Abigail stood in the hall. She was very wet, covered in paper and very tired. The polar bear had already disappeared. A light clicked on at the end of the house.
“Come on, everyone’s away. I’ll find you something warm to drink.”
Abigail padded damply along the tiles, pulling her bag behind her. Her head felt fuzzy. She’d found another live bear but it seemed very bossy. The polar looked out from the kitchen and tutted. “You’ve made the tiles very slippy I’ll have to get a towel.” Scampering along the floor he waved a paw behind him towards a big wooden table. “There’s a hot chocolate up there, that will warm you up. I’m Patrick by the way.”
“Abigail” she said, then sneezed. Climbing up onto a chair so she could reach, she tried to brush some of the paper off, there was an awful lot of it. Putting her paws around the warm mug on the table she picked it up and sniffed. It smelt wonderful. She licked the edge of the cup. It tasted even better! Lifting it up quickly she took a big gulp and in a moment it was gone. She wondered if there was any more. Did polar bears like cake? Perhaps she should share one of hers in return. Sliding down to the floor she put her paw into the damp bag and pulled out a few. They were very squashed. Climbing back up she looked around. There was a shiny square plate on the table and she put the cakes, or what was left of them along with some wet lumps of icing on it.
The polar scampered back in and swung up the chair leg, jumping onto the table. He froze. “What have you done!” His voice rose to a squeak. Running forward he swept at the icing with his paws, pushing it onto the table. “There’s icing all over it!”
“It’s a plate,” said Abigail, “that’s why I put the cake on it.”
“It’s not a plate it’s my laptop” said Patrick crossly, “it had better still work”
“Laptop?” said Abigail
“Yes, you know, to send emails and research things.”
Wrinkling her nose, Abigail looked at him in confusion. “What sort of things”
“Anything, the weather, the economy, politics.”
“Oh,” said Abigail faintly, looking at the shiny square thing and wondering what an email was.
The polar had found a cleaning cloth and finished polishing the laptop. “I think it’s all right,” he sighed, patting it gently with his paw. But be careful.” He looked her up and down. “I’ll get you a brush, your fur is still full of paper.” He disappeared again. There was a loud bang in the hall and then a rattling noise. Patrick backed into the kitchen pulling something along the floor that looked like a long tube with a cord. Scampering under the table there was a click as he pushed a round shape into the wall. He handed her a brown brush. “Here, get the paper out first.” Starting at the tips of her ears, Abigail combed through her fur and bits of paper flew out onto the floor. She worked down over her nose right down to the tips of her paws and then stood up on the chair to do her back. The polar scampered around picking up the bits of paper.
Abigail looked at the polar. She couldn’t believe she’d found another live bear. “So how long, umm.. how long have you been… umm…”
“Awake?” said Patrick. “Oh ages.” He stepped back and looked up at her. “That’s better, you look more like a bear now, but you’re still very damp, I don’t want you making a mess of the cushions.” He pointed towards the wall. “Stand over there.” Sighing, Abigail climbed down from the chair. With an effort Patrick picked up the tube thing and with a click turned it on. A blast of hot air hit Abigail right in the face and propelled her back hard against the wall.
“Owwww” she shouted in annoyance, waving her paws in front of her face, “what are you doing, it’s all windy. And it’s hot.”
“I’m drying you,” said the polar, “it’s a hairdryer now stand still.”
Abigail didn’t want to stand still so she stuck out her tongue at the polar. “It’s blowing my fur all over the place.”
“That’s what it’s meant to do,” said Patrick crossly, “just stand still.”
Some time later Abigail had drunk her third cup of hot chocolate. She was warm and dry. Her fur was brushed although very frizzy and her beach bag was drying by the radiator. She hadn’t emptied it yet, she wasn’t sure if she should. She yawned and her eyes started to close. She couldn’t help it, running out of the door from the shop felt like such a long time ago. “I’m sure you’re tired,” said Patrick. “I’ll show you where you can sleep and introduce you to the others in the morning.”
Abigail’s eyes snapped opened wide. “There are others? More bears?”
Patrick sighed. “Not exactly, but you’ll see in the morning.”