Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell Read Free Book Online

Book: Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lynne Jonell
that reached out one stubby finger and tapped.
    Emmy stiffened.
    The finger reached out again and tapped on the glass. Emmy looked closer. It wasn’t a finger after all. It was a—
    It was a stubby, short, furry foreleg with a paw attached—
    It was the Rat.

“R AT!” Emmy ran to the window and creaked it open.
    The Rat, wet and bedraggled, dragged himself over the sill and collapsed in a damp heap. His ear looked like it had been chewed.
    â€œWhere have you been?” Emmy whispered. “You look just—”
    â€œTerrible,” said the Rat, and sneezed. “I know.”
    â€œBut what did you do? What happened to you?” Emmy carried him into her bathroom and set him gently on the counter. The Rat leaned against the blow-dryer and put his head in his paws.
    â€œI have been chased. I have been beaten. I have been manhandled and taunted and set upon. Freedom,” he added grimly, tossing back the lank and dripping fur that hung in his eyes, “has its bitter side.”
    â€œOh, poor Rat!”
    â€œAnd I’m cold and hungry, and I want a bath.”
    Emmy filled the sink and laid out a towel.
    â€œTh—th—thang—” The Rat swallowed, hard, and cleared his throat.
    â€œThank you?” Emmy suggested.
    The Rat nodded. The tip of his nose turned pink.
    â€œYou’re welcome.” Emmy tested the water in the sink. “So how did you ever find my house? And how did you know which window was mine?”
    â€œYou pointed it out, remember?” The Rat’s tone was impatient. “Topmost turret, blue window. I just climbed up the grapevine.”
    â€œOh,” said Emmy.
    There was a little silence. The Rat tapped his foot.
    â€œLook,” he burst out at last, irritably. “Is it the usual thing for you to watch your guests take a bath? Because if it isn’t, then why don’t you just go get me something to eat— not rat pellets—and give me a little privacy?”
    Emmy was almost down the back stairs to the kitchen when she heard the voice she dreaded above all.
    â€œSo you didn’t meet Emmaline coming out of French? Where was she, exactly?”
    Emmy stopped, paralyzed. Should she try to getback up the stairs without being heard? But some of the steps creaked. … Undecided, she looked down. The old-fashioned staircase turned a corner just before descending to the kitchen, and a wedge of light crossed the steps just below Emmy’s feet. She could see Mrs. Brecksniff’s bulky shadow, her hands on her substantial hips.
    â€œShe was right across the street,” said Mrs. Brecksniff, sounding defensive. “There was no danger, she was just talking to a friend.”
    â€œA friend ?” Miss Barmy’s voice scaled up dangerously.
    â€œNothing wrong with friends, last I heard,” said Mrs. Brecksniff stoutly. “The poor girl could use a few more of them.”
    There was a long, dangerous silence.
    â€œAny friends must be approved by me ,” said Miss Barmy coldly. “Emmaline has been troublesome lately—influenced, no doubt, by this so-called friend. Or perhaps,” she added, her voice silky, “Emmaline has been getting encouragement from you. ”
    â€œNow, Jane Barmy, there’s no call to take that tone with me.” Mrs. Brecksniff made a noise that sounded like an irritated buffalo.
    â€œThe girl’s health is delicate, and I will allow no interference.” Miss Barmy’s voice was crisp.
    â€œI’m not—”
    â€œHer medicines must be carefully calibrated to her exact emotional condition. I was forced to create an entirely new batch and bring it to her at school.”
    â€œWell I’m sure I don’t know what you’re so worried about,” Mrs. Brecksniff burst out passionately. “ You don’t care about Emmy, you’ve made that plain—”
    â€œThat’s enough, now, you’re talking

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