MALAYA soaked under rain. Brian swore he had never known anything like it: a mountainous backbone labouring against such a punishment of water. It seemed strange that the nearby sea could take so much and, walking to the door, he almost expected to see that the waves--after each flat-handed bash at the sand--had leapt over the beach and were worrying the billet support like ferocious green dogs. Sand was hurled like pepper through the open door. "For Christ's sake, put wood in th'ole," shouted a telephone operator. "That stuff'll blind me; I wain't be able to see my dirty pictures then."

"Belt up," Brian called back, enjoying the grey fury of the storm. "I want to see how much longer we've got before tekin' to the boats."

"I'd feel safer if I was in one now." Bush-hats, wellington boots and capes: a hundred yards from breakfast at the mess had forced him to change every stitch. Dampness gave the illusion of cold, and those not on watch sat around in jerseys, a thing unknown


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Key to the Door


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