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situation of this sort But apparently not-unless their technique was to simply
wait out the shark, sit on the raft until it got tired and went away.
However, if it was the same shark-or even of the same breed and temperament as
the shark that bad dogged the raft earlier-it was not likely to leave in any
reasonable length of time. The fin that had followed us earlier had been with
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us for days on end. The eerie pan of the whole business was that there was no
visible sign of an attempt at consultation among the lizards. From the
beginning they had shown no indication of having a spoken language; and I had
not been able to make out any other method of signs or signalling they might
be using between themselves. But I had always assumed that in some way, if
they had to, they could communicate with each other. Now it seemed they could
not even do that. A handful of them stood and watched the shark for a while;
but eventually, all of them went back to acting as if they were still out at
sea, resting on the logs, hunting between them in the growth under the raft in
search of small marine life to eat, and so on. The only sign mat there was
anything at all unusual about the situation was die fact that still none of
them came to pot us back in our cages.
Night came with no change. A day after that followed with the shark still
waiting and the lizards still an on the raft Around noon of the third day,
however, something new began to happen.
Just before the son was fun overhead, one of die lizards lying near the edge
of the raft, beyond which the shark was presently patrolling, got to his feet
He stood facing down at the shark in the water, and then he began to bounce as
he stood, not moving his feet, but bending his knees slightly so that he
bobbed up and down like someone on a diving board getting ready to dive.
Once started, he continued the bobbing steadily and with a sort of reflexive
monotony of pace. The other lizards seemed to be paying no attention to him;
but after perhaps half an hour, when I looked back over at where he was, after
having my attention elsewhere for a while, I saw that another of the lizards,
about ten feet from him, was now also on his feet and bobbing. The two of them
matched their rhythms precisely, rising and falling together as if the same
invisible spring was actuating them both.
An hour later, there were four of them on their feet and bobbing. Gradually,
more and more of the others joined them in silent, continuous movement-until
by mid-afternoon all the lizards on the ship were performing flie same
soundless, f eet-in-place dance.
The shark, meanwhile, either having seen mem on the edge of the raft, or-what
is more likely-having been attracted by the vibrations of their movements
through the logs and the water, was now patrolling in very short runs back and
forth, almost within touching distance, it seemed, of the raft edge.
Suddenly, as the shark passed, one of the lizard figures leaped into the water
upon its back... and all at once the air was fufl of lizards taking to the
water.
I ran to the side of the raft and looked out-and down* The shark was already
at the bottom of the bay, moving rapidly away from the raft But the lizards
were all over him, like green-scaled dogs clinging to a bull. Their heavy jaws
were tearing chunks out of the shark's incredibly tough hide; and a filmy
cloud of blood was spreading through the underwater. Not merely shark's blood,
either. I saw the huge selachian catch a lizard in its jaws and literally
divide him in half.
Then the whole struggle moved away out of my sight, headed toward the open
sea, as the shark evidently followed its reflex to go for deeper water.
For some moments I simply stood, staring-then the implications of the
situation exploded on me. I ran to the girl and grabbed her by the arm.
"Come on,** I said. "Come on, now*s our chancel We can get ashore now, while
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they're all gone.** [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]