Abigail peered around the corner of the shed. A small white paw quickly reached out and pulled her back.
‘Careful! They’ll see you.’
Abigail glared at the polar. ‘Won’t. I was being very careful.’
‘They’ll be gone soon Abigail,’ said Preston, looking up from his book. He was sitting on the top of a square lump of wood, which was covered in leaves.
‘Your paws have gone green,’ said Abigail with a sniff, ‘and the back of your fur.’
Preston looked down in horror and tried to rub the leaves off.
‘You’ll probably always be green now,’ said Abigail helpfully, edging forward and looking back around the edge of the shed. ‘A green furred polar…’
At least the rain had stopped. The sun had come out and the grass sparkled, but it still felt very cold. There seemed to be an awful lot of noise in the house. Bang! ‘What was that?’ whispered Grigs, twitching his nose nervously.
‘Just the furniture being moved out,’ said Patrick, patting his tail, ‘nothing to worry about.’
‘Not worried, saved us all from the fox.’ The tiger stood up onto the very tips of his paws. ‘Grrrrrr! Very fierce…’ Waving his tail he thumped it against the edge of the shed.
‘You’ve got something all wound around you,’ said Abigail, ‘it’s round your tail.’
‘It’s just a bit of a climbing plant,’ said Patrick, pulling at it, ‘it’s all over you too. You must have wriggled in your sleep.’
‘Didn’t,’ said Abigail getting to her paws. A leaf seemed to be stuck in her ear. ‘It must have climbed on me in my sleep.’ Waving a leg in the air she tried to shake it off.
‘Here,’ said Patrick, ‘I’ll get it.’ Taking hold of one of the big leaves he pulled hard. Abigail fell forward onto her nose. ‘Oops!’ he said, backing away quickly.
Abigail felt a bit dizzy and rubbed her head. Stupid plant. It had wound round her deliberately. She was sure of it. Turning over she lay on her back by the shed and looked up into the sky. She often wondered what was up there. Apart from aeroplanes and they were very small. And stars at night. They were very small too. Although the polars claimed they were actually quite big, just far away. Abigail wasn’t sure she believed that. Perhaps one day she’d get to go in an aeroplane, she felt sure she was the kind of bear that travelled. There was another loud crash in the house, a thud and then a rattle. All went very quiet and still.
‘I think they might have gone,’ whispered Patrick, ‘ I think…. Abigail come back!!’
Shaking off the leaves, Abigail was running down the path towards the house waving her paws in the air. ‘They’ve gone! At last, it’s our houuusseee…. owwwww.’ It was very slippery. One minute her paws were there and the next they weren’t there at all. ‘Wheee..’ squealed Abigail sliding along the grass on her back. ‘This is fun….’ Two pairs of white ears and a stripy nose appeared above her. She waved up at them.
Shaking his head, Preston stepped over her and climbed up into the hedge and looked through the window. ‘It’s empty. But if they hadn’t gone, you could have been seen!’ He waved a green paw at her. Abigail giggled. Sitting up she brushed the grass from her fur. She looked down at her own paws. She hoped they hadn’t gone green too.
Patrick had jumped up onto the windowsill by the back door. Leaning out carefully, he took out a key tied under his blue scarf. Putting it into the lock, he turned it. There was a loud click. The door swung open and they all peered in.
‘The table’s still there!’ said Abigail, her eyes wide. She licked her lips. ‘And the fridge!’ Running past them she pulled it open and sighed. ‘But there’s nothing in it…’. Running down the hall she looked into the other room. ‘And there’s nothing in here. Nothing at all. It’s all empty.’ She ran excitedly up the stairs.
‘Abigail calm down.’ called Patrick, ‘and stop running everywhere. Preston and I agreed that some things were left behind. Just a few things, but there’s nothing upstairs.’
‘My beds gone,’ Abigail looked down at them from the top of the stairs. ‘And it’s very dusty!’ She sneezed.
Patrick sighed. ‘I know. Just come down here, we need to bring our bags in and sort things out.’
‘And get some food,’ said Abigail, licking her lips again. ‘We need cake. Lots of cake.’
The rest of the day seemed to go so quickly. There was a knock on the door and three big bags of shopping were left on the step. When the van had gone, Grigs and Abigail pulled the bags into the kitchen and unpacked them. The fridge was now full of food. They all sat around the table. It felt warm, dry and safe. It was much better than being behind the shed. Abigail sighed happily. She was eating a big piece of orange cake, the tiger was licking a big bar of chocolate and Patrick and Patrick shared a sardine sandwich. Preston had had a bath and his fur was white and fluffy again, his blue scarf wrapped neatly around his neck. Patrick was also very fluffy, he must have had a bath too. Abigail had never had a real bath, she always washed in the sink with a big yellow sponge. She looked down at her fur and rubbed her paws together. They were very sticky with cake. And there were still small bits of leaves stuck in her fur. She yawned. She was very tired. ‘I think I might have a bath too,’ she said, ‘but in the morning. I want to go to bed..’ she paused. ‘But we haven’t got beds any more..’
‘You never had a bed in the shop,’ said Patrick, putting down his sandwich. ‘We’ve got some cushions, you’ve got your blanket we can just curl up. We’ll get some beds and other things soon. Let’s all go up to sleep, it’s been a long day.’
With another big yawn. Abigail nodded. ‘And we need some paint.’ I want my room to be blue and silver. With stars on the ceiling.’
Grigs bounced down from the table. ‘And mine will be stripey. With a big tail on the wall.’
‘Good grief…’ said Preston, padding down the hall and putting his head in his paws.
Turning off the light in the kitchen, Patrick followed them up the stairs and smiled. It was their very own house…