فصل 06

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فصل 06

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Chapter six

Moreau’s Laboratory

Shaking, I ran towards the house. I heard Montgomery’s voice. ‘Prendick?’ he was shouting. ‘Prendick!’

When I reached him, I fell weakly into his arms.

‘Where have you been?’ he asked. We were working all afternoon and we forgot about you. We only started looking half an hour ago.’

He helped me into the house, and I sat down. I was still shaking terribly.

‘A walk in the dark, alone! What were you thinking, Prendick? I was afraid that…’

‘Please!’ I said quickly. ‘Please, lock that door!’

He looked at me carefully. ‘So you’ve met some of our… people.’ He locked the door and gave me some whisky. For the first time in my life, I drank it.

I described the attack on the beach, and the strange people in the forest. ‘What does it all mean, Montgomery?’ I asked.

‘It’s nothing too terrible, I promise you,’ he replied. ‘But you’ve had enough for one day. You should get some sleep.’

‘But what was that thing on the beach? Was it an animal, or was it a man?’

‘Listen, Prendick. You’ve had a terrible few days, and you haven’t had enough sleep. Drink this medicine so you can sleep through the noise of that damn puma. We’ll talk in the morning.’

He was right. I was too tired to talk now. I drank his medicine.

He helped me into bed like a child, and soon I was asleep.

When I woke, it was late morning. There was some breakfast, on the table, and I ate hungrily. Montgomery opened the inside door - the door into the garden - for a quick hello. ‘Were very busy in here, I’m afraid. No time to talk.’ He closed the door again. But I discovered later that he did not lock it.

I returned to my breakfast. Suddenly there was a cry of pain from the laboratory. But this time it was not the puma. It sounded exactly like the cry of a man.

I did not move. My ears waited for the sound again, but there was nothing. ‘Perhaps it was my imagination,’ I thought.

Then it came again. This time there could be no mistake. A man in the laboratory was screaming and crying with pain. I ran straight to the door to the garden, threw it open and went outside, Montgomery was near the door. ‘Prendick, stop!’ he shouted, Through an open door on the far side of the. garden, I saw something pink, tied to a table. It was covered in blood and bits of white cloth. Then Moreau was in front of me. He picked me up and threw me back into my room. I heard the key in the lock, and Moreau saying, ‘I’m not going to stop the work of a lifetime because of him.’

‘But he doesn’t understand,’ said Montgomery.

I could not hear the rest. As I stood up shakily, my mind was lull of the most terrible ideas. What were they doing to the man in there? I thought again about those strange people in the forest. Were they the results of Moreau’s terrible experiments on ordinary men and women? It seemed the most believable explanation. And what about me? Did they plan to use me in their experiments too? It was clear to me that my life was in very great danger.

Luckily the outside door was still open. I picked up a walking stick to defend myself against these crazy scientists. Then I ran to the door.

I heard someone outside. It was Montgomery. Was he planning to lock me in my room? I ran at him with my stick, and he stepped back. ‘Prendick!’ he cried out in surprise. ‘Don’t be stupid, man!’

I ran north along the beach. Montgomery was behind me, shouting. I could not hear his words. I turned into the forest and ran for a kilometre or two. Then I stopped and listened. I heard a dog, then Montgomery’s voice, but they were getting further and further away. No one was following me. I found a good place to hide, in the shadows of the trees. There I sat for many hours, too afraid to move.

I tried to make a plan. But how could I live alone on the island? I did not know how to catch rabbits or fish without the right equipment. I did not know what forest fruits and vegetables to eat. Could I ask the strange animal-men of the island for help? How dangerous were they?

My hiding place was getting uncomfortable, so I lay on the ground for a minute. Suddenly, high above me in the trees, I saw a pair of eyes… a black face… The face moved closer. I held my stick tightly as an ape-like person dropped from the trees.

‘You, you, you,’ he said.

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