The pinpoint of light expanded, became an expanse of straw-covered floor on which he was crouching while the open hand crashed sideways into his face. Piff! Paff! With each slap the splitting pain in his head exploded into a thousand separate pain fragments. Bond saw the edge of the boat above him and desperately raised himself to grasp at it. He held up the awabis to show that he had done his duty. He opened his hands to drop them into the tub. Consciousness flooded back and he saw the two handfuls of straw dribble to the ground. But the blows had stopped. And now he could see, indistinctly, through a mist of pain. That brown face! Those slit eyes! Kono, the guard. And someone else was holding a torch for him. Then it all came back. No awabis! No Kissy! Something dreadful had happened! Everything had gone wrong! Shimata! I have made a mistake! Tiger! The clue clicked and total realization swept through Bond's mind. Careful, now. You're deaf and dumb. You're a Japanese miner from Fukuoka. Get the record straight. To hell with the pain in your head. Nothing's broken. Play it cool. Bond put his hands down to his sides. He realized for the first time that he was naked save for the brief vee of the black cotton ninja underpants. He bowed deeply and straightened himself. Kono, his hand at his open holster, fired furious Japanese at him. Bond licked at the blood that was trickling down his face and looked blank, stupid. Kono took out his small automatic, gestured. Bond bowed again, got to his feet, and, with a brief glance round the straw-strewn oubliette into which he had fallen, followed the unseen guard with the torch out of the cell.
WHEN I came to, I at once knew where I was and what had happened and I cringed closer to the floor, waiting to be hit again. I stayed like that for about ten minutes, listening to the roar of the rain, wondering if the electric shock had done me permanent damage, burned me, inside perhaps, making me unable to have babies, or turned my hair white. Perhaps all my hair had been burned off! I moved a hand to it. It felt all right, though there was a bump at the back of my head. Gingerly I moved. Nothing was broken. There was no harm. And then the big General Electric icebox in the corner burst into life and began its cheerful domestic throbbing, and I realized that the world was still going on and that the thunder had gone away, and I got rather weakly to my feet and looked about me, expecting I don't know what scene of chaos and destruction. But there it all was, just as I had "left" it-the important-looking reception desk, the wire rack of paperbacks and magazines, the long counter of the cafeteria, the dozen neat tables with rainbow-hued plastic tops and uncomfortable little metal chairs, the big ice-water container and the gleaming coffee percolator-everything in its place, just as ordinary as could be. There was only the hole in the window and a spreading pool of water on the floor as evidence of the holocaust through which this room and I had just passed. Holocaust? What was I talking about? The only holocaust had been in my head! There was a storm. There had been thunder and lightning. I had been terrified, like a child, by the big bangs. Like an idiot I had taken hold of the electric switch-not even waiting for the pause between lightning flashes, but choosing just the moment when another flash was due. It had knocked me out. I had been punished with a bump on the head. Served me right, stupid, ignorant scaredy cat! But wait a minute! Perhaps my hair had turned white! I walked, rather fast, across the room, picked up my bag from the desk, and went behind the bar of the cafeteria and bent down and looked into the long piece of mirror below the shelves. I looked first inquiringly into my eyes. They gazed back at me, blue, clear, but wide with surmise. The lashes were there and the eyebrows, brown, an expanse of inquiring forehead and then, yes, the sharp, brown peak and the tumble of perfectly ordinary very dark brown hair curving away to right and left in two big waves. So! I took out my comb and ran it brusquely, angrily through my hair, put the comb back in my bag, and snapped the clasp.
Bond felt the whiskey beginning to melt the coiled nerves in his stomach. Now then, Liselotte, how in hell are you going to get out of this fix?
"You are ferry kind," said Krebs with a smirk of satisfaction. "Sir Hugo is ferry exacting."
She listened to him coldly, but with attentive obedience. She felt thoroughly deflated by his harshness, while admitting to herself that she should have paid more heed to the warning of Head of S.
'I'll say anything!' cried Mr. Wickfield, with a desperate air. 'Why should I not be in all the world's power if I am in yours?'