Luke Walker and the secret society continues …

When Joe was clear about how to do it, he went home to make one for himself.

“Don’t tell anyone!” Luke reminded him on his way out.

After hearing the front door close, Luke stood at the window and watched Joe walk out of the cul-de-sac feeling full of optimism. Now there were two of them. He’d always known he could rely on Joe, and had benefited from his help a couple of times already, but it was really something to know that his best friend now properly understood that animals needed sticking up for every day; and that sometimes you have to be sneaky about it.

“Luuuke! Come and do the drying up please!” Mum’s voice called from downstairs.

“In a minute,” he called back. He just needed to wash up the saucer of paint before it dried.

“Now!”

On the other hand, perhaps it was prudent to go down right away.

***

Once the drying up was done, Luke hung out with the damsons in the garden for a while. He gave them yesterday’s left over salad, and supervised to make sure Rusty didn’t eat it all. She was one naughty rabbit! Ash could look after himself but Scratcher was never quick enough and Rusty would pinch her share given the chance. Luke made them a clean bed, and picked them some raspberries that were too high up on the canes for them to reach before coming back inside to get Dudley for his walk.

“Wear your mac,” said Mum, “looks like rain.”

Luke grabbed his Spiderman cagoule from the hall cupboard and called his dog.

“Dudleeeey. Dudleey. Dudley!”

Finally the sleepy boy emerged from Luke’s room at the top of the stairs and trotted down, tail wagging. Was that mud? Luke couldn’t think where Dudley could have been to get one of his paws muddy – it hadn’t rained yet. But not too worry, it would dust off the carpet when it dried.

Outside it was breezy and the purplish-grey sky looked ominous but Luke and Dudley weren’t afraid. They walked briskly to the allotments to see Curly and her beloved lamb, Squirt, and check they had everything they needed. Little Squirt, who wasn’t so little any more, came running up to meet them and he and Dudley ambled off to play together. The big allotment plot provided them with plenty of grass and clover to eat but Curly knew Luke was carrying treats and nuzzled against his leg until he gave her the carrots he’d brought. Then he refilled their water trough by stretching the long hose from Dad’s plot. In the big shed Luke mucked out the droppings and made a deep, fresh bed of clean hay. Mm, it smelled good. Curly looked in to see what he was up to.

“I just tidied up,” Luke told her and he plopped down on the soft hay and rolled around in it. The sound of raindrops on the roof made it extra cosy and Curly decided to join him. She settled herself into a comfortable spot and started chewing – mostly hay but occasionally hair.

“Ow!” Luke yanked his head away and sat up to stroke her. She liked that. Suddenly the rain started coming down hard, sending Dudley and Squirt for cover. They rolled in the hay to dry themselves off, and then the four friends sat together and watched the downpour. The storm was powerful and awe-inspiring. It was exciting to be so close to it.

The rain lasted for almost an hour and when it stopped Luke and Dudley made a break for it. With any luck they would be home before it came down again. That wouldn’t keep them dry though. When they reached the village shop a passing lorry relocated a giant puddle at the edge of the road to the exact spot in which Luke and Dudley were standing. Dudley promptly shook. Luke got wetter. Dripping from head to toe, he noticed a card in the shop window. It read:

“Blimin’ breeders!” thought Luke, “them babies’ll prob’ly be left in small cages all on their own. An’ there’s already too many pets who don’t get looked after prop’ly! When I’m Prime Minister I’ll make it against the law for humans to breed!”

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This chapter concludes tomorrow but if you want to finish it now click here 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, veggie kids, vegan children’s story

Government experts

Continued from yesterday

*****

“This afternoon we are going to start our half-term project about health and nutrition.  When you’ve finished this unit you will all understand how to eat a healthy, well- balanced diet.”

Mrs Tebbut was interrupted by Miss Shaw returning with the photocopies.  She nodded at her assistant’s suggestion that she distribute them and then continued.

“Miss Shaw is putting before you a copy of the Government’s ‘Eatwell Guide’.  Before we look at that, let’s find out what you already know.  Can anybody tell me what type of animal the human is?”

“A mammal.”

“Yes Katia, good. Anyone else?”

“A primate.”

“Yes Jonah, very good.  What else can you tell me, specifically about the eating habits of the human?”

“Humans are omnivores,” said Simon Butler, “so they eat plants and animals.”

“Well done Simon, yes, that’s what I was looking for.”

“Pff,” Luke couldn’t suppress his derision.

“Something to add, Luke?”

“Well, I’m a human and I on’y eat plant food so that’s herbivore, not omnivore.”

“Yes, some people choose to be vegetarian Luke but most eat a varied diet of plant and animal food which gives them everything they need.”

“My food gives me everythin’ I need.”

“Stop being argumentative.  You’re not the only person in this class and I refuse to let you monopolise the lesson.”  Mrs Tebbut looked down at her notes to remind herself where she’d got to.  “So, we know that humans are natural omnivores, in spite of the fact that some choose to eat only plant food.  Now, to understand in more detail how much of each type of food we need to be healthy, it’s important to be aware of what nutrients we need and which foods contain them.  Look at your sheets.”

“Foxes are omnivores,” said Luke.

“Carnivores,” Mrs Tebbut corrected him.

“They eat berries and other fruit when they can.  Not on’y meat.”

“Fascinating.  Now can we get back to the lesson please?”

“And badgers are omnivores,” said Luke, “and dogs, and rats.  That’s why they ‘ave long pointy teeth and claws.”

Mrs Tebbut sighed.

“What is your point?”

“Humans don’t ‘ave long pointy teeth and claws.  For killin’.  Like omnivores do.”

Luke was really glad he’d read some of Amelia’s colouring books at the weekend.  Mrs Tebbut took a deep breath.

“Luke Walker.  I believe I said ‘don’t be argumentative’.  I believe I also stated that you would not be permitted to monopolise this lesson.  This lesson, by the way, was informed by the Government Luke.  Do you know better than Government experts?”

“I’m on’y sayin’,” said Luke.

Mrs Tebbut fixed him with a hard stare before averting her eyes to address the class.

“Everyone look at your sheets please.”

Eatwell_guide_2016_FINAL_MAR-16 grey scale (2)

click to enlarge

“The diagram shows all the elements that a healthy diet contains and in what proportions.  The written chart lists specific vitamins and minerals and where to get them.  

primary nutrition class chart jpeg 150 per cent

I want you all to study these sheets and think about your own diets.  Where do you get your Vitamin C?  Where do you get your Calcium?  This week I want you to record in your exercise books what you have for every meal and then try to work out what nutrients your food has given you.  You may take these sheets home with you.  Hand in your exercise books next Monday.”

Luke looked at his sheets and the wheels of his defiant mind began to turn.

“Ok,” he thought, “I can do that.”

Mrs Tebbut noticed how engrossed he had become with the printouts.

“He’s finally paying attention,” she thought.

She looked across at Joe who was drawing skeletons all over his Eatwell Guide.  She shrugged.

That evening Mum was pleasantly surprised to see Luke doing his homework in his room after dinner instead of rolling around in rough play with Dudley or staging Return of the Jedi with his action figures.

“Good boy Luke,” she said, “lights out at half past seven.”

Every evening that week was the same.

“I really think he’s changed,” she told her husband, “our little rebel is settling down.”

Dad frowned.

“We’ll see.”

On Saturday morning, during breakfast, Luke proved her right.

“Mum, can I go to Auntie Joan’s? I wanna ask Amelia if I can borra one of ‘er colourin’ books.”

Everyone froze.  Jared started coughing violently as a sharp intake of breath made some cornflakes go down the wrong way.

“Mum? Can I?”

“Er, yes if you like.  I was planning to pop in anyway, Joan asked to borrow the sewing machine.  Yes, you may come with me.  That’ll be nice.”

“Thank you,” said Luke and left the table.

Mum looked at Dad.

“Told you.”

All day Sunday Luke was shut away in his room, finishing his homework.  Amelia’s book – Colour By Nutrients – was a great help.  By tea time he was all done and was actually looking forward to Monday morning when he could hand in his exercise book full of long lists of the vitamins and minerals in his plant food meals.

But first on Monday came the school assembly.  Luke was again reluctantly granted permission to go to the toilet.  He slipped back into the classroom and opened the top drawer of Mrs Tebbut’s desk.  She usually kept it locked but, since last Friday, she hadn’t been able to because she couldn’t find the key.  Without difficulty Luke found the big yellow folder labelled Master Copies and removed it.  Then he replaced the Eatwell Guide diagram and the Primary Nutrition Class chart with his own home-made versions of those documents.

“Perfect!” he thought, smiling with satisfaction, “by the time Mrs Tebbut gets ’em out for next year’s Class 4, she’ll ‘ave forgotten exactly what they look like and won’t notice they’re a bit diff’rent.”

Luke smiling

He was confident the new ones looked similar enough to the originals to fool anyone who didn’t look too closely.  He returned the yellow folder to the drawer and quietly slipped back into assembly.

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Luke's primary nutrition class chart (2)

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You can read the whole chapter here

Click here for the first eight chapters of Luke Walker’s adventures in paperback

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Reflecto Girl #5 continues Monday 😀

Part 3 of the plan

Story continues from yesterday:

*******

Luke, wearing full school uniform, was finishing his jam and toast when his mum entered the kitchen at half past seven.  She was stunned.  Normally she had to call him at least three times before he’d get up, and even when he was up he had to be constantly nagged to get dressed and breakfasted.  He didn’t appear to have had a shower and he was wearing Friday’s dirty shirt, but Mrs Walker decided to let that go.

“Morning Luke,” she said, apprehensively, “everything ok?”

“Yes thanks Mum,” he replied politely, “I want to get to school early today so I’m bein’ organised.”

“So I see.  Any particular reason?”

“No.”

Mrs Walker, known by Luke to be very distrustful, looked closely at her youngest son.

“Ok,” she said, eventually, “well done.”

Luke smiled, put his gobstopper back in his mouth and went upstairs to clean his teeth.

He was at school a good twenty minutes before most people got there.  Even Mrs Tebbut wasn’t there yet.  He went in to his classroom.

He furtively looked around to confirm he was alone and then rushed over to the drawers.  Everyone had a drawer with their name on.  They kept their books and pencils and stuff in them.  He found Kenny White’s drawer and pulled it out.  Then he took from his bag Kenny’s droppings – 1 panda pop can, 1 crisp packet and one half-empty sherbet fountain.  He pushed them into the drawer and closed it.  Then he ran outside to kick a ball around on the playground until the bell went.

After the register had been called everyone had to line up for assembly.  Luke took his place at the end of the line, followed the rest of his class into the hall and sat down on the floor behind class 3.  He watched all the other classes file in and the assembly began.  He sat still, faced forwards and pretended to be interested.  When it was half way through he tried, quietly, to get Mrs Tebbut’s attention.

“Psst, psst, Mrs Tebbut,” he whispered.

She didn’t hear him.  He coughed.  She didn’t turn her head.  He faked a loud sneeze.  She frowned at him.

“Mrs Tebbut,” he whispered again, “can I go to the toilet?”

She silently shook her head.

“Please Mrs Tebbut, I really need to go,” he whispered a little louder.

The children near him started to snicker and Mrs Tebbut reluctantly gave in.

“If you must,” she hissed, “slip out the back.”

Luke did as he was told.

Once back in the classroom he grabbed his bag and exited through the cloakroom.  He ran to class 6, the long way round so as not to pass the hall, and entered their cloakroom.  He scanned the names above the coat pegs until he found what he was looking for.  Yes! There it was. Haines.

On Haines’s peg hung Haines’s coat and into its pockets Luke deposited Haines’s droppings: 1 Tango can, almost empty, upside down; 1 crisp packet, almost empty, upside down; and 1 used piece of …… oh no! Luke found that the chewing gum he’d wrapped in paper when he’d recovered it from the crime scene, was now as hard as plastic and therefore unfit for purpose.  He needed something sticky.

Of course! With almost no hesitation – he reminded himself it was for a very important cause – Luke spat what was left of his gobstopper into Haines’s inside pocket.  Part three complete.

“Who are you?  What are you doing in here?”

The man’s voice behind him made Luke’s cheeks flush hot.  He turned round and reached into his bag.

“My brother is in this class,” he said, meekly, “’e forgot ‘is English book so I brought it for ‘im.  I was jus’ lookin’ for ‘is bag on ‘is peg.”

He handed Jared’s book to the Year 6 classroom assistant.

“Oh, I see. Thank you,” he said as he took the book, “I’ll see that he gets it.”

“Thanks,” said Luke and ran back to his own class.

He opened the door just in time to witness Mrs Tebbut holding up a cola-soaked, sherbet smeared, grease-stained copy of the new History text book while shouting at Kenny White.

Luke sat down quietly and waited for lessons to begin.

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You can read the whole of Chapter 3 here, and the first eight chapters are available in paperback.

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Luke Walker Chapter 3 begins here

Chapter 3: Luke Walker and the Giant Gobstopper

SUNDAY

LITTER: 1 PIZZA BOX AND 1 COKE CAN

DROPPER: UNNOWNE

Luke tutted and looked across the park.  At 8.27 there was no one else there but he knew they would come.  And when they did, he would be ready.

On one side of the park was the school, on the other, the pony paddock.  The top and bottom edges skirted the ends of back gardens.  With his binoculars Luke could see it all clearly.  He waited.

At 8.49 a dog walker entered the recreation field and walked around twice.  Luke pretended to read his comic while secretly watching the person’s every move.  No litter was dropped.

At 9.12 and 9.18 two more dog walkers arrived at opposite sides of the park.  One threw a ball for his dog, the other kept her dog on a lead.  No litter was dropped.

For Luke time was passing extremely slowly.  He had read his comic three times and it was losing its appeal.  At least his enjoyment of the gobstopper was not waning.

“The solitude of the outlaw life might be too much for some people,” Luke mused, “but I’m used to it now, I can handle it.”

Twenty four hours earlier he had been less philosophical:

“I don’t see why I should have to clean up other people’s mess!” Luke complained to Rusty who was sitting on a cabbage leaf, watching him.

Mrs Tebbut had followed through on her threat to send home a letter after the zoo trip and Luke’s dad had sentenced him to a month of weekends cleaning up litter.  Luke was bitterly resentful at the injustice of it all.

“I mean, I could see the logic if I was a litter dropper myself.  Makin’ me pick up litter would serve me right.  But I’m not a dropper.  I’ve never been a dropper.  I won’t ever be a dropper – so what kind of lesson is this s’posed to teach me? A lesson I already know, that’s what!”

Rusty, Ash and Scratcher, the only witnesses to this tirade, did not attempt to answer him.  They were used to his rhetorical rants and knew it was best to just let him get it off his chest.  Sitting with his friends in ‘the damson patch’, as it was now known, letting off steam with the only ones who really understood him, was a kind of therapy for Luke.  He always felt better afterwards.

But at the park Luke felt humiliated.  It was Saturday morning; scouts were having football practice; skateboarders were zooming up and down their ramps and slopes; little girls were skipping rope and playing hopscotch.  Luke felt like everyone was smirking at him picking up litter.  It was disgusting.  Disgusting people had dropped their disgusting rubbish and he was forced to clean up after them.  It made him so cross.

litter

Then he noticed his dad trying to get his attention.  Maybe he was going to let him off.  Maybe he’d done enough now.

“Luke, look, behind you. Dudley’s done his business.  Make sure you pick that up as well.”

Dad went back to reading the paper and Luke seethed.  It wasn’t fair!

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Continues tomorrow, but if you can’t wait you can read the whole chapter here now😀

and the first eight chapters are also available in paperback

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Chatting away non-stop

Story continues from yesterday:

****

In a few short minutes Luke and Emma were crossing the meadow side by side, heading for the woods.  Luke chatted away non-stop while Emma swished her tail and listened contentedly.

“Truth is Emma,” he explained, “I’d love to take you home with me but I really don’t think me dad’d let me.  Honestly, you should ‘ave ‘eard the fuss ‘e made over a couple o’ rabbits.”

On the other side of the wood was another meadow, even more beautiful, with trees here and there and, to Luke’s delight, something else.

“Ooh quick Emma, over here!  It looks like a lake or somethin’!”

Luke rushed ahead laughing and calling her to follow.  Cautiously, she did.  It was such a lovely hot day that Luke couldn’t resist getting into the clear, cool water.

“Come on, it’s ok, it’s not deep,” he called, “come in with me, it’s fun!”

Emma tentatively dipped her trunk into the water and had a good long drink.  Luke grinned.

“Yeah, that’s it!  Now come all the way in and play with me.”

He laughed and sloshed about and splashed her so that soon she wanted to join in.  She reached out her trunk to him and he put his hand out to her and she trod heavily, slowly, down into the lake.  She drew up a big trunk full of water and showered it all over herself, and Luke.  She splashed and she played and felt free.  And so did Luke.  It was just the best afternoon.

When they got out of the water Emma laid down on the warm grass to be dried by the sun, and Luke sat with her, leaning against her chest.  Eventually, reluctantly, he looked at his watch. 4.32.

“I have to go now,” he told her sadly, “but I will come back if I can.”

He didn’t know when that might be.

“You do like it here don’t you?”

He knew she must and was satisfied his outlawing had paid off again – she’d be much happier here than in that concrete enclosure.  She’d have freedom; she’d have space; he only wished she wouldn’t be on her own.

“There’s prob’ly rabbits here,” he told her, “rabbits make good friends.  The thing with rabbits is, you ‘ave to be patient.  They might seem a bit stand-offish at first but once they get to know you they’re very friendly.”

He stood up and said goodbye, confident she’d understood.  

He slipped back in to the zoo and locked the gate so that everything, well, almost everything, was as he’d found it.  He decided it would be a good idea to hang on to the keys – he’d need them next time he visited Emma.  

It was 4.57 when he arrived at the coach so he was in good time for Mrs Tebbut’s prompt 5pm departure, but for some reason she was crosser than he’d ever seen her.

“Luke Walker!  Do you have any idea what you’ve put us through?  You have disrupted the day for the whole class!  You are a selfish, thoughtless child and I will be sending a letter home to your parents!”

“For what?” thought Luke.

_______________________________________________

Unbeknown to Luke, seven months later, in a national newspaper:

THE DAILY NEWS

Elephant Finds Sanctuary At Last

Emma in newspaper for web page

Seven months after the 24-hour disappearance of the lonely elephant at Dillingsgate Zoo, she has been found a place at The Elephant Sanctuary.  ‘Companions for Nelly’ campaign organiser, Joanne Russell said she cannot adequately express her joy at today’s outcome.

“We can only thank God for bringing to light Nelly’s lonely existence by causing her to wander off by herself and ignite a media storm. If it hadn’t been for the zoo’s mishap of leaving her gate open, the world might never have been aware of her miserable solitary confinement.”

Seven months ago the alarm was raised at Dillingsgate zoo when keepers discovered that Nelly was missing. She was found the following day in neighbouring woodlands but not before the news was reported in local, national and international media.  This put the spotlight on conditions in which Nelly was kept.

“Elephants are very social animals,” said Ms Russell, “and it was heartbreaking to learn that Nelly had been without any companionship of her own kind for almost twenty years.”

Thanks to the overwhelming public support for Ms Russell’s campaign, Nelly has now been found a place at the award winning Elephant Sanctuary where she will be able to live out her days in natural surroundings in the company of her own kind.

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You can read the whole of Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er Chapter 2 here.

Chapter 3 coming to this site soon!

Want it now? No problem – just order the paperback from Amazon! (It’s got the first eight chapters) 😀