It was very noisy in the supermarket. Curled up behind the shelves, Abigail listened to the trolley wheels trundling past. There must be so many people in the shop. She hoped they hadn’t found her trolley and all of the cake. Next to her Preston was making a tuna sandwich and her nose twitched.
‘Can I have a cheese one?’ she asked.
‘Sshhhh!’ he whispered, waving a paw at her ‘someone will hear you!’
Abigail waved a paw back. ‘Well I won’t be speaking if I’m eating a sandwich and then nobody will hear me.’
Muttering under his breath Preston pulled out some more bread and a piece of cheese.
The day seemed to go very slowly. With a loud yawn Grigs stretched out, his tail thudding into the neat pile of food. A bar of chocolate fell onto the floor and opening an eye he looked at it in interest. Reaching out a paw he pulled it towards him.
Glancing at him with a sigh, Patrick shook out the paper in front of him. Putting down his sandwich Preston picked up a pen. ‘Four across… ‘ said Patrick, ‘a type of bear. We should know that one.’
‘Know what?’ asked Abigail, looking over his shoulder at the piece of paper. It had a big square on it with small boxes. ‘What are you doing?’
‘It’s a crossword,’ said Patrick without looking up, ‘we’re trying to solve it.’
Abigail was confused. ‘Why are you cross?’
Preston giggled. ‘No it’s a puzzle, there are clues and we guess the words.’
‘Why would you want to do that?’ said Abigail, feeling cross herself. ‘Why don’t they just tell you the words?’
Preston rolled his eyes. ‘Because its a puzzle!’
Getting up Abigail trod on his paw. ‘Sorry,’ she said brightly. ‘Was that your paw? I hope you’re not cross…’
Finally the shop was quiet and the lights clicked off. Cautiously Patrick wriggled under the shelf and looked up and down the aisle. He waved them forward. ‘All clear.’ There was a soft snore behind him. ‘Wake Up Grigs, time to go.’
Grumbling, the tiger opened an eye. ‘How do I get out?’
‘Just like you got in,’ said Preston pushing him hard. ‘Just lay flat!’
‘Owwww…’ grrr’d Grigs, his paws out flat. ‘My stripes!’
Preston pushed harder. ‘Your stripes are not coming off, they’re in your fur!’ With a loud pop the tiger shot out from under the shelf. Picking himself up he turned around and peered at his back.’
‘See!’ said Preston. ‘All there.’
‘I think a small one’s missing,’ said Grigs worriedly, looking down at the floor along the aisle.
‘No it’s not!’ snapped Preston, ‘now come on!’
They all followed Patrick to the back of the shop.
‘What about my trolley?’ said Abigail anxiously.
‘I’ve left it at the front, with some money and a note with our address on. It will be delivered tomorrow.’ Patrick shook his head. ‘But what we’ll do with all those cakes I just don’t know. But the sardines and tuna should last for ages.’
‘And the chocolate,’ added Grigs, ‘there was a lot in there.’ He licked his lips.
‘Can we get out this way?’ said Preston, he unfolded the piece of paper with the bus times on it. ‘There’s a bus in about ten minutes, it will be nice to get home tonight.’
Patrick nodded. ‘Emergency exit, we can get through and shut it behind us.’
Abigail padded quietly at the back. Every now and then she glanced at the empty aisles. It had been fun to come to a real supermarket but she missed her home. And her bed and pink Christmas tree and her blue marbles. Whilst she was a very clever bear she was glad the others had come to find her.
The door closed behind them and they crept out onto the cold pavement. It was raining and Abigail shivered.
‘Come on,’ said Patrick, waving his paw, ‘let’s hide under that wooden bench and wait for the bus. It will be here soon and there’s no one around.’ He peered down the road. ‘Here it comes.’
Sitting under the bus seat as it rattled along the road, Abigail sneezed.
‘I hope you’re not getting another cold,’ said Preston, edging away from her.
Abigail coughed loudly. ‘It’s the dust.’
‘Ssshhhhh!’ said Preston.
‘I think that’s your favourite word,’ muttered Abigail.
Patrick patted her paw. ‘He’s just being careful. Let’s all just stay quiet, we need to get home.’
Abigail sat between the polars, counting the stops in her head. Behind her, the tiger held tightly onto the seat leg as the bus shot around the corners. ‘Very slippery..’ scrabbling with his paws he bumped into Patrick who fell backwards with a thud.
Brushing at the dust on his fur he glared at him. ‘Be careful! Only one more stop, get ready to jump down. Now!’
As they made their way under the hedge towards their house Abigail looked up. She could see her window, inside was her comfy bed and all her things. Patrick unlocked the gate and they all padded up the path. Opening the door both polars clambered over the door step followed by the tiger who bounced over his head.
‘Careful!’ shouted Preston.
‘Tigers don’t bounce! Ever!’ shouted Patrick.
Following them into the hall Abigail smiled. It was nice to have adventures, but it was even nicer to be home…