Chapter 2


“Hey, Rachel. Is that you?”

The figure of Mr. Chapman is getting closer.

I set up my breath, and tried to speak in a tone of voice as calm as possible, though my heart was pounding. I smiled. Innocent smile of a teenage girl.

“Hello Mr. Chapman. Want to exercise?”

Mr. Chapman frowned.

Oh God. He knows … He knows that just now there is a red-tailed hawk perched on my shoulder.

“Just now you talking to yourself?” he asked. The tone was still contains suspicion.

“Ah sir really? Perhaps you are mistaken,” I replied.

Instead of listening to my explanation, the man in front of me is actually looking up. The sunlight dimmed and the atmosphere around us was getting dark.

<Distract!> I heard Tobias language-thought in my mind.

“O yeah sir, we happened to meet here. Did you already read our class proposal for next month?” I tried to distract him from his efforts to look up.

Still some time Mr. Chapman looked up before he gave up.

“Yes. Guess already on my desk. Would I learned tomorrow. Now go home. It’s getting dark.”

“Ok sir. Bye.” I sighed with relief.

He waved his hand and went on his way. Hopefully he did not suspect. Why do I have a feeling that Mr. Chapman could be everywhere? Or, if all this time he’s watching my movements? It is strange if the next thing I knew Mr. Chapman could be in the area around my house. What is he doing here?

I make sure the shadow of Mr. Chapman was not seen again before then I tried to call Tobias.

“Tobias! Tobias!”

There was no answer.

I ran along the road. Things have really dark now. Increasingly strong wind gusts night and I heard the sound of thunder in the sky. As I see, the sky is also covered in thick clouds. I speed up my running. My house is two blocks from my current position.

<Hey Rachel. Want to compete with me?>

I again felt the shadow of a bird on top of me and I just shook my head as I continued running. Water droplets of rain began to fall as I turned onto the road that leading to my house. Increasingly heavy. My clothes are completely drenched when I finally got home.

My sister, Jordan, looked at me with a little laugh.

“Hey Rach. How can you so wet all like this?” she asked with a grin.

“It was raining outside, silly,” I said, slightly annoyed.

I rushed to the bathroom. Finished showering and changing clothes, I went into my room and looked out the window. Increasingly heavy raindrops. I do not see a red-tailed hawk that usually perched on a tree branch near my window. Maybe Tobias straight back, I thought to myself.

“Rachel. Dinner is ready!” Mom’s voice from below.

“I’m coming, Mom!” I replied half-shouted. Just then, I heard a knock at the glass window that is familiar to me. I hurried back to the window and saw a red-tailed hawk looks wet feathers flapping in the rain.

<Damn. I’m so wet all.> Fumed Tobias.

He came into my room.

I giggled. “You should have seen you look in the mirror, Tobias. As a bird, you look funny.”

<I do not know Rach. The weather lately is uncertain.>

I approached him and stroked his feathers were wet.

“You’d better morph to human. Later you can drain your body for a while in my room. I’m going downstairs,” I said.

<Okay. I think it’s a good idea.> replied Tobias and he began to morph.

If you have never seen before metamorphosis process, maybe you will be amazed. Or just cry out of fear. In fact, for those of us who have often morph, This Andalite’s creation process of metamorphosis it still looks weird.

I saw a pair of legs of the bird Tobias knew it extends downward. And the claws were quickly replaced by the toes boys. Next, wings seemed to get into his body, and instead, a pair of human hands appear on both sides. At the same time as eagle feathers to disappeared, it is replaced by the human body. And last, the eagle’s beak is hooked increasingly shortened, before the real face Tobias replace the bird’s face.

He stood there with a tight gymnastics outfit. That’s what we have always experienced when we morph. I handed him a towel.

“Thanks Rachel,” Tobias said, trying to dry himself. “I will not be long. Soon as my body dry and the rain stops, I’ll go from here.”

“Okay. Be careful, will you?” I said.

Tobias grinned, holding up his thumb with a clumsy movement. I closed my door, laughing to myself.

===

Bab 2


“Hei, Rachel. Kaukah itu?”

Sosok Mr. Chapman semakin mendekat.

Aku mengatur nafasku, dan berusaha berbicara dengan nada suara setenang mungkin, sekalipun jantungku berdebar kencang. Aku tersenyum. Senyuman polos seorang gadis remaja.

“Halo Mr. Chapman. Mau ikutan jogging?”

Mr. Chapman mengerutkan keningnya.

Oh Tuhan. Dia tahu… Dia tahu kalau barusan ada elang ekor merah yang hinggap di bahuku.

“Barusan kau bicara sendiri?” tanyanya. Nadanya masih mengandung kecurigaan.

“Ah masak Pak? Mungkin Anda salah lihat,” jawabku.

Alih-alih mendengarkan penjelasanku, pria di depanku ini malah melihat ke atas. Sinar matahari semakin meredup dan suasana di sekitar kami sudah mulai gelap.

<Alihkan perhatiannya!> aku mendengar bahasa-pikiran Tobias dalam pikiranku.

“O yeah Pak, kebetulan kita ketemu disini. Apa Anda sudah membaca proposal kegiatan kelas kami untuk bulan depan?” aku berusaha mengalihkan perhatiannya dari upayanya untuk menengok ke atas.

Masih beberapa saat Mr. Chapman melihat ke atas sebelum kemudian dia menyerah.

“Ya. Kurasa sudah ada di meja saya. Akan saya pelajari besok. Sekarang pulanglah. Hari semakin gelap.”

“Ok Pak. Bye.” aku menarik nafas lega.

Dia melambaikan tangan dan meneruskan perjalanannya. Semoga saja dia tidak curiga. Mengapa aku punya perasaan kalau Mr. Chapman bisa berada dimana-mana? Atau, apakah selama ini dia mengawasi gerak-gerikku? Sungguh aneh jika tahu-tahu Mr. Chapman bisa berada di daerah sekitar rumahku. Apa yang dilakukannya disini?

Aku memastikan bayangan Mr. Chapman tidak terlihat lagi sebelum kemudian aku berusaha memanggil Tobias.

“Tobias! Tobias!”

Tidak ada jawaban.

Aku berlari di sepanjang jalan. Keadaan sudah benar-benar gelap sekarang. Hembusan angin malam semakin kencang dan aku mendengar suara guntur di angkasa. Kulihat, langit juga tertutup mendung tebal. Aku mempercepat lariku. Rumahku masih dua blok dari posisiku sekarang.

<Hei Rachel. Kau mau berlomba denganku?>

Aku kembali merasakan bayangan burung di atasku dan aku cuma menggelengkan kepalaku sambil terus berlari. Titik-titik air hujan mulai berjatuhan saat aku membelok ke jalan yang menuju ke rumahku. Makin lama makin deras. Pakaianku benar-benar basah kuyup ketika akhirnya aku sampai di rumah.

Adikku, Jordan, memandangku dengan sedikit menahan tawa.

“Hei Rach. Kau kok bisa basah semua seperti ini?” tanyanya sambil nyengir.

“Di luar hujan, tolol,” sahutku sedikit kesal.

Aku bergegas menuju ke kamar mandi. Selesai mandi dan berganti pakaian, aku masuk ke kamarku dan melongok ke luar jendela. Tetesan air hujan semakin deras. Aku tidak melihat seekor burung elang ekor merah yang biasanya bertengger di dahan pohon di dekat jendela kamarku. Mungkin Tobias langsung kembali, pikirku dalam hati.

“Rachel. Makan malam siap!” terdengar suara Mom dari bawah.

“Aku datang, Mom!” balasku setengah berteriak. Tepat pada saat itu, aku mendengar ketukan di kaca jendela yang tidak asing bagiku. Aku bergegas kembali ke jendela dan kulihat seekor elang ekor merah dalam keadaan basah tampak mengibas-ngibaskan bulunya di tengah hujan.

<Sialan. Aku jadi basah semua.> gerutu Tobias.

Dia masuk ke dalam kamarku.

Aku terkikik. “Mestinya kau lihat tampangmu di cermin, Tobias. Sebagai burung, kau kelihatan lucu sekali.”

<Entahlah Rach. Cuaca akhir-akhir ini tidak menentu.>

Aku mendekatinya dan mengelus bulu-bulunya yang basah.

“Sebaiknya kau morf jadi manusia deh. Nanti kau bisa mengeringkan tubuhmu sebentar di kamarku. Aku akan ke lantai bawah,” kataku.

<Okay. Kurasa itu ide bagus.> jawab Tobias dan dia pun mulai morf.

Kalau kau belum pernah melihat proses metamorfosis sebelumnya, mungkin kau akan takjub. Atau justru menjerit ketakutan. Bahkan, bagi kami yang sudah seringkali morf, proses metamorfosis ciptaan bangsa Andalite ini masih terlihat aneh.

Aku melihat sepasang kaki dari burung Tobias tahu-tahu memanjang ke bawah. Dan cakar-cakar itu dengan cepat digantikan oleh jari-jari kaki anak laki-laki. Berikutnya sayapnya seolah masuk ke dalam tubuhnya, dan sebagai gantinya, sepasang tangan manusia muncul di kedua sisinya. Di saat bersamaan bulu-bulu elang seperti masuk ke dalam, digantikan oleh tubuh manusia. Dan terakhir, paruh elang yang bengkok semakin memendek, sebelum kemudian wajah asli Tobias menggantikan wajah burungnya.

Dia berdiri di sana dengan pakaian senam yang ketat. Hal itulah yang selalu kami alami apabila kami morf. Aku menyerahkan selembar handuk kepadanya.

“Thanks Rachel,” kata Tobias sambil berusaha mengeringkan tubuhnya. “Aku tidak akan lama. Segera setelah tubuhku kering dan hujan berhenti, aku akan pergi dari sini.”

“Okay. Hati-hati ya!” kataku.

Tobias nyengir sambil mengacungkan jempolnya dengan gerakan kikuk. Aku menutup pintu kamarku sambil tertawa dalam hati.

===

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