|The Beast from the East|
|Tagline||He's a real animal!|
|Cover artist||Tim Jacobus|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Release date||May 1996|
|Number of Endings|
|Previous book||Egg Monsters from Mars|
|Next book||Say Cheese and Die - Again!|
Ginger Wald, former nature camp survivor, is on a vacation with her family in a forest. Besides her mother and father, they are joined by her two twin brothers, Pat and Nat. But they seem to prefer playing videogames than learning about nature. After her father jokingly tells Ginger to go "lose" her brothers in the forest, the three siblings wind up lost in the forest...
While lost in the forest, Ginger and her brothers encounter some strange plants, some of which rub off different colors on Ginger's hands. They also spot some strange animals, like a small creature that resembles a squirrel and a dog. The ground begins to shake in a clearing and the children hide behind some bushes just as a Beast appears. The Beast is an eight foot tall blue furred bear-like creature with a long snout and beaver-like tail. He sniffs around, then leaves, then re-enters, then leaves again, and continues to behave in this manner for some time until it finally leaves for a final time. The children decide to make a run for it, but only Pat manages to escape, leaving Nat and Ginger trapped by an entire community of Beasts! The main Beast approaches Ginger and then proceeds to slap her on the back, saying that she is "It".
The Beasts explain in perfect English that they are playing a game called "Beast From the East" and Ginger is now "the Beast From the East." She has until the sun sets to tag another player or she gets eaten. Ginger tries to get the Beasts to explain the rules to her. But they act as if this is an absurd request and do not answer. Only several of them begin to introduce themselves instead. One's named Fleg, another Gleeb, and a third is called Spork. Spork is missing an eye... The creatures also speak in a sort of pidgin English that is combined with made-up words. Again, Ginger attempts to get the Beasts to tell her the rules. But they are under the impression that these children have played before, in part because the children keep saying, "We have no idea how to play. We've never played before. Tell us how to play." However, the Beasts do manage to spell out a few rules, such as how if they rest on a Free Lunch square, which is a brown square in the forest, they can be eaten.The Beasts give the two children a head start and then a series of misadventures occurs. First Ginger is wrapped around a tree by a bunch of snakes. Fleg appears and frees her, by tickling the snakes. She is also awarded twenty points for being wrapped in snakes. Fleg tells her she could get 60 points, if she was bitten. She is also awarded points for all those colors she rubbed off on her hands from the strange landscape. He tells her that she missed her chance to tag him and that sets in motion Ginger's determination to tag one of the beasts. After this happens, Nat climbs a tree. But the tree comes to life and tries to attack him. Ginger tickles the tree, in order to free Nat. Then Nat spots a group of Beasts hiding behind a large boulder. When Ginger approaches the boulder, she finds the Beasts have all scattered away. Nat touches the boulder and it splits open at the top. Smoke comes out and the Beasts appear to tell her that her brother has touched a Penalty Rock. He must now face the penalty. Ginger follows the Beasts to a large wooden cage, where her brother will be kept until he is eaten. Ginger tags one of the Beasts, but the Beast informs her that the game is paused so it does not count...
Ginger is on the run again, with night closing in. If she does not tag another Beast by nightfall, she will lose and be eaten. She falls into a Free Lunch pit and the Beasts gather around, prepared to eat her. However, a cloud appears overhead and the Beasts tell her that she was lucky. According to the rule of "Made in the Shade", she can't be eaten. They help her out of the pit, as Ginger spots a child Beast and assumes (correctly) that there is an adult Beast, perfect for tagging, hiding nearby. And sure enough, there is Spork, hiding behind a boulder. She tags him and is victorious until Spork tells her that it does not count because she did not tag him from the east. Ginger tricks the Beast into pausing the game to play another game with her. He agrees to this and she tells him that the two of them will spin around as fast as they can and then stop and the first person to fall down loses. As he is spinning, Ginger declares the game unpaused and tags Spork. It worked and Spork is now the Beast From the East. He tells her that he still has a little time, before the sun sets to tag her back. Ginger is given another head start.
Ginger runs through the forest and finds Pat, her other twin brother that escaped earlier in the book. The two of them make their way through the strange jungle and are approached by one of the squirrel-dogs, who tells them they can hide in "the Hiding Cave." The two children go into the cave and then the squirrel-dog tells them that the cave is also used by bugs to hide. They are soon covered with millions of different insects and Ginger wants to scream, but at that very moment the Beasts walk by the cave. Seeing nothing but insects inside, the Beasts go on their way and the two children exit the cave. The squirrel-dog wishes them luck, but tells them that according to the rules, they can only use the Hiding Cave once.
The two children find the strange tree that is the homebase for the game, just as the sun sets. Ginger has made it! She's won! She's... tagged. As the time has just run out, Ginger loses due to being made The Beast From the East. And also Pat, due to being her "Helper". The two are brought before a big fire, where they are informed that it is barbeque night.
As the Beasts prepare a cooking dish for stewing the two children, Nat appears in the clearing! He has escaped the cage and came back to rescue his siblings. But instead, he is captured fairly quickly by the Beasts. Seeing the two twins together, Fleg gets furious. The children did not tell the Beasts that they were going to double, thus using the move called "the Classic Clone"! That's a Level Three move, these Beasts are only Level One players! With that in mind, the beast let the children go and apologize. Then they give the children directions to get out of the forest and they head back to their parents.
As the children leave the forest, where the beasts live, they encounter a "Level Three" beast in the night. The beast tags them and called them "IT", thus starting the game again, only this time it's more dangerous...