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Far above the island, an air battle takes place during the night. The boys are isolated and protected by distance from much of the war raging in the rest of the world, but the fighting is continuing.
One of the planes involved in the airfight explodes. The pilot, apparently injured but not immediately killed, ejects from the plane and is able to deploy his parachute but dies as his body drifts down to land on the mountain of the island. The lines of the parachute become caught in the rocks of the mountain, resulting in the body settling on the rock in a sitting position. As the wind blows the parachute, the upper part of the body moves back and forth in the breeze. "So as the stars moved across the sky, the figure sat on the mountain-top and bowed and sank and bowed again.”
Samneric see just enough of this disturbing situation to imagine that "the beast" the boys have long been discussing and fearing has finally made its appearance on the island, in the flesh.
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