Isaac and Arki settled down to sleep, his forepaw in hers.† Isaac drifted away, warm and more comfortable than he'd been in a long time.† Arki also felt
relaxed, but she dreaded sleep, for her nightmare about being put into plastic bags and shoved into a box would interrupt her sleep, leading to waking
with aching paws, her fur soaked with sweat, her forepaws drenched with tears born of fear.† Arki drifted away, but the old nightmare was soon replaying
in her mind.† She could feel the plastic against her paws, could smell it too.† She could also smell the cardboard from which the box was made.† she'd
seen humans ripping the boxes to bits with their bare hands, but she knew she couldn't ever do the same with her paws, she wasn't strong enough for that.
†she couldn't even puncture the bag with her claws.† Arki had tried, pushing with all her strength against the bag, but it was stronger than she was, and
all she'd ended up doing was wearing herself out.† Now she lay in her bag, in her box, and felt sick with fear.† Losing control totally, Arki lashed out
with all four paws, clawing and kicking at the plastic bags in a desperate bid for freedom!
Isaac was woken when Arki's paw tightened around his.† Wondering what on earth was happening, he was brought into full consciousness when the toes of one
of Arki's hind paws clenched round his, crushing them like a vice.† Isaac then felt Arkiís free fore and hind paws clawing and battering at him!† He thought
she'd lost her head and was attacking him!
††† "Arki!"† Isaac yelled, "Arki, stop it!"† Then he walloped Arki across her nose with all his force!
Isaac's† paw landing across her nose woke Arki, who lay looking blearily at Isaac, who glared angrily back at her.
††††† "What's come over you Arki!"† Isaac yelled, "you wait until I was asleep, and then attack me?† Why can't we talk about things?† What have I done to
upset you?"† Arki stared at him.
†††††† "I don't know what you mean,"† Arki replied, "Isaac, you've done nothing, apart from hit me across my nose of course.† I should ask you why you did
that really, but I won't.† I've heard male polar bears can get rather violent with their mates, and we just have to take it it seems."
††††† "You were clawing at me, crushing my paws and† kicking me,"† Isaac said, "and no, you don't have to tolerate violence from your mate Arki.† What I
want to know is why you started doing all this!† Your eyes were open, so you can't have been asleep!"† Isaac stopped, for Arki had buried her face in her
paws and begun to cry.
††††† "What on earth's all this about!"† Isaac yelled, "Arki, surely nothing's that bad!"
††††† "I've seen this before I think,"† Amber said.
††††† "What?"† Isaac asked, "Arki going crazy like that?"
††††† "yes,"† amber replied, "it's what happens when she has her nightmare."† Isaac had heard from Arki about her start in life, but hadn't given it another
thought, thinking she was over the worst.
†††† "But her eyes were open, and she was awake!"† Isaac said.
†††† "Arki's eyes may have been open,"† Amber replied, "but she was asleep.† You know what her nightmare is don't you Isaac?"† the female snow leopard asked.
††††† "Well, yes, sort of,"† he replied, "but she's safe here, Arki knows she's safe here!"
††††† "Her sub conscious mind doesn't know that,"† Amber replied, "Arki had one of her nightmares, and you just happened to be in the line of fire Isaac.
†Isaac looked at Arki, who'd curled into a frightened, trembling† heap, her forepaws still covering her face.
††††† "Arki didn't mean to hit you or crush your paws Isaac,"† Amber said.
†††† "Arki looks just like she did when I first saw her,"† Isaac said, "curled up like that."
†††† "Arki wasn't fighting you,"† Amber said, "she was struggling to free herself from her prison."† Isaac didn't know what to say or do.† the worst of
it all was that he'd hit Arki with the intention of hurting her because he thought she'd deliberately attacked him.† Isaac reached out a forepaw and touched
††††† "Arki dear,"† he said, "I, Iím sorry,,,"† Isaac gulped hard, "he'd never hit anyone in his life, and now he'd intentionally lashed out, and at his
own mate too.† Tears rolled down Isaac's nose as he realised he'd lost control.† He'd heard Arki's tale, but not listened.† Now bits came back to him.
†She'd described what happened during her nightmares, and what other animals had seen her doing during these episodes.† Lashing out with all four paws,
curling her toes and clawing at the air were two of the things Arki had described.† She'd even told him about the way her eyes stayed open during a nightmare,
giving the impression she was awake.
††††† "Arki,"† Isaac said gently, "I didn't listen enough, I forgot."† Isaac gathered Arki to him, and she didn't resist.
†††† "I'm so sorry Arki!"† Isaac sobbed.
Arki's tears had dried, and now she felt numb from nose to tail.† Isaac's attack on her nose had shorted everything out, and she felt dreadful.† Arki knew
walloping a polar bear across its nose would stop it in its tracks, and it seemed, so did Isaac.† Arki's tears were not of pain, but of fear.† She knew
what had happened, but couldn't bring herself to tell Isaac about her nightmare.† now he was hugging her, weeping into her fur.
††††† "I can hardly feel a thing,"† Arki said faintly, "I'm numb from my nose to my toes!"
††††† "I know,"† Tolstuka replied, "I fell once and walloped my nose pretty badly.† it was several hours before I could feel my paws after that."† Arki
lay, unable to move.
††††† "Several hours?"† She asked, "Oh no!"
†††† "You'll be all right,"† Tolstuka said, "things will get better."† Tolstuka was right too.† Bit by bit, Arki regained feeling in her body, the last
bit to regain feeling was the pads and toes of her right hind paw.† Noone slept after that.† it seemed Amber's prescription of a good night's sleep hadn't