en-es  The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G.Wells-Chapter IX
Capítulo 9: La criatura en el bosque. Me detuve en medio de la maleza que cubría la cresta detrás de la casa, apenas prestando atención a dónde iba; pasé a través de la sombra de un espeso grupo de árboles de troncos rectos más allá, y de pronto, de alguna manera, me encontré al otro lado de la cresta y descendiendo hacia un arroyo que corría por un estrecho valle. Me detuve y escuché. La distancia a la que había llegado, o las masas de matorrales interpuestas, amortiguaban cualquier sonido que pudiera venir del recinto. El aire estaba quieto. Luego, con un crujido, apareció un conejo, que corrió por la pendiente frente a mí. Dudé, y me senté en el borde de la sombra.
El lugar era agradable. El riachuelo estaba oculto por la exuberante vegetación de los bancos, salvo en un punto, donde capté un triángulo de su agua brillante. En el lado más alejado, a través de una bruma azulada vi una maraña de árboles y enredaderas, y por encima de ellos, nuevamente, el azul luminoso del cielo. Aquí y allá, un toque de blanco o carmesí marcaba el florecimiento de alguna epifita rastrera Dejé que mis ojos pasearan por esta escena por un rato, y luego empecé a reflexionar nuevamente sobre las extrañas peculiaridades del hombre de Montgomery. Pero estaba demasiado caluroso para pensar de manera elaborada, y en ese momento caí en un estado tranquilo, a medio camino entre adormecimiento y vigilia.
De este, después de no sé cuanto tiempo, me despertó un crujido en medio de la maleza del otro lado del riachuelo. Por un momento no pude ver nada más que las puntas ondulantes de los helechos y juncos. Luego, repentinamente apareció algo en el banco del riachuelo—en un principio no pude distinguir lo que era. Inclinó su cabeza redonda hasta el agua, y empezó a beber. Entonces me di cuenta de que era un hombre, gateando como una bestia. Vestía una tela azulada, y tenía la tez cobriza con pelo negro. Parecía que la fealdad grotesca era una característica invariable de estos isleños. Podía oír sus labios succionando el agua mientras bebía.
Me incliné para verlo mejor, y un trozo de lava, desprendido por mi mano, fue golpeteando pendiente abajo. Miró arriba con culpa, y sus ojos se juntaron a los míos. Inmediatamente se puso de pie, y se quedó frotando su mano torpe sobre la boca, contemplándome. Sus piernas tenían apenas la mitad de la longitud de su cuerpo. Entonces, mirándonos desconcertados, nos quedamos tal vez durante el espacio de un minuto. Luego, deteniéndose para mirar hacia atrás una o dos veces, se escabulló entre los arbustos a la derecha de mí, y oí el chasquido de las hojas que se desvanecía en la distancia y desaparecía. Mucho después de que él hubo desaparecido, permanecí sentado mirando hacia donde se retirara. Mi tranquilidad somnolienta se había ido.
Fuí sorprendido por un ruido tras de mí, y dándome vuelta de repente ví la agitada cola blanca de un conejo desapareciendo por la cuesta. Me puse de pie de un salto. La aparición de esta criatura grotesca y medio bestial de repente había poblado la quietud de la tarde para mí. Miré a mi alrededor nerviosamente y lamenté estar desarmado. Entonces pensé que el hombre que acababa de ver vestía una tela azulada, no estaba desnudo como lo hubiera estado un salvaje; e intenté persuadirme del hecho de que, después de todo, probablemente fuera un personaje pacífico, aunque la leve ferocidad de su semblante lo desmentía.
Sin embargo, estaba muy alterado por la aparición. Caminé hacia la izquierda a lo largo de la pendiente, volviendo la cabeza y mirando de aquí para allá entre los tallos rectos de los árboles. ¿Por qué debería un hombre gatear y beber con los labios? En ese momento escuché otra vez lamentarse a un animal, y suponiendo que era el puma, di media vuelta y caminé en una dirección diametralmente opuesta al sonido. Esto me llevó al riachuelo, que atravesé y más allá me abrí paso con esfuerzo entre la maleza.
Fui sorprendido por una larga y vívida mancha escarlata en el suelo, y acercándome, ví que era un hongo raro, ramificado y corrugado como un liquen foliáceo, que se transformaba en fango al tocarlo; y después, a la sombra de algunos helechos exuberantes, encontré una cosa desagradable, --el cuerpo muerto de un conejo cubierto de moscas brillantes. pero aún caliente y con la cabeza arrancada del cuerpo. Me detuve espantado por la vista de la sangre desparramada.. ¡Aquí, al menos, había un visitante de la isla eliminado! No había rastros de más violencia alrededor. Parecía como si hubiera sido repentinamente agarrado y matado;. y mientras me quedaba mirando al pequeño cuerpo peludo me quedé perplejo de qué habría pasado. El vago temor que había estado en mi mente, desde que vi en el riachuelo la cara inhumana del hombre, se hizo más perceptible cuando estuve allí. Empecé a darme cuenta de la audacia de mi expedición entre esta gente desconocida. El matorral a mi alrededor se transformó en mi imaginación. Cada sombra se convirtió en algo más que una sombra, —una emboscada; cada crujido en amenaza. Parecía que cosas invisibles me miraban. Me resolví a regresar al recinto de la playa. De repente me volví y arremetí con violencia, es posible incluso que frenéticamente, a través de los arbustos, ansioso por tener un espacio abierto a mi alrededor otra vez.
Me detuve justo a tiempo para evitarme aparecer en un espacio abierto. Era una especie de claro en el bosque, hecho por una caída; las plantas jóvenes ya empezaban a luchar por el espacio vacío; y más allá, el denso matorral de tallos y enredaderas y hongos diseminados y flores se venía encima otra vez. Ante mí, en cuclillas sobre las ruinas mohosas de un enorme árbol caído y aún sin percatarse de mi acercamiento, había tres grotescas figuras humanas. Una era evidentemente una mujer; las otras dos eran hombres. Estaban desnudas, salvo por trozos de tela escarlata en la cintura; y sus pieles eran de un leve color rosáceo, como nunca había visto antes en salvajes. Tenían gordas caras, pesadas, sin mentón, frentes retrocidas y poco cabello hirsuto sobre sus cabezas. Nunca había visto criaturas de aspecto tan bestial.
Estaban hablando, o por lo menos uno de los hombres estaba hablando con los otros dos, y los tres habían estado demasiado interesados para hacer caso de mi acercamiento. Balanceaban las cabezas y hombros de un lado al otro. Las palabras del que hablaba llegaban abundantes y sueltas, y aunque podía oirlas claramente, no pude distinguir lo que dijo. Me pareció que estaba recitando una jerigonza complicada. En ese momento su expresión se volvió estridente, y extendiendo las manos, se puso de pie. Ante eso, los otros comenzaron a farfullar al unísono, también poniéndose de pie, extendiendo las manos y balanceando los cuerpos al ritmo de su canto. Noté entonces lo anormal de la cortedad de sus piernas y sus pies, flácidos y deformes. Los tres comenzaron a dar vueltas lentamente, levantando los pies y pateando, y a agitar los brazos; una especie de melodía se deslizó en su recitación rítmica, y un estribillo que sonaba como "alula" o "ballula". Sus ojos comenzaron a brillar y a iluminarse sus feos rostros, con una extraña expresión de placer. La saliva goteaba de sus bocas sin labios.
De repente, mientras estaba mirando sus gestos grotescos e inexplicables, percibí claramente por primera vez lo que me había molestado, lo que me había dado las dos impresiones inconsistentes y conflictivas de extrañeza total y también de familiaridad muy rara. Las tres criaturas ocupadas en este rito misterioso eran humanas de figura, y aún humanos con un aire muy raro de algún animal familiar. Cada una de estas criaturas, a pesar de su forma humana, sus harapos y la grosera humanidad de su forma corporal, se habían entrelazado en sus movimientos, en la expresión de su semblante, en toda su presencia... alguna similitud a un cerdo, un algo porcino, la marca inconfundible de la bestia.
Me quedé abrumado por este sorprendente descubrimiento y luego las preguntas más horribles irrumpieron en mi mente Comenzaron a saltar en el aire, primero uno y luego el otro, chillando y gruñendo. Luego uno resbaló, y por un momento estuvo a cuatro patas, para recuperarse, de hecho, inmediatamente. Pero ese vislumbre fugaz de la verdadera bestialidad de estos monstruos fue suficiente.
Me volví lo más silenciosamente posible, y deteniéndome por el temor de ser descubierto cada vez que se rompía una rama o una hoja crujía, retrocedí entre los arbustos. Pasó mucho tiempo antes de que me volviera más audaz y me atreviera a moverme libremente Mi única idea por el momento era alejarme de estos seres repugnantes, y apenas me di cuenta de que había salido por un sendero apenas visible entre los árboles. Entonces, de repente, atravesando un pequeño claro, vi con desagradable sobresalto dos piernas torpes entre los árboles, caminando paralelas a mi camino con pasos silenciosos, quizás a treinta yardas de mí. La cabeza y la parte superior del cuerpo estaban ocultas por una maraña de enredaderas. Me detuve abruptamente, esperando que la criatura no me viera. Los pies se detuvieron de repente cuando lo hice yo. Tan nervioso estaba que, con la mayor dificultad, controlé el impulso de huir. Luego, mirando con atención, distinguí, a través de la maleza, la cabeza y el cuerpo de la bestia que había visto beber. Movió la cabeza. Hubo un destello de esmeralda en sus ojos mientras me miraba desde la sombra de los árboles, un color un poco luminoso que desapareció cuando volvió otra vez la cabeza. Permaneció inmóvil por un momento, y luego, con una pisada silenciosa, comenzó a correr a través de la maleza. Un momento después se había desvanecido detrás de unos arbustos. No podía verlo, pero sentí que se había detenido y me estaba observando de nuevo.
¿Qué diablos era...hombre o bestia? ¿Qué quería conmigo? Yo no tenía arma, ni un palito. Huir sería una locura. En todo caso,a la Cosa, fuera como fuere, le faltaba el valor como para atacarme Apretando los dientes, me dirigí directamente hacia él. Estaba ansioso de no mostrar el miedo que parecía enfriarme la espina dorsal. Empujé a través de una maraña de altos arbustos de flores blancas, y lo vi veinte pasos más adelante, mirándome por encima del hombro, y dudando. Avancé un paso o dos, mirándolo fijamente a los ojos.
"¿Quién es usted?", dije.
Trató de encontrarse con mi mirada. "¡No!", dijo de pronto, y volviendo, se alejó de mí a los saltos por la maleza. Luego giró y me miró otra vez. Sus ojos brillaban vivamente desde la oscuridad bajo los arboles.
Tenía el corazón en la boca; pero sentí que mi única oportunidad era fanfarronear, y caminé firmemente hacia él. Se volvió nuevamente, y desapareció en la oscuridad. Una vez más, creí captar el brillo de sus ojos, y eso fue todo.
Por primera vez me di cuenta de que lo tarde de la hora podía afectarme. El sol se había puesto algunos minutos más tarde, el veloz anochecer de los trópicos ya se estaba desvaneciendo en el este del cielo, y una primera polilla revoloteó silenciosamente junto a mi cabeza. A menos que quisiera pasar la noche en medio de los desconocidos peligros del bosque misterioso, debía regresar con prisa al recinto. La idea de regresar a ese refugio afligido por dolor era sumamente desagradable,. pero lo era aun más la idea de ser atrapado a la intemperie por la oscuridad y todo lo que esa oscuridad podría ocultar. Eché un vistazo más a las sombras azules que habían esfumado a esta extraña criatura, y luego retomé mi camino pendiente abajo hacia el riachuelo, caminando, como calculaba, hacia la dirección de donde había venido.
Caminaba vigorosamente, la mente confundida con muchas cosas, y de pronto me encontré en un lugar llano en medio de árboles dispersos. La claridad sin color que viene después de la puesta del sol se estaba oscureciendo; el cielo azul encima pronto se volvió más profundo, y las pequeñas estrellas, una por una. penetraron la luz atenuada; los espacios entre los árboles, los huecos en la vegetación más alejada, que habían sido confusos a la luz del día, se volvieron negros y misteriosos. Seguí adelante. El color desapareció del mundo. Las copas de los árboles se alzaban contra el cielo azul luminoso en siluetas oscuras, y debajo de ese contorno todo se fundía en una negrura sin forma. En ese momento los árboles se volvieron más escasos y los matorrales más abundantes. Luego había un espacio desolado cubierto con una arena blanca, y luego otra extensión de arbustos enmarañados. No recordé haber cruzado antes el espacio abierto arenoso. Comencé a sentirme atormentado por un leve crujido a mi derecha. Al principio pensé que era imaginación, porque cada vez que me detenía estaba silencioso, salvo la brisa de la tarde en las copas de los árboles. Luego, cuando me apresuré nuevamente, había un eco a mis pasos.
Me alejé de los matorrales, me mantuve en un terreno más abierto y, de vez en cuando, me esforzaba por darme vuelta para sorprender a lo que se deslizaba tras de mí. No veía nada, y sin embargo mi sensación de otra presencia crecía constantemente. Aumenté mi ritmo, y después de un tiempo llegué a una pequeña cima, la crucé y me volví bruscamente, mirándola fijamente desde el otro lado. Apareció negra y clara, perfilada contra el cielo que se oscurecía. y en ese momento un bulto sin forma se elevó momentáneamente contra el cielo y volvió a desaparecer. Ahora me sentía seguro de que mi antagonista de cara rojiza estaba acechándome una vez más; y junto con eso comprendí otra cosa desagradable: que me había extraviado.
Durante un rato me apresuré totalmente perplejo, y perseguido por ese acercamiento furtivo. Fuera lo que fuese, La cosa tampoco tenía el coraje de atacarme, o estaba esperando encontrarme en desventaja. Me dirigí deliberadamente al terreno abierto. A veces me volvía para escuchar; y en ese momento me había convencido a medias de que mi perseguidor había abandonado la persecución, o que era una mera creación de mi desordenada imaginación. Luego escuché el sonido del mar. Apuré mis pasos casi hasta correr, y de pronto algo tropezó detrás de mí.
Giré repentinamente, y miré a los arboles sombríos detrás de mí. Una sombra negra pareció saltar en otra. Escuché, rigido, y no oí más que el fluir de la sangre en los oídos. Pensé que mis nervios estaban descontrolados, y que mi imaginación me estaba engañando, y me dirigí resueltamente hacia el sonido del mar otra vez.
En un minuto o así los árboles eran menos espesos , y llegué a un bajo promontorio sin vegetación que terminaba en el agua oscura. La noche era calma y clara, y los reflejos de la creciente multitud de estrellas brillaban en la agitación tranquila del mar. A cierta distancia, las olas brillaban en una franja irregular de arrecife con su propia luz pálida. Al oeste, ví la luz zodiacal mezclarse con el brillo amarillo de la estrella del atardecer. La costa se alejaba de mí hacia el este, y hacia el oeste estaba oculta por el borde del cabo. Entonces recordé el hecho de que la playa de Moreau quedaba al oeste.
Una ramita se partió detrás de mí, y hubo un crujido. Me volví y me quedé de pie frente a los árboles oscuros. No podía ver nada... o bien podía ver demasiado. Cada forma oscura en la penumbra tenía su calidad ominosa, su peculiar sugerencia de vigilancia alerta. Así permanecí quieto durante un minuto, y luego, aún sin perder de vista los árboles, giré hacia el oeste para cruzar el promontorio; y mientras me movía, una de las sombras en acecho se movió para seguirme.
Mi corazon latía rapidamente. Pronto la ancha extensión de una bahía se hizo visible al oeste, y me detuve otra vez. La sombra silenciosa se detuvo a una docena de yardas de mí. Un pequeño punto de luz brillaba en el extremo más lejano de la curva, y la extensión gris de la playa arenosa reposaba bajo la débil luz de las estrellas. A lo mejor, ese pequeño punto de luz quedaba a unas dos millas. Para alcanzar la playa, tendría que atravesar los árboles donde acechaban las sombras, y bajar una pendiente con arbustos.
Podía ver la cosa ahora con más claridad. No era un animal porque estaba sobre dos piernas. Y entonces abrí la boca para hablar, y una flema espesa me ahogó la voz. Traté otra vez y grité, ''¿Quién está ahí?''. No hubo respuesta. Me adelanté un paso. La cosa no se movió, solo se encogió. Mi pie tropezó con una roca. Eso me dio una idea. Sin apartar los ojos de la forma negra que tenía ante mí, me incliné y recogí este trozo de roca; pero a mi movimiento, la cosa se volvió bruscamente como lo habría hecho un perro y se deslizó oblicuamente en la oscuridad. Entonces recordé un recurso escolar contra perros grandes, y retorcí la piedra en mi pañuelo, y le di una vuelta alrededor de mi muñeca. Oí un movimiento más alejado entre las sombras, como si la cosa estuviera en retirada. Entonces, de repente, mi tensa excitación cedió; Empecé a transpirar profusamente y me puse a temblar, con mi adversario aplastado y esta arma en la mano.
Pasó un buen rato antes de que pudiera tomar una resolución para bajar a través de los árboles y arbustos del flanco del promontorio hasta la playa. Por fin lo hice a la carrera; y cuando salí de la espesura sobre la arena, oí que otro cuerpo se estrellaba detrás de mí. Ante eso, perdí por completo la cabeza de miedo y comencé a correr por la arena. En seguida se escucharon las pisadas rápidas de pies ligeros en persecución. Proferí un grito salvaje y redoblé mi paso. Algunas cosas negras y tenues de tres o cuatro veces el tamaño de los conejos salieron corriendo o saltaron de la playa hacia las matas cuando pasaba.
Mientras viva, recordaré el terror de esa persecución. Corrí cerca de la orilla del agua, y oía de vez en cuando el chapoteo de los pies que se me acercaban. Muy lejos, desesperantemente lejos, estaba la luz amarilla. Toda la noche a nuestro alrededor era negra y quieta. Chapoteando, venían los pies perseguidores, cada vez más cerca. Sentí que se me cortaba el aliento, ya que estaba bastante desentrenado; resollaba con cada inhalación, y sentí un dolor como un cuchillo en mi costado. Percibí que la cosa me alcanzaría mucho antes de que llegara al recinto y, desesperado y sollozando por mi aliento, di una vuelta sobre él y lo golpeé cuando se acercó... golpeé con todas mis fuerzas. La piedra salió de la honda-pañuelo cuando la lancé. Mientras me volvía, la cosa, que había estado corriendo en cuatro patas, se puso de pie, y el misil le pegó justo en la sien izquierda. El cráneo sonó ruidosamente, y el animal-hombre tropezó conmigo, empujándome hacia atrás con las manos, y se tambaleó más allá de mí para caer de bruces sobre la arena, con la cara en el agua; y allí yació quieto.
No podía acercarme a ese bulto negro. Lo dejé allí, con el agua ondeando a su alrededor bajo las estrellas inmóviles, y dándole una amplia ventaja proseguí mi camino hacia el resplandor amarillo de la casa; y en ese momento, con el efecto favorable del alivio, llegaron los gemidos lastimeros del puma, el sonido que originalmente me había impulsado a explorar esta isla misteriosa. En eso, aunque estaba débil y terriblemente fatigado, reuní todas mis fuerzas y ​​comencé a correr de nuevo hacia la luz. Creí que oía una voz que me llamaba.
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I paused and listened.
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The air was still.
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Then with a rustle a rabbit emerged, and went scampering up the slope before me.
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I hesitated, and sat down in the edge of the shade.
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The place was a pleasant one.
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Here and there a splash of white or crimson marked the blooming of some trailing epiphyte.
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For a moment I could see nothing but the waving summits of the ferns and reeds.
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It bowed its round head to the water, and began to drink.
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Then I saw it was a man, going on all-fours like a beast.
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He was clothed in bluish cloth, and was of a copper-coloured hue, with black hair.
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It seemed that grotesque ugliness was an invariable character of these islanders.
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I could hear the suck of the water at his lips as he drank.
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He looked up guiltily, and his eyes met mine.
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His legs were scarcely half the length of his body.
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So, staring one another out of countenance, we remained for perhaps the space of a minute.
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Long after he had disappeared, I remained sitting up staring in the direction of his retreat.
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My drowsy tranquillity had gone.
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I jumped to my feet.
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I looked around me rather nervously, and regretted that I was unarmed.
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Yet I was greatly disturbed at the apparition.
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Why should a man go on all-fours and drink with his lips?
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but still warm and with the head torn off.
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I stopped aghast at the sight of the scattered blood.
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Here at least was one visitor to the island disposed of!
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There were no traces of other violence about it.
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It looked as though it had been suddenly snatched up and killed;.
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and as I stared at the little furry body came the difficulty of how the thing had been done.
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I began to realise the hardihood of my expedition among these unknown people.
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The thicket about me became altered to my imagination.
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Every shadow became something more than a shadow,—became an ambush; every rustle became a threat.
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Invisible things seemed watching me.
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I resolved to go back to the enclosure on the beach.
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I stopped just in time to prevent myself emerging upon an open space.
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It was a kind of glade in the forest, made by a fall;.
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seedlings were already starting up to struggle for the vacant space;.
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One was evidently a female; the other two were men.
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They were naked, save for swathings of scarlet cloth about the middle;.
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and their skins were of a dull pinkish-drab colour, such as I had seen in no savages before.
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I never saw such bestial-looking creatures.
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They swayed their heads and shoulders from side to side.
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He seemed to me to be reciting some complicated gibberish.
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Presently his articulation became shriller, and spreading his hands he rose to his feet.
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I noticed then the abnormal shortness of their legs, and their lank, clumsy feet.
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All three began slowly to circle round, raising and stamping their feet and waving their arms;.
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Saliva dripped from their lipless mouths.
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They began leaping in the air, first one and then the other, whooping and grunting.
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Then one slipped, and for a moment was on all-fours,—to recover, indeed, forthwith.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 83
But that transitory gleam of the true animalism of these monsters was enough.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 85
It was long before I grew bolder, and dared to move freely.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 88
The head and upper part of the body were hidden by a tangle of creeper.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 89
I stopped abruptly, hoping the creature did not see me.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 90
The feet stopped as I did.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 91
So nervous was I that I controlled an impulse to headlong flight with the utmost difficulty.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 93
He moved his head.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 96
In another moment he had vanished behind some bushes.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 97
I could not see him, but I felt that he had stopped and was watching me again.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 98
What on earth was he,—man or beast?
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 99
What did he want with me?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 100
I had no weapon, not even a stick.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 101
Flight would be madness.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 102
At any rate the Thing, whatever it was, lacked the courage to attack me.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 103
Setting my teeth hard, I walked straight towards him.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 104
I was anxious not to show the fear that seemed chilling my backbone.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 106
I advanced a step or two, looking steadfastly into his eyes.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 107
"Who are you?"
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 108
said I.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 109
He tried to meet my gaze.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 110
"No!"
3 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 111
he said suddenly, and turning went bounding away from me through the undergrowth.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 112
Then he turned and stared at me again.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 113
His eyes shone brightly out of the dusk under the trees.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 114
My heart was in my mouth; but I felt my only chance was bluff, and walked steadily towards him.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 115
He turned again, and vanished into the dusk.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 116
Once more I thought I caught the glint of his eyes, and that was all.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 117
For the first time I realised how the lateness of the hour might affect me.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 120
The thought of a return to that pain-haunted refuge was extremely disagreeable,.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 124
The colourless clearness that comes after the sunset flush was darkling;.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 125
unit 127
I pushed on.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 128
The colour vanished from the world.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 130
Presently the trees grew thinner, and the shrubby undergrowth more abundant.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 131
unit 132
I did not remember crossing the sand-opening before.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 133
I began to be tormented by a faint rustling upon my right hand.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 135
Then when I turned to hurry on again there was an echo to my footsteps.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 137
I saw nothing, and nevertheless my sense of another presence grew steadily.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 139
It came out black and clear-cut against the darkling sky;.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 140
and presently a shapeless lump heaved up momentarily against the sky-line and vanished again.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 141
I felt assured now that my tawny-faced antagonist was stalking me once more;.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 142
and coupled with that was another unpleasant realisation, that I had lost my way.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 143
For a time I hurried on hopelessly perplexed, and pursued by that stealthy approach.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 145
I kept studiously to the open.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 146
At times I would turn and listen;.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 148
Then I heard the sound of the sea.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 149
I quickened my footsteps almost into a run, and immediately there was a stumble in my rear.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 150
I turned suddenly, and stared at the uncertain trees behind me.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 151
One black shadow seemed to leap into another.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 152
I listened, rigid, and heard nothing but the creep of the blood in my ears.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 156
Some way out, the wash upon an irregular band of reef shone with a pallid light of its own.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 157
Westward I saw the zodiacal light mingling with the yellow brilliance of the evening star.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 158
The coast fell away from me to the east, and westward it was hidden by the shoulder of the cape.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 159
Then I recalled the fact that Moreau's beach lay to the west.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 160
A twig snapped behind me, and there was a rustle.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 161
I turned, and stood facing the dark trees.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 162
I could see nothing—or else I could see too much.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 163
unit 165
and as I moved, one among the lurking shadows moved to follow me.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 166
My heart beat quickly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 167
Presently the broad sweep of a bay to the westward became visible, and I halted again.
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 168
The noiseless shadow halted a dozen yards from me.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 170
Perhaps two miles away was that little point of light.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 172
I could see the Thing rather more distinctly now.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 173
It was no animal, for it stood erect.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 174
At that I opened my mouth to speak, and found a hoarse phlegm choked my voice.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 175
I tried again, and shouted, "Who is there?"
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 176
There was no answer.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 177
I advanced a step.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 178
The Thing did not move, only gathered itself together.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 179
My foot struck a stone.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 180
That gave me an idea.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 181
Without taking my eyes off the black form before me, I stooped and picked up this lump of rock;.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 184
I heard a movement further off among the shadows, as if the Thing was in retreat.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 185
Then suddenly my tense excitement gave way;.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 189
At that I completely lost my head with fear, and began running along the sand.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 190
Forthwith there came the swift patter of soft feet in pursuit.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 191
I gave a wild cry, and redoubled my pace.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 193
So long as I live, I shall remember the terror of that chase.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 194
unit 195
Far away, hopelessly far, was the yellow light.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 196
All the night about us was black and still.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 197
Splash, splash, came the pursuing feet, nearer and nearer.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 198
I felt my breath going, for I was quite out of training;.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 199
it whooped as I drew it, and I felt a pain like a knife at my side.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 201
The stone came out of the sling of the handkerchief as I did so.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 204
and there it lay still.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 205
I could not bring myself to approach that black heap.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
unit 209
I thought I heard a voice calling me.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 3 months, 1 week ago
soybeba • 2080  commented on  unit 171  3 months, 2 weeks ago
soybeba • 2080  translated  unit 110  3 months, 3 weeks ago
soybeba • 2080  translated  unit 110  3 months, 3 weeks ago
soybeba • 2080  commented on  unit 103  3 months, 3 weeks ago
contratiempo • 1073  commented on  unit 98  3 months, 3 weeks ago
soybeba • 2080  translated  unit 110  3 months, 3 weeks ago
soybeba • 2080  commented on  unit 103  3 months, 3 weeks ago
soybeba • 2080  commented on  unit 41  3 months, 3 weeks ago
contratiempo • 1073  translated  unit 108  3 months, 4 weeks ago
soybeba • 2080  commented on  unit 52  3 months, 4 weeks ago

Chapter 9: The Thing In The Forest
I STRODE through the undergrowth that clothed the ridge behind the house, scarcely heeding whither I went;. passed on through the shadow of a thick cluster of straight-stemmed trees beyond it, and so presently found myself some way on the other side of the ridge, and descending towards a streamlet that ran through a narrow valley. I paused and listened. The distance I had come, or the intervening masses of thicket, deadened any sound that might be coming from the enclosure. The air was still. Then with a rustle a rabbit emerged, and went scampering up the slope before me. I hesitated, and sat down in the edge of the shade.
The place was a pleasant one. The rivulet was hidden by the luxuriant vegetation of the banks save at one point, where I caught a triangular patch of its glittering water. On the farther side I saw through a bluish haze a tangle of trees and creepers, and above these again the luminous blue of the sky. Here and there a splash of white or crimson marked the blooming of some trailing epiphyte. I let my eyes wander over this scene for a while, and then began to turn over in my mind again the strange peculiarities of Montgomery's man. But it was too hot to think elaborately, and presently I fell into a tranquil state midway between dozing and waking.
From this I was aroused, after I know not how long, by a rustling amidst the greenery on the other side of the stream. For a moment I could see nothing but the waving summits of the ferns and reeds. Then suddenly upon the bank of the stream appeared Something—at first I could not distinguish what it was. It bowed its round head to the water, and began to drink. Then I saw it was a man, going on all-fours like a beast. He was clothed in bluish cloth, and was of a copper-coloured hue, with black hair. It seemed that grotesque ugliness was an invariable character of these islanders. I could hear the suck of the water at his lips as he drank.
I leant forward to see him better, and a piece of lava, detached by my hand, went pattering down the slope. He looked up guiltily, and his eyes met mine. Forthwith he scrambled to his feet, and stood wiping his clumsy hand across his mouth and regarding me. His legs were scarcely half the length of his body. So, staring one another out of countenance, we remained for perhaps the space of a minute. Then, stopping to look back once or twice, he slunk off among the bushes to the right of me, and I heard the swish of the fronds grow faint in the distance and die away. Long after he had disappeared, I remained sitting up staring in the direction of his retreat. My drowsy tranquillity had gone.
I was startled by a noise behind me, and turning suddenly saw the flapping white tail of a rabbit vanishing up the slope. I jumped to my feet. The apparition of this grotesque, half-bestial creature had suddenly populated the stillness of the afternoon for me. I looked around me rather nervously, and regretted that I was unarmed. Then I thought that the man I had just seen had been clothed in bluish cloth, had not been naked as a savage would have been;. and I tried to persuade myself from that fact that he was after all probably a peaceful character, that the dull ferocity of his countenance belied him.
Yet I was greatly disturbed at the apparition. I walked to the left along the slope, turning my head about and peering this way and that among the straight stems of the trees. Why should a man go on all-fours and drink with his lips? Presently I heard an animal wailing again, and taking it to be the puma, I turned about and walked in a direction diametrically opposite to the sound. This led me down to the stream, across which I stepped and pushed my way up through the undergrowth beyond.
I was startled by a great patch of vivid scarlet on the ground, and going up to it found it to be a peculiar fungus, branched and corrugated like a foliaceous lichen, but deliquescing into slime at the touch;. and then in the shadow of some luxuriant ferns I came upon an unpleasant thing,—the dead body of a rabbit covered with shining flies,. but still warm and with the head torn off. I stopped aghast at the sight of the scattered blood. Here at least was one visitor to the island disposed of! There were no traces of other violence about it. It looked as though it had been suddenly snatched up and killed;. and as I stared at the little furry body came the difficulty of how the thing had been done. The vague dread that had been in my mind since I had seen the inhuman face of the man at the stream grew distincter as I stood there. I began to realise the hardihood of my expedition among these unknown people. The thicket about me became altered to my imagination. Every shadow became something more than a shadow,—became an ambush; every rustle became a threat. Invisible things seemed watching me. I resolved to go back to the enclosure on the beach. I suddenly turned away and thrust myself violently, possibly even frantically, through the bushes, anxious to get a clear space about me again.
I stopped just in time to prevent myself emerging upon an open space. It was a kind of glade in the forest, made by a fall;. seedlings were already starting up to struggle for the vacant space;. and beyond, the dense growth of stems and twining vines and splashes of fungus and flowers closed in again. Before me, squatting together upon the fungoid ruins of a huge fallen tree and still unaware of my approach, were three grotesque human figures. One was evidently a female; the other two were men. They were naked, save for swathings of scarlet cloth about the middle;. and their skins were of a dull pinkish-drab colour, such as I had seen in no savages before. They had fat, heavy, chinless faces, retreating foreheads, and a scant bristly hair upon their heads. I never saw such bestial-looking creatures.
They were talking, or at least one of the men was talking to the other two, and all three had been too closely interested to heed the rustling of my approach. They swayed their heads and shoulders from side to side. The speaker's words came thick and sloppy, and though I could hear them distinctly I could not distinguish what he said. He seemed to me to be reciting some complicated gibberish. Presently his articulation became shriller, and spreading his hands he rose to his feet. At that the others began to gibber in unison, also rising to their feet, spreading their hands and swaying their bodies in rhythm with their chant. I noticed then the abnormal shortness of their legs, and their lank, clumsy feet. All three began slowly to circle round, raising and stamping their feet and waving their arms;. a kind of tune crept into their rhythmic recitation, and a refrain,—"Aloola," or "Balloola," it sounded like. Their eyes began to sparkle, and their ugly faces to brighten, with an expression of strange pleasure. Saliva dripped from their lipless mouths.
Suddenly, as I watched their grotesque and unaccountable gestures, I perceived clearly for the first time what it was that had offended me, what had given me the two inconsistent and conflicting impressions of utter strangeness and yet of the strangest familiarity. The three creatures engaged in this mysterious rite were human in shape, and yet human beings with the strangest air about them of some familiar animal. Each of these creatures, despite its human form, its rag of clothing, and the rough humanity of its bodily form, had woven into it—into its movements, into the expression of its countenance, into its whole presence—some now irresistible suggestion of a hog, a swinish taint, the unmistakable mark of the beast.
I stood overcome by this amazing realisation and then the most horrible questionings came rushing into my mind. They began leaping in the air, first one and then the other, whooping and grunting. Then one slipped, and for a moment was on all-fours,—to recover, indeed, forthwith. But that transitory gleam of the true animalism of these monsters was enough.
I turned as noiselessly as possible, and becoming every now and then rigid with the fear of being discovered, as a branch cracked or a leaf rustled, I pushed back into the bushes. It was long before I grew bolder, and dared to move freely. My only idea for the moment was to get away from these foul beings, and I scarcely noticed that I had emerged upon a faint pathway amidst the trees. Then suddenly traversing a little glade, I saw with an unpleasant start two clumsy legs among the trees, walking with noiseless footsteps parallel with my course, and perhaps thirty yards away from me. The head and upper part of the body were hidden by a tangle of creeper. I stopped abruptly, hoping the creature did not see me. The feet stopped as I did. So nervous was I that I controlled an impulse to headlong flight with the utmost difficulty. Then looking hard, I distinguished through the interlacing network the head and body of the brute I had seen drinking. He moved his head. There was an emerald flash in his eyes as he glanced at me from the shadow of the trees, a half-luminous colour that vanished as he turned his head again. He was motionless for a moment, and then with a noiseless tread began running through the green confusion. In another moment he had vanished behind some bushes. I could not see him, but I felt that he had stopped and was watching me again.
What on earth was he,—man or beast? What did he want with me? I had no weapon, not even a stick. Flight would be madness. At any rate the Thing, whatever it was, lacked the courage to attack me. Setting my teeth hard, I walked straight towards him. I was anxious not to show the fear that seemed chilling my backbone. I pushed through a tangle of tall white-flowered bushes, and saw him twenty paces beyond, looking over his shoulder at me and hesitating. I advanced a step or two, looking steadfastly into his eyes.
"Who are you?" said I.
He tried to meet my gaze. "No!" he said suddenly, and turning went bounding away from me through the undergrowth. Then he turned and stared at me again. His eyes shone brightly out of the dusk under the trees.
My heart was in my mouth; but I felt my only chance was bluff, and walked steadily towards him. He turned again, and vanished into the dusk. Once more I thought I caught the glint of his eyes, and that was all.
For the first time I realised how the lateness of the hour might affect me. The sun had set some minutes since, the swift dusk of the tropics was already fading out of the eastern sky, and a pioneer moth fluttered silently by my head. Unless I would spend the night among the unknown dangers of the mysterious forest, I must hasten back to the enclosure. The thought of a return to that pain-haunted refuge was extremely disagreeable,. but still more so was the idea of being overtaken in the open by darkness and all that darkness might conceal. I gave one more look into the blue shadows that had swallowed up this odd creature, and then retraced my way down the slope towards the stream, going as I judged in the direction from which I had come.
I walked eagerly, my mind confused with many things, and presently found myself in a level place among scattered trees. The colourless clearness that comes after the sunset flush was darkling;. the blue sky above grew momentarily deeper, and the little stars one by one pierced the attenuated light;. the interspaces of the trees, the gaps in the further vegetation, that had been hazy blue in the daylight, grew black and mysterious. I pushed on. The colour vanished from the world. The tree-tops rose against the luminous blue sky in inky silhouette, and all below that outline melted into one formless blackness. Presently the trees grew thinner, and the shrubby undergrowth more abundant. Then there was a desolate space covered with a white sand, and then another expanse of tangled bushes. I did not remember crossing the sand-opening before. I began to be tormented by a faint rustling upon my right hand. I thought at first it was fancy, for whenever I stopped there was silence, save for the evening breeze in the tree-tops. Then when I turned to hurry on again there was an echo to my footsteps.
I turned away from the thickets, keeping to the more open ground, and endeavouring by sudden turns now and then to surprise something in the act of creeping upon me. I saw nothing, and nevertheless my sense of another presence grew steadily. I increased my pace, and after some time came to a slight ridge, crossed it, and turned sharply, regarding it steadfastly from the further side. It came out black and clear-cut against the darkling sky;. and presently a shapeless lump heaved up momentarily against the sky-line and vanished again. I felt assured now that my tawny-faced antagonist was stalking me once more;. and coupled with that was another unpleasant realisation, that I had lost my way.
For a time I hurried on hopelessly perplexed, and pursued by that stealthy approach. Whatever it was, the Thing either lacked the courage to attack me, or it was waiting to take me at some disadvantage. I kept studiously to the open. At times I would turn and listen;. and presently I had half persuaded myself that my pursuer had abandoned the chase, or was a mere creation of my disordered imagination. Then I heard the sound of the sea. I quickened my footsteps almost into a run, and immediately there was a stumble in my rear.
I turned suddenly, and stared at the uncertain trees behind me. One black shadow seemed to leap into another. I listened, rigid, and heard nothing but the creep of the blood in my ears. I thought that my nerves were unstrung, and that my imagination was tricking me, and turned resolutely towards the sound of the sea again.
In a minute or so the trees grew thinner, and I emerged upon a bare, low headland running out into the sombre water. The night was calm and clear, and the reflection of the growing multitude of the stars shivered in the tranquil heaving of the sea. Some way out, the wash upon an irregular band of reef shone with a pallid light of its own. Westward I saw the zodiacal light mingling with the yellow brilliance of the evening star. The coast fell away from me to the east, and westward it was hidden by the shoulder of the cape. Then I recalled the fact that Moreau's beach lay to the west.
A twig snapped behind me, and there was a rustle. I turned, and stood facing the dark trees. I could see nothing—or else I could see too much. Every dark form in the dimness had its ominous quality, its peculiar suggestion of alert watchfulness. So I stood for perhaps a minute, and then, with an eye to the trees still, turned westward to cross the headland;. and as I moved, one among the lurking shadows moved to follow me.
My heart beat quickly. Presently the broad sweep of a bay to the westward became visible, and I halted again. The noiseless shadow halted a dozen yards from me. A little point of light shone on the further bend of the curve, and the grey sweep of the sandy beach lay faint under the starlight. Perhaps two miles away was that little point of light. To get to the beach I should have to go through the trees where the shadows lurked, and down a bushy slope.
I could see the Thing rather more distinctly now. It was no animal, for it stood erect. At that I opened my mouth to speak, and found a hoarse phlegm choked my voice. I tried again, and shouted, "Who is there?" There was no answer. I advanced a step. The Thing did not move, only gathered itself together. My foot struck a stone. That gave me an idea. Without taking my eyes off the black form before me, I stooped and picked up this lump of rock;. but at my motion the Thing turned abruptly as a dog might have done, and slunk obliquely into the further darkness. Then I recalled a schoolboy expedient against big dogs, and twisted the rock into my handkerchief, and gave this a turn round my wrist. I heard a movement further off among the shadows, as if the Thing was in retreat. Then suddenly my tense excitement gave way;. I broke into a profuse perspiration and fell a-trembling, with my adversary routed and this weapon in my hand.
It was some time before I could summon resolution to go down through the trees and bushes upon the flank of the headland to the beach. At last I did it at a run; and as I emerged from the thicket upon the sand, I heard some other body come crashing after me. At that I completely lost my head with fear, and began running along the sand. Forthwith there came the swift patter of soft feet in pursuit. I gave a wild cry, and redoubled my pace. Some dim, black things about three or four times the size of rabbits went running or hopping up from the beach towards the bushes as I passed.
So long as I live, I shall remember the terror of that chase. I ran near the water's edge, and heard every now and then the splash of the feet that gained upon me. Far away, hopelessly far, was the yellow light. All the night about us was black and still. Splash, splash, came the pursuing feet, nearer and nearer. I felt my breath going, for I was quite out of training;. it whooped as I drew it, and I felt a pain like a knife at my side. I perceived the Thing would come up with me long before I reached the enclosure, and, desperate and sobbing for my breath, I wheeled round upon it and struck at it as it came up to me,—struck with all my strength. The stone came out of the sling of the handkerchief as I did so. As I turned, the Thing, which had been running on all-fours, rose to its feet, and the missile fell fair on its left temple. The skull rang loud, and the animal-man blundered into me, thrust me back with its hands, and went staggering past me to fall headlong upon the sand with its face in the water;. and there it lay still.
I could not bring myself to approach that black heap. I left it there, with the water rippling round it, under the still stars, and giving it a wide berth pursued my way towards the yellow glow of the house;. and presently, with a positive effect of relief, came the pitiful moaning of the puma, the sound that had originally driven me out to explore this mysterious island. At that, though I was faint and horribly fatigued, I gathered together all my strength, and began running again towards the light. I thought I heard a voice calling me.