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Doodle was both tired and frightened, and when he stepped from the skiff he collapsed onto the mud, sending and armada of fiddler crabs rustling off into the marsh grass. I helped him up, and as he wiped the mud off his trousers, he smiled at me ashamedly. He had failed and we both knew it, so we started back home, racing the storm.we never spoke.
I heard Doodle, who had fallen behind, cry out....
"Brother, Brother, don't leave me! Don't leave me!"
I stopped and waited for for Doodle. The sound of rain was everywhere, but the wind had died and it fell straight down in parallel paths like ropes hanging from the sky. As I waited, I peered through the downpour, but no one came. FinallyI went back and found him huddled beneath a red nightshade bush beside the rode. He was sitting on the ground, his face buried in his arms, which were resting on his drawn-up knee. "Let's go, Doodle," I said.
He didn't answer, so I placed my hand on his forehead and lifted his head. Limply, he fell backwards onto the earth. He had been bleeding from the mouth, and his neck and the front of his shirt were stained a brilliant red. "Doodle! Doodle!" I cried, shaking him, but there was no answer but the ropy rain. He lay very awkwardly, with his head thrown far back, making his vermilion neck appear unusually long and slim. His little legs, bent sharply at the knees, had never before seemed so fragile, so thin. I began to weep, and the tear-blurred vision in red before me looked very familiar. "Doodle!" I screamed above the pounding storm and threw my body to the earth above his. For a long time, it seemed forever, I lay there crying, sheltering my fallen scarlet ibis from the heresy of rain.
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