WELL, she done it again. Gone and left me behind!”

Ikkey Bear looked around. He was sitting on a hard wooden seat in the middle of a large shopping centre.

“She does it every time,” Ikkey tutted, “we go near a toy shop and she puts me down to look at something and forgets all about me!.”

Ikkey shook his head. “It will never do.”

He turned his furry body around and glared at the shop window.

“That doll with the long blonde hair tried hard to attract her attention. Some kind of American import. Thank heaven her mother talked her out of it.

“Just imagine,” Ikkey shook all over at the thought of it, “if she brought her home. She’d get my chair, my cushion and my place on the pillow at night.”

Ikkey felt a tear in his glass eye. “She’d forget me and I would be left on the floor under the bed.”

Lights flickered in the ceiling all the way down the long silent corridor. He brushed his coat with his paws and made up his mind.

He was going to find his own way home.

But which way and how far? They had come in a car and parked in a building with a lot of other cars. They had been up and down stairs that moved and been in hundreds of shops. Just thinking of it made Ikkey’s head dizzy.

I bet they’re at home now having dinner. She’ll want to sit in front of the TV and her Mother will say no. Her kind Daddy, he was the one who bought me for her when she was sick, will be getting ready to go to work. A security officer, whatever that is. And it’s my job to stay home and keep her company.

But tonight I won’t be there.

He slid off the bench and landed on the floor. Then he heard the noise. Footsteps coming toward him. Two humans! If they find me they’ll put me in that shop beside that dreadful doll with her make-up and Campervan.” Ikkey shuddered. “She’ll bore me silly with stories of how wonderful her life is.”

The footsteps got closer sounding like thunder rolling through the empty shops.

“I must hide.” He looked around There was just one place close by. At the end of the bench stood a large pot plant with a tree growing out of it. Shadows beckoned between the pot and the legs of the bench.

Just in time!

Four big boots came into view making a terrible noise. Ikkey tried to close his eyes but all he could do was stare at the retreating feet. Then everything went quiet. Ikkey gave a big sigh of relief. He lay there wondering what to do next when a terrible thought came to him. If they caught me, they would put me in that shop and somebody might buy me! What if they were nasty and pulled my arms and legs off.” He shivered. “What if they pulled my eyes off, I’d never be able to see again!

Ikkey knew he had to get away.

A roar of a monster filled the air. Ikkey felt the plant shake beside him. He covered his ears with his paws trying to keep the noise out. The sound seemed familiar, much like the machine her mother used in the bedroom only louder. It sucked the dust from the floor. Ikkey’s eyes opened in horror. Sometimes buttons and ribbons and pins disappeared up the long pipe!

But that was a small machine, this sounded huge.

Ikkey peeked around the edge of the plant box. It was as big as a car! Giant brushes swirled around the floor making a high screeching sound as it made it’s way toward him. Unable to move, he stared as the machine got closer and closer. He could see bits of paper, dead flies and dust disappear into it’s great stomach.

Ikkey’s fur ruffled. He could feel the drag on his body and slowly he slid toward the thick stiff brushes. Frantically he tried to hold onto the leg of the bench but his paws could not get a grip.

His strength was fading fast and he could feel the pads of his paws slipping along the wood.

Everything went quiet and Ikkey thought he was finished when he heard a voice. A voice he knew! A large hand gripped him around the neck and brought him into the light.

“Ikkey bear, at last I’ve found you!”

Ikkey tried to blink. It was her father. The man who bought him for her! He wanted to hug him he was so happy, but his arms were too short.

“Lucky I’m Security man around here. I’ve looking all over for you. She’s at home crying her eyes out, thought she’d never see you again.”

Ikkey smiled.

“You know Ikkey,” the man said, “she has promised never to leave you behind again.”

“And should think so too,” Ikkey said.


© John W. Kelly