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Lord Of The Flies

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They set off along the beach in formation. Ralph went first, limping a little, his spear carried over one shoulder. He saw things partially through the tremble of the heat haze over the flashing sands, and his own long hair and injuries. Behind him came the twins, worried now for a while but full unquenchable vitality. They said little but trailed the butts of their wooden spears; for Piggy had found that looking down, shielding his tired sight from the sun, he could just see those moving along the sand. He walked between the trailing butts, therefore, the conch held carefully between his two hands. Stop” cried Sam.

A surprised Ralph stopped in his tracks. There was great tension between the four boys. Not one of them knew what to say. It was Sam who broke the silence. “we can’t go! Look at Jack now, he can’t see what he’s done. The hair, the paint. He’s changed” Ralph opened his mouth to argue then closed it again. He knew Sam was right but chose not to believe it. Ralph stared at Piggy and Eric daring them to speak. Eric, challenging Ralph, spoke up. “Sam’s right and we all know it. Look how many of them there are, they’ll kill us” Eric’s words stabbed at Ralph’s chest.

His eyes, as pale as if they had been bleached in th wash, focused on the three. “How about you Piggy? You too chicken aswell? ” His tone was harsh and threatening. Piggy staring at the ground didn’t dare look up to meet Ralph’s gaze. “Ralph, maybe it’s best if we keep our distance. I mean… the glasses… it’s not that important. ” Ralph’s gaze sharpened. He stepped back, raising his hands up to his face. “What’s the matter with you’s? We can’t just stand back and let Jack get away with everything. You can’t be scared of him cos thats what he wants. Can’t you see that?

Especially you Piggy, your the one who told me not to give up and now… now I’m telling you. So are you with me or not? ” No-one breathed a word. “Fine” hissed Ralph “I’ll go by myself. ” He turned his back and trotted away half expecting one of the others to call him back but none of them did. Ralph shivered although the evening was still warm. He’d decided to delay the confrontation with Jack but thought too highly of himself to return to Piggy and Samneric. Instead he found himself at the other end of the beach just lying on the soft sand staring at the horizon.

How he yearned to run toward the sun and catch it befor it vanished. He tried to not think about Jack but was proving to be hard. He felt his anger sticking to him, enveloping him, taking his share of oxygen and growing stronger. He clenched his fists and clamboured to his feet. The setting sun seemed to shine right through him as if he were made of coloured glass and hung in a window. The warmth inside him froze and turned to ice. Hate was cold and Ralph was all rage. Ralph set off in the new direction. He didn’t know how long it took him to make his way to Jack, time was something he no longer possessed.

Jack and the other sycophants were celebrating another good catch. They had fire, meat and provided their own entertainment. For a split second Ralph envied them, but that passed wawy in a flash. It made Ralph sick to see them enjoying themselves. His eyes were fixed on Jack. Jack suddenly became aware of Ralph glaring at him but he still carried on dancing and singing and feasting, ignoring the presence of Ralph. The other boys didn’t seem to notice himuntil he screamed at the top of his lungs for their attention. They all turned to stare at the screaming boy and didn’t know how to react.

Ralph stopped on a high note and suppressed an hysterical desire to laugh. “What d’ya want, Ralph? ” Jack demanded, taking control of the whole situation. His hand gripped tightly to his spear. Ralph, forcing his voice to remain steady simply said “Suppose that I could make you be afraid of me, make you run or hide from me” This time it was Jack’s turn be amused. He laughed his hollow laugh and said “I could never be afraid of you”. There was silence. The sky was purple and black, like a great bruise.

Ralph decided to have abit of fun. “Lets play a game, Jack. Lets play Tag. Know the rules? ” Game? ” Jack considered this. “Okay. I like games and I like Tag but I don’t like rules, how about if we don’t play by them? ” Ralph clicked his knuckles and dusted his shorts. “I” he said “will be it. ” Ralph smiled at the group of savages. He still had his baby teeth, but his smile was ancient and knowing. Ralph loved Tag, you ran alone, you caught alone, you face ‘it’ alone. “Run! ” Ralph shouted. He did not run but stared after them, watching their terrified faces and getting an extra jolt of pleasure from it. “Try to get away from me” he said under his breath “you never will” he added.

Jack tripped over something and cursed. Stupid game, he thought. Branches slapped his face. How long had he been running? Thirty seconds? A minute? A lifetime. He shoved the branches aside, peering behind for Ralph. Sure enough, Ralph was coming towards him. Gotta keep running, gotta keep running. He stopped to catch his breath. And heard it. Something was crashing through the tree’s behind him. Ralph, he thought. But he didn’t say aloud. He didn’t move. Tried not to breathe. Crouched down now, hoping the moon would never come out to give him away. Jack stared at his bare arms, a thousand tiny hairs prickled in fear.

Something in the night had quivered free and even his skin knew it. The crashing stopped. And then the screams began. Jack had never heard such a sound. It went on and on. It spread out like a wave, drowning the night. It was raw and terrible. Inhuman. Instinctively, Jack put his hands over his ears. The sound came through, drove through his hands, into his senses. Into his brain. He ran now, not caring what was behind him, not caring what was ahead. Punching his way through the tree’s. Until something caught him by the ankle. And the darkness came up to meet him. Jack tripped and stumbled.

Sprawled across the muddy earth he choked and coughed. Ralph chuckled “I told you didn’t I? I told you you’d never get away from me. ” Ralph stood for a moment, savouring Jack’s collapse, and then his fingers stabbed at Jack’s arm. Jack froze. He didn’t move, he didn’t blink, he didn’t tip. The game had reached another level. Ralph who liked his victims to know. Ralph crouched down beside Jack, smilinghis smile of ice and snow. “Say you wanted to kill someone” he said conversationally. “How would you do it? Drowning? Burning? what do you think? Jack felt a strange tremor.

He could just see Ralph tieing him to a tree and setting it alight then walking off . Just thinking about it chilled Jack. Even as Ralph talked, Jack’s joints seemed to harden like a pond surface turning to ice. “Scared? ” Ralph asked with a smirk on his face. Jack did not speak. Ralph edged closer and Jack flinched. Ralph chuckled. The moon was shining. Jack was lying in soft sand. The branches of trees were closing in above him. What had happened? His head was throbbing, everything around him was blurry. “Can you get up? ” A different voice. Familiar but strange. “Yes” he replied. Lets get out of here” said the voice.

Roger’s. yes. Now Jack remembered. He’d been running. They’d been playing a game. What game? The game of life and death? “Is the game over? ” Asked Jack. Roger did not answer. Instead hands were hauling him to his feet. “Lean on me” said Roger. “No, I’m fine” Jack told him, suddenly indignant. He began to make his way carefully toward their shelter. Roger stepped ahead of him leading the way. That night Jack was dreaming again. He knew he was dreaming. He knew the dream. He’d been there before, that night running away from Ralph. But this time it happened differently.

This time it was not Ralph he was running from, it was evil. Jack woke. His body broke out in heavy sweat, he felt clammy and uncomfortable. He raised his arms pulling the darkness to him and held it tight. Like the dark was his companion. No! No. He jerked his arms to his sides. What was happening to him? He had to fight it. He was afraid. Afraid of what? Ralph? Jack laughed at the thought. Maybe he was afraid of Ralph. The cold cut to his bones. I’m not afraid of Ralph. I’m afraid of something worse. Maple leaves rattled around Ralph. He had fallen asleep against a tree with his wooden spear by his foot.

The chattering of the wind woke him with a start. He sat with his arms wrapped around his body for warmth. The wind pressed his shorts tight against his body. Ralph sat curled against the tree watching the wilderness. Ralph had fallen into fear like the storm had come, with a startling suddenness as exciting and terrifying as it was joyful. But this storm would sweep over, batter the skyscrapers, jerk at the sailboats, then disappear into darkness over the lake. His feeling of fear wasn’t blowing over. It was a storm that was twisting him all out of shape with no promise of getting better.

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