فصل 12

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فصل 12

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Chapter twelve

The Search for Moreau

M’ling went in front. Montgomery followed, with his head down and his hands in his pockets. He could not walk in a straight line because of the whisky. My left arm was tied up and painful, but luckily my right arm was fine. I carried our only gun.

We took a narrow path through the trees. Suddenly M’ling stopped, listening. We listened too. Some animal-people were coming towards us.

‘He’s dead,’ said one voice.

‘He isn’t dead, he isn’t dead,’ said another.

‘We saw, we saw,’ said some others.

There was a few seconds silence, then some crashes in the trees. Finally we saw six faces: the ape-man, the hairy grey Sayer of the Law, and four horse-men.

‘What did you say?’ asked Montgomery angrily. ‘Where’s the Master?’

They all looked at their friends. No one spoke. Finally the hairy Sayer of the Law said, ‘He’s dead. They saw.’

‘Where is he?’ continued Montgomery.

The hairy grey thing pointed away to our left.

‘Is there a Law now?’ asked the ape-man. ‘Is it still “Don’t do this and don’t do that”? Is he really dead?’

‘Is there a Law?’ repeated his friends.

‘Is there a Law, Other-with-a-gun? He is dead,’ said the Sayer of the Law. They all stood watching us.

Montgomery’s eyes were still swimming in whisky. ‘Prendick,’ he said, ‘he’s clearly dead, so…’

I thought quickly and stepped towards the animal-men. ‘Children of the Law,’ I said loudly, ‘he is not dead.’ M’ling turned his sharp eyes on me, but I continued. ‘He has changed his shape… He has changed his body. For some time you won’t see him.

‘He is… there,’ I pointed up to the sky. ‘You can’t see him, but he can see you. Fear the Law.’

They looked unsure. ‘He is great. He is good,’ said the ape-man finally, looking fearfully up at the sky.

‘And the other thing?’ I asked them.

‘The Thing-with-blood-and-screams is dead too,’ said the Sayer of the Law.

‘Good,’ said Montgomery to himself.

‘The Other-with-the-gun…’ began the Sayer of the Law.

‘Yes?’ I said.

‘He says the Master is dead.’

Montgomery was not too drunk to understand my purpose in all this. ‘He’s not dead,’ he said now. ‘He’s no more dead than I am.’

‘Some have broken the Law,’ I continued. ‘They will die. Some have died already. Show us the Master’s old body.’

‘It is this way, Walker-with-tears-in-the-sea,’ said the Sayer of the Law.

We were following him through the trees when suddenly a rabbit crossed our path. Behind it came a great bear-man, too fast to stop. The Sayer of the Law stepped out of this monster’s way. M’ling jumped at it but was pushed off. Montgomery turned to run. Quickly, I pulled out my gun and shot straight into the monster’s ugly face. Its face was destroyed, but still it came towards us. It caught Montgomery in its arms as it fell to the ground - dead.

Slowly, Montgomery shook himself out of the monster’s lifeless arms. The Sayer of the Law came nervously to look.

‘You see,’ I said to him. ‘The Law is alive. This man is dead because of the Law. No one escapes.’

‘No one escapes,’ he repeated.

His friends joined him to look at the dead bear-man.

Finally we continued our walk. At the west corner of the island, we found the dead puma. It was shot in the shoulder, and half-eaten too. Then, a few metres away, we found another body. It lay face down, its white hair covered in blood.

With the animal-men’s help, we carried Moreau’s body slowly back to the house. It was getting dark. We heard many strange noises through the trees but we were not attacked again.

M’ling went off with the other animal-men. Montgomery and I could finally talk.

We have to plan our escape from the island,’ I said.

Montgomery was not drunk now, but his mind was very troubled. Life on the island without Moreau was impossible for him to imagine. ‘No one wants me in the real world,’ he said. ‘It’s OK for you, Prendick. But this place is the only home that I have. And what about the animal-people? The good ones? They need our protection.’

‘What will happen to them if we go?’ I asked.

‘The meat-eaters will eat the others. They all change back to animals in the end.’ He reached for the bottle of whisky and drank a large glass of it. He offered some to me, but I refused. Another glass disappeared down his neck, then another, as he talked about the animal-people.

‘M’ling is the only person in the world who has really loved me,’ he said drunkenly. ‘Where’s M’ling? Where is he? I want to have a drink with him. M’ling! M’ling!’

I tried to stop him. ‘You can’t give him drink. He’ll…’

‘Get out of my way!’ shouted Montgomery. Suddenly his gun was pointing at me. I stepped back. ‘Everything’s gone wrong,’ he cried. ‘Tomorrow I’ll probably kill myself. But tonight I’m going to have some fun. I’m going to have a party.’

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