Abigail crouched under the bus seat. With a sniff, she shook one of her paws. Why was it always so dusty under seats? Didn’t they hoover? They were slowing down and she counted carefully on her claws. One, two, three, four, five, six! She could get off soon. Peering at the creased piece of paper again she hoped Preston had got it right, it was getting very dark. Perhaps she should have stayed and left in the morning. Reminding herself that she was a brave bear, she settled down to wait for the next stop.
Patrick pushed the mug of hot chocolate closer to Grigs. ‘Don’t you want it?’
‘Abigail always makes it.’ The tiger nudged it away with his paw.
‘I know but this is nice, I made it with extra cream and she’ll be back tomorrow I’m sure. She might even bring you some chocolate.’ Glancing out of the window the polar sighed. ‘I hope she’s somewhere warm tonight.’
As the bus came to a stop, Abigail took a deep breath and jumped off, scampering away as fast as her paws would carry her. There was no one around and slipping under a bench, she made herself as small as she could. What did a supermarket look like? Perhaps this hadn’t been such a good idea after all. Peering around the wooden legs she looked up and down the road. A hairdresser, or as she preferred to call it a furdresser, a clothes shop and… what was that? There were lots of big pictures of food in the windows. If that was a supermarket it was huge! She licked her lips, it must have hundreds of cakes inside, but how could she get in without being seen? Sitting down on the cold pavement Abigail began to think hard.
Slowly slowly Abigail edged towards the supermarket. It was very hard to see out of the bag even though she’d poked two eye holes through it with her claws. Behind her she heard the sound of a car and she stopped, trying very hard to look like an empty shopping bag. One of her paws was sticking out and she pulled it in quickly. She was almost at the door, she was sure she could smell cakes. As the car moved away, with a final few steps she reached out a paw and pushed hard on the glass. The door didn’t move and she pushed harder. Standing up on the very tips of her paws, she looked out of the eye holes. ‘C L O S E D.’ The supermarket was closed she was too late! Kicking at the bag in frustration Abigail sat down. It was cold, dark and the shop was closed. What was she going to do and how could she get home again? Looking up she glanced at the windows high above. Was one of them open?
Preston sat at the table, slowly stirring his soup around and around. With a sigh he put the spoon down. ‘I’m not very hungry.’
‘I’d like to say it’s not your fault but it is,’ said Patrick, sitting beside an uneaten sandwich. ‘How did you let her trick you into telling her where the supermarket was.’
Preston shuffled uneasily, ‘not sure,’ he muttered. ‘She caught me off guard.’
‘Hmm…’ said Patrick, ‘well she’s been out on her own before, I’m.. I’m sure she’ll be fine. If she’s not back tonight you’ll have to go and find her tomorrow.’
‘Why me?!’ said Preston indignantly.
‘Because you lost her!!’ He pointed at the tiger. ‘And Grigs is very upset.’ He looked at his uneaten sandwich. ‘Not that I mind her not being here for a while. I don’t miss her.’
‘Neither do I,’ said Preston pushing his bowl towards him. ‘Do you want my soup?’
‘No thank you,’ said Patrick, ‘I don’t really feel like eating.’
‘Neither do I,’ said Preston looking towards the door. ‘I hope she’s all right.’
Holding on tightly with her paws Abigail looked down and swallowed hard. The ground was a very long way away. Reaching up she tried to touch the window, almost there. She was very good at climbing she was sure of it. Her back paws slipped and digging her claws into the ledge she pulled hard, legs waving wildly in the air. With a plop she slid through the window and landed hard on the floor. Sitting up and dusting herself down she looked around. The room was full of boxes but the door was ajar. Carefully she peered out, there was a set of stairs, they must go down into the supermarket. Raising her snout she sniffed. Cake, definitely. Pulling her bag over her shoulder she padded quickly towards the door.
‘Come on,’ said Patrick. ‘She’s not coming back tonight we’d better go up to bed and get some sleep.’
The tiger was still looking sadly out of the window. Patrick climbed up to look too, then clambered back onto the floor. ‘Come on Grigs, get down from there. I’m sure she’s in the supermarket eating cake.’
‘Really?’ said the tiger. With a sigh he jumped down.
‘I’m sure she is,’ said Patrick, ‘and Preston will get the first bus in the morning.’ He hesitated, ‘and I’d better go with him.’
‘Me too!’ said Grigs bounding up the stairs.
‘Oh no,’ murmured Patrick, clicking off the light. ‘This isn’t going to go well…’