He continues to take short, shallow breaths, trying to make the least amount of noise as possible.
‘What could that snap possibly have been?’ he thinks to himself.
It’s much too dark to see. How could there be anything wandering through this place? Not only that, how can whatever it is be able to see reliably?
He can feel his heart hammering his chest, each heartbeat like the beat of war drums.
Whatever it was that was in him in that darkness he had to be ready for. He has to be alert.
Now clutching his prayer beads with white knuckles, he continues to travel through the undergrowth and darkness, intensely scanning his surroundings as he paces.
He walks for a good 20 minutes rather undisturbed. At this point, he has calmed down a bit, but still tuned into the environment.
Up ahead, he sees a dim light stretching out through the darkness of his visual field. “Light!” he says quietly to himself. “Oh light, how glad I am to see you!”.
He quickens his pace, eager to reach the light and to see properly once again, when he feels the tome in his hand starting to vibrate.
He stops and looks down to see that the pages of the tome have lit up. Almost as if someone has taken a paintbrush of brightly fluorescent paint and slathered it liberally over the pages of the tome.
The Monk brings the tome into both of his hands and he opens the book to a random page. The vibrating settles into stillness.
He looks at the lit up blankness of the pages before him, puzzled as to the meaning of this sudden activity. After a few confused seconds some ink once again starts to bleed through the page he looks at.
This time, it’s not in the form of words, but a picture.
The Monk stares at the image as it slowly comes into focus. His mind freezes as he realizes in a cold sweat what the image is, and what it is possibly alluding to.
The picture before him is that of a ferocious, bloodthirsty Siberian tiger with hunger piercing out through its terrifying eyes.
Behind him, the Monk hears a deep growl.