:: #29 The Sickness
:: Book Overview
Cover Morph: Cassie to Yeerk
Release Date: April 1999
Cover Quote: Cassie is about to make a change for the better...
Something is very wrong with Ax. He's sick. And the
Animorphs don't know what to do about it. They can't take him to a
hospital. They don't know how to contact the Andalite homeworld.
And Ax is dying.
Cassie and the other Animorphs come up with a plan. But it
involves finding a new way into the Yeerk pool. There's just one
problem: Jake, Rachel, Tobias, and Marco come down with Ax's
sickness. And now, for the first time, Cassie is on her own....
Cassie and the other Animorphs come up with a plan. But it involves finding a new way into the Yeerk pool. There's just one problem: Jake, Rachel, Tobias, and Marco come down with Ax's sickness. And now, for the first time, Cassie is on her own....
:: Sample ChapterJake and I shoved our way through the mass of bopping, spinning, shaking bodies. By the time we got to the group, Marco had his flannel shirt off. He started to fold the shirt into a bandana just as --
Ax's eye stalk burst out of the lump.
I did a quick scan of the gym. Had anyone seen? No. Everyone was busy dancing. Or hoping someone would ask them to dance. Or psyching themselves up to ask someone to dance.
Rachel grabbed the shirt out of Marco's hands and wrapped it around Ax's head.
And here's the thing about Rachel, even in a crisis: the bandana actually looked good.
"Ax, you're starting to demorph. You've got to stop," Jake told him.
Ax giggled. "Demorph. Dee, dee. That is a very pleasant mouth sound. Dee!"
"He's delirious," I said. I felt the adrenalin start to pump through my body. This was a very bad situation here.
"Another dee," Ax said happily, swaying.
I heard a soft shushing sound. And a patch of blue fur sprouted on Ax's neck.
"Equipment room should be empty," Jake said. "To the right of the bleachers. Far side. Move, move, move!"
We formed a circle around Ax and headed across the dark, noisy gym as fast as we could.
We reached the equipment room door. I grabbed the doorknob. Turned it.
"Out the guys' locker room windows," Marco said.
"Two teachers always supervising in there," Jake reminded him.
"Not in the girls'," Rachel told him.
"Go straight behind the punch table. The line in front will give us some cover," Jake ordered.
"You're telling me there's no teachers monitoring the girl's room?" Marco demanded. "That is so unfair!"
We squeezed between the punch table and the wall, all of us keeping one hand on Ax.
"We'll meet up in the parking lot," Jake said when we reached the locker room. He, Marco, and Tobias let go of Ax and turned toward the main exit.
I jerked open the door. And Brittany and Allison walked out in a cloud of Love's Baby Soft perfume.
"She wants my body! BDEEE! BDEEE!" Ax screeched in terror. He broke away from me and Rachel and bolted for the main exit.
"He's heading toward Chapman and Mr. Tidwell," Rachel cried.
Vice Principal Chapman. A known Controller.
And Mr. Tidwell. The strictest teacher in school.
We all tore after Ax. We caught up to him just as Chapman grabbed him by the arm.
Ax's flannel-shirt turban had gotten loose during his dash across the gym. One shake of his head could send the shirt fluttering to the fioor.
Giving Chapman a good look at Ax's eye stalk. A fatal look.
"He's obviously been drinking," Mr. Tidwell said. "I know this boy. I'll call his parents."
Before Chapman could answer, Mr. Tidwell marched Ax out of the gym and into the hallway. We started after them.
Chapman blocked us. "No one is allowed outside the gym until the dance is over unless a parent gives permission."
"We're his friends. We have his medication," I blurted. A delirious Ax alone with Mr. Tidwell -- that couldn't happen.
Chapman studied us for a moment.
"Two minutes," he said. He stepped aside and we slammed through the door.
We acted without hesitation. Rachel and Marco squeezed between Ax and Mr. Tidwell. Jake, Tobias, and I pulled Ax down the hall to the drinking fountain and shoved his head down. We huddled close, trying to block Mr. Tidwell's view with our bodies.
I took a quick glance at Mr. Tidwell. How were Rachel and Marco doing?
They stood shoulder to shoulder in front of Mr. Tidwell, keeping some hallway between him and Ax. At least for now.
"He's from out of town," I heard Rachel say as I turned back to Ax. "Jake knows what to do."
"He takes special pills,' Marco added desperately. "For narcolepsy. Or epilepsy. Some kind of epsy."
"In a few minutes he'll be fine," Rachel promised.
I shot another look their way. Mr. Tidwell hadn't budged. He was staring straight toward Ax.
I leaned even closer to Ax and whispered in his ear. "Ax, can you get your human morph all the way back? At least until we make it outside?"
Ax didn't answer. His lips were melting together.
'Mr. Tidwell! Some guys in the bathroom have cherry bombs. They're going to blow the lids off all the toilets!" Marco yelled. "It'll be a toilet massacre!"
Tidwell still hadn't taken a step back toward the gym. But Rachel and Marco had kept him from moving toward us. So far.
Two legs shot out of Ax's chest.
KA-BANG. KA-BANG. The hooves slammed against the tile wall over the drinking fountain.
Chinkle, plop, chinkle. Tile and plaster rained down onto the metal fountain.
Tidwell might not have seen that. But he had to have heard it.
"See?" Marco yelled. "Cherry bombs everywhere!"
Shloop. Shloop. Ax's legs sucked back into his chest.
P-p-pop. His lips separated.
Ax looked like a regular kid again. "The medicine is kicking in," I called. I shot a frantic glance at Mr. Tidwell.
"We should get him home," Jake said loudly. Then he lowered his voice. "Now we walk him past Tidwell and hope Ax can keep it together until we get outside."
Jake started down the hall first. Tobias and I each took one of Ax's arms and fell in behind.
It was going to work. Ax wasn't babbling or demorphing. Mr. Tidwell wasn't yelling for our parents' phone numbers.
In another three steps, we'd reach him. Then in two more steps we'd be past him.
I did not like that sound. I did not like it at all.
I looked over my shoulder just in time to see Ax's giant scorpion tail tear through his pants, swing to the left -- and knock Mr. Tidwell on his butt.
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