I kept one eye on the horizon, one eye on the other end of the lifeboat. Other than the hyena’s whining, I heard very little from the animals, no more than claws scuffling against a hard surface and occasional groans and arrested cries. No major fight seemed to be taking place.
As evening passed, my anxiety grew. Everything about the end of the day scared me. At night a ship would have difficulty seeing me. At night the hyena might become active again and maybe Orange Juice too.
I have so many bad nights to choose from that I’ve made none the champion. Still, that second night at sea stands in my memory as one of exceptional suffering, different from the frozen anxiety of the first night in being a more conventional sort of suffering, the broken-down kind consisting of weeping and sadness and spiritual pain, and different from later ones in that I still had the strength to appreciate fully what I felt.
When the sun slipped below the horizon, it was not only the day that died and the poor zebra, but my family as well. With that second sunset, disbelief gave way to pain and grief. They were dead; I could no longer deny it.
I raised my hands to the level of my chest—the weapons I had against the hyena. It looked up at me. Its mouth was red. Orange Juice lay next to it, against the dead zebra.