Sitting on the table Abigail swung her paws too and fro and licked the crumbs from her whiskers. The cake was delicious. Perhaps she’d have another. She looked over at the counter, with the cakes piled in big glass domes and then at the shiny coffee machine behind it. They’d had one just like it in the shop she’d once lived in, but this one was huge. She wondered how it worked, she’d always wanted to try a cappuccino.
Waking up, Patrick stretched. What was that noise? There it was again. A kind of whistling. There was a thud on the floor. ‘What was that?’ whispered Grigs, bouncing up beside him, ‘woke me up.’
‘I heard it too,’ said Preston from the opposite bed. He clambered up onto the pillow and peered over the top of the headboard. ‘Abigail was that you? Abigail?’ There was silence. ‘Oh no,’ he groaned, looking at the covers pulled back on her bed. ‘Where is she?’ The whistling got louder. ‘It’s coming from up above us.’
Scampering over to the escalator they all stared up. Wisps of steam curled down the stairs.
‘Abigail,’ called Patrick, ‘is that you? Are you up there?’ The whistling got louder and he shook his head. ‘What on earth is she doing?’ He jumped onto the escalator. ‘Abigail?’
‘I”m over here,’ she called, ‘my paw seems to have become a bit stuck.’
‘Stuck to what?’
‘The machine, I was making a cappuccino. To go with my cake.’
‘Bears don’t drink cappuccinos!’ hissed Patrick, waving his paws in the air, ‘and what’s all this steam!’
‘It’s coming out of the machine. It won’t stop. I.. um.. might need some help.’
‘Oh for goodness sake,’ said Preston. ‘Clear the way everyone, it looks like I’ll have to sort it out as usual.’ Patrick glared at him. Climbing up onto the counter Preston peered into the steam. ‘Where is she?’
Leaning back, Abigail pulled on her paw again. This was embarrassing, it was still stuck. She pulled even harder. There was a loud pop. Staggering forward she slipped off the edge and grabbing at the spout, swung too and fro, paws waving.
‘What?’ said Abigail irritably, letting go and dropping to the floor in a heap. Clambering up she sniffed. ‘It wasn’t funny having my paw stuck. You wouldn’t like it.’
‘I wouldn’t have got it stuck! And have you seen your fur? You look like a fuzzy ball.’
Reaching up Abigail tried to pat it down, it did feel a bit frizzy.
Grigs was looking at the cafe counter. ‘Is that chocolate?’
‘Will you all stop this!’ said Patrick, ‘we’re meant to be asleep so we’re ready to go in the morning, not having a picnic! Now come on let’s all get back downstairs.
I’ll just get a little bit of chocolate,’ said Grigs.
‘And another cake,’ said Abigail.
Patrick put his head in his paws.
Abigail was very tired and the bed was very comfy. Rubbing her eyes, she yawned. What time was it. It was getting light. Looking across at the other beds she could see two small white shapes and a stripy tail.
‘Patrick,’ she called, sitting up suddenly, ‘shouldn’t we be leaving?’
There was a soft snore.
Pushing the covers back and clambering down onto the floor Abigail padded across the aisle. There was a loud click and the lights came on.
Patrick sat up with a start. ‘What time is it?’
‘I don’t know,’ said Abigail, ‘but I think the shops opening.’
‘Oh no,’ said Patrick, covering his eyes with his paws, ‘we’ve all overslept, this is all your fault. You and that cafe. Come on! Everyone up! And smooth those covers down! No one must know we’ve been here, we need to find somewhere to hide!’
Scurrying across the floor, Abigail ran after Preston and Patrick, the tiger bouncing behind her. Glancing up at the escalator she thought of the cafe. If only she’d bought some more cakes down with her. What were they going to eat? ‘Where are we going?’
‘We can stay in the furniture department,’ said Preston, ‘there must be a cupboard we can hide in.’
Abigail shook her head. ‘And what about when someone opens a cupboard and sees two polars, a bear and a tiger inside it? There must be somewhere else.’
‘The clothes department,’ said Patrick, we can hide under some clothes until it’s dark and leave then. They hang down to the floor, we can move around under them if anyone comes near.’
Preston peered at the sign by the escalator. ‘Quick! This way…’
Abigail didn’t like the clothes department, they tickled and she couldn’t see anything. And she was very hot. Pushing aside the jumpers she peered out.
‘Get back down,’ whispered Patrick, ‘just try and rest, we can’t be seen.’
‘But I’m bored. And hungry.’ She looked across the aisle. What was that? Was that a tail? ‘Grigs! Your tail!’
The stripy tail disappeared and two ears appeared.
The ears disappeared and a paw crept out.
Abigail sighed. It was going to be a very long day…