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Повелитель мух / Lord of the Flies

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“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—”


“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!”

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