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Chapter 9

Creamy and Satie were right in the stern of the ship. They seemed to be trying to pull a life jacket apart.

‘Stop it! Stop it at once!’ shouted Lennie, racing towards them. Creamy, wedged against the gunwale, was leaning far out, and pulling hard. Satie, hanging onto the other end of the life jacket, seemed to be losing ground. He was slowly sliding along the deck towards Creamy. Suddenly, with a glint in his eyes, he let go.

For a second, Creamy hovered in mid-air, free of Satie's weight. Then, with Lennie's paw almost on him, straining for a grip, he flipped over the rail, and fell into the sea.

‘Walk on water, eh?! Walk on water yourself!’ Satie sneered with quiet satisfaction, slinking quickly away, as Lennie's eye fell on him for a split second.

But Satie was the least of Lennie’s worries. He gripped the rail hard, and was peering down into the dark water. In another instant, he turned towards the Captain’s bridge and howled at the top of his lungs:

‘Bear overboard! Help! Help!’

Almost at once, huge bright lights burst out all over the ship, piercing the darkness and illuminating the water around. The ship juddered to a halt. Sailors ran to and fro, getting life-belts off the hooks and throwing them into the water.

Lennie's eyes skimmed over the sea; suddenly he spotted Creamy paddling astern. He seemed to be trying to grab a life-belt just ahead of him.

‘There's one right behind you!’ yelled Lennie. Creamy turned and made a grab for it; but the life-belt only jumped up in the water and slipped from his grasp. Worse still, the ship seemed to be moving slightly, leaving Creamy behind.

Lennie was getting desperate. ‘Go on, do something!’ he shouted at the sailor, who was playing out a rope slowly over the side. ‘Hurry up! He'll drown before you get a life-belt out to him!’

‘Nah, that he won't,’ drawled the sailor. Then he lifted a loudhailer to his lips, and bellowed: ‘Ahoy, there, bear! Catch!’ and he sent the lifebelt flying towards Creamy.

‘Well, I never!’ mumbled the sailor, for – to his astonishment – Creamy threw himself away from the life-belt. Then, raising his head out of the water, he roared back at the sailor:

‘Bear yourself!’ and with that, he turned his back on the ship for the last time, and swam away into the darkness.

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