Abigail padded around her bedroom. She looked out of the window. Then she sat on the bed. Kicking her paws against the wooden legs she sighed. Now that the house really belonged to them, she couldn’t wait until it was empty. Looking up at the ceiling she imagined it painted blue. She wrinkled her nose. Or maybe the ceiling should be painted pink? Or orange? She really couldn’t decide. Patrick had explained that the people who lived in the house would be taking all of the things out soon. But when the people came back they would all have to hide. Patrick and Preston had been out in the garden all day, looking for the safest place to go. She’d heard them arguing about it.
Bending over, she hooked her back paws under the covers and hanging upside down, she looked under the bed. She should move her bag and all of her things out today. She didn’t want anyone to take her shiny blue marbles. Or her pink Christmas tree. Having her head upside down was making her feel a bit dizzy and she pulled herself up again.
‘Abigail…’ called Patrick loudly from the kitchen, ‘can you come down here for a minute?’
‘Is it lunch?’ asked Abigail hopefully, rubbing her head to make her dizziness go away. ‘I am quite hungry.’
‘You’re always hungry!’ shouted Preston, ‘You are always looking in the fridge.’
Scampering down the stairs, Abigail stamped her paws hard along the hall floor. Looking around the door crossly, she glared at him. ‘That’s just because I like to know what’s in it. Just in case.’
‘Just in case there’s cake,’ mumbled Preston.
‘Where’s Grigs?’ asked Patrick, climbing up onto the table. ‘He needs to hear this too.’
‘Hear what?’ said Grigs, bouncing up onto a chair. The chair wobbled. ‘Here I am, just here.’
Patrick backed away. ‘What’s that on your whiskers again? It’s all brown.’
Squinting, the tiger crossed his eyes. Sticking out his tongue he licked his fur. ‘Chocolate.’
‘Oh of course, said Patrick, ‘chocolate. Don’t get it on me.’ He cleared his throat. ‘Well I’ve just heard that on Friday, the furniture will be moved out of the house. When that’s all gone, it will be all ours.’
Throwing her paws up in the air in excitment, Abigail span around in a circle.
‘I wish you wouldn’t keep doing that, it makes me feel sick’ said Preston. Abigail patted him hard on the head and span around again. Preston sighed.
Later that day they all stood at the end of the garden. There was a small gap between the fence and the shed, full of bricks, weeds and bits of wood.
‘It looks a bit dark,’ said Grigs, licking his lips.
Abigail peered around the corner, it did look a bit scary. She reminded herself that she was a very brave bear. ‘Is there nowhere else we can hide? It looks very dirty.’ Pushing at one of the bricks with her paw she jumped back as it fell to the ground with a loud thump. A cloud of dust flew up into the air.
Patrick shook his head. ‘There are four of us. Preston and I have looked everywhere. There’s just nowhere else big enough in the garden for us and all our things. It’s very safe. If we crawl under that piece of wood we’ll stay nice and dry.’
Abigail didn’t like the idea of crawling.
‘And we can put a blanket on the ground,’ he added, ‘with your bag at the back.’
‘And we can empty the fridge and put all that in too,’ said Preston, ‘that should make you happy.’ Abigail snorted.
Next day Abigail wrapped up her marbles carefully and put them in her bag with her other things. Her red car was already parked behind the shed. Patrick and Preston put all of their papers and the laptop into two big boxes and then put those into a big waterproof bag. The tiger bounced from room to room, looking behind chairs and under rugs. By the end of the day, next to her bag and the polar’s boxes, was a huge pile of chocolate on the kitchen floor. Some of it appeared to be half eaten. ‘I hope I haven’t lost any,’ said Grigs anxiously, shuffling from paw to paw. ‘I’m sure there was more.’ He glanced at Abigail.
‘I haven’t eaten it!’ she said loudly, ‘I wouldn’t want that, it’s all chewed!’
Patrick pulled the chocolate pile towards him and pushed it into a bag. ‘I’m sure it’s all there.’ He clapped his paws. ‘Now come on everyone, it’s time to get behind the shed.’
Abigails eyes widened. ‘Now? But it’s night. Can’t we stay here and sleep?’ She glanced around the kitchen. It would be so strange when the house was empty. Patting the kitchen table she felt quite sad. And a little bit nervous, it was very dark outside.
‘No the people may be back later tonight, we need to be out of the house before then.’ There was the sound of rain on the window and Patrick glanced up.
Abigail sighed, she hated getting her fur wet. A bright flash of light lit up the kitchen. And now it looked like a storm was coming. There was a rumble of thunder. Scampering out from the kitchen in a whirl of paws, Grigs disappeared.
‘Oh no,’ said Preston, ‘I’ll go and get him. Grigs…’ he called, ‘you’ve left all your chocolate in the kitchen.’ There was silence. Preston put his head on one side. ‘I might eat it…’ he called. There was no reply. ‘Hmm, must be serious…’ The polar disappeared up the stairs. Abigail sat in the kitchen watching Patrick struggle with a large umbrella. The umbrella seemed to be winning. They could hear muffled sounds upstairs. There was a loud thud. Finally Preston and Grigs appeared. ‘Found him hiding under the covers.’
‘Wasn’t hiding!’ said the tiger, waving his tail. ‘Thought there was some chocolate left there.’
‘Well that doesn’t matter now,’ said Patrick, glancing at the clock, ‘let’s get these things behind the shed and we can all settle in.’ Opening the door a gust of wind blew the fur back from their faces. Pushing the umbrella towards the door, Patrick struggled to open it. There was another rumble of thunder. ‘Come on,’ he said brightly, ‘Abigail bring your bag, Grigs help Preston with the boxes.’ Stepping out onto the wet path he waved his paw at them. ‘Will you come on! Nothings going to happen, it’s only for one night.’
Wrapping the straps of her bag around her paw, Abigail took a deep breath and followed him down the rainy garden.