There was a ring on the doorbell. ‘Shopping!’ called Abigail, running down the stairs excitedly. ‘I’ll get the post flap.’ Climbing up onto the ledge she pushed the button that the polars had put on the wall and the bottom of the gate slid upwards. Three bags full of food dropped down onto the path. ‘My cake,’ said Abigail crossly. She hated broken cake, it just didn’t taste the same. Pushing the button again the wooden panel slid back down. No one would ever know that bears and a tiger lived here, they were very safe. Opening the door she dragged the bags down the path and into the house. Licking her lips she peered happily into a bag, there should be a big orange cake and she hadn’t tried it before. Sorting through the food she tossed a tin of sardines over her shoulder and they hit the cupboard with a bag.
‘What are you doing?’ cried Patrick, coming into the kitchen and waving his paws in the air. ‘Why are you throwing things about.’
‘I can’t find my cake,’ said Abigail, shaking the last bag upside down. ‘And I was looking forward to it.’
Frowning, Patrick looked at all the food scattered over the floor. Picking up the list of what they’d ordered he peered at it closely. ‘Out of stock, they didn’t have any.’
Abigail huffed loudly and ripped open a pack of biscuits. ‘Not the same,’ she said through a mouthful of crumbs. ‘These are lemon not orange.’
‘You can’t always have what you want,’ said Patrick, picking up jars of jam and pickles, ‘now let’s put this away.’
‘Where does all the food come from?’ said Abigail, handing him some frozen fish fingers. ‘If it’s on the list why isn’t it in a bag?’
‘It comes from the supermarket,’ said Patrick, hugging the fish fingers to him, ‘ohh these are so nice and cold.’ Reluctantly he unwrapped his paws from around them and put them in the freezer. ‘They get different things in each day. We’ll order it again next week, I’m sure it will come then.’
Abigail looked at him thoughtfully.
Preston sat at the kitchen table, tapping on the laptop and humming to himself.
‘Hello,’ said Abigail brightly, ‘how are you? Can I make you a sandwich?’
‘What do you want?’ asked Preston suspiciously.
‘Nothing,’ said Abigail, putting a glass of orange juice in front of him. ‘Here.’
Preston looked at it.
‘Do you.. do you know where the supermarket is?’
‘Not really,’ said Preston, tapping on his laptop again, ‘we just order online.’
Abigail widened her eyes. ‘Oh of course, I forgot you’re not clever enough to know where it is, or how to get there.’
‘What do you mean?’ said Preston, looking at her indignantly, ‘I could find it if I wanted to.’
‘Don’t believe you,’ said Abigail pushing a piece of paper and pen towards him.
Preston grabbed the pen.
Pushing some spare bags into her big bag Abigail looked around her bedroom. What else would she need? She wouldn’t be gone long, she could just find her orange cake and… maybe a few others.
Padding quietly down the stairs she opened the door and closed it behind her. One paw in the air she stopped. She hadn’t pressed the gate button how was she going to get out? She couldn’t ring the bell the others would know she was going. Picking up her bag she crept over to the hedge, she was a very clever bear, perhaps she could just push her way through the branches. After a few minutes she was hot, covered in leaves and very cross. ‘Stupid hedge,’ she muttered. ‘Much too thick.’ She looked up at the new wooden gate, it was very high. Looking down at her paws she flexed her claws.
Half way up the gate was a wide piece of wood and panting hard, Abigail balanced awkwardly on it. Looking up towards the sky she took a deep breath. Nearly there. Reaching out with her paws she pulled herself up, why had those stupid polars insisted on such a high gate, it was making her feel very dizzy! Finally balancing precariously on the top she looked out into the street. Nobody around, time to get down. ‘Whooa…!’ With a yelp Abigail slid quickly down the gate and landed with a thud on the pavement. ‘Ow!’ Clambering to her paws she shook herself crossly then pulled out the piece of paper from her bag. Peering at it closely she turned towards the bus stop. ‘Number 31, seven stops…’
‘Where’s Abigail’ said Grigs, ‘it’s late and she always makes me a hot chocolate. We drink it together.’
‘Don’t know,’ said Patrick from behind a book, he turned a page. ‘Abigail!’ he yelled, ‘it’s dinner time.’ There was no answer. ‘Strange,’ he said, turning another page.
‘I’ll look,’ said the tiger bouncing out. ‘Abigail..’ After a moment he bounced back in. ‘Can’t find her. Not there.’
Patrick put his book down, ‘Abigail,’ he called again, there was silence. Clambering up he opened the garden door. ‘Abigail?’ There was still no answer and he rubbed his paws together. ‘Where’s she gone, Preston have you seen Abigail?’
Preston shook his head. ‘Not for ages.’
‘Right,’ said Patrick, ‘let’s all split up and search the house.’ Half an hour later they all stood in her bedroom.
‘Not here anywhere,’ said Grigs worriedly.
Patrick shook his head. ‘Preston did she say anything to you?’
‘No, nothing. Ah…’ with a cough Preston started to edge out of the room.
‘Well, she umm.. she said I wasn’t clever enough to know where the supermarket was. Or how to get there.’
‘Don’t tell me,’ said Patrick, narrowing his eyes. ‘You looked it up and wrote it down for her.’
‘I didn’t think she’d go there, it’s not my fault,’ snapped Preston.
Grigs climbed up onto the ledge and looked out into the street. Clambering up beside him Patrick pulled himself up onto the tigers head so he could see better. ‘Getting dark,’ said Grigs, looking up at the sky.
Patrick patted him. ‘I’m sure she’ll be back soon, she’s been out on her own before. And if not..’ he sighed. ‘We’ll just have to go and find her.’