Shadow, the dog, looked over the fence – she could only just reach the top with her paws – but she had to look because she had heard Ben crying again. She saw Ben sitting on a stone by the shed at the bottom of his garden with his face buried in his hands.
His scruffy clothes looked like the only water they had seen were the tears running down his face making splotches on his tattered T-shirt, Shadow didn’t like this at all and so found the loose fencing board and managed to put her nose through it. She felt safer on all four legs anyhow.
She made whimpering noises through the gap as she was so upset that Ben was crying again and it looked like he had a new big bruise on his arm. Ben got up and rushed over to her and buried his face into the bit of her head that had come through the fence. He was careful not to break the fence as he pushed the board over a bit more, as he didn’t want to be hurt again by step father again.
“Oh, Shadow” he sobbed “My step-dad told me off because I hadn’t hoovered under the sofa and then he got cross with me.”
Shadow felt her fur growing wet with his tears as she heard his story – this just wasn’t right, he was only a little boy and his step-father shouldn’t treat him this way. There must be something she could do to help; “But as I’m only a dog – what can I do?”
That evening as her master took her out for a walk, she was thinking about Ben; her master had been at work and so had Ben’s mum, so no-one knew what was happening. Her master sat on a park bench to drink a can of coke as it was so hot and as Shadow sat beside him, she saw a funny green “thing” with a very big mouth and eyes on stalks like a snail, but he didn’t look anything like a snail though.
This creature was standing by a little girl shouting at some bigger girls who had taken her sweets, Shadow wondered if this thing could help her to help Ben. She looked up at her master, but he was busy reading the newspaper as he sat there so she wandered over to where the little girl and this creature were.
As she sat down beside the little girl, she nudged her, Shadow looked up at the creature, “Hello”, said the “thing”.
Shadow thought “Hello” back and the “thing” opened his big mouth into a smile.
“I didn’t think dogs could talk here” he said.
And Shadow thought back “I didn’t know ‘things’ like you existed.”
“I’m not a ‘thing’ I’m CABBY and I come from a planet where all bullying has been stopped.”
“So that’s why this little girl got her sweets back.”
“Yes”, replied CABBY, “My friend GABBY who has got an extra eye to see with saw it and told me. So I came to sort it out, I don’t think Amelia will troubled any more as they know that we are here to stop it.”
“You’re just the people I need to speak to” thought Shadow, but at that moment her master called her to come back as it was time to go home. CABBY called out, “I’ll find you – GABBY will hear where you’re going because I want to take Amelia home first.”
Shadow trotted beside her master and wondered if she had imagined it all or if these funny aliens would appear again, her master hadn’t seen anything. She settled into her basket and the Window rattled and opened a bit more and another green head poked through, making the cat run upstairs!
“Hello” said the head which had three eyes and four ears.
“Hello” thought Shadow, “Who are you?”
“Well at least you didn’t run like that cat, I’m GABBY.”
“Can you get in the window?”
“I think I’m fine here” but as she said this there was a noise outside and suddenly her head disappeared and Shadow heard a now familiar loud voice say “how did you get up there?”
Shadow poked her head up to the window to see GABBY with her hands on her hips saying “Well, I climbed on that flower pot there then climbed on the bin here.” CABBY climbed up put his arms round her and gave her a hug and laughed.
As the bin was too low for CABBY and GABBY to climb through and the window too high for Shadow to get out, they held their meeting with CABBY and GABBYs heads framed by the opened window. She told them all about Ben and how badly he was treated at home and that she knew he was being bullied at school as well because he was always dirty and untidy.
The next morning as Shadow wandered out into the garden, she saw both CABBY and GABBY sitting on Ben’s shed roof, watching and listening. GABBY looked very upset as she had heard Ben being shouted at all ready and she really didn’t like it.
As it was Saturday there was no school and as his mother shouted goodbye and went to work Ben opened the back door and walked dejectedly into the garden where he came to an abrupt stop. What were those two green things on the roof?
CABBY jumped down and spoke to Ben, who ran to the fence to try to get through the gap to hide behind Shadow. Shadow put her head through and pushed him gently back towards CABBY.
“Thanks Shadow” said CABBY as Ben gripped tightly on to Shadow’s neck and Shadow wagged her tail.
Ben looked at CABBY as he walked towards him and put out his green hand, “Hello Ben, my name is CABBY.”
“Wh-wh-who are you? How d-d-did you know my n-n-name?”
“That’s easy, a friend told me” he said winking at Shadow, “What’s that mark on your arm?”
“I-I-I f-f-fell over” replied Ben as Shadow wriggled her head free with a sigh of relief, “It’s all right, it doesn’t hurt too much.”
“Hmmm, yes, not really, was it?” said CABBY as he bent down and took Ben’s hand.
“What d-d-do you m-m-mean?” stuttered Ben.
“BEN!” came a loud voice from the kitchen door as GABBY jumped down beside her friend, “COME HERE!”
“Oh dear, I haven’t washed up” muttered Ben as he walked to the door where a very large hand reached out and grabbed his t-shirt.
CABBY ran over to the man and shouted at him “Let Ben go!”
The man looked round but couldn’t see anything and the voice came again “I said Let Ben Go!”
He did, he was so surprised that he let go of Ben’s t-shirt and stepped back in the kitchen, where he plopped down in to a chair.
The voice came again “You do the washing up and Ben can help by drying up, how old is Ben anyway?”
The man looked round him and still couldn’t see anything but he answered “He’s six”.
“Don’t you think he’s too young to be doing all the housework?”
“He doesn’t do it all, I make the beds”
“But what about the rest?”
“Well his mother isn’t here and so he can do it in her place”
“And what happens when he doesn’t?”
He man didn’t answer but hung his head and CABBY walked up to him and laid his hand on the man’s arm which made him jump. “Don’t you think that Ben should be allowed to play and be a little boy without you being nasty to him?”
The man did not know what to say as he could feel something on his arm, but it didn’t feel creepy it felt friendly but he knew he had done wrong. He was really sorry, but it wasn’t his fault that he couldn’t get a job and that Ben’s mum was keeping them.
CABBY saw the man was thinking about what he had done and spoke gently to him, “Why do you get so cross?”
So the man told CABBY that he felt so upset and cross because he had to stay at home and look after Ben as he couldn’t get a job and Ben’s mum worked so hard she was always tired and he felt useless.
CABBY squeezed the man’s arm and said “ I think it’s time you started talking about this to somebody, as it seems like you need help – and any help you get will help Ben.”
The man nodded and sighed, “It’s hard.”
“I know, but you have started by talking to me and whilst we have been talking, my friend has been giving Ben a bath and sorting out his clothes, he really must be looked after better or he will be bullied at school as well.”
“He is being bullied at school.” came another voice as Ben walked in to the kitchen, but it was a different Ben who looked clean and tidy and had clean clothes on.
GABBY kept hold of Ben’s hand as he stood in front of his step-father in the kitchen and nodded his head. He was still too scared to speak, but GABBY squeezed his hand and told him to say what he had told her when she was helping him tidy up.
When Ben’s step-father heard what Ben had to say, he was most annoyed and promised that he would help sort the problem out, and CABBY promised he would be there to help him.
And so it was, the next time Shadow saw her friend, she wagged her tail so hard that Ben thought it might fall off as he caught the ball his step-dad had thrown as they played in the garden and a cheer came from the shed roof as she looked up and saw CABBY and GABBY watching them play.
The man had kept his promise with a little help from CABBY and had learned how to hold back his temper and was proud to know that he had managed to stop the bullying at school – and Ben knew that CABBY and GABBY were one click on the computer if he needed help again.
And as GABBY and CABBY said “We are never more than one click away.”
by James Cox at Doggy Tales