Toby was an odd child. This oddness wasn't readily apparent to other people. He dressed normally. he went to school. He even combed his hair occasionally and cleaned his room. Okay, so maybe he was a little unusual, no-one is that perfect right?
Right. Toby was a little short for his 7 years of age but that didn't matter to him or anyone else except maybe some mean boys at school. No, the slight imperfection in this other outstanding boy was something that even Toby himself wasn't aware of, it was an Ability. Yes, with a capital A.
Toby was playing in his garden - it was a Saturday you see and he didn't have school today. He hadn't actually played in the garden before, he had just moved her and until today the garden had been strictly off limits while they cleared out some of the mess that had been there on his arrival. He was really excited at the prospect at having a garden, he'd never had one before having always lived in flats at the top floor but the time had come where his parents had decided that the top of a building was no place for a young boy to grow up and so they had moved here, to this small cottage in Wales. It had all been a bit of a shock, but a welcome one.
Toby was exploring the garden to the fullest of his abilities (the uncapitalised ones), feeling the dew on the grass, the raindrops on the leaves of the bushes and taking in the soft, earthy smell that gardens sometimes have early in the morning. He was creeping around looking at everything when a voice caught his attention.
"Oh great, bloody great idea Norman. Oh Al, lets get off the road shall we and explore this green-bit, it's bound to be safer." the voice mocked "Safer my shell, you've only gone and bloody led us right up to one of the enemy!"
"Shells-above Al, we ain't dead yet. Besides, how many of us did we lose on that Road?" another voice chimed in "and when the sun came out and it got hot, jeez, I'll have nightmares about what happened to those poor sods for the rest of my life, you just see if I don't. We had to do something, I didn't know this bugger was gonna be here did I? And I'll thank to to address me by rank, which is Captain, private."
"Fine. Just stay quiet, maybe he wont notice us, then again he's a small one and I heard they're the vicious basta..."
Toby interrupted the voice just then as he sank to his knees and looked around for where it was coming from. "Hello? Who is that? My Mum and Dad are in the house so don't do anything funny!"
"Salt! Yer don't think he's talkin' to us do yer Norm?"
"I wont have language like that in my platoon Al, and that's Captain Norm to you. Just watch yourself or I'll have you up for court-marshal."
"Sorry Captain, I was just saying, you think he was talking to us?"
"Don't be ridiculous, they've never listened to us before, why would they start talking to us?"
"But I am talking to you!" Toby interrupted again "Where are you?"
"Flipping heck Captain, he's only flippin' talkin' to us!"
"Shut it you idiot, he can hear us! Quick lad, run for it!"
Toby peered down into the long grass and he noticed two snails, very slowly turning around and crawling away.
"Don't run away." said Toby "My names Toby, I wont hurt you. How come you guys can talk? I didn't think snails could do that, are you magic snails?"