For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂
Chapter 12 continues from last Friday:
At the end of the day Luke couldn’t find Joe so he walked home alone feeling very sorry for himself. Then he saw something which took his mind off it. Across the road sheep were being rounded up with two dogs and a quad bike. They looked scared and tried to run in all directions but the dogs and the motorbike kept heading them off so that in the end they had no choice but to enter a fenced paddock at the edge of the field. Unlike the grassy field, this paddock was nothing but mud. There was nothing to eat and nothing to drink. Luke watched from the bus shelter as the quad bike rider locked the gate, ordered the dogs onto the back of the bike, and then rode away. When they were out of sight Luke went over to the sheep. There were thirty or forty of them who recoiled as he approached. Luke wanted to release them but wondered if he should. He couldn’t understand why the farmer would lock them in there like that without even a water trough, but maybe the sheep needed some medicine that had to be taken on an empty stomach. It would be wrong to act without knowing all the facts. He felt it best to come back and check on them later and decide then what to do.
Luke opened the back door, dropped his book bag on the kitchen floor, kicked off his shoes and reached for the biscuit tin.
“Erm, did you forget something?” said Mum, suddenly appearing from the pantry.
Luke stuck his feet back in his shoes and shuffled them out of the kitchen.
“Sohhy,” he said, his mouth full of gingernut.
“Don’t tread the heels down!” she reminded him wearily, “and that’s not what I meant.”
He looked back, confused, and then noticed his book bag.
“Sorry,” he said again, picked it up and started to walk away.
“That’s not what I meant,” she said again, in a sort of sing-songy tone of voice.
Luke stood still. He was tired. It had been a long day. Could she not just tell him what she meant? Did they have to go through this trial and error game every time? He turned to look at her.
“What?” he asked, “what did you mean?”
Mum gave him a look which meant he should modify his look. He did. Then she told him.
“Shouldn’t you ask before you take a biscuit?”
“Can I have a biscuit please?”
“You may have two biscuits,” she said smiling, “how was your first day back? Did you like your new teacher?”
Luke slumped into a chair in the dining room.
“He’s alright,” he said unenthusiastically.
“He? I thought you’d be with Ms Robinson this year.”
“Yeah. So did I.”
“So, how come you’re not? Who are you with? Mr Green?”
“No. A new one. Mr Beardsley.”
“Oh. What’s he like?”
Luke appreciated his mother’s interest but really wasn’t in the mood to recap the day’s events.
“He’s alright,” he said again, “I’ve got to do me homework,” and he lifted himself sluggishly from the chair and headed upstairs to cover his new books.
On Wednesday afternoon Luke was able to find Joe at the end of school.
“What’s it like in Muz Robinson’s class?” he asked jealously.
“‘s’alright,” said Joe.
Luke was surprised to get such a tepid response but realised that Joe was just being considerate, not wanting to rub it in. He appreciated that and gladly changed the subject.
“We need to go home by the main road,” he told his friend, “I’ve got to check on some sheep.”
When they got there Luke was very concerned to see they were just as he’d left them the day before.
“They must be so hungry,” he said, “and thirsty.”
The boys crossed the road. Joe was equally worried.
“We should let ’em back into the field,” he suggested, “there’s grass; and a water trough.”
“Yeah, I think so too,” said Luke, “but I can’t open the gate coz o’ the padlock.” He tugged pointlessly at the hardened steel lock. “Where’s the farmer got to? I thought he would ‘ave let ’em out by now.”
“P’rhaps he’s had an accident,” Joe said anxiously, “he might be dead!”
Luke hadn’t thought of that.
The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂
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