In the Floating Castle
Grey Wolf: Till Sunrise
He stared at the wall but did not see it. His voice was the only noise in the room, a low, persistent murmur. "He'll come, I know he will. He'll come, I know he will."
Grey Wolf had been repeating those six words for a time, holding onto them as if they were a lifeline-and in a way, they were. He would come. He had to.
After all Tiger was so much stronger, so much braver, so much more all the good things and so much less all the bad things than his younger brother ever was or ever could be. And he had always come before, hadn't he? Hadn't he?
If he slept, his mind had slipped seamlessly back into waking, with no dreams that he could begin to remember. He was utterly still, without a single visible fidget, as he waited for the sun.
If your brother has not come by sunrise, I'll have to insist that you hear me out.
Tiger would have to come by then, he decided. How many days had he been here, in this room with no door (he had inspected it thoroughly, and for the life of him he could not figure out how he had come to be in there-the window was not the sort that opened)? Two? Three? Surely he would come, surely it was all lies, surely…

***

This time he knew he had fallen asleep, because the wall before his eyes was now considerably brighter than the last time he had seen it. Sunrise had come and was already over. It was full day now.
Grey Wolf jerked around, his eager cry rising and then choking back down.
The room was empty.
He stared at the floor, at the ceiling, for a time before he fully realized that Tiger was not there at all.
Even if his brother had entered then he would not have known because of the liquid clouding his eyes. Were the lies true, then, after all?
After a while the voice began, sounding very soothing and sensible, and Grey Wolf heard him out.

***

He left the room after the sun had set (the door had appeared when it had been called for). I'll show you. The anger had departed around midday, leaving a grim desire- he knew exactly what it was a desire for. You thought I was too weak to be bothered with, did you? Someday I am going to show you just how weak I am.
His eyes looked at everything, but they had stopped seeing.