Yii was puzzled. Was this some sort of waiting place where a newcomer to a heaven would be kept for while? He didn’t feel he had become a new being. He went round the cage exploring each corner; that didn’t take long, as there was little to see. It was not big, just a few paces each way. He felt the strong uprights all round, but could make nothing of them. There was straw on the floor and a tray in one corner where the inhabitant could relieve himself. In the opposite corner a thicker bed of straw, presumably for sleeping. Outside, beyond the cage, was a vast open space. What could it be? Figures all dressed alike were walking across it. Were they part of a heaven? And what were they doing?
Yii was hungry – he had eaten only a banana since early morning. When one of the people who looked similar to him came past, he attracted the man’s attention and pointed to his mouth. The man looked but did not understand, and came back with another man. Yii went through the pantomime again, and eventually they seemed to get the message that he was hungry. They went away and came back with a dish of food which they pushed through a protected grill, then rushed away frightened. Rice and beans. He ate greedily, and felt rather better for having a full stomach.
He went on waiting, feeling strange, wondering: would anything happen? Nothing did, except some more food late in the day.
Puzzling, he felt in his leather arm band for the stone. It was still there. As he touched it he experienced a strange sensation, not frightening, but extraordinary, mysterious. What was it? He had no way of understanding. Soon it got dark, so he curled up to sleep on the straw bed; what would happen the next day?
Yii did not often have dreams, but that night he dreamt he was lying on the ground where the tiger had been killed. The jungle trees were blurring and moving. The vultures circling overhead came down and landed near him. They thought he was dead meat, and he had to wave his arms to drive them away. Those vicious beaks could do a lot of damage, tearing flesh from bone. As they circled and landed, he found himself running to escape. But the strange thing was that, although he was running in the jungle, he knew he needed to get to some steps. He knew nothing of steps, except as a way up or down a rock climb. Strange, and very frightening. Struggling desperately, he could get no nearer the steps, wherever or whatever they were.
The dream was very intense – almost like a vision.