Chapter 22 Wednesday, 1330 hours (1:30 PM)
The Calfers threw Rom in with the other hostages. Rom noticed that now the hostages were housed on the ground floor rather than on the next floor up. Shortly thereafter, he noticed the bars on the windows. Another escape would not be as easy as he'd hoped. Then he saw that there wasn't a separate dormitory for the kids. Probably didn't matter much. There were only six kids, seven if you included Jeffrey. He wondered how long it would take the Calfers to find a cart to bring his scouts here. It would be no fun for them, cramped here among the other hostages, but at least he'd be able to keep an eye on them.
After making sure all was quiet, Elliot and Sam crept in through the basement entrance to Jungle World. They moved quietly, checking the Building for human habitation. Then, satisfied there were no Calfers occupying the facility, they did a methodical search for the canteen. It took a while, but they found it in the Jungle World classroom. Elliot opened it, and sloshed it around.
"Enough for two good swigs, I should think," he said.
"OK. This is it," said Sam.
They took the canteen down to the basement, walked over to the basement door, and stripped down.
"What if this doesn't work?" asked Sam.
"But what if it does?" said Elliot.
"Yeah," said Sam. "If it does, we'll meet back here in... Oh damn." He took off his watch and threw it down on top of his clothes. "If it works, we'll meet back here--soon." He lifted the canteen and took a long swallow. "It's lemonade," he said, handing the canteen to Elliot. "There'd better be more than lemonade in here."
Elliot took a swallow and tossed down the empty canteen. "What now?"
"Why the hell ask me? Just concentrate, I guess."
They stood there for a few moments, and then Elliot started to change. He dropped to all fours. His nose elongated, and his body sprouted masses of course hair. A bump appeared on the lower part of his spine, which grew into a tail.
Elliot threw his front paws awkwardly against the door. The door opened and Elliot ran out into the zoo.
Sam did not change. He stood there; alone, naked, and mad as hell. He concentrated every way he could, but still he couldn't even begin to change form. At length, Sam sighed and put on his clothes. He went upstairs and sat on a bench overlooking a jungle habitat, waiting for Elliot to return.