Night had descended and Madhavan had fallen asleep standing in the mud. As an owl hooted over head and fluttered away he came awake and looked around him. Suddenly, everything came back to him and Madhavan looked down . He felt a peculiar sensation Ė as if he was floating . He closed his eyes and tried to go back to sleep; but an acute awareness made him open his eyes and he found himself actually floating on the bog . Although his legs were still immersed in the mud, he could with a slight movement of his arms paddle himself through the slush and mire. Carefully, so as to disturb as little of the mud as possible, Madhavan moved forward inch by inch back towards the forest from where he had come while trying to escape from that strange man. Slowly and ever so gradually, Madhavan edged towards the forest land. He was almost near land when a hand reached out and caught his upper arm. With surprising strength, Madhavan was hauled out of the bog and he stumbled to the ground at the strange manís feet.
Covered in muck and slush, Madhavan did not feel too good after his precarious adventure in the bog . He looked up at the strange man who had lent him a hand. The man looked down and nodded. Madhavan , not knowing what the nod meant, scrambled to his feet and stood up. The man though stooping was still taller than Madhavan . He crooked a finger and asked the boy to follow him.
Madhavan walked obediently behind the strange man and wondered where he would lead him now. The man was oblivious of Madhavan once he started on his path. He loped along with a jaunty stride and Madhavan smiled to himself as he made out a kind of tuneless whistle. The man seemed harmless and Madhavan wondered what he was doing alone in the forest. He wondered if there were more of his kind and whether he was being taken along to meet them.
Suddenly Madhavan recalled the happenings of the night before and the children in the forest with the strange translucent bodies. The phosphoric glow from their bodies had entranced Madhavan. Did this man know about those strange creatures.
A sudden thought occurred to Madhavan- how were they to communicate? Would this strange man be able to speak? To test his theory, Madhavan tapped the bent old man on the shoulder. The man stopped abruptly and turned around with a snarl. He bared his teeth and let out a whining kind of sound that sounded angry and intimidating . Madhavan took a step backwards and nodded amiably and smiled. He hoped it would do as a peace offering. It must have worked, because the man swung round again and continued on .
After what seemed like hours, the man suddenly stopped before a large banyan tree and threw himself on the ground. Madhavan stood looking at him, wondering if he too should sprawl beside the man. Extending one claw like hand, the man rummaged amongst the undergrowth at the foot of the tree until he seemed to find what he was looking for. Leaping up with a snort, he tugged at some vines. Madhavan stood watching but nothing happened. The man tugged a few times more and suddenly the rope gave away almost throwing the man off balance. A small trap door seemed to open up and Madhavan could see only blackness in itís depths. The man motioned to him to step inside , but Madhavan recoiled. He had no intention of going into the bowels of the earth forever. He was wondering what to do when suddenly the man caught hold of Madhavanís arms and dragged him forcefully towards the pit. Madhavan tried to resist but, the wiry old man was surprisingly strong and Madhavan was hurled inside the depths of the dark abyss.