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:: #13 The Change
:: Book Overview

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Narrator: Tobias

Cover Morph: Tobias to Human Form

Release Date: November 1997

Cover Quote: Be afraid...

Plot Summary: Tobias has pretty much gotten used to his life. He's a red-tailed hawk with the mind of a kid. It was weird when he first got trapped in morph. But now it's almost okay. After all, how many kids actually get the chance to fly?

Now Tobias is about to make a very special choice. A choice that the other Animorphs and Ax know nothing about. And it could mean the difference between being a hawk...and being human...



:: Sample Chapter

<We're not going far. Just to the car wash.>

<They're using the car wash? No way.> Rachel laughed. <You have to admit, they are ingenious.>

We flew. Not side by side, because that would have looked suspicious. Hawks and eagles don't exactly fly in formation like geese. We kept a hundred yards apart. But with our incredible vision and thought-speak, we might as well have been next to each other.

We rose higher and higher on the thermals, then thermal-hopped. That's where you rise to the top of one pillar of warm air and glide to the next. Then you rise again and drift to the next. It's an easy, lazy kind of flying. You don't get where you're going very fast, but you don't get tired out, either.

It was awfully nice, flying just under the bellies of the clouds with Rachel. I may have lost my human body. But I've gained wings. And flying is . . . well, I'm sure you've daydreamed about it. I know I used to. I'd sit in class, gazing out at the sky, or lie back in the grass, looking up, and wonder what it would be like to have wings. To be able to fly up and up and away from all the stupid little problems of life.

Flying is as wonderful as you'd think. It has problems, too, like anything else. But oh man, on a warm day with the mountains of fluffy white clouds showing the way to the thermal updrafts, it's just wonderful.

<So where are we going? We're not heading toward the car wash,> Rachel pointed out.

I snapped alert. I looked down at the ground, spotting the familiar road grids and buildings I knew so well from this angle. We were in an area bordering the forest. Not far from Cassie's farm. <What am I doing here?> I asked. <I must have spaced. Sorry. This way.>

I cranked a hard left turn and beat my wings to gain some speed. Rachel has to deal with the two-hour limit. We'd wasted a lot of that time. I couldn't believe I'd spaced out so badly.

We flapped hard for a while.

<Um ... Tobias? Am I crazy, or are we right back where we were?>

I looked down at the ground. She was right. We were right back in the same area by the edge of the forest.

I felt a cold chill. <No way,> I whispered.

<Are you lost?>

<Lost? Of course not,> I said. <I don't get lost. We're heading just south of east. I know exactly where we are. But this isn't where I was heading.>

<Is there something going on here?> Rachel asked.

<This makes no sense,> I said. <I was heading for - >

And that's when I saw it happen.

We were gliding over the edge of the forest. Farmland on one side, all green and perfectly squared. Then a band of scruffy brush and fallen-down wire fence. Then the trees - elms, oaks, various pines.

The trees extended in a long sweep right, from the farmland up into the far-distant mountains. With my hawk's vision I could even see snow on those far-off peaks.

But that's not what I was noticing right then. What I was noticing right then was that a single huge oak tree was sliding to one side.

Just sliding. Like it had no roots. Like it was on a skateboard or something. A huge oak tree just slid over.

And beneath the oak there appeared a hole in the ground.

<What is that?> Rachel demanded.

<You got me,> I said.

<That whole tree is just . . . moving.>

<And the hole under it isn't natural,> I pointed out. <It's too round. It's man-made.>

<Or else not man-made,> Rachel said darkly.

<Something's down there! I saw something moving. It's coming up! Coming up out of the ground!>

<I see it,> Rachel said. <What is it? Can you see?>

I had a better angle than Rachel. And I could see what was coming up from underground.

I saw a snakelike head with huge forward-swept horns.

I saw powerful shoulders and arms that were armed with blades at the elbows and wrists.

I saw the big Tyrannosaurus feet and the short, spiked tail and the blades at the knees.

I saw seven feet of razor-bladed death.

<Hork-Bajir,> I said.

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