The three travellers enjoy a simple but well-cooked dinner of mutton and vegetables with their hosts in the settlement’s shearing shed, the only building in Port Courveux large enough to hold all of them. Surrounded by rusting equipment and the pervasive stink of seal oil, they talk about current events, such as Germany’s increasing belligerence. Claudette is pleasant, Pamela a little overbearing, Léone shy; Adéle talks incoherently about God, darkness and the Book of Revelations, but the other women largely ignore her. Albright inspects Léone’s bracelet and its unusual crystal, which is very finely cut; Pamela explains that her husband Léon, an amateur jeweller, made the pieces in his workshop, and that the crystals are found around the Islands.
In the night, Pekovic wakes from bad dreams and hears the slap of water against something solid over the noise of the constant wind. He sees a spot of light out in the water, moving south along the shore – a boat carrying a lantern?
Come morning, the three set out to explore the island a little more; Claudette gives them supplies and says they may run into the men of the colony, who are out herding the sheep. The visitors make their way down a worn track and into the lichen- and moss-covered plains of the island. After a few hours’ walking they come across a camp, but no sign of the shepherds; they also spot the birds they saw yesterday, flying around a cliff a couple of miles away, and decide to investigate further.
At the foot of the cliff they find the body of a man broken upon the rocks, his eyes pecked out by birds! Even more disturbing, Pekovic realises that the man was still alive when he fell – and when the birds attacked him. Everyone is horrified and unsettled by the awful discovery. Helen steels herself and climbs up to the clifftop while Pekovic and Albright check the corpse for clues; they find little, and wonder if he might be one of the Germans from the Tenerife, but decide that he’s probably one of the shepherds.
At the top of the cliff Helen finds the herd of sheep – all dead, slaughtered with knives over a period of hours, their bodies arranged into a large circle and their blood drenching the stones and moss. Albright is even more perturbed by this, but Helen keeps her cool and examines the scene, finding a finger-length crystal near one of the mutilated sheep – a crystal that seems to make the faintest of sounds as the wind rushes over it, like the last tone produced by a tuning fork as it ceases to vibrate.
Looking out across the island from the clifftop with Pekovic’s binoculars, Helen sees a large black shape on an inlet beach a couple of miles to the south-east. She also just makes out a tent a few miles further south and across the waters of the inlet, its orange-grey colour standing out against the blacks and greens of the island. The three decide to investigate the shape on the beach, and then to return to Port Corveaux to break the news to the women waiting for their husbands to come home…