He gave a cry of terror, sprang sideways, and rushed on before I could gather my wits sufficiently to speak to him. So heavy was the stress of the storm just at this place that I had the hardest task to win my way up the hill.
Near the top I stumbled upon something soft, and, by a flash of lightning, saw between my feet a heap of black broadcloth and a pair of boots. Before I could distinguish clearly how the man lay, the flicker of light had passed.
I stood over him waiting for the next flash. When it came, I saw that he was a sturdy man, cheaply but not shabbily dressed; his head was bent under his body, and he lay crumpled up close to the fence, as though he had been flung violently against it.
Overcoming the repugnance natural to one who had never before touched a dead body, I stooped and turned him over to feel for his heart. He was quite dead. Apparently his neck had been broken.
The lightning flashed for a third time, and his face leaped upon me.I sprang to my feet.It was the landlord of the Spotted Dog, whose conveyance I had taken.I stepped over him gingerly and pushed on up the hill.
I made my way by the police station and the College Arms towards my own house.
Nothing was burning on the hillside, though from the common there still came a red glare and a rolling tumult of ruddy smoke beating up against the drenching hail.So far as I could see by the flashes, the houses about me were mostly uninjured.
By the College Arms a dark heap lay in the road.Down the road towards Maybury Bridge there were voices and the sound of feet, but I had not the courage to shout or to go to them.