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Chapter 55
Dawn came and matters were worse for it. Because now,emerging from the darkness, I could see what before I hadonly felt, the great curtains of rain crashing down on me fromtowering heights and the waves that threw a path over meand trod me underfoot one after another.
Dull-eyed, shaking and numb, one hand gripping the raincatcher, the other clinging to the raft, I continued to wait.
Sometime later, with a suddenness emphasized by the silencethat followed, the rain stopped. The sky cleared and the wavesseemed to flee with the clouds. The change was as quick andradical as changing countries on land. I was now in a differentocean. Soon the sun was alone in the sky, and the ocean wasa smooth skin reflecting the light with a million mirrors.
I was stiff, sore and exhausted, barely grateful to be stillalive. The words "Plan Number Six, Plan Number Six, PlanNumber Six" repeated themselves in my mind like a mantraand brought me a small measure of comfort, though I couldn'trecall for the life of me what Plan Number Six was. Warmthstarted coming to my bones. I closed the rain catcher. Iwrapped myself with the blanket and curled up on my side insuch a way that no part of me touched the water. I fell asleep.
I don't know how long I slept. It was mid-morning when Iawoke, and hot. The blanket was nearly dry. It had been abrief bout of deep sleep. I lifted myself onto an elbow.
All about me was flatness and infinity, an endless panoramaof blue. There was nothing to block my view. The vastness hitme like a punch in the stomach. I fell back, winded. This raftwas a joke. It was nothing but a few sticks and a little corkheld together by string. Water came through every crack. Thedepth beneath would make............
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