

the

palms.

His

fair

hair

was

plastered

over

his

eyebrows

and

he

pushed

it

back.

Simon

was

floating

in

the

water

and

kicking

with

his

feet,

and

Maurice

was

practicing

diving.

Piggy

was

mooning

about,

aimlessly

picking

up

things

and

discarding

them.

The

rock-pools

which

so

fascinated

him

were

covered

by

the

tide,

so

he

was

without

an

interest

until

the

tide

went

back.

Presently,

seeing

Ralph

under

the

palms,

he

came

and

sat

by

him.

Piggy

wore

the

remainders

of

a

pair

of

shorts,

his

fat

body

was

golden

brown,

and

the

glasses

still

flashed

when

he

looked

at

anything.

He

was

the

only

boy

on

the

island

whose

hair

never

seemed

to

grow.

The

rest

were

shockheaded,

but

Piggy's

hair

still

lay

in

wisps

over

his

head

as

though

baldness

were

his

natural

state

and

this

imperfect

covering

would

soon

go,

like

the

velvet

on

a

young

stag's

antlers.

"I've

been

thinking,"

he

said,

"about

a

clock.

We

could

make

a

sundial.

We

could

put

a

stick

in

the

sand,

and

then--"

The

effort

to

express

the

mathematical

processes

involved

was

too

great.

He

made

a

few

passes

instead.

"And

an

airplane,

and

a

TV

set,"

said

Ralph

sourly,

"and

a

steam

engine."

Piggy

shook

his

head.

"You

have

to

have

a

lot

of

metal

things

for

that,"

he

said,

"and

we

haven't

got

no

metal.

But

we

got

a

stick."

Ralph

turned

and

smiled

involuntarily.

Piggy

was

a

bore;

his

fat,

his

ass-mar

and

his

matter-of-fact

ideas

were

dull,

but

there

was

always

a

little

pleasure

to

be

got

out

of

pulling

his

leg,

even

if

one

did

it

by

accident.

Piggy

saw

the

smile

and

misinterpreted

it

as

friendliness.

There

had

grown

up

tacitly

among

the

biguns

the

opinion

that

Piggy

was

an

outsider,

not

only

by

accent,

which

did

not

matter,

but

by

fat,

and

ass-mar,

and

specs,

and

a

certain

disinclination

for

manual

labor.

Now,

finding

that

something

he

had

said

made

Ralph

smile,

he

rejoiced

and

pressed

his

advantage.

"We

got

a

lot

of

sticks.

We

could

have

a

sundial

each.

Then

we

should

know

what

the

time

was."

"A

fat

lot

of

good

that

would

be."

"You

said

you

wanted

things

done.

So

as

we

could

be

rescued."

"Oh,

shut

up."

He

leapt

to

his

feet

and

trotted

back

to

the

pool,

just

as

Maurice

did

a

rather

poor

dive.

Ralph

was

glad

of

a

chance

to

change

the

subject.

He

shouted

as

Maurice

came

to

the

surface.

"Belly

flop!

Belly

flop!"

Maurice

flashed

a

smile

at

Ralph

who

slid

easily

into

the

water.

Of

all

the

boys,

he

was

the

most

at

home

there;

but

today,

irked

by

the

mention

of

rescue,

the

useless,

footling

mention

of

rescue,

even

the

green

depths

of

water

and

the

shattered,

golden

sun

held

no

balm.

Instead

of

remaining

and

playing,

he

swam

with

steady

strokes

under

Simon

and

crawled

out

of

the

other

side

of

the

pool

to

lie

there,

sleek

and

streaming

like

a

seal.

Piggy,

always

clumsy,

stood

up

and

came

to

stand

by

him,

so

that

Ralph

rolled

on

his

stomach

and

pretended

not

to

see.

The

mirages

had

died

away

and

gloomily

he

ran

his

eye

along

the

taut

blue

line

of

the

horizon.

The

next

moment

he

was

on

his

feet

and

shouting.

"Smoke!

Smoke!"

Simon

tried

to

sit

up

in

the

water

and

got

a

mouthful.

Maurice,

who

had

been

standing

ready

to

dive,

swayed

back

on

his

heels,

made

a

bolt

for

the

platform,

then

swerved

back

to

the

grass

under

the

palms.

There

he

started

to

pull

on

his

tattered

shorts,

to

be

ready

for

anything.

Ralph

stood,

one

hand

holding

back

his

hair,

the

other

clenched.

Simon

was

climbing

out

of

the

water.

Piggy

was

rubbing

his

glasses

on

his

shorts

and

squinting

at

the

sea.

Maurice

had

got

both

legs

through

one

leg

of

his

shorts.

Of

all

the

boys,

only

Ralph

was

still.

"I

can't

see

no

smoke,"

said

Piggy

incredulously.

"I

can't

see

no

smoke,

Ralph--where

is

it?"

Ralph

said

nothing.

Now

both

his

hands

were

clenched

over

his

forehead

so

that

the

fair

hair

was

kept

out

of

his

eyes.

He

was

leaning

forward

and

already

the

salt

was

whitening

his

body.

"Ralph--where's

the

ship?"

Simon

stood

by,

looking

from

Ralph

to

the

horizon.

Maurice's

trousers

gave

way

with

a

sigh

and

he

abandoned

them

as

a

wreck,

rushed

toward

the

forest,

and

then

came

back

again.

The

smoke

was

a

tight

little

knot

on

the

horizon

and

was

uncoiling

slowly.

Beneath

the

smoke

was

a

dot

that

might

be

a

funnel.

Ralph's

face

was

pale

as

he

spoke

to

himself.

"They'll

see

our

smoke."

Piggy

was

looking

in

the

right

direction

now.

"It

don't

look

much."

He

turned

round

and

peered

up

at

the

mountain.

Ralph

continued

to

watch

the

ship,

ravenously.

Color

was

coming

back

into

his

face.

Simon

stood

by

him,

silent.

"I

know

I

can't

see

very

much,"

said

Piggy,

"but

have

we

got

any

smoke?"

Ralph

moved

impatiently,

still

watching

the

ship.

"The

smoke

on

the

mountain."

Maurice

came

running,

and

stared

out

to

sea.

Both

Simon

and

Piggy

were

looking

up

at

the

mountain.

Piggy

screwed

up

his

face

but

Simon

cried

out

as

though

he

had

hurt

himself.

"Ralph!

Ralph!"

The

quality

of

his

speech

twisted

Ralph

on

the

sand.

"You

tell

me,"

said

Piggy

anxiously.

"Is

there

a

signal?"

Ralph

looked

back

at

the

dispersing

smoke

in

the

horizon,

then

up

at

the

mountain.

"Ralph--please!

Is

there

a

signal?"

Simon

put

out

his

hand,

timidly,

to

touch

Ralph;

but

Ralph

started

to

run,

splashing

through

the

shallow

end

of

the

bathing

pool,

across

the

hot,

white

sand

and

under

the

palms.

A

moment

later

he

was

battling

with

the

complex

undergrowth

that

was

already

engulfing

the

scar.

Simon

ran

after

him,

then

Maurice.

Piggy

shouted.

"Ralph!

Please--Ralph!"

Then

he

too

started

to

run,

stumbling

over

Maurice's

discarded

shorts

before

he

was

across

the

terrace.

Behind

the

four

boys,

the

smoke

moved

gently

along

the

horizon;

and

on

the

beach,

Henry

and

Johnny

were

throwing

sand

at

Percival

who

was

crying

quietly

again;

and

all

three

were

in

complete

ignorance

of

the

excitement.

By

the

time

Ralph

had

reached

the

landward

end

of

the

scar

he

was

using

precious

breath

to

swear.

He

did

desperate

violence

to

his

naked

body

among

the

rasping

creepers

so

that

blood

was

sliding

over

him.

Just

where

the

steep

ascent

of

the

mountain

began,

he

stopped.

Maurice

was

only

a

few

yards

behind

him.

"Piggy's

specs!"

shouted

Ralph.

"If

the

fire's

all

out,

we'll

need

them--"

He

stopped

shouting

and

swayed

on

his

feet.

Piggy

was

only

just

visible,

bumbling

up

from

the

beach.

Ralph

looked

at

the

horizon,

then

up

to

the

mountain.

Was

it

better

to

fetch

Piggy's

glasses,

or

would

the

ship

have

gone?

Or

if

they

climbed

on,

supposing

the

fire

was

all

out,

and

they

had

to

watch

Piggy

crawling

nearer

and

the

ship

sinking

under

the

horizon?

Balanced

on

a

high

peak

of

need,

agonized

by

indecision,

Ralph

cried

out:

"Oh

God,

oh

God!"

Simon,

struggling

with

the

bushes,

caught

his

breath.

His

face

was

twisted.

Ralph

blundered

on,

savaging

himself,

as

the

wisp

of

smoke

moved

on.

The

fire

was

dead.

They

saw

that

straight

away;

saw

what

they

had

really

known

down

on

the

beach

when

the

smoke

of

home

had

beckoned.

The

fire

was

out,

smokeless

and

dead;

the

watchers

were

gone.

A

pile

of

unused

fuel

lay

ready.

Ralph

turned

to

the

sea.

The

horizon

stretched,

impersonal

once

more,

barren

of

all

but

the

faintest

trace

of

smoke.

Ralph

ran

stumbling

along

the

rocks,

saved

himself

on

the

edge

of

the

pink

cliff,

and

screamed

at

the

ship.

"Come

back!

Come

back!"

He

ran

backwards

and

forwards

along

the

cliff,

his

face

always

to

the

sea,

and

his

voice

rose

insanely.

"Come

back!

Come

back!"

Simon

and

Maurice

arrived.

Ralph

looked

at

them

with

unwinking

eyes.

Simon

turned

away,

smearing

the

water

from

his

cheeks.

Ralph

reached

inside

himself

for

the

worst

word

he

knew.

"They

let

the

bloody

fire

go

out."

He

looked

down

the

unfriendly

side

of

the

mountain.

Piggy

arrived,

out

of

breath

and

whimpering

like

a

littlun.

Ralph

clenched

his

fist

and

went

very

red.

The

intentness

of

his

gaze,

the

bitterness

of

his

voice,

pointed

for

him.

"There

they

are."

A

procession

had

appeared,

far

down

among

the

pink

stones

that

lay

near

the

water's

edge.

Some

of

the

boys

wore

black

caps

but

otherwise

they

were

almost

naked.

They

lifted

sticks

in

the

air

together

whenever

they

came

to

an

easy

patch.

They

were

chanting,

something

to

do

with

the

bundle

that

the

errant

twins

carried

so

carefully.

Ralph

picked

out

Jack

easily,

even

at

that

distance,

tall,

red-haired,

and

inevitably

leading

the

procession.

Simon

looked

now,

from

Ralph

to

Jack,

as

he

had

looked

from

Ralph

to

the

horizon,

and

what

he

saw

seemed

to

make

him

afraid.

Ralph

said

nothing

more,

but

waited

while

the

procession

came

nearer.

The

chant

was

audible

but

at

that

distance

still

wordless.

Behind

Jack

walked

the

twins,

carrying

a

great

stake

on

their

shoulders.

The

gutted

carcass

of

a

pig

swung

from

the

stake,

swinging

heavily

as

the

twins

toiled

over

the

uneven

ground.

The

pig's

head

hung

down

with

gaping

neck

and

seemed

to

search

for

something

on

the

ground.

At

last

the

words

of

the

chant

floated

up

to

them,

across

the

bowl

of

blackened

wood

and

ashes.

"_Kill

the

pig.

Cut

her

throat.

Spill

her

blood._"

Yet

as

the

words

became

audible,

the

procession

reached

the

steepest

part

of

the

mountain,

and

in

a

minute

or

two

the

chant

had

died

away.

Piggy

sniveled

and

Simon

shushed

him

quickly

as

though

he

had

spoken

too

loudly

in

church.

Jack,

his

face

smeared

with

clays,

reached

the

top

first

and

hailed

Ralph

excitedly,

with

lifted

spear.

"Look!

We've

killed

a

pig--we

stole

up

on

them--we

got

in

a

circle--"

Voices

broke

in

from

the

hunters.

"We

got

in

a

circle--"

"We

crept

up--"

"The

pig

squealed--"

The

twins

stood

with

the

pig

swinging

between

them,

dropping

black

gouts

on

the

rock.

They

seemed

to

share

one

wide,

ecstatic

grin.

Jack

had

too

many

things

to

tell

Ralph

at

once.

Instead,

he

danced

a

step

or

two,

then

remembered

his

dignity

and

stood

still,

grinning.

He

noticed

blood

on

his

hands

and

grimaced

distastefully,

looked

for

something

on

which

to

clean

them,

then

wiped

them

on

his

shorts

and

laughed.

Ralph

spoke.

"You

let

the

fire

go

out."

Jack

checked,

vaguely

irritated

by

this

irrelevance

but

too

happy

to

let

it

worry

him.

"We

can

light

the

fire

again.

You

should

have

been

with

us,

Ralph.

We

had

a

smashing

time.

The

twins

got

knocked

over--"

"We

hit

the

pig--"

"--I

fell

on

top--"

"I

cut

the

pig's

throat,"

said

Jack,

proudly,

and

yet

twitched

as

he

said

it.

"Can

I

borrow

yours,

Ralph,

to

make

a

nick

in

the

hilt?"

The

boys

chattered

and

danced.

The

twins

continued

to

grin.

"There

was

lashings

of

blood,"

said

Jack,

laughing

and

shuddering,

"you

should

have

seen

it!"

"We'll

go

hunting

every

day--"

Ralph

spoke

again,

hoarsely.

He

had

not

moved.

"You

let

the

fire

go

out."

This

repetition

made

Jack

uneasy.

He

looked

at

the

twins

and

then

back

at

Ralph.

"We

had

to

have

them

in

the

hunt,"

he

said,

"or

there

wouldn't

have

been

enough

for

a

ring."

He

flushed,

conscious

of

a

fault.

"The

fire's

only

been

out

an

hour

or

two.

We

can

light

up

again--"

He

noticed

Ralph's

scarred

nakedness,

and

the

sombre

silence

of

all

four

of

them.

He

sought,

charitable

in

his

happiness,

to

include

them

in

the

thing

that

had

happened.

His

mind

was

crowded

with

memories;

memories

of

the

knowledge

that

had

come

to

them

when

they

closed

in

on

the

struggling

pig,

knowledge

that

they

had

outwitted

a

living

thing,

imposed

their

will

upon

it,

taken

away

its

life

like

a

long

satisfying

drink.

He

spread

his

arms

wide.

"You

should

have

seen

the

blood!"

The

hunters

were

more

silent

now,

but

at

this

they

buzzed

again.

Ralph

flung

back

his

hair.

One

arm

pointed

at

the

empty

horizon.

His

voice

was

loud

and

savage,

and

struck

them

into

silence.

"There

was

aship."

Jack,

faced

at

once

with

too

many

awful

implications,

ducked

away

from

them.

He

laid

a

hand

on

the

pig

and

drew

his

knife.

Ralph

brought

his

arm

down,

fist

clenched,

and

his

voice

shook.

"There

was

a

ship.

Out

there.

You

said

you'd

keep

the

fire

going

and

you

let

it

out!"

He

took

a

step

toward

Jack,

who

turned

and

faced

him.

"They

might

have

seen

us.

We

might

have

gone

home--"

This

was

too

bitter

for

Piggy,

who

forgot

his

timidity

in

the

agony

of

his

loss.

He

began

to

cry

out,

shrilly:

"You

and

your

blood,

Jack

Merridew!

You

and

your

hunting!

We

might

have

gone

home--"

Ralph

pushed

Piggy

to

one

side.

"I

was

chief,

and

you

were

going

to

do

what

I

said.

You

talk.

But

you

can't

even

build

huts--then

you

go

off

hunting

and

let

out

the

fire--"

He

turned

away,

silent

for

a

moment.

Then

his

voice

came

again

on

a

peak

of

feeling.

"There

was

a

ship--"

One

of

the

smaller

hunters

began

to

wail.

The

dismal

truth

was

filtering

through

to

everybody.

Jack

went

very

red

as

he

hacked

and

pulled

at

the

pig.

"The

job

was

too

much.

We

needed

everyone."

Ralph

turned.

"You

could

have

had

everyone

when

the

shelters

were

finished.

But

you

had

to

hunt--"

"We

needed

meat."

Jack

stood

up

as

he

said

this,

the

bloodied

knife

in

his

hand.

The

two

boys

faced

each

other.

There

was

the

brilliant

world

of

hunting,

tactics,

fierce

exhilaration,

skill;

and

there

was

the

world

of

longing

and

baffled

commonsense.

Jack

transferred

the

knife

to

his

left

hand

and

smudged

blood

over

his

forehead

as

he

pushed

down

the

plastered

hair.

Piggy

began

again.

"You

didn't

ought

to

have

let

that

fire

out.

You

said

you'd

keep

the

smoke

going--"

This

from

Piggy,

and

the

wails

of

agreement

from

some

of

the

hunters,

drove

Jack

to

violence.

The

bolting

look

came

into

his

blue

eyes.

He

took

a

step,

and

able

at

last

to

hit

someone,

stuck

his

fist

into

Piggy's

stomach.

Piggy

sat

down

with

a

grunt.

Jack

stood

over

him.

His

voice

was

vicious

with

humiliation.

"You

would,

would

you?

Fatty!"

Ralph

made

a

step

forward

and

Jack

smacked

Piggy's

head.

Piggy's

glasses

flew

off

and

tinkled

on

the

rocks.

Piggy

cried

out

in

terror:

"My

specs!"

He

went

crouching

and

feeling

over

the

rocks

but

Simon,

who

got

there

first,

found

them

for

him.

Passions

beat

about

Simon

on

the

mountain-top

with

awful

wings.

"One

side's

broken."

Piggy

grabbed

and

put

on

the

glasses.

He

looked

malevolently

at

Jack.

"I

got

to

have

them

specs.

Now

I

only

got

one

eye.

Jus'

you

wait--"

Jack

made

a

move

toward

Piggy

who

scrambled

away

till

a

great

rock

lay

between

them.

He

thrust

his

head

over

the

top

and

glared

at

Jack

through

his

one

flashing

glass.

"Now

I

only

got

one

eye.

Just

you

wait--"

Jack

mimicked

the

whine

and

scramble.

"Jus'

you

wait--yah!"

Piggy

and

the

parody

were

so

funny

that

the

hunters

began

to

laugh.

Jack

felt

encouraged.

He

went

on

scrambling

and

the

laughter

rose

to

a

gale

of

hysteria.

Unwillingly

Ralph

felt

his

lips

twitch;

he

was

angry

with

himself

for

giving

way.

He

muttered.

"That

was

a

dirty

trick."

Jack

broke

out

of

his

gyration

and

stood

facing

Ralph.

His

words

came

in

a

shout.

"All

right,

all

right!"

He

looked

at

Piggy,

at

the

hunters,

at

Ralph.

"I'm

sorry.

About

the

fire,

I

mean.

There.

I--"

He

drew

himself

up.

"--I

apologize."

The

buzz

from

the

hunters

was

one

of

admiration

at

this

handsome

behavior.

Clearly

they

were

of

the

opinion

that

Jack

had

done

the

decent

thing,

had

put

himself

in

the

right

by

his

generous

apology

and

Ralph,

obscurely,

in

the

wrong.

They

waited

for

an

appropriately

decent

answer.

Yet

Ralph's

throat

refused

to

pass

one.

He

resented,

as

an

addition

to

Jack's

misbehavior,

this

verbal

trick.

The

fire

was

dead,

the

ship

was

gone.

Could

they

not

see?

Anger

instead

of

decency

passed

his

throat.

"That

was

a

dirty

trick."

They

were

silent

on

the

mountain-top

while

the

opaque

look

appeared

in

Jack's

eyes

and

passed

away.

Ralph's

final

word

was

an

ingracious

mutter.

"All

right.

Light

the

fire."

With

some

positive

action

before

them,

a

little

of

the

tension

died.

Ralph

said

no

more,

did

nothing,

stood

looking

down

at

the

ashes

round

his

feet.

Jack

was

loud

and

active.

He

gave

orders,

sang,

whistled,

threw

remarks

at

the

silent

Ralph--remarks

that

did

not

need

an

answer,

and

therefore

could

not

invite

a

snub;

and

still

Ralph

was

silent.

No

one,

not

even

Jack,

would

ask

him

to

move

and

in

the

end

they

had

to

build

the

fire

three

yards

away

and

in

a

place

not

really

as

convenient.

So

Ralph

asserted

his

chieftainship

and

could

not

have

chosen

a

better

way

if

he

had

thought

for

days.

Against

this

weapon,

so

indefinable

and

so

effective,

Jack

was

powerless

and

raged

without

knowing

why.

By

the

time

the

pile

was

built,

they

were

on

different

sides

of

a

high

barrier.

When

they

had

dealt

with

the

fire

another

crisis

arose.

Jack

had

no

means

of

lighting

it.

Then

to

his

surprise,

Ralph

went

to

Piggy

and

took

the

glasses

from

him.

Not

even

Ralph

knew

how

a

link

between

him

and

Jack

had

been

snapped

and

fastened

elsewhere.

"I'll

bring

'em

back."

"I'll

come

too."

Piggy

stood

behind

him,

islanded

in

a

sea

of

meaningless

color,

while

Ralph

knelt

and

focused

the

glossy

spot.

Instantly

the

fire

was

alight,

Piggy

held

out

his

hands

and

grabbed

the

glasses

back.

Before

these

fantastically

attractive

flowers

of

violet

and

red

and

yellow,

unkindness

melted

away.

They

became

a

circle

of

boys

round

a

camp

fire

and

even

Piggy

and

Ralph

were

half-drawn

in.

Soon

some

of

the

boys

were

rushing

down

the

slope

for

more

wood

while

Jack

hacked

the

pig.

They

tried

holding

the

whole

carcass

on

a

stake

over

the

fire,

but

the

stake

burnt

more

quickly

than

the

pig

roasted.

In

the

end

they

skewered

bits

of

meat

on

branches

and

held

them

in

the

flames:

and

even

then

almost

as

much

boy

was

roasted

as

meat.

Ralph's

mouth

watered.

He

meant

to

refuse

meat,

but

his

past

diet

of

fruit

and

nuts,

with

an

odd

crab

or

fish,

gave

him

too

little

resistance.

He

accepted

a

piece

of

halfraw

meat

and

gnawed

it

like

a

wolf.

Piggy

spoke,

also

dribbling.

"Aren't

I

having

none?"

Jack

had

meant

to

leave

him

in

doubt,

as

an

assertion

of

power;

but

Piggy

by

advertising

his

omission

made

more

cruelty

necessary.

"You

didn't

hunt."

"No

more

did

Ralph,"

said

Piggy

wetly,

"nor

Simon."

He

amplified.

"There

isn't

more

than

a

ha'porth

of

meat

in

a

crab."

Ralph

stirred

uneasily.

Simon,

sitting

between

the

twins

and

Piggy,

wiped

his

mouth

and

shoved

his

piece

of

meat

over

the

rocks

to

Piggy,

who

grabbed

it.

The

twins

giggled

and

Simon

lowered

his

face

in

shame.

Then

Jack

leapt

to

his

feet,

slashed

off

a

great

hunk

of

meat,

and

flung

it

down

at

Simon's

feet.

"Eat!

Damn

you!"

He

glared

at

Simon.

"Take

it!"

He

spun

on

his

heel,

center

of

a

bewildered

circle

of

boys.

"I

got

you

meat!"

Numberless

and

inexpressible

frustrations

combined

to

make

his

rage

elemental

and

awe-inspiring.

"I

painted

my

face--I

stole

up.

Now

you

eat--all

of

you--and

I--"

Slowly

the

silence

on

the

mountain-top

deepened

till

the

click

of

the

fire

and

the

soft

hiss

of

roasting

meat

could

be

heard

clearly.

Jack

looked

round

for

understanding

but

found

only

respect.

Ralph

stood

among

the

ashes

of

the

signal

fire,

his

hands

full

of

meat,

saying

nothing.

Then

at

last

Maurice

broke

the

silence.

He

changed

the

subject

to

the

only

one

that

could

bring

the

majority

of

them

together.

"Where

did

you

find

the

pig?"

Roger

pointed

down

the

unfriendly

side.

"They

were

there--by

the

sea."

Jack,

recovering

could

not

bear

to

have

his

story

told.

He

broke

in

quickly.

"We

spread

round.

I

crept,

on

hands

and

knees.

The

spears

fell

out

because

they

hadn't

barbs

on.

The

pig

ran

away

and

made

an

awful

noise--"

"It

turned

back

and

ran

into

the

circle,

bleeding--"

All

the

boys

were

talking

at

once,

relieved

and

excited.

"We

closed

in--"

The

first

blow

had

paralyzed

its

hind

quarters,

so

then

the

circle

could

close

in

and

beat

and

beat--

"I

cut

the

pig's

throat--"

The

twins,

still

sharing

their

identical

grin,

jumped

up

and

ran

round

each

other.

Then

the

rest

joined

in,

making

pig-dying

noises

and

shouting.

"One

for

his

nob!"

"Give

him

a

fourpenny

one!"

Then

Maurice

pretended

to

be

the

pig

and

ran

squealing

into

the

center,

and

the

hunters,

circling

still,

pretended

to

beat

him.

As

they

danced,

they

sang.

"_Kill

the

pig.

Cut

her

throat.

Bash

her

in._"

Ralph

watched

them,

envious

and

resentful.

Not

till

they

flagged

and

the

chant

died

away,

did

he

speak.

"I'm

calling

an

assembly."

One

by

one,

they

halted,

and

stood

watching

him.

"With

the

conch.

I'm

calling

a

meeting

even

if

we

have

to

go

on

into

the

dark.

Down

on

the

platform.

When

I

blow

it.

Now."

He

turned

away

and

walked

off,

down

the

mountain.

CHAPTER

FIVE

Beast

from

Water

The

tide

was

coming

in

and

there

was

only

a

narrow

strip

of

firm

beach

between

the

water

and

the

white,

stumbling

stuff

near

the

palm

terrace.

Ralph

chose

the

firm

strip

as

a

path

because

he

needed

to

think,

and

only

here

could

he

allow

his

feet

to

move

without

having

to

watch

them.

Suddenly,

pacing

by

the

water,

he

was

overcome

with

astonishment.

He

found

himself

understanding

the

wearisomeness

of

this

life,

where

every

path

was

an

improvisation

and

a

considerable

part

of

one's

waking

life

was

spent

watching

one's

feet.

He

stopped,

facing

the

strip;

and

remembering

that

first

enthusiastic

exploration

as

though

it

were

part

of

a

brighter

childhood,

he

smiled

jeeringly.

He

turned

then

and

walked

back

toward

the

platform

with

the

sun

in

his

face.

The

time

had

come

for

the

assembly

and

as

he

walked

into

the

concealing

splendors

of

the

sunlight

he

went

carefully

over

the

points

of

his

speech.

There

must

be

no

mistake

about

this

assembly,

no

chasing

imaginary.

.

.

.

He

lost

himself

in

a

maze

of

thoughts

that

were

rendered

vague

by

his

lack

of

words

to

express

them.

Frowning,

he

tried

again.

This

meeting

must

not

be

fun,

but

business.

At

that

he

walked

faster,

aware

all

at

once

of

urgency

and

the

declining

sun

and

a

little

wind

created

by

his

speed

that

breathed

about

his

face.

This

wind

pressed

his

grey

shirt

against

his

chest

so

that

he

noticed--in

this

new

mood

of

comprehension--how

the

folds

were

stiff

like

cardboard,

and

unpleasant;

noticed

too

how

the

frayed

edges

of

his

shorts

were

making

an

uncomfortable,

pink

area

on

the

front

of

his

thighs.

With

a

convulsion

of

the

mind,

Ralph

discovered

dirt

and

decay,

understood

how

much

he

disliked

perpetually

flicking

the

tangled

hair

out

of

his

eyes,

and

at

last,

when

the

sun

was

gone,

rolling

noisily

to

rest

among

dry

leaves.

At

that

he

began

to

trot.

The

beach

near

the

bathing

pool

was

dotted

with

groups

of

boys

waiting

for

the

assembly.

They

made

way

for

him

silently,

conscious

of

his

grim

mood

and

the

fault

at

the

fire.

The

place

of

assembly

in

which

he

stood

was

roughly

a

triangle;

but

irregular

and

sketchy,

like

everything

they

made.

First

there

was

the

log

on

which

he

himself

sat;

a

dead

tree

that

must

have

been

quite

exceptionally

big

for

the

platform.

Perhaps

one

of

those

legendary

storms

of

the

Pacific

had

shifted

it

here.

This

palm

trunk

lay

parallel

to

the

beach,

so

that

when

Ralph

sat

he

faced

the

island

but

to

the

boys

was

a

darkish

figure

against

the

shimmer

of

the

lagoon.

The

two

sides

of

the

triangle

of

which

the

log

was

base

were

less

evenly

defined.

On

the

right

was

a

log

polished

by

restless

seats

along

the

top,

but

not

so

large

as

the

chief's

and

not

so

comfortable.

On

the

left

were

four

small

logs,

one

of

them--the

farthest--lamentably

springy.

Assembly

after

assembly

had

broken

up

in

laughter

when

someone

had

leaned

too

far

back

and

the

log

had

whipped

and

thrown

half

a

dozen

boys

backwards

into

the

grass.

Yet

now,

he

saw,

no

one

had

had

the

wit--not

himself

nor

Jack,

nor

Piggy--to

bring

a

stone

and

wedge

the

thing.

So

they

would

continue

enduring

the

ill-balanced

twister,

because,

because.

.

.

.

Again

he

lost

himself

in

deep

waters.

Grass

was

worn

away

in

front

of

each

trunk

but

grew

tall

and

untrodden

in

the

center

of

the

triangle.

Then,

at

the

apex,

the

grass

was

thick

again

because

no

one

sat

there.

All

round

the

place

of

assembly

the

grey

trunks

rose,

straight

or

leaning,

and

supported

the

low

roof

of

leaves.

On

two

sides

was

the

beach;

behind,

the

lagoon;

in

front,

the

darkness

of

the

island.

Ralph

turned

to

the

chief's

seat.

They

had

never

had

an

assembly

as

late

before.

That

was

why

the

place

looked

so

different.

Normally

the

underside

of

the

green

roof

was

lit

by

a

tangle

of

golden

reflections,

and

their

faces

were

lit

upside

down--like,

thought

Ralph,

when

you

hold

an

electric

torch

in

your

hands.

But

now

the

sun

was

slanting

in

at

one

side,

so

that

the

shadows

were

where

they

ought

to

be.

Again

he

fell

into

that

strange

mood

of

speculation

that

was

so

foreign

to

him.

If

faces

were

different

when

lit

from

above

or

below--what

was

a

face?

What

was

anything?

Ralph

moved

impatiently.

The

trouble

was,

if

you

were

a

chief

you

had

to

think,

you

had

to

be

wise.

And

then

the

occasion

slipped

by

so

that

you

had

to

grab

at

a

decision.

This

made

you

think;

because

thought

was

a

valuable

thing,

that

got

results.

.

.

.

Only,

decided

Ralph

as

he

faced

the

chief's

seat,

I

can't

think.

Not

like

Piggy.

Once

more

that

evening

Ralph

had

to

adjust

his

values.

Piggy

could

think.

He

could

go

step

by

step

inside

that

fat

head

of

his,

only

Piggy

was

no

chief.

But

Piggy,

for

all

his

ludicrous

body,

had

brains.

Ralph

was

a

specialist

in

thought

now,

and

could

recognize

thought

in

another.

The

sun

in

his

eyes

reminded

him

how

time

was

passing,

so

he

took

the

conch

down

from

the

tree

and

examined

the

surface.

Exposure

to

the

air

had

bleached

the

yellow

and

pink

to

near-white,

and

transparency.

Ralph

felt

a

kind

of

affectionate

reverence

for

the

conch,

even

though

he

had

fished

the

thing

out

of

the

lagoon

himself.

He

faced

the

place

of

assembly

and

put

the

conch

to

his

lips.

The

others

were

waiting

for

this

and

came

straight

away.

Those

who

were

aware

that

a

ship

had

passed

the

island

while

the

fire

was

out

were

subdued

by

the

thought

of

Ralph's

anger;

while

those,

including

the

littluns

who

did

not

know,

were

impressed

by

the

general

air

of

solemnity.

The

place

of

assembly

filled

quickly;

Jack,

Simon,

Maurice,

most

of

the

hunters,

on

Ralph's

right;

the

rest

on

the

left,

under

the

sun.

Piggy

came

and

stood

outside

the

triangle.

This

indicated

that

he

wished

to

listen,

but

would

not

speak;

and

Piggy

intended

it

as

a

gesture

of

disapproval.

"The

thing

is:

we

need

an

assembly."

No

one

said

anything

but

the

faces

turned

to

Ralph

were

intent.

He

flourished

the

conch.

He

had

learnt

as

a

practical

business

that

fundamental

statements

like

this

had

to

be

said

at

least

twice,

before

everyone

understood

them.

One

had

to

sit,

attracting

all

eyes

to

the

conch,

and

drop

words

like

heavy

round

stones

among

the

little

groups

that

crouched

or

squatted.

He

was

searching

his

mind

for

simple

words

so

that

even

the

littluns

would

understand

what

the

assembly

was

about.

Later

perhaps,

practiced

debaters--Jack,

Maurice,

Piggy--would

use

their

whole

art

to

twist

the

meeting:

but

now

at

the

beginning

the

subject

of

the

debate

must

be

laid

out

clearly.

"We

need

an

assembly.

Not

for

fun.

Not

for

laughing

and

falling

off

the

log"--the

group

of

littluns

on

the

twister

giggled

and

looked

at

each

other--"not

for

making

jokes,

or

for"--he

lifted

the

conch

in

an

effort

to

find

the

compelling

word--"for

cleverness.

Not

for

these

things.

But

to

put

things

straight."

He

paused

for

a

moment.

"I've

been

alone.

By

myself

I

went,

thinking

what's

what.

I

know

what

we

need.

An

assembly

to

put

things

straight.

And

first

of

all,

I'm

speaking."

He

paused

for

a

moment

and

automatically

pushed

back

his

hair.

Piggy

tiptoed

to

the

triangle,

his

ineffectual

protest

made,

and

joined

the

others.

Ralph

went

on.

"We

have

lots

of

assemblies.

Everybody

enjoys

speaking

and

being

together.

We

decide

things.

But

they

don't

get

done.

We

were

going

to

have

water

brought

from

the

stream

and

left

in

those

coconut

shells

under

fresh

leaves.

So

it

was,

for

a

few

days.

Now

there's

no

water.

The

shells

are

dry.

People

drink

from

the

river."

There

was

a

murmur

of

assent.

"Not

that

there's

anything

wrong

with

drinking

from

the

river.

I

mean

I'd

sooner

have

water

from

that

place--

you

know,

the

pool

where

the

waterfall

is--than

out

of

an

old

coconut

shell.

Only

we

said

we'd

have

the

water

brought.

And

now

not.

There

were

only

two

full

shells

there

this

afternoon."

He

licked

his

lips.

"Then

there's

huts.

Shelters."

The

murmur

swelled

again

and

died

away.

"You

mostly

sleep

in

shelters.

Tonight,

except

for

Samneric

up

by

the

fire,

you'll

all

sleep

there.

Who

built

the

shelters?"

Clamor

rose

at

once.

Everyone

had

built

the

shelters.

Ralph

had

to

wave

the

conch

once

more.

"Wait

a

minute!

I

mean,

who

built

all

three?

We

all

built

the

first

one,

four

of

us

the

second

one,

and

me

'n

Simon

built

the

last

one

over

there.

That's

why

it's

so

tottery.

No.

Don't

laugh.

That

shelter

might

fall

down

if

the

rain

comes

back.

We'll

need

those

shelters

then."

He

paused

and

cleared

his

throat.

"There's

another

thing.

We

chose

those

rocks

right

along

beyond

the

bathing

pool

as

a

lavatory.

That

was

sensible

too.

The

tide

cleans

the

place

up.

You

littluns

know

about

that."

There

were

sniggers

here

and

there

and

swift

glances.

"Now

people

seem

to

use

anywhere.

Even

near

the

shelters

and

the

platform.

You

littluns,

when

you're

getting

fruit;

if

you're

taken

short--"

The

assembly

roared.

"I

said

if

you're

taken

short

you

keep

away

from

the

fruit.

That's

dirty!"

Laughter

rose

again.

"I

said

that's

dirty!"

He

plucked

at

his

stiff,

grey

shirt.

"That's

really

dirty.

If

you're

taken

short

you

go

right

along

the

beach

to

the

rocks.

See?"

Piggy

held

out

his

hands

for

the

conch

but

Ralph

shook

his

head.

His

speech

was

planned,

point

by

point.

"We've

all

got

to

use

the

rocks

again.

This

place

is

getting

dirty."

He

paused.

The

assembly,

sensing

a

crisis,

was

tensely

expectant.

"And

then:

about

the

fire."

Ralph

let

out

his

spare

breath

with

a

little

gasp

that

was

echoed

by

his

audience.

Jack

started

to

chip

a

piece

of

wood

with

his

knife

and

whispered

something

to

Robert,

who

looked

away.

"The

fire

is

the

most

important

thing

on

the

island.

How

can

we

ever

be

rescued

except

by

luck,

if

we

don't

keep

a

fire

going?

Is

a

fire

too

much

for

us

to

make?"

He

flung

out

an

arm.

"Look

at

us!

How

many

are

we?

And

yet

we

can't

keep

a

fire

going

to

make

smoke.

Don't

you

understand?

Can't

you

see

we

ought

to--ought

to

die

before

we

let

the

fire

out?"

There

was

a

self-conscious

giggling

among

the

hunters.

Ralph

turned

on

them

passionately.

"You

hunters!

You

can

laugh!

But

I

tell

you

the

smoke

is

more

important

than

the

pig,

however

often

you

kill

one.

Do

all

of

you

see?"

He

spread

his

arms

wide

and

turned

to

the

whole

triangle.

"We've

got

to

make

smoke

up

there--or

die."

He

paused,

feeling

for

his

next

point.

"And

another

thing."

Someone

called

out.

"Too

many

things."

There

came

a

mutter

of

agreement.

Ralph

overrode

them.

"And

another

thing.

We

nearly

set

the

whole

island

on

fire.

And

we

waste

time,

rolling

rocks,

and

making

little

cooking

fires.

Now

I

say

this

and

make

it

a

rule,

because

I'm

chief.

We

won't

have

a

fire

anywhere

but

on

the

mountain.

Ever."

There

was

a

row

immediately.

Boys

stood

up

and

shouted

and

Ralph

shouted

back.

"Because

if

you

want

a

fire

to

cook

fish

or

crab,

you

can

jolly

well

go

up

the

mountain.

That

way

we'll

be

certain."

Hands

were

reaching

for

the

conch

in

the

light

of

the

setting

sun.

He

held

on

and

leapt

on

the

trunk.

"All

this

I

meant

to

say.

Now

I've

said

it.

You

voted

me

for

chief.

Now

you

do

what

I

say."

They

quieted,

slowly,

and

at

last

were

seated

again.

Ralph

dropped

down

and

spoke

in

his

ordinary

voice.

"So

remember.

The

rocks

for

a

lavatory.

Keep

the

fire

going

and

smoke

showing

as

a

signal.

Don't

take

fire

from

the

mountain.

Take

your

food

up

there."

Jack

stood

up,

scowling

in

the

gloom,

and

held

out

his

hands.

"I

haven't

finished

yet."

"But

you've

talked

and

talked!"

"I've

got

the

conch."

Jack

sat

down,

grumbling.

"Then

the

last

thing.

This

is

what

people

can

talk

about."

He

waited

till

the

platform

was

very

still.

"Things

are

breaking

up.

I

don't

understand

why.

We

began

well;

we

were

happy.

And

then--"

He

moved

the

conch

gently,

looking

beyond

them

at

nothing,

remembering

the

beastie,

the

snake,

the

fire,

the

talk

of

fear.

"Then

people

started

getting

frightened."

A

murmur,

almost

a

moan,

rose

and

passed

away.

Jack

had

stopped

whittling.

Ralph

went

on,

abruptly.

"But

that's

littluns'

talk.

We'll

get

that

straight.

So

the

last

part,

the

bit

we

can

all

talk

about,

is

kind

of

deciding

on

the

fear."

The

hair

was

creeping

into

his

eyes

again.

"We've

got

to

talk

about

this

fear

and

decide

there's

nothing

in

it.

I'm

frightened

myself,

sometimes;

only

that's

nonsense!

Like

bogies.

Then,

when

we've

decided,

we

can

start

again

and

be

careful

about

things

like

the

fire."

A

picture

of

three

boys

walking

along

the

bright

beach

flitted

through

his

mind.

"And

be

happy."

Ceremonially,

Ralph

laid

the

conch

on

the

trunk

beside

him

as

a

sign

that

the

speech

was

over.

What

sunlight

reached

them

was

level.

Jack

stood

up

and

took

the

conch.

"So

this

is

a

meeting

to

find

out

what's

what.

I'll

tell

you

what's

what.

You

littluns

started

all

this,

with

the

fear

talk.

Beasts!

Where

from?

Of

course

we're

frightened

sometimes

but

we

put

up

with

being

frightened.

Only

Ralph

says

you

scream

in

the

night.

What

does

that

mean

but

nightmares?

Anyway,

you

don't

hunt

or

build

or

help--you're

a

lot

of

cry-babies

and

sissies.

That's

what.

And

as

for

the

fear--you'll

have

to

put

up

with

that

like

the

rest

of

us."

Ralph

looked

at

Jack

open-mouthed,

but

Jack

took

no

notice.

"The

thing

is--fear

can't

hurt

you

any

more

than

a

dream.

There

aren't

any

beasts

to

be

afraid

of

on

this

island."

He

looked

along

the

row

of

whispering

littluns.

"Serve

you

right

if

something

did

get

you,

you

useless

lot

of

cry-babies!

But

there

is

no

animal--"

Ralph

interrupted

him

testily.

"What

is

all

this?

Who

said

anything

about

an

animal?"

"You

did,

the

other

day.

You

said

they

dream

and

cry

out.

Now

they

talk--not

only

the

littluns,

but

my

hunters

sometimes--talk

of

a

thing,

a

dark

thing,

a

beast,

some

sort

of

animal.

I've

heard.

You

thought

not,

didn't

you?

Now

listen.

You

don't

get

big

animals

on

small

islands.

Only

pigs.

You

only

get

lions

and

tigers

in

big

countries

like

Africa

and

India--"

"And

the

Zoo--"

"I've

got

the

conch.

I'm

not

talking

about

the

fear.

I'm

talking

about

the

beast.

Be

frightened

if

you

like.

But

as

for

the

beast--"

Jack

paused,

cradling

the

conch,

and

turned

to

his

hunters

with

their

dirty

black

caps.

"Am

I

a

hunter

or

am

I

not?"

They

nodded,

simply.

He

was

a

hunter

all

right.

No

one

doubted

that.

"Well

then--I've

been

all

over

this

island.

By

myself.

If

there

were

a

beast

I'd

have

seen

it.

Be

frightened

because

you're

like

that--but

there

is

no

beast

in

the

forest."

Jack

handed

back

the

conch

and

sat

down.

The

whole

assembly

applauded

him

with

relief.

Then

Piggy

held

out

his

hand.

"I

don't

agree

with

all

Jack

said,

but

with

some.

'Course

there

isn't

a

beast

in

the

forest.

How

could

there

be?

What

would

a

beast

eat?"

"Pig."

"We

eat

pig."

"Piggy!"

"I

got

the

conch!"

said

Piggy

indignantly.

"Ralph--

they

ought

to

shut

up,

oughtn't

they?

You

shut

up,

you

littluns!

What

I

mean

is

that

I

don't

agree

about

this

here

fear.

Of

course

there

isn't

nothing

to

be

afraid

of

in

the

forest.

Why--I

been

there

myself!

You'll

be

talking

about

ghosts

and

such

things

next.

We

know

what

goes

on

and

if

there's

something

wrong,

there's

someone

to

put

it

right."

He

took

off

his

glasses

and

blinked

at

them.

The

sun

had

gone

as

if

the

light

had

been

turned

off.

He

proceeded

to

explain.

"If

you

get

a

pain

in

your

stomach,

whether

it's

a

little

one

or

a

big

one--"

"Yours

is

a

big

one."

"When

you

done

laughing

perhaps

we

can

get

on

with

the

meeting.

And

if

them

littluns

climb

back

on

the

twister

again

they'll

only

fall

off

in

a

sec.

So

they

might

as

well

sit

on

the

ground

and

listen.

No.

You

have

doctors

for

everything,

even

the

inside

of

your

mind.

You

don't

really

mean

that

we

got

to

be

frightened

all

the

time

of

nothing?

Life,"

said

Piggy

expansively,

"is

scientific,

that's

what

it

is.

In

a

year

or

two

when

the

war's

over

they'll

be

traveling

to

Mars

and

back.

I

know

there

isn't

no

beast--not

with

claws

and

all

that,

I

mean--but

I

know

there

isn't

no

fear,

either."

Piggy

paused.

"Unless--"

Ralph

moved

restlessly.

"Unless

what?"

"Unless

we

get

frightened

of

people."

A

sound,

half-laugh,

half-jeer,

rose

among

the

seated

boys.

Piggy

ducked

his

head

and

went

on

hastily.

"So

let's

hear

from

that

littlun

who

talked

about

a

beast

and

perhaps

we

can

show

him

how

silly

he

is."

The

littluns

began

to

jabber

among

themselves,

then

one

stood

forward.

"What's

your

name?"

"Phil."

For

a

littlun

he

was

self-confident,

holding

out

his

hands,

cradling

the

conch

as

Ralph

did,

looking

round

at

them

to

collect

their

attention

before

he

spoke.

"Last

night

I

had

a

dream,

a

horrid

dream,

fighting

with

things.

I

was

outside

the

shelter

by

myself,

fighting

with

things,

those

twisty

things

in

the

trees."

He

paused,

and

the

other

littluns

laughed

in

horrified

sympathy.

"Then

I

was

frightened

and

I

woke

up.

And

I

was

outside

the

shelter

by

myself

in

the

dark

and

the

twisty

things

had

gone

away."

The

vivid

horror

of

this,

so

possible

and

so

nakedly

terrifying,

held

them

all

silent.

The

child's

voice

went

piping

on

from

behind

the

white

conch.

"And

I

was

frightened

and

started

to

call

out

for

Ralph

and

then

I

saw

something

moving

among

the

trees,

something

big

and

horrid."

He

paused,

half-frightened

by

the

recollection

yet

proud

of

the

sensation

he

was

creating.

"That

was

a

nightmare,"

said

Ralph.

"He

was

walking

in

his

sleep."

The

assembly

murmured

in

subdued

agreement.

The

littlun

shook

his

head

stubbornly.

"I

was

asleep

when

the

twisty

things

were

fighting

and

when

they

went

away

I

was

awake,

and

I

saw

something

big

and

horrid

moving

in

the

trees."

Ralph

held

out

his

hands

for

the

conch

and

the

littlun

sat

down.

"You

were

asleep.

There

wasn't

anyone

there.

How

could

anyone

be

wandering

about

in

the

forest

at

night?

Was

anyone?

Did

anyone

go

out?"

There

was

a

long

pause

while

the

assembly

grinned

at

the

thought

of

anyone

going

out

in

the

darkness.

Then

Simon

stood

up

and

Ralph

looked

at

him

in

astonishment.

"You!

What

were

you

mucking

about

in

the

dark

for?"

Simon

grabbed

the

conch

convulsively.

"I

wanted--to

go

to

a

place--a

place

I

know."

"What

place?"

"Just

a

place

I

know.

A

place

in

the

jungle."

He

hesitated.

Jack

settled

the

question

for

them

with

that

contempt

in

his

voice

that

could

sound

so

funny

and

so

final.

"He

was

taken

short."

With

a

feeling

of

humiliation

on

Simon's

behalf,

Ralph

took

back

the

conch,

looking

Simon

sternly

in

the

face

as

he

did

so.

"Well,

don't

do

it

again.

Understand?

Not

at

night.

There's

enough

silly

talk

about

beasts,

without

the

littluns

seeing

you

gliding

about

like

a--"

The

derisive

laughter

that

rose

had

fear

in

it

and

condemnation.

Simon

opened

his

mouth

to

speak

but

Ralph

had

the

conch,

so

he

backed

to

his

seat.

When

the

assembly

was

silent

Ralph

turned

to

Piggy.

"Well,

Piggy?"

"There

was

another

one.

Him."

The

littluns

pushed

Percival

forward,

then

left

him

by

himself.

He

stood

knee-deep

in

the

central

grass,

looking

at

his

hidden

feet,

trying

to

pretend

he

was

in

a

tent.

Ralph

remembered

another

small

boy

who

had

stood

like

this

and

he

flinched

away

from

the

memory.

He

had

pushed

the

thought

down

and

out

of

sight,

where

only

some

positive

reminder

like

this

could

bring

it

to

the

surface.

There

had

been

no

further

numberings

of

the

littluns,

partly

because

there

was

no

means

of

insuring

that

all

of

them

were

accounted

for

and

partly

because

Ralph

knew

the

answer

to

at

least

one

question

Piggy

had

asked

on

the

mountaintop.

There

were

little

boys,

fair,

dark,

freckled,

and

all

dirty,

but

their

faces

were

all

dreadfully

free

of

major

blemishes.

No

one

had

seen

the

mulberry-colored

birthmark

again.

But

that

time

Piggy

had

coaxed

and

bullied.

Tacitly

admitting

that

he

remembered

the

unmentionable,

Ralph

nodded

to

Piggy.

"Go

on.

Ask

him."

Piggy

knelt,

holding

the

conch.

"Now

then.

What's

your

name?"

The

small

boy

twisted

away

into

his

tent.

Piggy

turned

helplessly

to

Ralph,

who

spoke

sharply.

"What's

your

name?"

Tormented

by

the

silence

and

the

refusal

the

assembly

broke

into

a

chant.

"What's

your

name?

What's

your

name?"

"Quiet!"

Ralph

peered

at

the

child

in

the

twilight.

"Now

tell

us.

What's

your

name?"

"Percival

Wemys

Madison.

The

Vicarage,

Harcourt

St.

Anthony,

Hants,

telephone,

telephone,

tele--"

As

if

this

information

was

rooted

far

down

in

the

springs

of

sorrow,

the

littlun

wept.

His

face

puckered,

the

tears

leapt

from

his

eyes,

his

mouth

opened

till

they

could

see

a

square

black

hole.

At

first

he

was

a

silent

effigy

of

sorrow;

but

then

the

lamentation

rose

out

of

him,

loud

and

sustained

as

the

conch.

"Shut

up,

you!

Shut

up!"

Percival

Wemys

Madison

would

not

shut

up.

A

spring

had

been

tapped,

far

beyond

the

reach

of

authority

or

even

physical

intimidation.

The

crying

went

on,

breath

after

breath,

and

seemed

to

sustain

him

upright

as

if

he

were

nailed

to

it.

"Shut

up!

Shut

up!"

For

now

the

littluns

were

no

longer

silent.

They

were

reminded

of

their

personal

sorrows;

and

perhaps

felt

themselves

to

share

in

a

sorrow

that

was

universal.

They

began

to

cry

in

sympathy,

two

of

them

almost

as

loud

as

Percival.

Maurice

saved

them.

He

cried

out.

"Look

at

me!"

He

pretended

to

fall

over.

He

rubbed

his

rump

and

sat

on

the

twister

so

that

he

fell

in

the

grass.

He

downed

badly;

but

Percival

and

the

others

noticed

and

sniffed

and

laughed.

Presently

they

were

all

laughing

so

absurdly

that

the

biguns

joined

in.

Jack

was

the

first

to

make

himself

heard.

He

had

not

got

the

conch

and

thus

spoke

against

the

rules;

but

nobody

minded.

"And

what

about

the

beast?"

Something

strange

was

happening

to

Percival.

He

yawned

and

staggered,

so

that

Jack

seized

and

shook

him.

"Where

does

the

beast

live?"

Percival

sagged

in

Jack's

grip.

"That's

a

clever

beast,"

said

Piggy,

jeering,

"if

it

can

hide

on

this

island."

"Jack's

been

everywhere--"

"Where

could

a

beast

live?"

"Beast

my

foot!"

Percival

muttered

something

and

the

assembly

laughed

again.

Ralph

leaned

forward.

"What

does

he

say?"

Jack

listened

to

Percival's

answer

and

then

let

go

of

him.

Percival,

released,

surrounded

by

the

comfortable

presence

of

humans,

fell

in

the

long

grass

and

went

to

sleep.

Jack

cleared

his

throat,

then

reported

casually.

"He

says

the

beast

comes

out

of

the

sea."

The

last

laugh

died

away.

Ralph

turned

involuntarily,

a

black,

humped

figure

against

the

lagoon.

The

assembly

looked

with

him,

considered

the

vast

stretches

of

water,

the

high

sea

beyond,

unknown

indigo

of

infinite

possibility,

heard

silently

the

sough

and

whisper

from

the

reef.

Maurice

spoke,

so

loudly

that

they

jumped.

"Daddy

said

they

haven't

found

all

the

animals

in

the

sea

yet."

Argument

started

again.

Ralph

held

out

the

glimmering

conch

and

Maurice

took

it

obediently.

The

meeting

subsided.

"I

mean

when

Jack

says

you

can

be

frightened

because

people

are

frightened

anyway

that's

all

right.

But

when

he

says

there's

only

pigs

on

this

island

I

expect

he's

right

but

he

doesn't

know,

not

really,

not

certainly

I

mean--"

Maurice

took

a

breath.

"My

daddy

says

there's

things,

what

d'you

call'em

that

make

ink--squids--that

are

hundreds

of

yards

long

and

eat

whales

whole."

He

paused

again

and

laughed

gaily.

"I

don't

believe

in

the

beast

of

course.

As

Piggy

says,

life's

scientific,

but

we

don't

know,

do

we?

Not

certainly,

I

mean--"

Someone

shouted.

"A

squid

couldn't

come

up

out

of

the

water!"

"Could!"

"Couldn't!"

In

a

moment

the

platform

was

full

of

arguing,

gesticulating

shadows.

To

Ralph,

seated,

this

seemed

the

breaking

up

of

sanity.

Fear,

beasts,

no

general

agreement

that

the

fire

was

all-important:

and

when

one

tried

to

get

the

thing

straight

the

argument

sheered

off,

bringing

up

fresh,

unpleasant

matter.

He

could

see

a

whiteness

in

the

gloom

near

him

so

he

grabbed

it

from

Maurice

and

blew

as

loudly

as

he

could.

The

assembly

was

shocked

into

silence.

Simon

was

close

to

him,

laying

hands

on

the

conch.

Simon

felt

a

perilous

necessity

to

speak;

but

to

speak

in

assembly

was

a

terrible

thing

to

him.

"Maybe,"

he

said

hesitantly,

"maybe

there

is

a

beast."

The

assembly

cried

out

savagely

and

Ralph

stood

up

in

amazement.

"You,

Simon?

You

believe

in

this?"

"I

don't

know,"

said

Simon.

His

heartbeats

were

choking

him.

"But.

.

.

."

The

storm

broke.

"Sit

down!"

"Shut

up!"

"Take

the

conch!"

"Sod

you!"

"Shut

up!"

Ralph

shouted.

"Hear

him!

He's

got

the

conch!"

"What

I

mean

is

.

.

.

maybe

it's

only

us."

"Nuts!"

That

was

from

Piggy,

shocked

out

of

decorum.

Simon

went

on.

"We

could

be

sort

of.

.

.

."

Simon

became

inarticulate

in

his

effort

to

express

mankind's

essential

illness.

Inspiration

came

to

him.

"What's

the

dirtiest

thing

there

is?"

As

an

answer

Jack

dropped

into

the

uncomprehending

silence

that

followed

it

the

one

crude

expressive

syllable.

Release

was

immense.

Those

littluns

who

had

climbed

back

on

the

twister

fell

off

again

and

did

not

mind.

The

hunters

were

screaming

with

delight.

Simon's

effort

fell

about

him

in

ruins;

the

laughter

beat

him

cruelly

and

he

shrank

away

defenseless

to

his

seat.

At

last

the

assembly

was

silent

again.

Someone

spoke

out

of

turn.

"Maybe

he

means

it's

some

sort

of

ghost."

Ralph

lifted

the

conch

and

peered

into

the

gloom.

The

lightest

thing

was

the

pale

beach.

Surely

the

littluns

were

nearer?

Yes--there

was

no

doubt

about

it,

they

were

huddled

into

a

tight

knot

of

bodies

in

the

central

grass.

A

flurry

of

wind

made

the

palms

talk

and

the

noise

seemed

very

loud

now

that

darkness

and

silence

made

it

so

noticeable.

Two

grey

trunks

rubbed

each

other

with

an

evil

speaking

that

no

one

had

noticed

by

day.

Piggy

took

the

conch

out

of

his

hands.

His

voice

was

indignant.

"I

don't

believe

in

no

ghosts--ever!"

Jack

was

up

too,

unaccountably

angry.

"Who

cares

what

you

believe--Fatty!"

"I

got

the

conch!"

There

was

the

sound

of

a

brief

tussle

and

the

conch

moved

to

and

fro.

"You

gimme

the

conch

back!"

Ralph

pushed

between

them

and

got

a

thump

on

the

chest.

He

wrestled

the

conch

from

someone

and

sat

down

breathlessly.

"There's

too

much

talk

about

ghosts.

We

ought

to

have

left

all

this

for

daylight."

A

hushed

and

anonymous

voice

broke

in.

"Perhaps

that's

what

the

beast

is--a

ghost."

The

assembly

was

shaken

as

by

a

wind.

"There's

too

much

talking

out

of

turn,"

Ralph

said,

"because

we

can't

have

proper

assemblies

if

you

don't

stick

to

the

rules."

He

stopped

again.

The

careful

plan

of

this

assembly

had

broken

down.

"What

d'you

want

me

to

say

then?

I

was

wrong

to

call

this

assembly

so

late.

We'll

have

a

vote

on

them;

on

ghosts

I

mean;

and

then

go

to

the

shelters

because

we're

all

tired.

No--Jack

is

it?--wait

a

minute.

I'll

say

here

and

now

that

I

don't

believe

in

ghosts.

Or

I

don't

think

I

do.

But

I

don't

like

the

thought

of

them.

Not

now

that

is,

in

the

dark.

But

we

were

going

to

decide

what's

what."

He

raised

the

conch

for

a

moment.

"Very

well

then.

I

suppose

what's

what

is

whether

there

are

ghosts

or

not--"

He

thought

for

a

moment,

formulating

the

question.

"Who

thinks

there

may

be

ghosts?"

For

a

long

time

there

was

silence

and

no

apparent

movement.

Then

Ralph

peered

into

the

gloom

and

made

out

the

hands.

He

spoke

flatly.

"I

see."

The

world,

that

understandable

and

lawful

world,

was

slipping

away.

Once

there

was

this

and

that;

and

now--

and

the

ship

had

gone.

The

conch

was

snatched

from

his

hands

and

Piggy's

voice

shrilled.

"I

didn't

vote

for

no

ghosts!"

He

whirled

round

on

the

assembly.

"Remember

that,

all

of

you!"

They

heard

him

stamp.

"What

are

we?

Humans?

Or

animals?

Or

savages?

What's

grownups

going

to

think?

Going

off--hunting

pigs--letting

fires

out--and

now!"

A

shadow

fronted

him

tempestuously.

"You

shut

up,

you

fat

slug!"

There

was

a

moment's

struggle

and

the

glimmering

conch

jigged

up

and

down.

Ralph

leapt

to

his

feet.

"Jack!

Jack!

You

haven't

got

the

conch!

Let

him

speak."

Jack's

face

swam

near

him.

"And

you

shut

up!

Who

are

you,

anyway?

Sitting

there

telling

people

what

to

do.

You

can't

hunt,

you

can't

sing--"

"I'm

chief.

I

was

chosen."

"Why

should

choosing

make

any

difference?

Just

giving

orders

that

don't

make

any

sense--"

"Piggy's

got

the

conch."

"That's

right--favor

Piggy

as

you

always

do--"

"Jack!"

Jack's

voice

sounded

in

bitter

mimicry.

"Jack!

Jack!"

"The

rules!"

shouted

Ralph.

"You're

breaking

the

rules!"

"Who

cares?"

Ralph

summoned

his

wits.

"Because

the

rules

are

the

only

thing

we've

got!"

But

Jack

was

shouting

against

him.

"Bollocks

to

the

rules!

We're

strong--we

hunt!

If

there's

a

beast,

we'll

hunt

it

down!

We'll

close

in

and

beat

and

beat

and

beat--!"

He

gave

a

wild

whoop

and

leapt

down

to

the

pale

sand.

At

once

the

platform

was

full

of

noise

and

excitement,

scramblings,

screams

and

laughter.

The

assembly

shredded

away

and

became

a

discursive

and

random

scatter

from

the

palms

to

the

water

and

away

along

the

beach,

beyond

night-sight.

Ralph

found

his

cheek

touching

the

conch

and

took

it

from

Piggy.

"What's

grownups

going

to

say?"

cried

Piggy

again.

"Look

at

'em!"

The

sound

of

mock

hunting,

hysterical

laughter

and

real

terror

came

from

the

beach.

"Blow

the

conch,

Ralph."

Piggy

was

so

close

that

Ralph

could

see

the

glint

of

his

one

glass.

"There's

the

fire.

Can't

they

see?"

"You

got

to

be

tough

now.

Make

'em

do

what

you

want."

Ralph

answered

in

the

cautious

voice

of

one

who

rehearses

a

theorem.

"If

I

blow

the

conch

and

they

don't

come

back;

then

we've

had

it.

We

shan't

keep

the

fire

going.

We'll

be

like

animals.

We'll

never

be

rescued."

"If

you

don't

blow,

we'll

soon

be

animals

anyway.

I

can't

see

what

they're

doing

but

I

can

hear."

The

dispersed

figures

had

come

together

on

the

sand

and

were

a

dense

black

mass

that

revolved.

They

were

chanting

something

and

littluns

that

had

had

enough

were

staggering

away,

howling.

Ralph

raised

the

conch

to

his

lips

and

then

lowered

it.

"The

trouble

is:

Are

there

ghosts,

Piggy?

Or

beasts?"

"Course

there

aren't."

"Why

not?"

"'Cos

things

wouldn't

make

sense.

Houses

an'

streets,

an'--TV--they

wouldn't

work."

The

dancing,

chanting

boys

had

worked

themselves

away

till

their

sound

was

nothing

but

a

wordless

rhythm.

"But

s'pose

they

don't

make

sense?

Not

here,

on

this

island?

Supposing

things

are

watching

us

and

waiting?"

Ralph

shuddered

violently

and

moved

closer

to

Piggy,

so

that

they

bumped

frighteningly.

"You

stop

talking

like

that!

We

got

enough

trouble,

Ralph,

an'

I've

had

as

much

as

I

can

stand.

If

there

is

ghosts--''

"I

ought

to

give

up

being

chief.

Hear

'em."

"Oh

lord!

Oh

no!"

Piggy

gripped

Ralph's

arm.

"If

Jack

was

chief

he'd

have

all

hunting

and

no

fire.

We'd

be

here

till

we

died."

His

voice

ran

up

to

a

squeak.

"Who's

that

sitting

there?"

"Me.

Simon."

"Fat

lot

of

good

we

are,"

said

Ralph.

"Three

blind

mice.

I'll

give

up."

"If

you

give

up,"

said

Piggy,

in

an

appalled

whisper,

"what

'ud

happen

to

me?"

"Nothing."

"He

hates

me.

I

dunno

why.

If

he

could

do

what

he

wanted--you're

all

right,

he

respects

you.

Besides--you'd

hit

him."

"You

were

having

a

nice

fight

with

him

just

now."

"I

had

the

conch,"

said

Piggy

simply.

"I

had

a

right

to

speak."

Simon

stirred

in

the

dark.

"Go

on

being

chief."

"You

shut

up,

young

Simon!

Why

couldn't

you

say

there

wasn't

a

beast?"

"I'm

scared

of

him,"

said

Piggy,

"and

that's

why

I

know

him.

If

you're

scared

of

someone

you

hate

him

but

you

can't

stop

thinking

about

him.

You

kid

yourself

he's

all

right

really,

an'

then

when

you

see

him

again;

it's

like

asthma

an'

you

can't

breathe.

I

tell

you

what.

He

hates

you

too,

Ralph--"

"Me?

Why

me?"

"I

dunno.

You

got

him

over

the

fire;

an'

you're

chief

an'

he

isn't."

"But

he's,

he's,

Jack

Merridew!"

"I

been

in

bed

so

much

I

done

some

thinking.

I

know

about

people.

I

know

about

me.

And

him.

He

can't

hurt

you:

but

if

you

stand

out

of

the

way

he'd

hurt

the

next

thing.

And

that's

me."

"Piggy's

right,

Ralph.

There's

you

and

Jack.

Go

on

being

chief."

"We're

all

drifting

and

things

are

going

rotten.

At

home

there

was

always

a

grownup.

Please,

sir,

please,

miss;

and

then

you

got

an

answer.

How

I

wish!"

"I

wish

my

auntie

was

here."

"I

wish

my

father.

.

.

Oh,

what's

the

use?"

"Keep

the

fire

going."

The

dance

was

over

and

the

hunters

were

going

back

to

the

shelters.

"Grownups

know

things,"

said

Piggy.

"They

ain't

afraid

of

the

dark.

They'd

meet

and

have

tea

and

discuss.

Then

things

'ud

be

all

right--"

"They

wouldn't

set

fire

to

the

island.

Or

lose--"

"They'd

build

a

ship--"

The

three

boys

stood

in

the

darkness,

striving

unsuccessfully

to

convey

the

majesty

of

adult

life.

"They

wouldn't

quarrel--"

"Or

break

my

specs--"

"Or

talk

about

a

beast--"

"If

only

they

could

get

a

message

to

us,"

cried

Ralph

desperately.

"If

only

they

could

send

us

something

grownup.

.

.

a

sign

or

something."

A

thin

wail

out

of

the

darkness

chilled

them

and

set

them

grabbing

for

each

other.

Then

the

wail

rose,

remote

and

unearthly,'

and

turned

to

an

inarticulate

gibbering.

Percival

Wemys

Madison,

of

the

Vicarage,

Harcourt

St.

Anthony,

lying

in

the

long

grass,

was

living

through

circumstances

in

which

the

incantation

of

his

address

was

powerless

to

help

him.

CHAPTER

SIX

Beast

from

Air

There

was

no

light

left

save

that

of

the

stars.

When

they

had

understood

what

made

this

ghostly

noise

and

Percival

was

quiet

again,

Ralph

and

Simon

picked

him

up

unhandily

and

carried

him

to

a

shelter.

Piggy

hung

about

near

for

all

his

brave

words,

and

the

three

bigger

boys

went

together

to

the

next

shelter.

They

lay

restlessly

and

noisily

among

the

dry

leaves,

watching

the

patch

of

stars

that

was

the

opening

toward

the

lagoon.

Sometimes

a

littlun

cried

out

from

the

other

shelters

and

once

a

bigun

spoke

in

the

dark.

Then

they

too

fell

asleep.

A

sliver

of

moon

rose

over

the

horizon,

hardly

large

enough

to

make

a

path

of

light

even

when

it

sat

right

down

on

the

water;

but

there

were

other

lights

in

the

sky,

that

moved

fast,

winked,

or

went

out,

though

not

even

a

faint

popping

came

down

from

the

battle

fought

at

ten

miles'

height.

But

a

sign

came

down

from

the

world

of

grownups,

though

at

the

time

there

was

no

child

awake

to

read

it.

There

was

a

sudden

bright

explosion

and

corkscrew

trail

across

the

sky;

then

darkness

again

and

stars.

There

was

a

speck

above

the

island,

a

figure

dropping

swiftly

beneath

a

parachute,

a

figure

that

hung

with

dangling

limbs.

The

changing

winds

of

various

altitudes

took

the

figure

where

they

would.

Then,

three

miles

up,

the

wind

steadied

and

bore

it

in

a

descending

curve

round

the

sky

and

swept

it

in

a

great

slant

across

the

reef

and

the

lagoon

toward

the

mountain.

The

figure

fell

and

crumpled

among

the

blue

flowers

of

the

mountain-side,

but

now

there

was

a

gentle

breeze

at

this

height

too

and

the

parachute

flopped

and

banged

and

pulled.

So

the

figure,

with

feet

that

dragged

behind

it,

slid

up

the

mountain.

Yard

by

yard,

puff

by

puff,

the

breeze

hauled

the

figure

through

the

blue

flowers,

over

the

boulders

and

red

stones,

till

it

lay

huddled

among

the

shattered

rocks

of

the

mountain-top.

Here

the

breeze

was

fitful

and

allowed

the

strings

of

the

parachute

to

tangle

and

festoon;

and

the

figure

sat,

its

helmeted

head

between

its

knees,

held

by

a

complication

of

lines.

When

the

breeze

blew,

the

lines

would

strain

taut

and

some

accident

of

this

pull

lifted

the

head

and

chest

upright

so

that

the

figure

seemed

to

peer

across

the

brow

of

the

mountain.

Then,

each

time

the

wind

dropped,

the

lines

would

slacken

and

the

figure

bow

forward

again,

sinking

its

head

between

its

knees.

So

as

the

stars

moved

across

the

sky,

the

figure

sat

on

the

mountain-top

and

bowed

and

sank

and

bowed

again.

In

the

darkness

of

early

morning

there

were

noises

by

a

rock

a

little

way

down

the

side

of

the

mountain.

Two

boys

rolled

out

a

pile

of

brushwood

and

dead

leaves,

two

dim

shadows

talking

sleepily

to

each

other.

They

were

the

twins,

on

duty

at

the

fire.

In

theory

one

should

have

been

asleep

and

one

on

watch.

But

they

could

never

manage

to

do

things

sensibly

if

that

meant

acting

independently,

and

since

staying

awake

all

night

was

impossible,

they

had

both

gone

to

sleep.

Now

they

approached

the

darker

smudge

that

had

been

the

signal

fire,

yawning,

rubbing

their

eyes,

treading

with

practiced

feet.

When

they

reached

it

they

stopped

yawning,

and

one

ran

quickly

back

for

brushwood

and

leaves.

The

other

knelt

down.

"I

believe

it's

out."

He

fiddled

with

the

sticks

that

were

pushed

into

his

hands.

"No."

He

lay

down

and

put

his

lips

close

to

the

smudge

and

blew

soffly.

His

face

appeared,

lit

redly.

He

stopped

blowing

for

a

moment.

"Sam--give

us--"

"--tinder

wood."

Eric

bent

down

and

blew

softly

again

till

the

patch

was

bright.

Sam

poked

the

piece

of

tinder

wood

into

the

hot

spot,

then

a

branch.

The

glow

increased

and

the

branch

took

fire.

Sam

piled

on

more

branches.

"Don't

burn

the

lot,"

said

Eric,

"you're

putting

on

too

much."

"Let's

warm

up."

"We'll

only

have

to

fetch

more

wood."

"I'm

cold."

"So'm

I."

"Besides,

it's--"

"--dark.

All

right,

then."

Eric

squatted

back

and

watched

Sam

make

up

the

fire.

He

built

a

little

tent

of

dead

wood

and

the

fire

was

safely

alight.

"That

was

near."

"He'd

have

been--"

"Waxy."

"Huh."

For

a

few

moments

the

twins

watched

the

fire

in

silence.

Then

Eric

sniggered.

"Wasn't

he

waxy?"

"About

the--"

"Fire

and

the

pig."

"Lucky

he

went

for

Jack,

'stead

of

us."

"Huh.

Remember

old

Waxy

at

school?"

"'Boy--you-are-driving-me-slowly-insane!'"

The

twins

shared

their

identical

laughter,

then

remembered

the

darkness

and

other

things

and

glanced

round

uneasily.

The

flames,

busy

about

the

tent,

drew

their

eyes

back

again.

Eric

watched

the

scurrying

woodlice

that

were

so

frantically

unable

to

avoid

the

flames,

and

thought

of

the

first

fire--just

down

there,

on

the

steeper

side

of

the

mountain,

where

now

was

complete

darkness.

He

did

not

like

to

remember

it,

and

looked

away

at

the

mountain-top.

Warmth

radiated

now,

and

beat

pleasantly

on

them.

Sam

amused

himself

by

fitting

branches

into

the

fire

as

closely

as

possible.

Eric

spread

out

his

hands,

searching

for

the

distance

at

which

the

heat

was

just

bearable.

Idly

looking

beyond

the

fire,

he

resettled

the

scattered

rocks

from

their

flat

shadows

into

daylight

contours.

Just

there

was

the

big

rock,

and

the

three

stones

there,

that

split

rock,

and

there

beyond

was

a

gap--just

there--

"Sam."

"Huh?"

"Nothing."

The

flames

were

mastering

the

branches,

the

bark

was

curling

and

falling

away,

the

wood

exploding.

The

tent

fell

inwards

and

flung

a

wide

circle

of

light

over

the

mountain-top.

"Sam--"

"Huh?"

"Sam!

Sam!"

Sam

looked

at

Eric

irritably.

The

intensity

of

Eric's

gaze

made

the

direction

in

which

he

looked

terrible,

for

Sam

had

his

back

to

it.

He

scrambled

round

the

fire,

squatted

by

Eric,

and

looked

to

see.

They

became

motionless,

gripped

in

each

other's

arms,

four

unwinking

eyes

aimed

and

two

mouths

open.

Far

beneath

them,

the

trees

of

the

forest

sighed,

then

roared.

The

hair

on

their

foreheads

fluttered

and

flames

blew

out

sideways

from

the

fire.

Fifteen

yards

away

from

them

came

the

plopping

noise

of

fabric

blown

open.

Neither

of

the

boys

screamed

but

the

grip

of

their

arms

tightened

and

their

mouths

grew

peaked.

For

perhaps

ten

seconds

they

crouched

like

that

while

the

flailing

fire

sent

smoke

and

sparks

and

waves

of

inconstant

light

over

the

top

of

the

mountain.

Then

as

though

they

had

but

one

terrified

mind

between

them

they

scrambled

away

over

the

rocks

and

fled.

Ralph

was

dreaming.

He

had

fallen

asleep

after

what

seemed

hours

of

tossing

and

turning

noisily

among

the

dry

leaves.

Even

the

sounds

of

nightmare

from

the

other

shelters

no

longer

reached

him,

for

he

was

back

to

where

he

came

from,

feeding

the

ponies

with

sugar

over

the

garden

wall.

Then

someone

was

shaking

his

arm,

telling

him

that

it

was

time

for

tea.

"Ralph!

Wake

up!"

The

leaves

were

roaring

like

the

sea.

"Ralph,

wake

up!"

"What's

the

matter?"

"We

saw--"

"--the

beast--"

"--plain!"

"Who

are

you?

The

twins?"

"We

saw

the

beast--"

"Quiet.

Piggy!"

The

leaves

were

roaring

still.

Piggy

bumped

into

him

and

a

twin

grabbed

him

as

he

made

for

the

oblong

of

paling

stars.

"You

can't

go

out--it's

horrible!"

"Piggy--where

are

the

spears?"

"I

can

hear

the--"

"Quiet

then.

Lie

still."

They

lay

there

listening,

at

first

with

doubt

but

then

with

terror

to

the

description

the

twins

breathed

at

them

between

bouts

of

extreme

silence.

Soon

the

darkness

was

full

of

claws,

full

of

the

awful

unknown

and

menace.

An

interminable

dawn

faded

the

stars

out,

and

at

last

light,

sad

and

grey,

filtered

into

the

shelter.

They

began

to

stir

though

still

the

world

outside

the

shelter

was

impossibly

dangerous.

The

maze

of

the

darkness

sorted

into

near

and

far,

and

at

the

high

point

of

the

sky

the

cloudlets

were

warmed

with

color.

A

single

sea

bird

flapped

upwards

with

a

hoarse

cry

that

was

echoed

presently,

and

something

squawked

in

the

forest.

Now

streaks

of

cloud

near

the

horizon

began

to

glow

rosily,

and

the

feathery

tops

of

the

palms

were

green.

Ralph

knelt

in

the

entrance

to

the

shelter

and

peered

cautiously

round

him.

"Sam

'n

Eric.

Call

them

to

an

assembly.

Quietly.

Go

on."

The

twins,

holding

tremulously

to

each

other,

dared

the

few

yards

to

the

next

shelter

and

spread

the

dreadful

news.

Ralph

stood

up

and

walked

for

the

sake

of

dignity,

though

with

his

back

pricking,

to

the

platform.

Piggy

and

Simon

followed

him

and

the

other

boys

came

sneaking

after.

Ralph

took

the

conch

from

where

it

lay

on

the

polished

seat

and

held

it

to

his

lips;

but

then

he

hesitated

and

did

not

blow.

He

held

the

shell

up

instead

and

showed

it

to

them

and

they

understood.

The

rays

of

the

sun

that

were

fanning

upwards

from

below

the

horizon

swung

downwards

to

eye-level.

Ralph

looked

for

a

moment

at

the

growing

slice

of

gold

that

lit

them

from

the

right

hand

and

seemed

to

make

speech

possible.

The

circle

of

boys

before

him

bristled

with

hunting

spears.

He

handed

the

conch

to

Eric,

the

nearest

of

the

twins.

"We've

seen

the

beast

with

our

own

eyes.

No--we

weren't

asleep--"

Sam

took

up

the

story.

By

custom

now

one

conch

did

for

both

twins,

for

their

substantial

unity

was

recognized.

"It

was

furry.

There

was

something

moving

behind

its

head--wings.

The

beast

moved

too--"

"That

was

awful.

It

kind

of

sat

up--"

"The

fire

was

bright--"

"We'd

just

made

it

up--"

"--more

sticks

on--"

"There

were

eyes--"

"Teeth--"

"Claws--"

"We

ran

as

fast

as

we

could--"

"Bashed

into

things--"

"The

beast

followed

us--"

"I

saw

it

slinking

behind

the

trees--"

"Nearly

touched

me--"

Ralph

pointed

fearfully

at

Eric's

face,

which

was

striped

with

scars

where

the

bushes

had

torn

him.

"How

did

you

do

that?"

Eric

felt

his

face.

"I'm

all

rough.

Am

I

bleeding?"

The

circle

of

boys

shrank

away

in

horror.

Johnny,

yawning

still,

burst

into

noisy

tears

and

was

slapped

by

Bill

till

he

choked

on

them.

The

bright

morning

was

full

of

threats

and

the

circle

began

to

change.

It

faced

out,

rather

than

in,

and

the

spears

of

sharpened

wood

were

like

a

fence.

Jack

called

them

back

to

the

center.

"This'll

be

a

real

hunt!

Who'll

come?"

Ralph

moved

impatiently.

"These

spears

are

made

of

wood.

Don't

be

silly."

Jack

sneered

at

him.

"Frightened?"

"'Course

I'm

frightened.

Who

wouldn't

be?"

He

turned

to

the

twins,

yearning

but

hopeless.

"I

suppose

you

aren't

pulling

our

legs?"

The

reply

was

too

emphatic

for

anyone

to

doubt

them.

Piggy

took

the

conch.

"Couldn't

we--kind

of--stay

here?

Maybe

the

beast

won't

come

near

us."

But

for

the

sense

of

something

watching

them,

Ralph

would

have

shouted

at

him.

"Stay

here?

And

be

cramped

into

this

bit

of

the

island,

always

on

the

lookout?

How

should

we

get

our

food?

And

what

about

the

fire?"

"Let's

be

moving,"

said

Jack

relentlessly,

"we're

wasting

time."

"No

we're

not.

What

about

the

littluns?"

"Sucks

to

the

littluns!"

"Someone's

got

to

look

after

them."

"Nobody

has

so

far."

"There

was

no

need!

Now

there

is.

Piggy'll

look

after

them."

"That's

right.

Keep

Piggy

out

of

danger."

"Have

some

sense.

What

can

Piggy

do

with

only

one

eye?"

The

rest

of

the

boys

were

looking

from

Jack

to

Ralph,

curiously.

"And

another

thing.

You

can't

have

an

ordinary

hunt

because

the

beast

doesn't

leave

tracks.

If

it

did

you'd

have

seen

them.

For

all

we

know,

the

beast

may

swing

through

the

trees

like

what's

its

name."

They

nodded.

"So

we've

got

to

think."

Piggy

took

off

his

damaged

glasses

and

cleaned

the

remaining

lens.

"How

about

us,

Ralph?"

"You

haven't

got

the

conch.

Here."

"I

mean--how

about

us?

Suppose

the

beast

comes

when

you're

all

away.

I

can't

see

proper,

and

if

I

get

scared--"

Jack

broke

in,

contemptuously.

"You're

always

scared."

"I

got

the

conch--"

"Conch!

Conch!"

shouted

Jack.

"We

don't

need

the

conch

any

more.

We

know

who

ought

to

say

things.

What

good

did

Simon

do

speaking,

or

Bill,

or

Walter?

It's

time

some

people

knew

they've

got

to

keep

quiet

and

leave

deciding

things

to

the

rest

of

us."

Ralph

could

no

longer

ignore

his

speech.

The

blood

was

hot

in

his

cheeks.

"You

haven't

got

the

conch,"

he

said.

"Sit

down."

Jack's

face

went

so

white

that

the

freckles

showed

as

clear,

brown

flecks.

He

licked

his

lips

and

remained

standing.

"This

is

a

hunter's

job."

The

rest

of

the

boys

watched

intently.

Piggy,

finding

himself

uncomfortably

embroiled,

slid

the

conch

to

Ralph's

knees

and

sat

down.

The

silence

grew

oppressive

and

Piggy

held

his

breath.

"This

is

more

than

a

hunter's

job,"

said

Ralph

at

last,

"because

you

can't

track

the

beast.

And

don't

you

want

to

be

rescued?"

He

turned

to

the

assembly.

"Don't

you

all

want

to

be

rescued?"

He

looked

back

at

Jack.

"I

said

before,

the

fire

is

the

main

thing.

Now

the

fire

must

be

out--"

The

old

exasperation

saved

him

and

gave

him

the

energy

to

attack.

"Hasn't

anyone

got

any

sense?

We've

got

to

relight

that

fire.

You

never

thought

of

that,

Jack,

did

you?

Or

don't

any

of

you

want

to

be

rescued?"

Yes,

they

wanted

to

be

rescued,

there

was

no

doubt

about

that;

and

with

a

violent

swing

to

Ralph's

side,

the

crisis

passed.

Piggy

let

out

his

breath

with

a

gasp,

reached

for

it

again

and

failed.

He

lay

against

a

log,

his

mouth

gaping,

blue

shadows

creeping

round

his

lips.

Nobody

minded

him.

"Now

think,

Jack.

Is

there

anywhere

on

the

island

you

haven't

been?"

Unwillingly

Jack

answered.

"There's

only--but

of

course!

You

remember?

The

tail-end

part,

where

the

rocks

are

all

piled

up.

I've

been

near

there.

The

rock

makes

a

sort

of

bridge.

There's

only

one

way

up."

"And

the

thing

might

live

there."

All

the

assembly

talked

at

once.

"Quite!

All

right.

That's

where

we'll

look.

If

the

beast

isn't

there

we'll

go

up

the

mountain

and

look;

and

light

the

fire."

"Let's

go."

"We'll

eat

first.

Then

go."

Ralph

paused.

"We'd

better

take

spears."

After

they

had

eaten,

Ralph

and

the

biguns

set

out

along

the

beach.

They

left

Piggy

propped

up

on

the

platform.

This

day

promised,

like

the

others,

to

be

a

sunbath

under

a

blue

dome.

The

beach

stretched

away

before

them

in

a

gentle

curve

till

perspective

drew

it

into

one

with

the

forest;

for

the

day

was

not

advanced

enough

to

be

obscured

by

the

shifting

veils

of

mirage.

Under

Ralph's

direction,

they

picked

up

a

careful

way

along

the

palm

terrace,

rather

than

dare

the

hot

sand

down

by

the

water.

He

let

Jack

lead

the

way;

and

Jack

trod

with

theatrical

caution

though

they

could

have

seen

an

enemy

twenty

yards

away.

Ralph

walked

in

the

rear,

thankful

to

have

escaped

responsibility

for

a

time.

Simon,

walking

in

front

of

Ralph,

felt

a

flicker

of

incredulity--a

beast

with

claws

that

scratched,

that

sat

on

a

mountain-top,

that

left

no

tracks

and

yet

was

not

fast

enough

to

catch

Samneric.

However

Simon

thought

of

the

beast,

there

rose

before

his

inward

sight

the

picture

of

a

human

at

once

heroic

and

sick.

He

sighed.

Other

people

could

stand

up

and

speak

to

an

assembly,

apparently,

without

that

dreadful

feeling

of

the

pressure

of

personality;

could

say

what

they

would

as

though

they

were

speaking

to

only

one

person.

He

stepped

aside

and

looked

back.

Ralph

was

coming

along,

holding

his

spear

over

his

shoulder.

Diffidently,

Simon

allowed

his

pace

to

slacken

until

he

was

walking

side

by

side

with

Ralph

and

looking

up

at

him

through

the

coarse

black

hair

that

now

fell

to

his

eyes.

Ralph

glanced

sideways,

smiled

constrainedly

as

though

he

had

forgotten

that

Simon

had

made

a

fool

of

himself,

then

looked

away

again

at

nothing.

For

a

moment

or

two

Simon

was

happy

to

be

accepted

and

then

he

ceased

to

think

about

himself.

When

he

bashed

into

a

tree

Ralph

looked

sideways

impatiently

and

Robert

sniggered.

Simon

reeled

and

a

white

spot

on

his

forehead

turned

red

and

trickled.

Ralph

dismissed

Simon

and

returned

to

his

personal

hell.

They

would

reach

the

castle

some

time;

and

the

chief

would

have

to

go

forward.

Jack

came

trotting

back.

"We're

in

sight

now."

"All

right.

We'll

get

as

close

as

we

can."

He

followed

Jack

toward

the

castle

where

the

ground

rose

slightly.

On

their

left

was

an

impenetrable

tangle

of

creepers

and

trees.

"Why

couldn't

there

be

something

in

that?"

"Because

you

can

see.

Nothing

goes

in

or

out."

"What

about

the

castle

then?"

"Look."

Ralph

parted

the

screen

of

grass

and

looked

out.

There

were

only

a

few

more

yards

of

stony

ground

and

then

the

two

sides

of

the

island

came

almost

together

so

that

one

expected

a

peak

of

headland.

But

instead

of

this

a

narrow

ledge

of

rock,

a

few

yards

wide

and

perhaps

fifteen

long,

continued

the

island

out

into

the

sea.

There

lay

another

of

those

pieces

of

pink

squareness

that

underlay

the

structure

of

the

island.

This

side

of

the

castle,

perhaps

a

hundred

feet

high,

was

the

pink

bastion

they

had

seen

from

the

mountain-top.

The

rock

of

the

cliff

was

split

and

the

top

littered

with

great

lumps

that

seemed

to

totter.

Behind

Ralph

the

tall

grass

had

filled

with

silent

hunters.

Ralph

looked

at

Jack.

"You're

a

hunter."

Jack

went

red.

"I

know.

All

right."

Something

deep

in

Ralph

spoke

for

him.

"I'm

chief.

I'll

go.

Don't

argue."

He

turned

to

the

others.

"You.

Hide

here.

Wait

for

me."

He

found

his

voice

tended

either

to

disappear

or

to

come

out

too

loud.

He

looked

at

Jack.

"Do

you--think?"

Jack

muttered.

"I've

been

all

over.

It

must

be

here."

"I

see."

Simon

mumbled

confusedly:

"I

don't

believe

in

the

beast."

Ralph

answered

him

politely,

as

if

agreeing

about

the

weather.

"No.

I

suppose

not."

His

mouth

was

tight

and

pale.

He

put

back

his

hair

very

slowly.

"Well.

So

long."

He

forced

his

feet

to

move

until

they

had

carried

him

out

on

to

the

neck

of

land.

He

was

surrounded

on

all

sides

by

chasms

of

empty

air.

There

was

nowhere

to

hide,

even

if

one

did

not

have

to

go

on.

He

paused

on

the

narrow

neck

and

looked

down.

Soon,

in

a

matter

of

centuries,

the

sea

would

make

an

island

of

the

castle.

On

the

right

hand

was

the

lagoon,

troubled

by

the

open

sea;

and

on

the

left--

Ralph

shuddered.

The

lagoon

had

protected

them

from

the

Pacific:

and

for

some

reason

only

Jack

had

gone

right

down

to

the

water

on

the

other

side.

Now

he

saw

the

landsman's

view

of

the

swell

and

it

seemed

like

the

breathing

of

some

stupendous

creature.

Slowly

the

waters

sank

among

the

rocks,

revealing

pink

tables

of

granite,

strange

growths

of

coral,

polyp,

and

weed.

Down,

down,

the

waters

went,

whispering

like

the

wind

among

the

heads

of

the

forest.

There

was

one

flat

rock

there,

spread

like

a

table,

and

the

waters

sucking

down

on

the

four

weedy

sides

made

them

seem

like

cliffs.

Then

the

sleeping

leviathan

breathed

out,

the

waters

rose,

the

weed

streamed,

and

the

water

boiled

over

the

table

rock

with

a

roar.

There

was

no

sense

of

the

passage

of

waves;

only

this

minute-long

fall

and

rise

and

fall.

Ralph

turned

away

to

the

red

cliff.

They

were

waiting

behind

him

in

the

long

grass,

waiting

to

see

what

he

would

do.

He

noticed

that

the

sweat

in

his

palm

was

cool

now;

realized

with

surprise

that

he

did

not

really

expect

to

meet

any

beast

and

didn't

know

what

he

would

do

about

it

if

he

did.

He

saw

that

he

could

climb

the

cliff

but

this

was

not

necessary.

The

squareness

of

the

rock

allowed

a

sort

of

plinth

round

it,

so

that

to

the

right,

over

the

lagoon,

one

could

inch

along

a

ledge

and

turn

the

corner

out

of

sight.

It

was

easy

going,

and

soon

he

was

peering

round

the

rock.

Nothing

but

what

you

might

expect:

pink,

tumbled

boulders

with

guano

layered

on

them

like

icing;

and

a

steep

slope

up

to

the

shattered

rocks

that

crowned

the

bastion.

A

sound

behind

him

made

him

turn.

Jack

was

edging

along

the

ledge.

"Couldn't

let

you

do

it

on

your

own."

Ralph

said

nothing.

He

led

the

way

over

the

rocks,

inspected

a

sort

of

half-cave

that

held

nothing

more

terrible

than

a

clutch

of

rotten

eggs,

and

at

last

sat

down,

looking

round

him

and

tapping

the

rock

with

the

butt

of

his

spear.

Jack

was

excited.

"What

a

place

for

a

fort!"

A

column

of

spray

wetted

them.

"No

fresh

water."

"What's

that

then?"

There

was

indeed

a

long

green

smudge

half-way

up

the

rock.

They

climbed

up

and

tasted

the

trickle

of

water.

"You

could

keep

a

coconut

shell

there,

filling

all

the

time."

"Not

me.

This

is

a

rotten

place."

Side

by

side

they

scaled

the

last

height

to

where

the

diminishing

pile

was

crowned

by

the

last

broken

rock.

Jack

struck

the

near

one

with

his

fist

and

it

grated

slightly.

"Do

you

remember--?"

Consciousness

of

the

bad

times

in

between

came

to

them

both.

Jack

talked

quickly.

"Shove

a

palm

trunk

under

that

and

if

an

enemy

came--

look!"

A

hundred

feet

below

them

was

the

narrow

causeway,

then

the

stony

ground,

then

the

grass

dotted

with

heads,

and

behind

that

the

forest.

"One

heave,"

cried

Jack,

exulting,

"and--wheee--!"

He

made

a

sweeping

movement

with

his

hand.

Ralph

looked

toward

the

mountain.

"What's

the

matter?"

Ralph

turned.

"Why?"

"You

were

looking--I

don't

know

why."

"There's

no

signal

now.

Nothing

to

show."

"You're

nuts

on

the

signal."

The

taut

blue

horizon

encircled

them,

broken

only

by

the

mountain-top.

"That's

all

we've

got."

He

leaned

his

spear

against

the

rocking

stone

and

pushed

back

two

handfuls

of

hair.

"We'll

have

to

go

back

and

climb

the

mountain.

That's

where

they

saw

the

beast."

"The

beast

won't

be

there."

"What

else

can

we

do?"

The

others,

waiting

in

the

grass,

saw

Jack

and

Ralph

unharmed

and

broke

cover

into

the

sunlight.

They

forgot

the

beast

in

the

excitement

of

exploration.

They

swarmed

across

the

bridge

and

soon

were

climbing

and

shouting.

Ralph

stood

now,

one

hand

against

an

enormous

red

block,

a

block

large

as

a

mill

wheel

that

had

been

split

off

and

hung,

tottering.

Somberly

he

watched

the

mountain.

He

clenched

his

fist

and

beat

hammer-wise

on

the

red

wall

at

his

right.

His

lips

were

tightly

compressed

and

his

eyes

yearned

beneath

the

fringe

of

hair.

"Smoke."

He

sucked

his

bruised

fist.

"Jack!

Come

on."

But

Jack

was

not

there.

A

knot

of

boys,

making

a

great

noise

that

he

had

not

noticed,

were

heaving

and

pushing

at

a

rock.

As

he

turned,

the

base

cracked

and

the

whole

mass

toppled

into

the

sea

so

that

a

thunderous

plume

of

spray

leapt

half-way

up

the

cliff.

"Stop

it!

Stop

it!"

His

voice

struck

a

silence

among

them.

"Smoke."

A

strange

thing

happened

in

his

head.

Something

flittered

there

in

front

of

his

mind

like

a

bat's

wing,

obscuring

his

idea.

"Smoke."

At

once

the

ideas

were

back,

and

the

anger.

"We

want

smoke.

And

you

go

wasting

your

time.

You

roll

rocks."

Roger

shouted.

"We've

got

plenty

of

time!"

Ralph

shook

his

head.

"We'll

go

to

the

mountain."

The

clamor

broke

out.

Some

of

the

boys

wanted

to

go

back

to

the

beach.

Some

wanted

to

roll

more

rocks.

The

sun

was

bright

and

danger

had

faded

with

the

darkness.

"Jack.

The

beast

might

be

on

the

other

side.

You

can

lead

again.

You've

been."

"We

could

go

by

the

shore.

There's

fruit."

Bill

came

up

to

Ralph.

"Why

can't

we

stay

here

for

a

bit?"

"That's

right.''

"Let's

have

a

fort."

"There's

no

food

here,"

said

Ralph,

"and

no

shelter.

Not

much

fresh

water."

"This

would

make

a

wizard

fort."

"We

can

roll

rocks--"

"Right

onto

the

bridge--"

"I

say

we'll

go

on!"

shouted

Ralph

furiously.

"We've

got

to

make

certain.

We'll

go

now."

"Let's

stay

here--"

"Back

to

the

shelter--"

"I'm

tired--"

"No!"

Ralph

struck

the

skin

off

his

knuckles.

They

did

not

seem

to

hurt.

"I'm

chief.

We've

got

to

make

certain.

Can't

you

see

the

mountain?

There's

no

signal

showing.

There

may

be

a

ship

out

there.

Are

you

all

off

your

rockers?"

Mutinously,

the

boys

fell

silent

or

muttering.

Jack

led

the

way

down

the

rock

and

across

the

bridge.

CHAPTER

SEVEN

Shadows

and

Tall

Trees

The

pig-run

kept

close

to

the

jumble

of

rocks

that

lay

down

by

the

water

on

the

other

side

and

Ralph

was

content

to

follow

Jack

along

it.

If

you

could

shut

your

ears

to

the

slow

suck

down

of

the

sea

and

boil

of

the

return,

if

you

could

forget

how

dun

and

unvisited

were

the

ferny

coverts

on

either

side,

then

there

was

a

chance

that

you

might

put

the

beast

out

of

mind

and

dream

for

a

while.

The

sun

had

swung

over

the

vertical

and

the

afternoon

heat

was

closing

in

on

the

island.

Ralph

passed

a

message

forward

to

Jack

and

when

they

next

came

to

fruit

the

whole

party

stopped

and

ate.

Sitting,

Ralph

was

aware

of

the

heat

for

the

first

time

that

day.

He

pulled

distastefully

at

his

grey

shirt

and

wondered

whether

he

might

undertake

the

adventure

of

washing

it.

Sitting

under

what

seemed

an

unusual

heat,

even

for

this

island,

Ralph

planned

his

toilet.

He

would

like

to

have

a

pair

of

scissors

and

cut

this

hair--he

flung

the

mass

back--cut

this

filthy

hair

right

back

to

half

an

inch.

He

would

like

to

have

a

bath,

a

proper

wallow

with

soap.

He

passed

his

tongue

experimentally

over

his

teeth

and

decided

that

a

toothbrush

would

come

in

handy

too.

Then

there

were

his

nails--

Ralph

turned

his

hand

over

and

examined

them.

They

were

bitten

down

to

the

quick

though

he

could

not

remember

when

he

had

restarted

this

habit

nor

any

time

when

he

indulged

it.

"Be

sucking

my

thumb

next--"

He

looked

round,

furtively.

Apparently

no

one

had

heard.

The

hunters

sat,

stuffing

themselves

with

this

easy

meal,

trying

to

convince

themselves

that

they

got

sufficient

kick

out

of

bananas

and

that

other

olive-grey,

jelly-like

fruit.

With

the

memory

of

his

sometime

clean

self

as

a

standard,

Ralph

looked

them

over.

They

were

dirty,

not

with

the

spectacular

dirt

of

boys

who

have

fallen

into

mud

or

been

brought

down

hard

on

a

rainy

day.

Not

one

of

them

was

an

obvious

subject

for

a

shower,

and

yet--hair,

much

too

long,

tangled

here

and

there,

knotted

round

a

dead

leaf

or

a

twig;

faces

cleaned

fairly

well

by

the

process

of

eating

and

sweating

but

marked

in

the

less

accessible

angles

with

a

kind

of

shadow;

clothes,

worn

away,

stiff

like

his

own

with

sweat,

put

on,

not

for

decorum

or

comfort

but

out

of

custom;

the

skin

of

the

body,

scurfy

with

brine--

He

discovered

with

a

little

fall

of

the

heart

that

these

were

the

conditions

he

took

as

normal

now

and

that

he

did

not

mind.

He

sighed

and

pushed

away

the

stalk

from

which

he

had

stripped

the

fruit.

Already

the

hunters

were

stealing

away

to

do

their

business

in

the

woods

or

down

by

the

rocks.

He

turned

and

looked

out

to

sea.

Here,

on

the

other

side

of

the

island,

the

view

was

utterly

different.

The

filmy

enchantments

of

mirage

could

not

endure

the

cold

ocean

water

and

the

horizon

was

hard,

clipped

blue.

Ralph

wandered

down

to

the

rocks.

Down

here,

almost

on

a

level

with

the

sea,

you

could

follow

with

your

eye

the

ceaseless,

bulging

passage

of

the

deep

sea

waves.

They

were

miles

wide,

apparently

not

breakers

or

the

banked

ridges

of

shallow

water.

They

traveled

the

length

of

the

island

with

an

air

of

disregarding

it

and

being

set

on

other

business;

they

were

less

a

progress

than

a

momentous

rise

and

fall

of

the

whole

ocean.

Now

the

sea

would

suck

down,

making

cascades

and

waterfalls

of

retreating

water,

would

sink

past

the

rocks

and

plaster

down

the

seaweed

like

shining

hair:

then,

pausing,

gather

and

rise

with

a

roar,

irresistibly

swelling

over

point

and

outcrop,

climbing

the

little

cliff,

sending

at

last

an

arm

of

surf

up

a

gully

to

end

a

yard

or

so

from

him

in

fingers

of

spray.

Wave

after

wave,

Ralph

followed

the

rise

and

fall

until

something

of

the

remoteness

of

the

sea

numbed

his

brain.

Then

gradually

the

almost

infinite

size

of

this

water

forced

itself

on

his

attention.

This

was

the

divider,

the

barrier.

On

the

other

side

of

the

island,

swathed

at

midday

with

mirage,

defended

by

the

shield

of

the

quiet

lagoon,

one

might

dream

of

rescue;

but

here,

faced

by

the

brute

obtuseness

of

the

ocean,

the

miles

of

division,

one

was

clamped

down,

one

was

helpless,

one

was

condemned,

one

was--

Simon

was

speaking

almost

in

his

ear.

Ralph

found

that

he

had

rock

painfully

gripped

in

both

hands,

found

his

body

arched,

the

muscles

of

his

neck

stiff,

his

mouth

strained

open.

"You'll

get

back

to

where

you

came

from."

Simon

nodded

as

he

spoke.

He

was

kneeling

on

one

knee,

looking

down

from

a

higher

rock

which

he

held

with

both

hands;

his

other

leg

stretched

down

to

Ralph's

level.

Ralph

was

puzzled

and

searched

Simon's

face

for

a

clue.

"It's

so

big,

I

mean--"

Simon

nodded.

"All

the

same.

You'll

get

back

all

right.

I

think

so,

anyway."

Some

of

the

strain

had

gone

from

Ralph's

body.

He

glanced

at

the

sea

and

then

smiled

bitterly

at

Simon.

"Got

a

ship

in

your

pocket?"

Simon

grinned

and

shook

his

head.

"How

do

you

know,

then?"

When

Simon

was

still

silent

Ralph

said

curtly,

"You're

batty."

Simon

shook

his

head

violently

till

the

coarse

black

hair

flew

backwards

and

forwards

across

his

face.

"No,

I'm

not.

I

just

_think

you'll

get

back

all

right._"

For

a

moment

nothing

more

was

said.

And

then

they

suddenly

smiled

at

each

other.

Roger

called

from

the

coverts.

"Come

and

see!"

The

ground

was

turned

over

near

the

pig-run

and

there

were

droppings

that

steamed.

Jack

bent

down

to

them

as

though

he

loved

them.

"Ralph--we

need

meat

even

if

we

are

hunting

the

other

thing."

"If

you

mean

going

the

right

way,

we'll

hunt."

They

set

off

again,

the

hunters

bunched

a

little

by

fear

of

the

mentioned

beast,

while

Jack

quested

ahead.

They

went

more

slowly

than

Ralph

had

bargained

for;

yet

in

a

way

he

was

glad

to

loiter,

cradling

his

spear.

Jack

came

up

against

some

emergency

of

his

craft

and

soon

the

procession

stopped.

Ralph

leaned

against

a

tree

and

at

once

the

daydreams

came

swarming

up.

Jack

was

in

charge

of

the

hunt

and

there

would

be

time

to

get

to

the

mountain--

Once,

following

his

father

from

Chatham

to

Devonport,

they

had

lived

in

a

cottage

on

the

edge

of

the

moors.

In

the

succession

of

houses

that

Ralph

had

known,

this

one

stood

out

with

particular

clarity

because

after

that

house

he

had

been

sent

away

to

school.

Mummy

had

still

been

with

them

and

Daddy

had

come

home

every

day.

Wild

ponies

came

to

the

stone

wall

at

the

bottom

of

the

garden,

and

it

had

snowed.

Just

behind

the

cottage

there

was

a

sort

of

shed

and

you

could

lie

up

there,

watching

the

flakes

swirl

past.

You

could

see

the

damp

spot

where

each

flake

died,

then

you

could

mark

the

first

flake

that

lay

down

without

melting

and

watch,

the

whole

ground

turn

white.

You

could

go

indoors

when

you

were

cold

and

look

out

of

the

window,

past

the

bright

copper

kettle

and

the

plate

with

the

little

blue

men.

When

you

went

to

bed

there

was

a

bowl

of

cornflakes

with

sugar

and

cream.

And

the

books--they

stood

on

the

shelf

by

the

bed,

leaning

together

with

always

two

or

three

laid

flat

on

top

because

he

had

not

bothered

to

put

them

back

properly.

They

were

dog-eared

and

scratched.

There

was

the

bright,

shining

one

about

Topsy

and

Mopsy

that

he

never

read

because

it

was

about

two

girls;

there

was

the

one

about

the

magician

which

you

read

with

a

kind

of

tied-down

terror,

skipping

page

twenty-seven

with

the

awful

picture

of

the

spider;

there

was

a

book

about

people

who

had

dug

things

up,

Egyptian

things;

there

was

_The

Boy's

Book

of

Trains_,

_The

Boy's

Book

of

Ships_.

Vividly

they

came

before

him;

he

could

have

reached

up

and

touched

them,

could

feel

the

weight

and

slow

slide

with

which

_The

Mammoth

Book

for

Boys_

would

come

out

and

slither

down.

.

.

.

Everything

was

all

right;

everything

was

good-humored

and

friendly.

The

bushes

crashed

ahead

of

them.

Boys

flung

themselves

wildly

from

the

pig

track

and

scrabbled

in

the

creepers,

screaming.

Ralph

saw

Jack

nudged

aside

and

fall.

Then

there

was

a

creature

bounding

along

the

pig

track

toward

him,

with

tusks

gleaming

and

an

intimidating

grunt.

Ralph

found

he

was

able

to

measure

the

distance

coldly

and

take

aim.

With

the

boar

only

five

yards

away,

he

flung

the

foolish

wooden

stick

that

he

carried,

saw

it

hit

the

great

snout

and

hang

there

for

a

moment.

The

boar's

note

changed

to

a

squeal

and

it

swerved

aside

into

the

covert.

The

pig-run

filled

with

shouting

boys

again,

Jack

came

running

back,

and

poked

about

in

the

undergrowth.

"Through

here--"

"But

he'd

do

us!"

"Through

here,

I

said--"

The

boar

was

floundering

away

from

them.

They

found

another

pig-run

parallel

to

the

first

and

Jack

raced

away.

Ralph

was

full

of

fright

and

apprehension

and

pride.

"I

hit

him!

The

spear

stuck

in--"

Now

they

came,

unexpectedly,

to

an

open

space

by

the

sea.

Jack

cast

about

on

the

bare

rock

and

looked

anxious.

"He's

gone."

"I

hit

him,"

said

Ralph

again,

"and

the

spear

stuck

in

a

bit."

He

felt

the

need

of

witnesses.

"Didn't

you

see

me?"

Maurice

nodded.

"I

saw

you.

Right

bang

on

his

snout--Wheee!"

Ralph

talked

on,

excitedly.

"I

hit

him

all

right.

The

spear

stuck

in.

I

wounded

him!"

He

sunned

himself

in

their

new

respect

and

felt

that

hunting

was

good

after

all.

"I

walloped

him

properly.

That

was

the

beast,

I

think!"

Jack

came

back.

"That

wasn't

the

beast.

That

was

a

boar."

"I

hit

him."

"Why

didn't

you

grab

him?

I

tried--"

Ralph's

voice

ran

up.

"But

a

boar!"

Jack

flushed

suddenly.

"You

said

he'd

do

us.

What

did

you

want

to

throw

for?

Why

didn't

you

wait?

He

held

out

his

arm.

"Look."

He

turned

his

left

forearm

for

them

all

to

see.

On

the

outside

was

a

rip;

not

much,

but

bloody.

"He

did

that

with

his

tusks.

I

couldn't

get

my

spear

down

in

time."

Attention

focused

on

Jack.

"That's

a

wound,"

said

Simon,

"and

you

ought

to

suck

it.

Like

Berengaria."

Jack

sucked.

"I

hit

him,"

said

Ralph

indignantly.

"I

hit

him

with

my

spear,

I

wounded

him."

He

tried

for

their

attention.

"He

was

coming

along

the

path.

I

threw,

like

this--"

Robert

snarled

at

him.

Ralph

entered

into

the

play

and

everybody

laughed.

Presently

they

were

all

jabbing

at

Robert

who

made

mock

rushes.

Jack

shouted.

"Make

a

ring!"

The

circle

moved

in

and

round.

Robert

squealed

in

mock

terror,

then

in

real

pain.

"Ow!

Stop

it!

You're

hurting!"

The

butt

end

of

a

spear

fell

on

his

back

as

he

blundered

among

them.

"Hold

him!"

They

got

his

arms

and

legs.

Ralph,

carried

away

by

a

sudden

thick

excitement,

grabbed

Eric's

spear

and

jabbed

at

Robert

with

it.

"Kill

him!

Kill

him!"

All

at

once,

Robert

was

screaming

and

struggling

with

the

strength

of

frenzy.

Jack

had

him

by

the

hair

and

was

brandishing

his

knife.

Behind

him

was

Roger,

fighting

to

get

close.

The

chant

rose

ritually,

as

at

the

last

moment

of

a

dance

or

a

hunt.

"_Kill

the

pig!

Cut

his

throat!

Kill

the

pig!

Bash

him

in!_"

Ralph

too

was

fighting

to

get

near,

to

get

a

handful

of

that

brown,

vulnerable

flesh.

The

desire

to

squeeze

and

hurt

was

over-mastering.

Jack's

arm

came

down;

the

heaving

circle

cheered

and

made

pig-dying

noises.

Then

they

lay

quiet,

panting,

listening

to

Robert's

frightened

snivels.

He

wiped

his

face

with

a

dirty

arm,

and

made

an

effort

to

retrieve

his

status.

"Oh,

my

bum!"

He

rubbed

his

rump

ruefully.

Jack

rolled

over.

"That

was

a

good

game."

"Just

a

game,"

said

Ralph

uneasily.

"I

got

jolly

badly

hurt

at

rugger

once."

"We

ought

to

have

a

drum,"

said

Maurice,

"then

we

could

do

it

properly."

Ralph

looked

at

him.

"How

properly?"

"I

dunno.

You

want

a

fire,

I

think,

and

a

drum,

and

you

keep

time

to

the

drum.

"You

want

a

pig,"

said

Roger,

"like

a

real

hunt."

"Or

someone

to

pretend,"

said

Jack.

"You

could

get

someone

to

dress

up

as

a

pig

and

then

he

could

act--you

know,

pretend

to

knock

me

over

and

all

that."

"You

want

a

real

pig,"

said

Robert,

still

caressing

his

rump,

"because

you've

got

to

kill

him."

"Use

a

littlun,"

said

Jack,

and

everybody

laughed.

Ralph

sat

up.

"Well.

We

shan't

find

what

we're

looking

for

at

this

rate."

One

by

one

they

stood

up,

twitching

rags

into

place.

Ralph

looked

at

Jack.

"Now

for

the

mountain."

"Shouldn't

we

go

back

to

Piggy,"

said

Maurice,

"before

dark?"

The

twins

nodded

like

one

boy.

"Yes,

that's

right.

Let's

go

up

there

in

the

morning."

Ralph

looked

out

and

saw

the

sea.

"We've

got

to

start

the

fire

again."

"You

haven't

got

Piggy's

specs,"

said

Jack,

"so

you

can't.''

"Then

we'll

find

out

if

the

mountain's

clear."

Maurice

spoke,

hesitating,

not

wanting

to

seem

a

funk.

"Supposing

the

beast's

up

there?"

Jack

brandished

his

spear.

"We'll

kill

it."

The

sun

seemed

a

little

cooler.

He

slashed

with

the

spear.

"What

are

we

waiting

for?"

"I

suppose,"

said

Ralph,

"if

we

keep

on

by

the

sea

this

way,

we'll

come

out

below

the

burnt

bit

and

then

we

can

climb

the

mountain.

Once

more

Jack

led

them

along

by

the

suck

and

heave

of

the

blinding

sea.

Once

more

Ralph

dreamed,

letting

his

skillful

feet

deal

with

the

difficulties

of

the

path.

Yet

here

his

feet

seemed

less

skillful

than

before.

For

most

of

the

way

they

were

forced

right

down

to

the

bare

rock

by

the

water

and

had

to

edge

along

between

that

and

the

dark

luxuriance

of

the

forest.

There

were

little

cliffs

to

be

scaled,

some

to

be

used

as

paths,

lengthy

traverses

where

one

used

hands

as

well

as

feet.

Here

and

there

they

could

clamber

over

wave-wet

rock,

leaping

across

clear

pools

that

the

tide

had

left.

They

came

to

a

gully

that

split

the

narrow

foreshore

like

a

defense.

This

seemed

to

have

no

bottom

and

they

peered

awe-stricken

into

the

gloomy

crack

where

water

gurgled.

Then

the

wave

came

back,

the

gully

boiled

before

them

and

spray

dashed

up

to

the

very

creeper

so

that

the

boys

were

wet

and

shrieking.

They

tried

the

forest

but

it

was

thick

and

woven

like

a

bird's

nest.

In

the

end

they

had

to

jump

one

by

one,

waiting

till

the

water

sank;

and

even

so,

some

of

them

got

a

second

drenching.

After

that

the

rocks

seemed

to

be

growing

impassable

so

they

sat

for

a

time,

letting

their

rags

dry

and

watching

the

clipped

outlines

of

the

rollers

that

moved

so

slowly

past

the

island.

They

found

fruit

in

a

haunt

of

bright

little

birds

that

hovered

like

insects.

Then

Ralph

said

they

were

going

too

slowly.

He

himself

climbed

a

tree

and

parted

the

canopy,

and

saw

the

square

head

of

the

mountain

seeming

still

a

great

way

off.

Then

they

tried

to

hurry

along

the

rocks

and

Robert

cut

his

knee

quite

badly

and

they

had

to

recognize

that

this

path

must

be

taken

slowly

if

they

were

to

be

safe.

So

they

proceeded

after

that

as

if

they

were

climbing

a

dangerous

mountain,

until

the

rocks

became

an

uncompromising

cliff,

overhung

with

impossible

jungle

and

falling

sheer

into

the

sea.

Ralph

looked

at

the

sun

critically.

"Early

evening.

After

tea-time,

at

any

rate."

"I

don't

remember

this

cliff,"

said

Jack,

crestfallen,

"so

this

must

be

the

bit

of

the

coast

I

missed."

Ralph

nodded.

"Let

me

think."

By

now,

Ralph

had

no

self-consciousness

in

public

thinking

but

would

treat

the

day's

decisions

as

though

he

were

playing

chess.

The

only

trouble

was

that

he

would

never

be

a

very

good

chess

player.

He

thought

of

the

littluns

and

Piggy.

Vividly

he

imagined

Piggy

by

himself,

huddled

in

a

shelter

that

was

silent

except

for

the

sounds

of

nightmare.

"We

can't

leave

the

littluns

alone

with

Piggy.

Not

all

night."

The

other

boys

said

nothing

but

stood

round,

watching

him.

"If

we

went

back

we

should

take

hours."

Jack

cleared

his

throat

and

spoke

in

a

queer,

tight

voice.

"We

mustn't

let

anything

happen

to

Piggy,

must

we?"

Ralph

tapped

his

teeth

with

the

dirty

point

of

Eric's

spear.

"If

we

go

across--"

He

glanced

round

him.

"Someone's

got

to

go

across

the

island

and

tell

Piggy

we'll

be

back

after

dark."

Bill

spoke,

unbelieving.

"Through

the

forest

by

himself?

Now?"

"We

can't

spare

more

than

one."

Simon

pushed

his

way

to

Ralph's

elbow.

"I'll

go

if

you

like.

I

don't

mind,

honestly."

Before

Ralph

had

time

to

reply,

he

smiled

quickly,

turned

and

climbed

into

the

forest.

Ralph

looked

back

at

Jack,

seeing

him,

infuriatingly,

for

the

first

time.

"Jack--that

time

you

went

the

whole

way

to

the

castle

rock."

Jack

glowered.

"Yes?"

"You

came

along

part

of

this

shore--below

the

mountain,

beyond

there."

"Yes."

"And

then?"

"I

found

a

pig-run.

It

went

for

miles."

"So

the

pig-run

must

be

somewhere

in

there."

Ralph

nodded.

He

pointed

at

the

forest.

Everybody

agreed,

sagely.

"All

right

then.

We'll

smash

a

way

through

till

we

find

the

pig-run."

He

took

a

step

and

halted.

"Wait

a

minute

though!

Where

does

the

pig-run

go

to?"

"The

mountain,"

said

Jack,

"I

told

you."

He

sneered.

"Don't

you

want

to

go

to

the

mountain?"

Ralph

sighed,

sensing

the

rising

antagonism,

understanding

that

this

was

how

Jack

felt

as

soon

as

he

ceased

to

lead.

"I

was

thinking

of

the

light.

We'll

be

stumbling

about."

"We

were

going

to

look

for

the

beast."

"There

won't

be

enough

light."

"I

don't

mind

going,"

said

Jack

hotly.

"I'll

go

when

we

get

there.

Won't

you?

Would

you

rather

go

back

to

the

shelters

and

tell

Piggy?"

Now

it

was

Ralph's

turn

to

flush

but

he

spoke

despairingly,

out

of

the

new

understanding

that

Piggy

had

given

him.

"Why

do

you

hate

me?"

The

boys

stirred

uneasily,

as

though

something

indecent

had

been

said.

The

silence

lengthened.

Ralph,

still

hot

and

hurt,

turned

away

first.

"Come

on."

He

led

the

way

and

set

himself

as

by

right

to

hack

at

the

tangles.

Jack

brought

up

the

rear,

displaced

and

brooding.

The

pig-track

was

a

dark

tunnel,

for

the

sun

was

sliding

quickly

toward

the

edge

of

the

world

and

in

the

forest

shadows

were

never

far

to

seek.

The

track

was

broad

and

beaten

and

they

ran

along

at

a

swift

trot.

Then

the

roof

of

leaves

broke

up

and

they

halted,

breathing

quickly,

looking

at

the

few

stars

that

pricked

round

the

head

of

the

mountain.

"There

you

are."

The

boys

peered

at

each

other

doubtfully.

Ralph

made

a

decision.

"We'll

go

straight

across

to

the

platform

and

climb

tomorrow."

They

murmured

agreement;

but

Jack

was

standing

by

his

shoulder.

"If

you're

frightened

of

course--"

Ralph

turned

on

him.

"Who

went

first

on

the

castle

rock?"

"I

went

too.

And

that

was

daylight."

"All

right.

Who

wants

to

climb

the

mountain

now?"

Silence

was

the

only

answer.

"Samneric?

What

about

you?"

"We

ought

to

go

an'

tell

Piggy--"

"--yes,

tell

Piggy

that--"

"But

Simon

went!"

"We

ought

to

tell

Piggy--in

case--"

"Robert?

Bill?"

They

were

going

straight

back

to

the

platform

now.

Not,

of

course,

that

they

were

afraid--but

tired.

Ralph

turned

back

to

Jack.

"You

see?"

"I'm

going

up

the

mountain."

The

words

came

from

Jack

viciously,

as

though

they

were

a

curse.

He

looked

at

Ralph,

his

thin

body

tensed,

his

spear

held

as

if

he

threatened

him.

"I'm

going

up

the

mountain

to

look

for

the

beast--now."

Then

the

supreme

sting,

the

casual,

bitter

word.

"Coming?"

At

that

word

the

other

boys

forgot

their

urge

to

be

gone

and

turned

back

to

sample

this

fresh

rub

of

two

spirits

in

the

dark.

The

word

was

too

good,

too

bitter,

too

successfully

daunting

to

be

repeated.

It

took

Ralph

at

low

water

when

his

nerve

was

relaxed

for

the

return

to

the

shelter

and

the

still,

friendly

waters

of

the

lagoon.

"I

don't

mind."

Astonished,

he

heard

his

voice

come

out,

cool

and

casual,

so

that

the

bitterness

of

Jack's

taunt

fell

powerless.

"If

you

don't

mind,

of

course."

"Oh,

not

at

all."

Jack

took

a

step.

"Well

then--"

Side

by

side,

watched

by

silent

boys,

the

two

started

up

the

mountain.

Ralph

stopped.

"We're

silly.

Why

should

only

two

go?

If

we

find

anything,

two

won't

be

enough."

There

came

the

sound

of

boys

scuttling

away.

Astonishingly,

a

dark

figure

moved

against

the

tide.

"Roger?"

"Yes."

"That's

three,

then."

Once

more

they

set

out

to

climb

the

slope

of

the

mountain.

The

darkness

seemed

to

flow

round

them

like

a

tide.

Jack,

who

had

said

nothing,

began

to

choke

and

cough,

and

a

gust

of

wind

set

all

three

spluttering.

Ralph's

eyes

were

blinded

with

tears.

"Ashes.

We're

on

the

edge

of

the

burnt

patch."

Their

footsteps

and

the

occasional

breeze

were

stirring

up

small

devils

of

dust.

Now

that

they

stopped

again,

Ralph

had

time

while

he

coughed

to

remember

how

silly

they

were.

If

there

was

no

beast--and

almost

certainly

there

was

no

beast--in

that

case,

well

and

good;

but

if

there

was

something

waiting

on

top

of

the

mountain--

what

was

the

use

of

three

of

them,

handicapped

by

the

darkness

and

carrying

only

sticks?

"We're

being

fools."

Out

of

the

darkness

came

the

answer.

"Windy?"

Irritably

Ralph

shook

himself.

This

was

all

Jack's

fault.

"'Course

I

am.

But

we're

still

being

fools."

"If

you

don't

want

to

go

on,"

said

the

voice

sarcastically,

"I'll

go

up

by

myself."

Ralph

heard

the

mockery

and

hated

Jack.

The

sting

of

ashes

in

his

eyes,

tiredness,

fear,

enraged

him.

"Go

on

then!

We'll

wait

here."

There

was

silence.

"Why

don't

you

go?

Are

you

frightened?"

A

stain

in

the

darkness,

a

stain

that

was

Jack,

detached

itself

and

began

to

draw

away.

"All

right.

So

long."

The

stain

vanished.

Another

took

its

place.

Ralph

felt

his

knee

against

something

hard

and

rocked

a

charred

trunk

that

was

edgy

to

the

touch.

He

felt

the

sharp

cinders

that

had

been

bark

push

against

the

back

of

his

knee

and

knew

that

Roger

had

sat

down.

He

felt

with

his

hands

and

lowered

himself

beside

Roger,

while

the

trunk

rocked

among

invisible

ashes.

Roger,

uncommunicative

by

nature,

said

nothing.

He

offered

no

opinion

on

the

beast

nor

told

Ralph

why

he

had

chosen

to

come

on

this

mad

expedition.

He

simply

sat

and

rocked

the

trunk

gently.

Ralph

noticed

a

rapid

and

infuriating

tapping

noise

and

realized

that

Roger

was

banging

his

silly

wooden

stick

against

something.

So

they

sat,

the

rocking,

tapping,

impervious

Roger

and

Ralph,

fuming;

round

them

the

close

sky

was

loaded

with

stars,

save

where

the

mountain

punched

up

a

hole

of

blackness.

There

was

a

slithering

noise

high

above

them,

the

sound

of

someone

taking

giant

and

dangerous

strides

on

rock

or

ash.

Then

Jack

found

them,

and

was

shivering

and

croaking

in

a

voice

they

could

just

recognize

as

his.

"I

saw

a

thing

on

top."

They

heard

him

blunder

against

the

trunk

which

rocked

violently.

He

lay

silent

for

a

moment,

then

muttered.

"Keep

a

good

lookout.

It

may

be

following."

A

shower

of

ash

pattered

round

them.

Jack

sat

up.

"I

saw

a

thing

bulge

on

the

mountain."

"You

only

imagined

it,"

said

Ralph

shakily,

"because

nothing

would

bulge.

Not

any

sort

of

creature."

Roger

spoke;

they

jumped,

for

they

had

forgotten

him.

"A

frog."

Jack

giggled

and

shuddered.

"Some

frog.

There

was

a

noise

too.

A

kind

of

'plop'

noise.

Then

the

thing

bulged."

Ralph

surprised

himself,

not

so

much

by

the

quality

of

his

voice,

which

was

even,

but

by

the

bravado

of

its

intention.

"We'll

go

and

look."

For

the

first

time

since

he

had

first

known

Jack,

Ralph

could

feel

him

hesitate.

"Now--?"

His

voice

spoke

for

him.

"Of

course."

He

got

off

the

trunk

and

led

the

way

across

the

clinking

cinders

up

into

the

dark,

and

the

others

followed.

Now

that

his

physical

voice

was

silent

the

inner

voice

of

reason,

and

other

voices

too,

made

themselves

heard.

Piggy

was

calling

him

a

kid.

Another

voice

told

him

not

to

be

a

fool;

and

the

darkness

and

desperate

enterprise

gave

the

night

a

kind

of

dentist's

chair

unreality.

As

they

came

to

the

last

slope,

Jack

and

Roger

drew

near,

changed

from

the

ink-stains

to

distinguishable

figures.

By

common

consent

they

stopped

and

crouched

together.

Behind

them,

on

the

horizon,

was

a

patch

of

lighter

sky

where

in

a

moment

the

moon

would

rise.

The

wind

roared

once

in

the

forest

and

pushed

their

rags

against

them.

Ralph

stirred.

"Come

on."

They

crept

forward,

Roger

lagging

a

little.

Jack

and

Ralph

turned

the

shoulder

of

the

mountain

together.

The

glittering

lengths

of

the

lagoon

lay

below

them

and

beyond

that

a

long

white

smudge

that

was

the

reef.

Roger

joined

them.

Jack

whispered.

"Let's

creep

forward

on

hands

and

knees.

Maybe

it's

asleep."

Roger

and

Ralph

moved

on,

this

time

leaving

Jack

in

the

rear,

for

all

his

brave

words.

They

came

to

the

flat

top

where

the

rock

was

hard

to

hands

and

knees.

A

creature

that

bulged.

Ralph

put

his

hand

in

the

cold,

soft

ashes

of

the

fire

and

smothered

a

cry.

His

hand

and

shoulder

were

twitching

from

the

unlooked-for

contact.

Green

lights

of

nausea

appeared

for

a

moment

and

ate

into

the

darkness.

Roger

lay

behind

him

and

Jack's

mouth

was

at

his

ear.

"Over

there,

where

there

used

to

be

a

gap

in

the

rock.

A

sort

of

hump--see?"

Ashes

blew

into

Ralph's

face

from

the

dead

fire.

He

could

not

see

the

gap

or

anything

else,

because

the

green

lights

were

opening

again

and

growing,

and

the

top

of

the

mountain

was

sliding

sideways.

Once

more,

from

a

distance,

he

heard

Jack's

whisper.

"Scared?"

Not

scared

so

much

as

paralyzed;

hung

up

there

immovable

on

the

top

of

a

diminishing,

moving

mountain.

Jack

slid

away

from

him,

Roger

bumped,

fumbled

with

a

hiss

of

breath,

and

passed

onwards.

He

heard

them

whispering.

"Can

you

see

anything?"

"There--"

In

front

of

them,

only

three

or

four

yards

away,

was

a

rock-like

hump

where

no

rock

should

be.

Ralph

could

hear

a

tiny

chattering

noise

coming

from

somewhere--

perhaps

from

his

own

mouth.

He

bound

himself

together

with

his

will,

fused

his

fear

and

loathing

into

a

hatred,

and

stood

up.

He

took

two

leaden

steps

forward.

Behind

them

the

silver

of

moon

had

drawn

clear

of

the

horizon.

Before

them,

something

like

a

great

ape

was

sitting

asleep

with

its

head

between

its

knees.

Then

the

wind

roared

in

the

forest,

there

was

confusion

in

the

darkness

and

the

creature

lifted

its

head,

holding

toward

them

the

ruin

of

a

face.

Ralph

found

himself

taking

giant

strides

among

the

ashes,

heard

other

creatures

crying

out

and

leaping

and

dared

the

impossible

on

the

dark

slope;

presently

the

mountain

was

deserted,

save

for

the

three

abandoned

sticks

and

the

thing

that

bowed.

CHAPTER

EIGHT

Gift

for

the

Darkness

Piggy

looked

up

miserably

from

the

dawn-pale

beach

to

the

dark

mountain.

"Are

you

sure?

Really

sure,

I

mean?"

I

told

you

a

dozen

times

now,"

said

Ralph,

"we

saw

it."

"D'you

think

we're

safe

down

here?"

"How

the

hell

should

I

know?"

Ralph

jerked

away

from

him

and

walked

a

few

paces

along

the

beach.

Jack

was

kneeling

and

drawing

a

circular

pattern

in

the

sand

with

his

forefinger.

Piggy's

voice

came

to

them,

hushed.

"Are

you

sure?

Really?"

"Go

up

and

see,"

said

Jack

contemptuously,

"and

good

riddance."

"No

fear."

"The

beast

had

teeth,"

said

Ralph,

"and

big

black

eyes."

He

shuddered

violently.

Piggy

took

off

his

one

round

of

glass

and

polished

the

surface.

"What

we

going

to

do?"

Ralph

turned

toward

the

platform.

The

conch

glimmered

among

the

trees,

a

white

blob

against

the

place

where

the

sun

would

rise.

He

pushed

back

his

mop.

"I

don't

know."

He

remembered

the

panic

flight

down

the

mountainside.

"I

don't

think

we'd

ever

fight

a

thing

that

size,

honestly,

you

know.

We'd

talk

but

we

wouldn't

fight

a

tiger.

We'd

hide.

Even

Jack

'ud

hide."

Jack

still

looked

at

the

sand.

"What

about

my

hunters?"

Simon

came

stealing

out

of

the

shadows

by

the

shelters.

Ralph

ignored

Jack's

question.

He

pointed

to

the

touch

of

yellow

above

the

sea.

"As

long

as

there's

light

we're

brave

enough.

But

then?

And

now

that

thing

squats

by

the

fire

as

though

it

didn't

want

us

to

be

rescued--"

He

was

twisting

his

hands

now,

unconsciously.

His

voice

rose.

"So

we

can't

have

a

signal

fire.

.

.

.

We're

beaten."

A

point

of

gold

appeared

above

the

sea

and

at

once

all

the

sky

lightened.

"What

about

my

hunters?"

"Boys

armed

with

sticks."

Jack

got

to

his

feet.

His

face

was

red

as

he

marched

away.

Piggy

put

on

his

one

glass

and

looked

at

Ralph.

"Now

you

done

it.

You

been

rude

about

his

hunters."

"Oh

shut

up!"

The

sound

of

the

inexpertly

blown

conch

interrupted

them.

As

though

he

were

serenading

the

rising

sun,

Jack

went

on

blowing

till

the

shelters

were

astir

and

the

hunters

crept

to

the

platform

and

the

littluns

whimpered

as

now

they

so

frequently

did.

Ralph

rose

obediently,

and

Piggy,

and

they

went

to

the

platform.

"Talk,"

said

Ralph

bitterly,

"talk,

talk,

talk."

He

took

the

conch

from

Jack.

"This

meeting--"

Jack

interrupted

him.

"I

called

it."

"If

you

hadn't

called

it

I

should

have.

You

just

blew

the

conch."

"Well,

isn't

that

calling

it?"

"Oh,

take

it!

Go

on--talk!"

Ralph

thrust

the

conch

into

Jack's

arms

and

sat

down

on

the

trunk.

"I've

called

an

assembly,"

said

Jack,

"because

of

a

lot

of

things.

First,

you

know

now,

we've

seen

the

beast.

We

crawled

up.

We

were

only

a

few

feet

away.

The

beast

sat

up

and

looked

at

us.

I

don't

know

what

it

does.

We

don't

even

know

what

it

is--"

"The

beast

comes

out

of

the

sea--"

"Out

of

the

dark--"

"Trees--"

"Quiet!"

shouted

Jack.

"You,

listen.

The

beast

is

sitting

up

there,

whatever

it

is--"

"Perhaps

it's

waiting--"

"Hunting--"

"Yes,

hunting."

"Hunting,"

said

Jack.

He

remembered

his

age-old

tremors

in

the

forest.

"Yes.

The

beast

is

a

hunter.

Only--

shut

up!

The

next

thing

is

that

we

couldn't

kill

it.

And

the

next

is

that

Ralph

said

my

hunters

are

no

good."

"I

never

said

that!"

"I've

got

the

conch.

Ralph

thinks

you're

cowards,

running

away

from

the

boar

and

the

beast.

And

that's

not

all."

There

was

a

kind

of

sigh

on

the

platform

as

if

everyone

knew

what

was

coming.

Jack's

voice

went

up,

tremulous

yet

determined,

pushing

against

the

uncooperative

silence.

"He's

like

Piggy.

He

says

things

like

Piggy.

He

isn't

a

proper

chief."

Jack

clutched

the

conch

to

him.

"He's

a

coward

himself."

For

a

moment

he

paused

and

then

went

on.

"On

top,

when

Roger

and

me

went

on--he

stayed

back."

"I

went

too!"

"After."

The

two

boys

glared

at

each

other

through

screens

of

hair.

"I

went

on

too,"

said

Ralph,

"then

I

ran

away.

So

did

you."

"Call

me

a

coward

then."

Jack

turned

to

the

hunters.

"He's

not

a

hunter.

He'd

never

have

got

us

meat.

He

isn't

a

prefect

and

we

don't

know

anything

about

him.

He

just

gives

orders

and

expects

people

to

obey

for

nothing.

All

this

talk--"

"All

this

talk!"

shouted

Ralph.

"Talk,

talk!

Who

wanted

it?

Who

called

the

meeting?"

Jack

turned,

red

in

the

face,

his

chin

sunk

back.

He

glowered

up

under

his

eyebrows.

"All

right

then,"

he

said

in

tones

of

deep

meaning,

and

menace,

"all

right."

He

held

the

conch

against

his

chest

with

one

hand

and

stabbed

the

air

with

his

index

finger.

"Who

thinks

Ralph

oughtn't

to

be

chief?"

He

looked

expectantly

at

the

boys

ranged

round,

who

had

frozen.

Under

the

palms

there

was

deadly

silence.

"Hands

up,"

said

Jack

strongly,

"whoever

wants

Ralph

not

to

be

chief?"

The

silence

continued,

breathless

and

heavy

and

full

of

shame.

Slowly

the

red

drained

from

Jack's

cheeks,

then

came

back

with

a

painful

rush.

He

licked

his

lips

and

turned

his

head

at

an

angle,

so

that

his

gaze

avoided

the

embarrassment

of

linking

with

another's

eye.

"How

many

think--"

His

voice

tailed

off.

The

hands

that

held

the

conch

shook.

He

cleared

his

throat,

and

spoke

loudly.

"All

right

then."

He

laid

the

conch

with

great

care

in

the

grass

at

his

feet.

The

humiliating

tears

were

running

from

the

corner

of

each

eye.

"I'm

not

going

to

play

any

longer.

Not

with

you."

Most

of

the

boys

were

looking

down

now,

at

the

grass

or

their

feet.

Jack

cleared

his

throat

again.

"I'm

not

going

to

be

a

part

of

Ralph's

lot--"

He

looked

along

the

right-hand

logs,

numbering

the

hunters

that

had

been

a

choir.

"I'm

going

off

by

myself.

He

can

catch

his

own

pigs.

Anyone

who

wants

to

hunt

when

I

do

can

come

too."

He

blundered

out

of

the

triangle

toward

the

drop

to

the

white

sand.

"Jack!"

Jack

turned

and

looked

back

at

Ralph.

For

a

moment

he

paused

and

then

cried

out,

high-pitched,

enraged.

"--No!"

He

leapt

down

from

the

platform

and

ran

along

the

beach,

paying

no

heed

to

the

steady

fall

of

his

tears;

and

until

he

dived

into

the

forest

Ralph

watched

him.

Piggy

was

indignant.

"I

been

talking,

Ralph,

and

you

just

stood

there

like--"

Softly,

looking

at

Piggy

and

not

seeing

him,

Ralph

spoke

to

himself.

"He'll

come

back.

When

the

sun

goes

down

he'll

come."

He

looked

at

the

conch

in

Piggy's

hand.

"What?"

"Well

there!"

Piggy

gave

up

the

attempt

to

rebuke

Ralph.

He

polished

his

glass

again

and

went

back

to

his

subject.

"We

can

do

without

Jack

Merridew.

There's

others

besides

him

on

this

island.

But

now

we

really

got

a

beast,

though

I

can't

hardly

believe

it,

we'll

need

to

stay

close

to

the

platform;

there'll

be

less

need

of

him

and

his

hunting.

So

now

we

can

really

decide

on

what's

what."

"There's

no

help,

Piggy.

Nothing

to

be

done."

For

a

while

they

sat

in

depressed

silence.

Then

Simon

stood

up

and

took

the

conch

from

Piggy,

who

was

so

astonished

that

he

remained

on

his

feet.

Ralph

looked

up

at

Simon.

"Simon?

What

is

it

this

time?"

A

half-sound

of

jeering

ran

round

the

circle

and

Simon

shrank

from

it.

"I

thought

there

might

be

something

to

do.

Something

we-"

Again

the

pressure

of

the

assembly

took

his

voice

away.

He

sought

for

help

and

sympathy

and

chose

Piggy.

He

turned

half

toward

him,

clutching

the

conch

to

his

brown

chest.

"I

think

we

ought

to

climb

the

mountain."

The

circle

shivered

with

dread.

Simon

broke

off

and

turned

to

Piggy

who

was

looking

at

him

with

an

expression

of

derisive

incomprehension.

"What's

the

good

of

climbing

up

to

this

here

beast

when

Ralph

and

the

other

two

couldn't

do

nothing?"

Simon

whispered

his

answer.

"What

else

is

there

to

do?"

His

speech

made,

he

allowed

Piggy

to

lift

the

conch

out

of

his

hands.

Then

he

retired

and

sat

as

far

away

from

the

others

as

possible.

Piggy

was

speaking

now

with

more

assurance

and

with

what,

if

the

circumstances

had

not

been

so

serious,

the

others

would

have

recognized

as

pleasure.

"I

said

we

could

all

do

without

a

certain

person.

Now

I

say

we

got

to

decide

on

what

can

be

done.

And

I

think

I

could

tell

you

what

Ralph's

going

to

say

next.

The

most

important

thing

on

the

island

is

the

smoke

and

you

can't

have

no

smoke

without

a

fire."

Ralph

made

a

restless

movement.

"No

go,

Piggy.

We've

got

no

fire.

That

thing

sits

up

there--we'll

have

to

stay

here."

Piggy

lifted

the

conch

as

though

to

add

power

to

his

next

words.

"We

got

no

fire

on

the

mountain.

But

what's

wrong

with

a

fire

down

here?

A

fire

could

be

built

on

them

rocks.

On

the

sand,

even.

We'd

make

smoke

just

the

same."

"That's

right!"

"Smoke!"

"By

the

bathing

pool!"

The

boys

began

to

babble.

Only

Piggy

could

have

the

intellectual

daring

to

suggest

moving

the

fire

from

the

mountain.

"So

we'll

have

the

fire

down

here,"

said

Ralph.

He

looked

about

him.

"We

can

build

it

just

here

between

the

bathing

pool

and

the

platform.

Of

course--"

He

broke

off,

frowning,

thinking

the

thing

out,

unconsciously

tugging

at

the

stub

of

a

nail

with

his

teeth.

"Of

course

the

smoke

won't

show

so

much,

not

be

seen

so

far

away.

But

we

needn't

go

near,

near

the--"

The

others

nodded

in

perfect

comprehension.

There

would

be

no

need

to

go

near.

"We'll

build

the

fire

now."

The

greatest

ideas

are

the

simplest.

Now

there

was

something

to

be

done

they

worked

with

passion.

Piggy

was

so

full

of

delight

and

expanding

liberty

in

Jack's

departure,

so

full

of

pride

in

his

contribution

to

the

good

of

society,

that

he

helped

to

fetch

wood.

The

wood

he

fetched

was

close

at

hand,

a

fallen

tree

on

the

platform

that

they

did

not

need