The day seemed to go very slowly. They were finally going to the shop to choose their beds. Abigail was very excited. She’d already packed and was sitting by the door. She hadn’t actually packed much, they were only going away for a night but she had three strawberry cakes in her bag, a few marbles and her Christmas tree. If they stayed in the shop overnight and it was very dark, her pink Christmas tree had some very pretty lights on it.
‘Abigail,’ called Patrick from the kitchen, ‘we’re not leaving for ages, do you want any dinner?’
‘I’ll have some chocolate!’ grrr’d Grigs. He bounced down the hall and Abigail quickly pulled her bag towards her. The tiger had a habit of bouncing on things. He always said they were in his way.
‘Yes all right,’ she said, ‘I am a little hungry.’
Preston shook his head. ‘As always…’
Finally it was time to go. Opening the door, both of the polars cautiously peered out. Abigail peered out too, over the top of their heads. She overbalanced a bit and put out her paws.
‘Get your paw out of my eye,’ hissed Preston, ‘and watch my scarf.’
‘Well you’re just standing there. Come on let’s go.’ she said impatiently. ‘Where’s the bus?’
‘At the end of the street,’ said Patrick. He shook his head, ‘I still don’t think this is a good idea.’
‘Oh come on!’ said Abigail. Pulling her bag over her shoulder, it hit them both on back of their heads. ‘Ops sorry..’
It was very cold waiting under the hedge for the bus, but at least it wasn’t raining. The light from the street lights made strange patterns on their faces.
‘Here it comes now,’ whispered Patrick, ‘when the door opens run in quickly, straight under one of the seats and hide. Grigs isn’t following us is he?’
‘I don’t think so,’ said Abigail, leaning forward. ‘I haven’t seen him. Look, there’s the bus!’
In the darkness the bus seemed huge. It had bright white headlights. Slowly it came to a stop and rocked slightly. With a loud hiss, the doors opened.
Raising a paw above his head, Patrick paused and then dropped his paw down hard. He waved at them. ‘Now! Quick! Follow me!’ They all ran forward.
Abigail didn’t like it at all on the bus. When she’d been on a train she’d sat on a comfy seat. Then she’d come back home in a car. Sitting under a bus seat was cold and dusty. She shook a paw and frowned. ‘It’s all dirty and it’s getting in my fur.’
‘Quiet,’ hissed Preston, ‘someone will hear you.’
‘Don’t care,’ muttered Abigail, ‘I don’t like dusty fur.’
It seemed to take ages to get to the shop. Patrick counted off the stops and Preston noted each of them down with a pencil on a small piece of paper. Every now and then he counted them up and whispered with Patrick. It looked very boring to Abigail.
Preston looked at her. ‘It’s important we get the right stop, it’s not easy finding the shop and not being seen.’
Sighing, she brushed the dust off of one of her paws again.
Finally they were there. ‘Get ready. Jump down and run somewhere you can’t be seen,’ whispered Patrick. ‘Be careful!’
Slowly the doors opened. Holding her breath Abigail ran out quickly from under the seat and jumped down onto the pavement, she couldn’t see anywhere to hide where could she go? There was a big red box with a black hole in it at the top. Perhaps she could hide in there. She was sure she could climb up.
Too late, clambering up over the edge Abigail squeezed through the hole into the box. It was a very tight fit. Wriggling her paws, with a loud pop she pushed her way through. With a thud she landed on something soft. It seemed to be full of paper. It was quite a long way down, but nobody would see her in here. It was very dark too. She was a very clever bear. Looking back up she could see two white faces peering in.
‘Abigail,’ hissed Patrick, ‘climb back up out of the post box, what are you doing in there?’
‘I’m hiding,’ she said in annoyance, ‘like you told me to.’
‘I didn’t say hide in a post box!’ snapped Patrick, ‘can you climb back out?’
Doubtfully Abigail looked up at the hole, ‘I’m not sure, it’s a very long way up.’
The polars started whispering to each other.
Abigail felt very annoyed. ‘Stop it! This is all your fault, you said to hide. How do I get out.’ She glanced down at her bag, at least she had some cakes.
‘Try and pile up the letters and climb up onto them; said Patrick, ‘put them all on the same side.’
Letters were very slippery. Abigail tried and tried but every time she stood on them they all slithered back down into the box and she slithered with them. She swallowed hard, how was she going to get out.
‘We need some rope,’ muttered Preston, ‘what are we going to do, we can’t leave her in there, someone might post her.’
Patrick looked around, ‘there’s no rope here, we need to find something…’ he paused and gripped Preston’s arm. ‘What’s that?’
Preston leant forward, ‘looks like a striped tail to me. Grigs… ! Did you follow us?’
The tail disappeared behind a wall.
‘Grigs!’ called Patrick, ‘we’re not angry, just come over here and help Abigail. Can you bounce up onto this post box?’
The tiger appeared slowly around the corner, ‘Can bounce anywhere. Why?’ he asked suspiciously.
‘Because she’s stuck. Quick, come over here!’
Balancing on top of the post box, the tiger swung his tail too and fro. Catching hold of the end of it, Patrick stuffed it into the post box.
‘Ow!’ grrrd Grigs.
‘Sssh,’ hissed Patrick, ‘Abigail, can you grab Grigs’s tail?’
Standing up in her paws Abigail reached up. ‘Almost..’ reaching up again she jumped and grabbed hold. ‘Got it!’
‘Pull Grigs!’ shouted Patrick, grabbing onto the other end of his tail. ‘Pull hard!’
Abigail was lifted up into the air. ‘Wheeee…’ she was almost there. The hole in the top of the box appeared beside her and reaching in, Preston and Patrick grabbed her paws. With a pop she shot out and they all fell backwards onto the pavement.
Picking herself up she dusted herself down, she’d fallen on top of her bag, she hoped she hadn’t squashed any of her cakes. Preston and Patrick clambered up onto their paws. Grigs was inspecting his tail.
Patrick shook his head. ‘I knew this wasn’t a good idea, let’s just get into the shop before anyone sees us.’
Padding behind him Abigail looked up at the huge shop windows and with a sigh of excitement followed him in.