"I had a sister who was sent there..." Grenadier said,
almost mournfully. Out of all of us, Grenadier was the oldest, and the
one who seemed to miss being owned the most. We tried not to talk about
owners around him, as it tended to bring back painful memories. After
another brief silence, Theo spoke.
"I'll go with you."
"What?" there were cries of amazement from the rest of
"If you want to go find your friend, you're going to
need some help," Theo went on, "Someone to... to protect you." He drew
himself up to his full height. "And I'm that Aisha! never fear - we'll
get your friend out of that place!"
Theo's suggestion shocked us all. He was normally the
voice of reason; the most sensible amongst us. The one who would never
let us go near any danger. So why was he behaving so... so tough and hero-like?
Who was he trying to impress...?
"Well, are we going or not?" he asked.
I just blinked and stood there. Clarai gave me a little
push as if to snap me out of it.
"Okay, I guess so," I said, "Wish us luck!"
And we were on our way. About one third the way there
I heard something familiar, so I went to look. "Wait for me here, I'm
going to go check something out," I said to Theo. I heard a voice... Wait!
Not just any voice! It was his! The Gelert's! I ran up to see where it
was coming from. It was a cottage, I looked inside and saw him. He looked
cheerful, but I knew he wasn't as cheerful as he had been. At least he
had a good home, I nodded to myself.
I walked back to where I had left Theo, he was gone!
Oh no! What am I going to do? I'd better go tell the guys! I rushed back
to see them, but I stopped at the Randerlan's Estate. To my surprise,
Theo was there! I looked again, and I saw he was wearing a collar, not
one of the ones us Aishas are given when we're born, but an "owned" collar.
I walked over, trying to stay out of sight, but he heard me. Kind of figures,
I mean since us Aishas have the best sense of hearing. He walked over
"What happened?" I asked.
"Well, the pound got me when I wasn't looking and a girl
in a straw hat took me in and I had no clue she owned this place," Theo
said. He spoke quickly, as if he knew there wasn't much time for us to
talk. "She said she's my owner now..."
The girl, who I recognised as the one in the straw hat,
and the one who had been crying, came up behind Theo and scooped him up
in her arms. "Now, sweetie, it's time for your dinner - tonight we're
having a special feast in your honour!" I looked up at Theo, scarcely
daring to believe that he was actually allowing himself to be taken away
"But... but what about the gang? The other wild pets?
What about... what about me?" I called after him, as the girl walked away.
He called back his answer, but he was already too far away for me to hear
I sat, forlornly looking after him; wondering how I would
explain all this to the others. Just then, a smartly dressed man carrying
an expensive-looking pet bed came up to the gate, pushing me out of the
way with his boot. "Shoo, pet!" he said, "We don't want your thieving
type round these parts!" I meekly crept away, with my tail between my
I walked on in a kind of daze. I knew what I had to do
- I had to go back to the gang, and tell them their leader had been captured.
Oh, they'd be really pleased about that! And they'd probably blame it
on me... after all, it was my idea to go to the pound... it was me who
made friends with the Gelert... and was it because of me that Theo went?
"Oh, why Theo? Why our leader...?"
"Surely he didn't - maybe you just heard him wrong..."
"I'm positive - he actually wanted to be a pet!"
I was trying to explain to the gang, but it was difficult.
"Look - if you don't believe me, go and see for yourselves!
It's the Randerlan's estate..."
So, the whole gang; as well as some other of the wild
pets who just couldn't believe that one of our number could ever be adopted;
went down to the big house to see Theo... We couldn't see him in the garden,
so we crept up to the house to peer in through the windows... it was safe,
as there was no Gelert to chase us now. And, through one vast window,
we saw him...
There were many guests, some had come with welcoming
presents. Some were wrapped in blue and green, and some in pink and purple.
I could see them on a table. I still wondered why he chooses to stay.
I decided that I'd come back when all the guests were gone and they were
going to bed; I still wanted to know the answers to those questions.
As the gang stood there, jaw-dropped, and stunned I said,
"So who'll be the leader now?" They all looked at each other. "Well, I
suppose you should take a vote back in the alley," I walked over to Clarai
and said, "I'm going to stay here and see if I can get some answers, to
a question like 'Why do you want to stay here?' is that okay?" She nodded.
"I'll be staying here, tell everyone not to mind..."
Well, it was finally time for them to go to bed. I looked
around for a way in. Oh my gosh! They have an Aisha-door, kind of like
a doggie door, just for Aishas. They mustíve installed it for Theo, I
thought. I pushed it, it swung back and forth. Wow! They probably forgot
to close it, my perfect chance! So I entered, looked back and forth, then
walked upstairs, I knew it wasnít downstairs from the first time I ever
came here. An open door, letís see whatís in here. Nope, not him, just
a guest room I suppose. I walked down the hall some more, and found another
open door. This time, he was inside!
To be continued...