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Chapter 24 continues:
Isabel peered through the shed window and smiled. “Looking good!” she said.
“What time is it?” Luke was slightly anxious.
“Ten past four,” said Isabel.
“Where the heck is Tania? She said she’d be here by three!”
“Actually, you told her to be here by three. What she actually said was, I don’t know how long it’ll take.”
“Well she didn’t say it would take this long!”
Joe came out of the house. “I’ve just seen Jared from your bedroom window. He’s at the bottom of the cul-de-sac!”
“Quick! Into the shed!” said Luke, panicking.
Isabel didn’t move. “We haven’t done anything yet,” she said, “there’s no need to hide.” At that moment her phone received a text. “It’s Tania. She says they’re five minutes out.”
“Joe, go and see where Jared is!”
“You go and see where Jared is.”
Luke went to see where Jared was and got to the back door just in time to hear the front door slam. He stepped quietly into the kitchen and listened. Jared’s heavy boots took the stairs two at a time and within seconds of them reaching the top, loud music blared from his room. Luke ran back to the damson patch.
“It’s alright. He’s in his room with his music on.“
“What if he looks out his window?” asked Joe.
“He won’t. Look, his curtains are drawn. He’s obivlious.”
Isabel resisted the temptation to correct him and smiled. “I can hear a car!”
They all ran out into the cul-de-sac. Tania’s dad’s car had just pulled up. Mr Spriggs and Tania got out and Luke approached them hurriedly.
“Hello,” said Mr Spriggs brightly, “you must be Luke,” and he stretched out his right hand. Luke smiled and shook it without saying anything.
Tania was beaming. “Shall we take the chickens through?” she asked.
“Yeah, quick as we can,” said Luke, “this way.” Tania handed one box each to her eager friends and they carried them carefully up the drive towards the back garden gate.
“Would you mind if I use your toilet?” asked Tania’s dad.
Mr Spriggs ignored his daughter and looked hopefully at Luke.
Luke couldn’t risk anyone going inside and alerting Jared. “Er, sorry,” he said, “I don’t have a key to the house.”
“No. I did have one, but I dropped it when I was … when I went…” he said, awkwardly. “I don’t know where I dropped it.”
Joe felt bad for the man. “I saw on telly that it’s good for compost heaps.”
Mr Spriggs raised his eyebrows, “and you’ve got a compost heap?”
Luke pointed to the far end of the garden and Mr Spriggs ran down there.
“Oh good grief!” said Tania to her shoes.
Isabel looked at her watch. Half past four. “Come on,” she said, “let’s show the chicks their new home.”
They were beautiful. Three of them were orange and gold, with red crowns. One of them was a soft grey and the other a dark red-brown with black at the tips of her feathers. As soon as they were out of their boxes they ran away to explore. The one with black-tipped feathers seemed to be the boldest. Wherever she went the others followed, but if any of them got too close to her she reprimanded them with a quick peck to the head.
“We should call her Boudicca,” suggested Tania.
Curly and Squirt were very interested in the newcomers but when they approached for a closer look, Boudicca saw them off with a squawk and a frenzied flap of her wings. The grey hen kept getting told off too.
“Aw, poor baby,” said Isabel, “they’re picking on her.”
“She’s alright,” said Joe, “Look – she’s keeping her distance from Boudicca and Frosty now.”
“The one with the white face.”
“Okay,” Isabel smiled, “and the grey one’s Millie.”
“I just like it.”
“What shall we name the other two?”
Everybody looked at Luke.
He grinned. “Kes and Neelix.”
“Neelix is a boy’s name,” said Tania.
“Doesn’t have to be,” argued Luke. “Neelix is the speckled one. She looks like Neelix.”
Mr Spriggs watched from the other side of the fence. “A splendid bunch,” he said smiling. “You’ve got them a nice set-up here.”
“Thanks,” said Luke, “thanks for pickin’ ’em up for us.”
“You’re very welcome. I hope your mum feels better soon. Is she back from the hospital yet?”
“Er, no.” Luke glanced anxiously at Isabel who mouthed ‘ten to five’. “But I think she might be home any minute an’ she told me in no certain terms that I have to be quiet and not have any friends round when she gets back.”
“Quite right!” said Mr Spriggs, “come on Tania, let’s make a move.”
“Er, can I cadge a lift?” asked Isabel.
This chapter concludes on Monday but if you don’t want to wait you can finish it by clicking here now 😀
Have a great weekend 😀
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