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Strauch, Dora; Brockmann, Walter / Satan came to Eden
(1936)

Chapter XXIII: Death in daylight,   pp. 238-246


Page 238

 
Chapter XXIII: DEATH IN DAYLIGHT 
T          HE LAST YEAR ON FLoREANA-1934. THE FIRST TWO 
           months were over. Friends had come and gone. We 
           were alone again, yet not alone. The atmosphere of 
           uncanniness, of gathering evil, was closing in again 
           upon the island. I felt it enveloping us anew, as I had 
           felt it years ago, before the security of Friedo had 
become our safe haven against the demon gods of Floreana. In the 
meantime they had gathered power, or else it was their will to 
make an end of all intrusion, for now they came with a weapon 
human wits and strength are powerless against. 
  The drought began towards the end of February. Heat such 
as we had never known on the island now scorched and blasted 
every growing thing. The sun hung in a sky of brass, and at night 
the burning earth gave forth a heat as though a furnace blazed 
beneath its rocky surface. The strong plants withered up, leaves 
blackened on the trees. The spring, that was the source of life to 
Friedo, had ceased to flow, and had become a thin trickle of water, 
wearily crawling out of its dry bed. 
  A strange wind rose. It drove with violence across the island like 
a vast fan of invisible fire; everything perished under its sweeping 
breath. Banana trees went down like straws before it, and it did 
not cease for several days and nights. It was succeeded by a heat 
more intolerable than before. We measured 12o degrees in the 
shade. 
  The rains were months overdue, but though we scanned the 
skies for some sign of a cloud, none came. 
  The silent days were followed now by silent nights. The thirst- 
ing beasts knew that the water had dried up; they seemed to join 
the earth and sky in one great silence of foreboding. The island 
was strewn with the carcasses of those the drought had killed; it 
exhaled the odors of decay and death. The fence that we had 
built round Friedo could not keep out this, and with it came the 
knowledge, at least to me, that powers were abroad on Floreana 
which we would pit our puny human strength against in vain. 
  Wittmer still came to Friedo every week to see us. He was hav- 
ing a hard time, with his spring reduced to almost nothing and 
                              238 


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