:: #12 The Reaction
:: Book Overview
Cover Morph: Rachel to Crocodile
Release Date: October 1997
Cover Quote: Trust no one...
Rachel's got some pretty strange stuff happening. She
can't control her morphing. One minute, she's doing homework. The
next, she's morphing a full-grown crocodile, and -- without returning
to human form -- she becomes an elephant. That's when the floor
gives way and Rachel finds herself looking up at what used to be
the kitchen ceiling.
What's going on? No one's sure, but Rachel and the other
Animorphs have to figure it out -- quickly. Because if someone sees
Rachel's out-of-control morphing, the other Animorphs and Ax are
in for some serious trouble...
What's going on? No one's sure, but Rachel and the other Animorphs have to figure it out -- quickly. Because if someone sees Rachel's out-of-control morphing, the other Animorphs and Ax are in for some serious trouble...
:: Sample ChapterMy heart missed about four beats before it started up again, going a hundred miles an hour. "Uh-huh," I said, trying not to let the adrenaline rush overwhelm me.
Get ready, I told myself. Get ready.
"We like to think we offer some help to kids who may be going through a bad time," Chapman said. "We have an awful lot of fun. Campouts. Bonfire barbecues on the beach. Just a month or so back we had a big waterskiing trip up to a mountain lake."
I could have said, "Yes, I know.We were there, too, but not exactly in human shapes."
Instead I said, "That sounds like fun."
"It is fun," Chapman said with total sincerity. "And a lot of our members are kids who come from troubled homes. Kids with problems. But they're also kids who want to make life better. They're hopeful, optimistic kids. When I saw you handling yourself so well on the news last night I thought, you know, I should offer Rachel this opportunity. She's just the kind of person who could really benefit from The Sharing."
"How did I look on TV?" I asked.
"Very self-possessed. Very attractive and very mature."
"But . . ." He sighed. "I have to wonder at the same time if maybe you don't have some problems in your life. I mean, the stories all say you fell into the crocodile pit ..."
I held my breath. Here it comes! He suspects!
"... but I don't believe in accidents. I have to wonder if maybe you have some problems that made you, shall we say, careless."
I barked out a laugh. Then I stopped myself. He thought I was suicidal! Did he think I'd sawed through the floor of my house, too? Good grief. That's why he was trying to recruit me for The Sharing. He thought I was depressed or whatever. A perfect recruit for his little Controller organization.
Yeah, right. Where do I sign up, Mr. Chapman? Could there be a special discount on dues for Animorphs?
I shook my head. "No. Actually, I'm very happy."
Once again, a feeling like pins and needles of warmth swarming over me. I shifted my feet. The feeling was familiar ...
Oh, no! My feet!
I looked down and it took every single ounce of my self-control to keep the look of horror from my face.
My feet were swelling. They were growing thick, shaggy brown fur. They were swelling and straining my shoes. The laces were strained tight.
"I know you say everything is fine, Rachel, but - "
He frowned. "What was that?"
"Nothing," I said in a squeaky voice.
"I heard something pop."
My laces had snapped from the pressure. I shook my head. "No."
"Anyway, what I was saying, was ... Rachel? Are you listening?"
No, I wasn't listening, I was busy trying to see if any other parts of me were turning into grizzly bear. Because, see, that's what it was. I'd seen those feet before. They were bear feet.
"Um, yes! Yes. I am listening very closely!"
Oh, please! No way! I can't morph here! Not right in Chapman's office. I focused. I concentrated. Demorph!
Chapman just kept droning on. On and on about The Sharing. And all the while, my shoes were torn to ribbons. And my legs, from the knees down, grew shaggy with long, rough brown fur. And hard nails grew where my toes had been.
"Anyway," Chapman said, suddenly glancing at his watch. I'm going on and on. And you need to get back to class."
"What?" I asked frantically.
"Just think about it, Rachel," Chapman said. "Now, go straight back to class. No dawdling."
I gulped. What could I do?
I bent over and quickly stuffed the torn remnants of my shoes into my backpack.
My feet were like huge, fur boots.
In fact ...
I stood up and headed for the door. I paused with my hand on the knob. I turned back and saw Chapman staring hard at my feet.
"Oh, you like my new boots?" I asked.
Chapman smiled, "The things you kids will wear."
"Heh-heh. Yeah, I guess I'm iust a fashion victim."
I got out of there fast. By the time I made it to the girls' room my feet had returned to normal. I walked barefoot to the gym and got my gym shoes.
I was shaking more than I had frorn falling into the crocodiles the day before.
After all, a crocodile can only kill you. Chapman is a Yeerk. And they can do things that make plain old death seem easy.
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