Fear in a Handful of Dust

The sky was tinged green. It filled her with an uneasy feeling, like this battle would be their last. It very well could be. Rachel knew that at any moment during any of the battles they fought against the Yeerks that one of them or all of them could be severely injured or killed. Fighting aliens wasn't exactly the safest job in the world.

She wondered about it as she stretched in preparation for morphing and facing pure evil again. When would her last fight be? Would she die bravely in battle, or would they win the fight against the Yeerks and die of old age? The second option was preferable, but unlikely. Highly unlikely. The truth was, they were lucky none of them had died yet.

Marco was the one who usually voiced his concerns about dying on the job, when they had their meetings and mission debriefs, as she liked to think of them sometimes. He was the one who spoke aloud the fears that each and every one of them had. Well, maybe not Jake. Jake didn't scare easily. Though he probably was scared, he was too courageous to let it show and that made him their natural leader.

Cassie was quietly fearful. She didn't go over the top with her admissions of fear like Marco did, but when she thought they were taking an unnecessary risk, she said so and she wasn't afraid to show that she was vulnerable.

Rachel had no idea how Tobias felt. It was only a few days into it really that he became a red-tailed hawk and then couldn't morph out. He left it too late. He was the constant reminder for the rest of the group. Stay in your morph for too long and you will spend the rest of your life in that body. He was quiet too, like Cassie, but he didn't express his fears too openly, or give details of what was bothering him.

He was a mystery and she couldn't get a read on him that she felt was accurate to his character.

If she was going to go all out and analyse all of them, all the Animorphs, she figured she'd better also look into herself.

Some leaves rustled above. Rachel glanced around, catching Tobias' eye for a moment. She gave him a quick smile, nervous, the kind of smiles she wore in situations like this. Tense situations. Situations in which there was something at stake. Before, she had just worn those smiles at gymnastic competitions and other things like that. Now, she wears it as they prepare for their battles against the Yeerks.

She thinks more and her surroundings once again fade into the background. She gets afraid too, just as the others do. She hates that she does, but then, as Cassie suggested to her one time, fear can be useful. The instinctual fear animals have helps them to stay alive. It tells them when to run and hide. When to give up and bail.

It's unpleasant and humiliating to admit to and it just plain sucks. But fear is what they have to thank for their survival so far, and it will come of use to them in many other battles.

Rachel breathes in deeply, exhales, and then straightens up. Her muscles feel much more free and relaxed. She's ready for the battle, at very least, physically. Mentally, she focuses on the nervous chatter in her head and she urges herself to feel the fear inside her.

She looks up at the sky, at the unnatural colour that it has turned to, and she waits. Soon, it will be time. Soon, another Yeerk pool will be destroyed at their hands. Soon, they will fight.