Chapter 9 Tuesday, 1200 hours (Noon)
After we'd gotten over how neat it was being wolves, we had to decide what to do next. Since I'd told Jeffrey we'd be hanging with the wolves, I thought we should do it. Besides, we'd be safe in Wolf Woods. A pack of wolves could certainly take care of a wandering leopard. We'd visited the wolves before CALF took over, so we knew how to get there. It was good we did, because someone had turned all the zoo direction signs to point in wrong directions. That was pretty weird.
Staying off the paths as much as we could, we started off toward Wolf Wood. We had to sneak, since we didn't want to be seen by any Calfers. It was fun sneaking through the woods. It felt like a 'capture the flag' game, except more fun since it wasn't a game.
As we got close to Wolf Woods, I heard a growl, and it wasn't a wolf growl. I looked around and saw a tiger stalking us. We were lucky we were next to a tree. We ran--straight up. The tiger came up to the tree, nosed around the bottom, and then looked up at us.
"Do you think he's hungry?" asked Talbot.
"No," I said. "I don't think so. He's just being a tiger."
After a while the tiger got tired of looking at us and went away. We stayed in the tree a little longer and then came down, and ran like crazy over to Wolf Woods. I didn't feel safe until we'd climbed over the railing and scrambled across the moat.
The wolves seemed confused by us. We smelled a little like wolves of course, but different too. Although the adult wolves stayed away and just looked at us, the cubs came to play. After a while, the bigger wolves came close, but they acted more like parents than kids. I guess we smelled more like cubs than grown wolves.
We played with the wolves for a while. Then Paul asked, "What are we going to do now? We can't stay here forever. Besides, the ground's cold so whenever I sit down I start to freeze."
The other kids came over and we had a meeting. "I think we should go back," said Talbot.
"Where? Back to the dorm room?" I said.
"But they might be mad that we ran away. They might hit us."
"I don't think so," said Wolfred, "They said they like kids."
"Well, maybe, but they'll probably lock us in a room with no windows."
"But at least we won't be cat food," said Talbot, "and we can get our uniforms back."
We talked about it for a while and then decided we wouldn't go back because they'd probably make sure we couldn't escape again. Instead, we'd go to Jungle World. It was safe from big cats, and it was inside, so we could make noise and no Calfers would hear us.
"How are we going to get there without getting ourselves eaten?" asked Paul.
"We could go as wolves," I said.
"No. Then we wouldn't even have our underwear. And besides, I don't think I'd be able to change again."
The other kids didn't think they'd be able to change either. Changing back and forth seems to take a lot of energy. I had that energy because I'd eaten tons of hamburgers, but the guys didn't eat anything when they were wolves.
Then I came up with an idea. I'd change to wolf and act as a scout--a real scout, not a Cub Scout. I could smell where the tigers and leopards were and find a good path to Jungle World. I took another swallow from my canteen. Then I handed my canteen and my underpants to Paul to carry. I became a wolf and we headed for Jungle World.
When we got to the building I changed back. I was pretty tired then, and had Goosebumps from the cold. Changing really does take a lot of energy.
We couldn't get in. All the doors were locked. Then Paul noticed a little window way up at the top that was part way open. Paul can climb like a squirrel. He said he'd climb up, and then unlock the back door. Paul scrambled up on the vines covering the building. The rest of us ran around to the back.
It seemed like we waited a long time. I guess it felt that way because we were scared of being caught or eaten. Then Paul opened the door and we ran in.