Chapter 9 walkies
As the last of the sea lions jumped through the last of the hoops, and the troop gathered to take their final bow, Lilly was racing towards the open gate at the back of the stand. The gate that pretty soon, the children would come pouring out of, and Rex was moving rapidly towards. The raccoon had already slunk into an almost empty rubbish bin; a safe distance from the gate to watch what he hoped would be the end of Lilly. Lilly had to run flat out to reach the gate before Rex. She had no other plan in her head other than to shut the gate and draw Rex away, and to save Vicky and the other children from coming face to face with the large ferocious snapping crocodile, and avoid them coming across a real live moving teddy bear secret agent while doing it. Rex was within feet of entering the gate when Lilly sprung in the air over Rex’s snout and onto the gate, causing it to swing closed, and for her to pull down on the latch, safely locking the humans in the pool area, buying Lilly valuable time to return Rex back to his enclosure, find the raccoon and obtain the antidote: valuable time that was near to running out. Within an hour the buses would be pulling up and the children would be climbing aboard. And for the first time in her life, Lilly would have failed her mission.
With the gate secured and Rex’s attention now solely on Lilly, she leapt down and headed around the corner, to draw the crocodile away from the children, a corner that the raccoon had hoped Lilly would take since she had avoided Rex at the gate. Lilly had barely travelled ten feet when she realized her mistake, and Rex lumbered around the corner after her. The pathway led to a rubbish store, with high concrete walls and no way out. Lilly had led Rex into a dead end and now she was cornered. Trapped by an advancing snapping crocodile!
Lilly backed up onto the bins, keeping her eyes fixed firmly on the large beast, which was moving ominously towards her at rapid pace. Her situation seemed hopeless with the crocodile being so close. There was no way she would be able to summersault over his head, and would surely be caught in the jagged rows of teeth he was displaying. Back up further and she would fall backwards over the rubbish bags stacked behind her and Rex would pounce. It seemed to Lilly to be the end. However, if she was going to go, she would stand her ground and face the end bravely! Lilly wanted to whimper desperately “please, no Rex” as he lunged at her, but Lilly, being the bravest of bears, found herself shouting firmly, “NO REX” Whilst keeping full eye contact with the large reptile. The change in Rex’s manner was instant. He slid to a halt as he came nose to nose with Lilly and clamped his mouth shut. In his eyes Lilly read a flicker of obedience. “Bad crocodile!” Lilly barked into Rex’s face causing him to back up a little with a whimper. Lilly had found out by accident, but it appeared that Rex was actually very well trained. Lilly was not to have known, nor the raccoon, who was lurking around the corner and wondering why stuffing was not flying everywhere to the terrible sounds of a teddy bear being dismembered, but Rex had been rescued from a circus. He had spent several years with the animal trainer, who had bought him as an egg and raised him with a litter of puppies.
Lilly fished in her pouch where she always kept a packet of jelly babies, her favourite sweets, selecting a yellow one, she always saved the red ones for herself. Rex eyed the little jelly sweet hungrily and immediately sat down wagging his tail. Lilly responded by holding up the jelly baby for Rex to take, which he did gently and was rewarded with a pat on his nose and an enthusiastic, “good boy Rex!”
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