Abigail sat on the soft red seat in the train, humming to herself. Humming always made her feel better. She looked out of the window. Green fields flashed by and she wondered where she was. This was all Patrick’s and Preston’s fault. If they’d told her where they were going she wouldn’t have had to follow them. She thought about how she’d stood on the fence and slipped down the bank. Perhaps it had been her choice to climb into the train, but she’d only climbed in because it was there. With a loud sniff she shook her head. Definitely their fault, not hers. It couldn’t possibly be hers.
The train began to slow and climbing up onto the back of the seat she pressed her nose against the window. The green fields had disappeared and she could see brown walls and houses. The train slowed again. Was it stopping? The seat shook beneath her paws and there was a jolt. “Whoaa..” Abigail lost her balance and slid down the red cushion. With a thud she landed on the floor. The train stopped. It went very quiet. Clambering up onto her paws and dusting herself down, Abigail reminded herself again that she was a very brave bear. There was a hissing noise and a whoosh of cold air blew through her fur. The doors were open! Cautiously she edged around the seat. Nobody seemed to be around. Tiptoeing towards the doors she leant out. The train had stopped against a long grey pavement. In the distance she could see a few people, but they all seemed to be walking away. Taking a deep breath Abigail jumped down.
‘What if somebody sees her? What if she waves at them or says something? You know what she’s like.’ Patrick ran up and down on the kitchen table. ‘How are we going to find her, what if she gets lost?’
Preston was typing something on the laptop. He looked up and shook his head. ‘Will you just sit down, I’m trying to concentrate, we need to find a map.’
‘Well find it quickly,’ said Patrick, ‘this is all your fault.’
‘No it’s not!’ said Preston, his white ears twitching, ‘I didn’t ask her to follow us.’
Patrick waved his paws in the air ‘oh just find the map!’
The grey pavement felt very hard under Abigails paws, looking back quickly at the train she ran over towards the wall and under a red bench. Cautiously she peered out. No one in sight. Where had everyone gone? Perhaps if she followed them she might be able to get home. They must be going somewhere. Slowly she padded away from the train.
It seemed a very big place when you were a small blonde bear and trying to hide. But by following the big brick wall, finally Abigail could see a way out. Her ears lifted, she was sure she could find out where she was. But she didn’t know how she could get home. Carefully she looked around the corner. Sitting on a bench under a bright light were two people, with a dusty striped blue and white bag on the floor beside them. They were talking very loudly.
‘Oh I’m so excited to be here. Windsor castle, I can’t wait to see it!’
Abigail wondered what a castle was. She seemed to remember a jigsaw back in the toy shop. It had a huge stone house on it, with pointy bits and a big gate and flags. Was that a castle? She remembered it had looked very exciting. And very big.
‘Well,’ said the voice, ‘we can’t sit here all day, I could do with something to eat too. Let’s get a taxi and go straight there.’
Abigail made up her mind. She didn’t know what a taxi was but she wanted to see a castle and she was hungry too. Then she could find her way home. She was sure of it. Running as fast as her paws could take her she scampered towards the back of the big white and blue bag and dived right in, burying down to the bottom. One of her paws got stuck and she tugged at it. ‘Ow!’ Wriggling around she got herself the right way up and peered out.
‘What was that noise?’ said one of the voices suspiciously.
‘I didn’t hear anything,’ said the other. Abigail felt the bag being lifted up into the air and she hung on tightly. ‘This is really heavy did you put anything in here?’
“No of course not, come on let’s find that taxi.”
Patrick glared at Preston. ‘So why do I have to go and find her and not you?’
Preston sighed. ‘Because I will run operations from here and you know her better than me. You know what she might do.’
‘I’m coming too!’ Grigs jumped up onto the chair. He hit his head on the edge of the window. ‘Ow, over jumped.’
‘You are NOT coming,’ said Patrick loudly, picking up his bag and stuffing the map down into it. ‘It’s going to be hard enough without you coming along.’
The tiger sniffed loudly. ‘I am coming, you can’t stop me.’
‘But we’re taking a train!’ said Patrick, ‘and we mustn’t be seen.’
‘I like trains!’ Grigs swept his tail in the air and hit Preston hard in the head. Waving his arms around in vain Preston skidded across the table and fell off the edge. ‘He’s not staying here with me!’
‘You’ve never seen a train!’ snapped Patrick. ‘Oh for goodness sake come on then. But if you get seen then don’t blame me!’
Preston had climbed back up onto the table, but he was swaying slightly. Sitting down hard he sighed. Set out in front of him was a notebook, two pens and a small glass of water. Leaning forward he patted them to make sure they were in line and then started typing on the laptop again. He peered closely at it. ‘You’ve got fifteen minutes before the next train. You’d better get going. Make sure you use the code word.’
‘What code word?’ said Patrick, ‘why on earth do we need a code word?’
‘Because I’m running operations. The code word is..’ Preston hesitated and looked around, there was still a sticky stain on the floor where Abigail had spilt her juice, ‘orange.’
‘Oh good grief,’ muttered Patrick, ‘come on Grigs, follow me, let’s go and find her, we’ve got a train to catch.’