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Chapter 44
The sun climbed through the sky, reached its zenith, beganto come down. I spent the entire day perched on the oar,moving only as much as was necessary to stay balanced. Mywhole being tended towards the spot on the horizon that wouldappear and save me. It was a state of tense, breathlessboredom. Those first hours are associated in my memory withone sound, not one you'd guess, not the yipping of the hyenaor the hissing of the sea: it was the buzzing of flies. Therewere flies aboard the lifeboat. They emerged and flew about inthe way of flies, in great, lazy orbits except when they cameclose to each other, when they spiralled together with dizzyingspeed and a burst of buzzing. Some were brave enough toventure out to where I was. They looped around me, soundinglike sputtering, single-prop airplanes, before hurrying home.
Whether they were native to the boat or had come with oneof the animals, the hyena most likely, I can't say. But whatevertheir origin, they didn't last long; they all disappeared withintwo days. The hyena, from behind the zebra, snapped at themand ate a number. Others were probably swept out to sea bythe wind. Perhaps a few lucky ones came to their life's termand died of old age.
As evening approached, my anxiety grew. Everything aboutthe end of the day scared me. At night a ship would havedifficulty seeing me. At night the hyena might become ac............
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