Continued from yesterday
The two of them struck the back window with all their might, again and again. First there was a crack, then another and another. They just kept hitting it.
“Hey! Hey!” The man’s voice in the distance didn’t slow them down.
They were nearly there. There was a head-sized hole in the glass with cracks radiating from it. The boys put down their weapons and took hold of sections of glass between the cracks with their hands. They pushed and pulled, working them back and forth until they could be folded all the way down. Now the hole was big enough for Luke to climb in. Adrenaline masked the pain of the cuts on his hands as he tried to lift her. She was weak and limp and too heavy for him.
Joe climbed in and between them they lifted her to the hole but they couldn’t lift her out because there was no one to hand her to. It was an oven in there.
“Just get her head outside so she can breathe,” said Luke, “then we’ll prob’ly ‘ave to jus’ push ‘er out.”
But before they did the hatchback opened and there stood the policeman. He lifted his dog and carried her a few steps to the cool shade of a large tree where he trickled water from a bottle over her mouth. The boys watched, not even caring how much trouble they were in. The police dog started to lick the water around her lips. Luke and Joe rushed towards her with cupped hands and she lapped up the water the policeman poured into them. They sat in the shade for some time. Eventually the policeman spoke.
“I only left her for a minute. I opened the front windows a little and parked in the shade of this tree, so I thought she’d be ok, just for a minute. But then I got held up by ……”
He paused, realising there was no point in making excuses.
“I just didn’t think I was going to be more than a minute or two. But I should have known I might be delayed; and the sun is constantly moving so the car wouldn’t have been in the shade for long.”
He shook his head, full of regret.
“And it only takes a few minutes for a dog to overheat and die.”
Luke and Joe said nothing. The dog wagged her tail.
“Good girl Sheba,” said the policeman, “you’re my good girl.”
He looked at the boys.
“And you boys are heroes. Thank you.”
Nan and Grandad were waiting by the phone for the police to call back with any news. Mum and Dad were frantically searching the park again.
“Marian,” said Dad, “they’re not here. I’m going to walk towards the town.”
“Wait! Look!” said Mum, pointing to the police car she could see pulling up outside Nan and Grandad’s house.
They both ran.
When all was explained and forgiven, everyone realised how hungry they were and Nan’s tea went down very well. It was too late to return the putters and Joe’s ball to the Park Keeper but Dad took Luke back to Swanspool the next day so that he could hand them in.
“… so I’m sorry they’re late,” said Luke after explaining the previous day’s events, “but we dint steal ’em.”
“I never thought for a moment that you did,” the Park Keeper said as he put them away.