Star Stone Trilogy – Book One: Yii Chapter Five (continued)

Yii felt in his armband for the stone, as he had done several times, and each time that extraordinary sense of something mysterious enveloped him – not harmful, strange but benign. He remembered the tiger springing at him, but then he had found himself in this new place. He could not understand what had happened, why he had landed up here. Yii was not frightened, but very puzzled.
Now he needed activity, and decided to go right round the cage again testing the strength of each bar. If only he could get out. Strong though he was, he could make no impression at all on the stout iron bars. When he had been right round, he leapt up to grasp the overhead bars and hang from them, testing each one. His strength was such that he could hang from one arm and even bend that arm to raise his weight; but again there was no give in the bars.
It was as he was moving from overhead bar to overhead bar that he heard sounds behind him. Some of the men who had been moving all together in the big open space were now watching him and making strange noises. They seemed to be mocking him, pretending to be monkeys, making a noise like monkeys jabbering, and making monkey gestures. They were laughing at him – quite cruelly, and making jeering noises.
Yii dropped from the roof bars and looked at them. Was this some kind of test? Were they free in a heaven while he waited? He looked at them again. They were not friendly – quite the reverses. He decided that they were bad and he must somehow get rid of them. So he growled, loudly at them. Grrrr! They stopped laughing; fell silent. So he growled again, even louder, baring his teeth. GRRRR! He looked really fierce with his long canine teeth. This time they were quite alarmed, and drifted away.
That night Yii had another dream: he was back in the jungle but the trees and creepers and the dense growth of plants were all moving to close in on him, to trap him. And somewhere there was the tiger; he sensed it, menacing, frightening. He must escape. He struggled and struggled to fight his way through the dense jungle and to escape the tiger. The shimmering trees were getting harder and harder to get past. They were turning into the iron bars of his cage. Fighting his way through them, he must get to those steps, the steps that wound down. Where they were or what they were he knew not; they seemed to be symbols of a place of safety. But however hard he struggled he just could not get there through the iron bar trees.
He was shattered by the intensity of the dream.


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