Adam looked around and saw nobody was about, so scooted across the road and down the alley.  His heart pounded as he flew behind a skip and squatted down.  His breath was raspy.  His legs tired.  But he thought he had outrun them.  He should not have tried to raid the supermarket bins.  He knew they were jealously guarded by Jay and his gang.  He was so hungry though.  Slowly he started to relax and breath easy again.  He braved stretching out his legs and sitting on the cold concrete.  Listening intently he only caught snatches of pattering noises from behind the pipes he sat near.  Rats most likely.  They would not bother him if he did not bother them.

He leaned back against the skip, semi closing his eyes.  At 8 years old he was already streetwise and canny.  Already 2 years homeless he knew the places that were safe and those to avoid.  Like the supermarket.  He thought of his Mum and Dad, and tears welled up, threatening to ruin his street cred so he squeezed them tight shut and thought instead of Jay and how he could get past him.  Lots of food in those bins.  Bread, yoghurt, especially.  People just threw it away past certain dates.  It was all still edible though, and he let out a sob as his stomach reminded him why he had taken that stupid risk.

A noise from the other side of the skip sat him upright.  Hazel eyes wide open, he listened and, when all was quiet for a moment, wondered if he had imagined it. No!  It came again.  A grunting noise.  Sniffling and snorting.  Adam stopped breathing and sat paralysed with fear.

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A can was pushed around the corner and the skip moved as something jumped up against it.  A BEAR???  In LONDON??  Adam felt his bladder start to loosen and quickly swivelled around, looking about him looking for an escape route.

A brown nose appeared around the skip,  closely followed by a slobbery pink tongue and huge brown eyes.  Adam sighed a massive sigh of relief as he recognised a stray dog that had been following him for a week now.

‘You bugger!’ he said quietly.  ‘Come here boy’.

The dog stopped sniffling and wagged his tail with his head on one side, ears pricked.  He disappeared back from where he had come and Adam thought he had gone again.  He was surprisingly disappointed.  He was getting used to seeing the dog around.  It was a large dog with a friendly dopey expression on its face.

Suddenly the dog trotted back into view looking very pleased with itself with something in its mouth.

‘What have you got, boy?’ asked Adam, gently.  The dog placed its head on one side again as if weighing him up, then trotted forward and spat out its prize straight into Adam’s lap.

A massive ham.  Not a few slices, but a ginormous whole wrapped up hock of fresh, in date, ham!

The dog grinned, tongue lolled out of one side of his mouth.  He looked at Adam and then sat, both back legs splayed out to the side.

Adam laughed out loud at this.

Boy and dog sat as it got dark, nibbling on ham and cuddled up together behind the huge bins.  and, as they both finally slept through the night, friends who would stay together until the dog grew old and grey and one day did not get up, and Adam did not need to hide behind bins, the rats sidled out to grab small pieces of ham that the boy had broken for them and then scurried back to their families.

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Written as part of the writing tasks http://ourartsmagazine.com/literature/writing-skills-task-273/2018

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