Abigail wasn’t a happy bear. In fact she was a very unhappy bear. She didn’t like the rain. Or the dark. Or being outside and hiding behind the shed. She wanted to be inside in her bed. With a cake. They sat on a plastic blanket, an umbrella above them against the side of the shed and their bags and boxes behind them. But it wasn’t very comfy. There must be a lot of stones under the blanket and Abigail kicked at it.
‘Why couldn’t we find somewhere else to hide,’ she said, rubbing a raindrop hard off of her nose. ‘I’m cold and wet and I don’t like it.’ Behind her the tiger shivered.
‘And I don’t like it.’ He sneezed. ‘If my stripes get wet they fall off.’
‘No they don’t’ said Patrick with a sigh, ‘your stripes all stay on don’t they Preston.’
Preston was huddled against the side of the shed, his white fur sticking out at odd angles. ‘Yes Of course stripes stay on, they never come off in the rain.’
‘If we can’t go in, can we put on a light?’ asked Abigail, peering out into the dark, she was a very brave bear, which was lucky as it was quite scary in the dark. ‘No one will see us behind here.’
‘Well all right, just for a little bit.’ Clambering to his paws, Patrick looked into his bag, ‘I’ve got a lantern, we’ll hang it on the umbrella.’ Unfolding it carefully he climbed onto the tigers back and reaching up, hooked it onto the top of the umbrellas handle. ‘There.’
Abigail sniffed again. It was a bit better with a light and the lantern was very pretty, all sparkly in the rain. Standing up she reached out a paw..
‘Don’t touch it, it will fall off,’ said Patrick. With a glare, Abigail sat down again.
The night seemed to go on forever. Abigail couldn’t sleep, she wrapped her blanket around her but it was too cold. Behind her the two polars whispered together. They were very annoying. Grigs was curled up in front of her, sound asleep and snoring loudly. That was even more annoying. How could he sleep? Every now and then his paws twitched. With a particularly big twitch he kicked Abigail in the side.
‘Ow!’ She said, kicking him back hard.
Opening his eyes the tiger looked at her. ‘You kicked me!’
‘You kicked me first!’ said Abigail.
Grigs closed his eyes with a yawn and turned over. ‘Didn’t.’ He started to snore again.
The moon was high above them, it looked like a round silver ball and looking up into the night sky Abigail wondered what it was like up there. It seemed very far away. Blinking tiredly she tried to get comfy, Grigs was in the way again and she thought about poking him in the side to wake him up. In the moonlight she saw something move under the hedge and she leant forward. It moved again. There was something there… And the something was… brown and seemed to have… ears…. ‘Look!’ she hissed, ‘there’s something out there, over there.’
Patrick and Preston got quickly to their paws. ‘Where?’
‘Over by the hedge.’
‘I can’t see anything,’ said Preston, ‘oh wait… Oh dear…’ he stepped back towards the shed.
‘Oh dear what?’ whispered Abigail. ‘You can’t say oh dear and then back away. What is it?’
‘I um… I think it’s a fox.’
A fox? Abigail reminded herself again that she was a very brave bear. Foxes were friendly, she was sure of it. She waved at it. ‘Hello!’
‘Abigail don’t!’ squeaked Preston, ‘foxes aren’t friendly! Don’t wave at it! It will see us!’
There was a growl from the other side of the garden and Abigail swallowed hard. ‘Oh dear…’
In the moonlight, the fox took a step forward. Raising its nose, it sniffed loudly.
‘It’s looking right at us,’ whispered Patrick. ‘Everyone stay very very still and don’t make a noise.’
Abigail sneezed loudly. ‘Sorry!’ She put her paws over her mouth.
The polar groaned.
Moving towards them, the fox growled again.
‘Doesn’t it.. it speak,’ said Abigail. ‘It seems to have very big teeth. What does it, um, like to eat? I’ve got some cake in my bag.’
‘It probably prefers bears to cake and no it doesn’t speak,’ squeaked Preston, ‘it’s not one of us. Quickly Patrick we need to think of something!’
The fox was now right in front of them. Bending down it’s head towards the umbrella it sniffed again. It had very long whiskers and definitely had very large teeth.
Abigail jumped quickly to her paws and stood hard on the tigers tail.
‘Ow!’ shouted Grigs, waking up suddenly, ‘that hurt!’ Jumping up quickly he turned around to look at his tail and overbalanced. Waving his paws in the air he slipped. The fox now had its nose right under the umbrella and falling forward Grigs hit it hard, right between its eyes. ‘What was that? My head hit something, who’s there?’ With an ear shattering yelp the fox jumped back. Turning around he ran towards the trees.
‘He’s running away,’ shouted Abigail clapping her paws. ‘You did it Grigs you saved us!’
The tiger looked confused. ‘I did?’ Peering across the garden his eyes widened as he saw the fox disappear under the fence. With a huge bounce he sailed over all of their heads, landing hard by the back of the shed with a thud. ‘It’s a grr… fox!’
‘Yes and you scared it away, you hit it right on the nose.’ Abigail swung her paw out. ‘Take that! And that!’
Grigs stared at her. Then coughed. Standing up straight he coughed again and stalked forward, nose and tail in the air.
‘Ahh.. yes I did. I’m very fierce you know, hit it right on the nose. Hah! Very fierce.’
Patrick looked at the tiger hard and Preston cleared his throat.
‘Fierce!’ said the tiger proudly. ‘Saved us all, scared it away,’ he paused and stared into the dark, ‘it has um… gone hasn’t it?’
‘Yes,’ said Abigail happily, wrapping her paws around his neck in a big hug. ‘Now sit down here with us and try and get some sleep. It will be morning soon and then we can go back into our very own house..’. Sighing happily she leant against the tiger and closed her eyes…