School had finished for the day and Mum was waiting at the gate. Henry ran up to her, passed her the bag with his indoor shoes that he had to wear in the classroom and then ran on down the road. Just as he had turned the corner and was out of Mum’s sight something made him look down a path between two houses. He did not remember seeing the path before and supposed it was a path between two houses down to their back gardens. But something made him look down the path.
His heart stopped. Jasper!
He gasped. Jasper the lost dog, the captain of the lost dogs football team, was standing in the path. “Come on, follow me” Jasper said, and turned round and ran down the path. There was no time to ask questions, no time to wonder what was happening. Henry knew that he had to follow Jasper and that this might be his only chance to see the lost dogs again.
He ran as if this was the most important thing that he could do; nothing else mattered, Even running as fast as he could he could only just keep Jasper in his sight. But there was no time to think, no time to look where they were going.
Then Jasper stopped, Henry looked round and saw that they were surrounded by open grassland, bordered in the distance by a band of trees and even farther than that, the sea glistened in the sunshine. Which was odd since it was a wet January day and beginning to get dark.
“Are we going to play football? Asked Henry. Where are the others?
"No football today, there will be many football matches to come, but first you have to earn your place in the team” .
“There is someone you need to meet, now I think you know Marcus” and he turned toward a boy who had appeared next to him.
“Marcus!” exclaimed Henry.
Marcus was in the same Henry’s class at school, but Henry had never spoken to him, maybe because he wasn’t good at football and was always the last to be chosen when the teams were chosen.
‘“You have a very important task; it needs two people, and you will need to work together, Each of you put a hand on my head”
As soon as they did this, the grassland disappeared and it was as if they were sucked into a dark tunnel and before they could look round there was a moment of darkness and they found themselves in a yard at the back of a row of shops. Although the yard had high brick walls Henry spotted some tall buildings that he recognised and realised that they were in the middle of the town. In one corner of the yard a dog was chained to the wall, he was pitifully thin; you could see his ribs and Henry and Marcus could not stop themselves crying as they looked at the poor dog.
“This is Dipper” said Jaspar.
Henry rushed forward to stroke and comfort the miserable creature but his hand just seemed to go through the dog’s body without feeling a thing.
“We cannot help, we can only look, It’s your job to release Dipper” said Jasper.
And with that there was another moment of darkness and then Henry found himself on the pavement just as Mum came round the corner.
“I thought you’d be home by now” she said.
Next day, at break, Henry did not join the rush to the football pitch but stayed behind to talk to Marcus who smiled at him and waited for him to speak. Up To now Henry had never mentioned his football game with the lost dogs - it was a precious memory that belonged only to him. Other people just wouldn’t understand or believe him. He managed to force out some words: “Did you?, I mean yesterday? I mean were you..?” he stuttered.
“Yes” replied Marcus “We have a job to do”
They put together a plan. That night Henry silently slipped down the stairs and through the front door which he had left on the latch. Half an hour later Marcus, who had recognised the shop and who lived just a few streets away, left his bed to join Henry in the alleyway behind the yard. “Help me to climb over the wall” Henry said to Marcus. “Don’t you think it would be better if we opened the gate, now - after all Dipper won’t be able to climb it and I think we might hurt him if we tried to push him over the wall.” Marcus replied gently.
“Oh yes of course, I was only joking” replied Henry, glad that the darkness was hiding his blushes.
When they made their plan they agreed that Marcus would bring the tools that they needed, since he lived close to the yard where Dipper was tied up and he did not have far to carry them. Marcus brought a crowbar and a wire cutter from his father’s tool box.
The crowbar made short work of the padlock on the door and they cut the leather collar around Dipper’s neck with the wire cutter. Dipper did not move from where he was lying, but whimpered and shrank away from the boys. “it ‘s OK Dipper, your going to be alright now” Henry had fetched some cold sausages as well as some bacon rashers from the kitchen fridge. Dipper gobbled them up and then struggled to his feet and let the boys help him through the open door in the wall.
A little way down the alleyway they saw Jasper!
“Hello Dipper, you’re safe now Jasper said”.
The two dogs turned and then they were gone. But just before they disappeared, Jasper turned toward the boys and said; “Well done both of you, we’ll be meeting again soon”
Henry and Marcus crept back to their beds and all was as if they had never left them. But Henry’s mum was sure that she had left some sausages and bacon in the fridge and Marcus’s dad could have sworn that he had not left his toolbox half open. Henry had to be woken up to get ready to go to school. Surely, he thought, what happened had been a dream, a dream that seemed real but could not possibly have happened. Yes; it must just have been a dream and he must get ready for school.
But just in case it wasn’t a dream when they went out of the classroom for the morning break he went to talk to Marcus: who said “Dipper’s safe now, I think he'll want to say thank you to us sometime”,
“Yes I think he will, I can’t wait to see him again.” replied Henry.
“Nor can I” said Marcus..