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.Philip rolled over on his side, stifling a groan as he slowly tried muscles that were wrenched and sore from his broken fall.But he could sit up; he could, after a moment, stand.She stood beside him with a prayer of thankfulness in her heart as he shook the effects of oblivion from him."Where is Julio?" he asked curtly."He has gone." She was sure of that."I told him to take Conchita back to San Lozaro." Once more he drew his hand across his eyes, forcing hisscattered thoughts into coherence "There were all the signs of an eruptionHis eyes went swiftly to the smoking mountainside above them and suddenly his jaw tightened."How long have I been here?" he demanded."That damned fall—the boulder coming away just as I had reached the ledge"I don't know, Philip."Her voice was suddenly shaken, all her courage gone, and he put an arm about her, comforting and close."All right," he said, "we won't think about it.I came down to get the rest of the goats.I wanted to herd them out of the valley before the trouble really started."She looked up from the shelter of his arms to discover that his face and eyes were grimmer than his tone.He was trying not to frighten her, but she already knew.They were trapped up here in his silent valley, prisoners of the fierce wrath of the mountains, cut off on every side from any hope of rescue.There was no way of escape.Swiftly his eyes searched the face of the rock."We can make it," he said, "if we reach the escarpment."No, she thought desperately, there's the road.The road cut off now by a black, seething wall with a heart of fire."Are you sure you're not hurt?" she asked quickly."Are you sure there's no other way we can go—back to the house?"He looked round at the vegetation spreading on all sides, at the spears of cacti quivering in the heat."There isn't a chance that way," he said."We've got to climb."Slowly, laboriously, they began the journey back up the cliff face.It seemed impossible to Felicity that she had ever come down that way unaided, and Philip's jaw hardened when she spoke of it."What made you come?" he demanded almost roughly."I had to get to you.I followed Julio up into the valley, but I missed the road.I was well on my way to Las Canadas when I realized that I had come too far.By the time I got back to the top of the valley, Julio and Conchita must have gone."His mouth tightened, his blue eyes narrowing as he said: "What made you follow Julio?""I—he had used threats." She could not tell him anything but the truth now."I thought I might be in time to stop him doing—anything rash."The narrowed eyes went beyond her to the twisted tamarisk clinging precariously to the edge of the escarpment."I see," he said, but that was all.He turned, helping her up the final, steeper stretch until they lay, exhausted by their long effort, on the ledge.From there Philip could see the mountain road for the first time.Felicity watched his face as the blue eyes took in the details of that twisted landscape, the wreaths of smoke and the black, tortuous stream moving silently, ruthlessly towards them.His hand fastened on her arm."We haven't a moment to spare," he said."Philip!" She turned to face him "The road's closed.The lava is over the road."He stared at her as if he couldn't believe her, as if what she had just told him must be impossible."It can't be," he said."It can't have got that far—not so quickly.""It's three hours—"He continued to look at her for a moment in silence, and then he gripped her by the hand."Come on," he said."Run!"They ran towards the house, with the herd of white goats following at their heels."How did you get down?" he asked when they were out of the glare of the sun."Where were you when the first eruption occurred?""I had just come into the valley.I thought it was thunder at first, and then—then I couldn't really be mistaken.The whole side of the mountain seemed to go up in the air.I was terrified," she confesed."I think I must have stood for a long time not knowing what to do." She shivered at the memory."It was fascinating, Philip, in a ghastly sort of way.""Were you cut off?" he demanded."Not at first.""Then--" He caught her by the shoulders, searching her face."My God! why did you come on?" he demanded."Didn't you know you would be cut off? Didn't you know how quickly the lava would move once it got started.You fool!" His voice was shaken, angry, defeated."You amazing fool! Why didn't you go back? Why, in heaven's name, didn't you go back?""I knew you were here.I had to get to you, Philip."It sounded quite simple, put like that.She had to come to him.For a moment longer he stood staring at her, and then he plunged into the shadowed house [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]