What are you doing?!!!

If you want to read this chapter from the beginning, click here 🙂

Story continues from yesterday:

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“What are you doing?” said an angry man.

“What are you doing?” returned Luke.

“Did you move my horse?”

“She’s your horse?” asked Luke, “you should look after her better! She don’t like it by the road!”

The man slammed his car door and climbed over the fence. “I know she doesn’t like it,” he said angrily, “that’s why I tied her there, so she can get used to it!”

“Why does she have to get used to it?” asked Luke, equally angry.

“I’m training her to pull a buggy,” said the man, “and if she’s easily spooked by traffic she could get us both killed!”

“You shun’t make her pull the buggy then!” said Luke, stating the obvious, “you shun’t make ‘er do anything she don’t wanna do!”

The man was livid. “Shouldn’t you be in school? What have you done with her bridle?”

“Don’t you tie her up again, that’s illegal!” said Luke, desperately, “an’ I should know, coz me mum and dad are police!”

“What?”

“Yeah, an’ they just arrested someone last week for leavin’ his horse tied up by the road!”

“What? That’s ridiculous!”

“Oh, is it?” said Luke with increasing confidence, “I’d have to disagree with you on that coz it happened. They arrested him on charges of ….. bad animal welfare.”

“The Animal Welfare Act?”

“Yes!” said Luke, thankful for the help. “The Animal Welfare Act makes it illegal to tie horses by the road because they don’t like it and it’s cruel!”

“I would never …!” the man was offended. “I have always taken exemplary care of my horses,” said the man, a little quieter, “I’ve done this training many times and none of them have ever been hurt.”

“Well, I wun’t do it again if I were you,” said Luke, “coz they’re crackin’ down.”

The man was uncertain whether to believe him but the boy seemed confident of his information. He decided to test him. “What police force do your parents work for?”

“Belton,” said Luke without hesitation.

“What are their badge numbers?”

“My mum’s is 2357, and my dad’s is 111317.” Mrs Cassidy was right, it is important to remember the prime numbers.

“I’ll check,” threatened the man.

“D’you wanna borra a pencil?” asked Luke.

The man shook his head and commenced retrieval of the bridle. “Stupid law!” he grumbled, “how am I supposed to train her now?”

“Well, I mean, who’d look after ‘er if you got arrested?”

The man didn’t answer, he just put her bridle back on.

“Has she got any friends?” Luke asked, sad that she wouldn’t be able to go to the horse sanctuary.

“I’ve got two other horses,” said the man, which was something of a relief.

“Bye Cocoa,” said Luke as the man led her into his trailer.

Luke watched wistfully as his new friend departed before his mind was brought sharply back into focus by the sight of his school bag on the ground. He looked at his watch. It was 9.25. The bell had gone almost an hour ago and his plight seemed hopeless. School was still half an hour away. Hopefully that was enough time for him to think of something.

He walked briskly, coming up with ideas and then dismissing them almost immediately. When he was just ten minutes away he was annoyed by a plastic carrier bag in the hedge.

“Flamin’ litter bugs!” he said with disgust, “I am sick an’ tired of clearin’ up other people’s mess!” He yanked the bag angrily from its roost and stuffed it into his pocket. Then he had an idea. A good one. He smiled. No need to worry. He wouldn’t have to stay after school today.

Twenty five minutes later Luke entered the school gates and made his way directly to the Deputy Head’s office. The Deputy Head, Mr Paxton, had been a teacher at Graywood Comp for over thirty years. He’d been there when Mum was there. She remembered him. According to her he was just as horrible in her day. He was one of those teachers who sorely missed corporal punishment. Inflicting it, not receiving it. He told them that every time someone talked in Assembly. Another important thing to note about Mr Paxton was his bad memory. He was always forgetting things – even things that had only just happened half an hour earlier – and he was very embarrassed about it. He seemed to think it would show weakness if he admitted his lapses so he never did. He always pretended to remember, even when it was obvious he didn’t. Luke knocked on his door.

“Come in!”

Luke entered with a carrier bag full of litter. “I’ve done it sir,” he said.

“Done what?” Mr Paxton scowled.

“Picked up the litter.”

Mr Paxton had no idea what Luke was talking about but, assuming he must have forgotten, he faked understanding. “Ahh, good!” he said gruffly, “and I hope you’ve learned your lesson!”

“Yes sir,” said Luke.

“Alright, go on with you, get to class!”

“But sir, ….” said Luke with feigned timidity.

“What? What now?”

“Well, you said you’d write me a note for Mr Flanagan. To explain why I was late.”

“Ahh, yes, quite right, I did,” said Paxton, almost remembering it himself. “Quite right,” he said again as he began to scrawl a brief explanation for Luke’s form tutor. “And your name? Come on come on, a thousand kids in this school and they expect me to remember all their names!”

“Luke Walker.”

“Yes, of course,” he said, finishing the note. “Here you go – now get to class!”

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vegan, vegetarian, veggie kids, vegan children, animals, horse, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, humour,

 

An unusual amount of traffic

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 18 continues from last week:

He stepped off the bus and looked up just in time to see Joe peering down at him from the top deck asking inaudibly what was going on. When the bus pulled away Luke felt like going home to bed. Why not? he thought. After all, he’d made every effort to catch the bus; it wasn’t his fault the driver was unreasonable. If he went to school now he’d be in trouble for being late whereas if he called in sick he could avoid that and have a day in bed. It was very tempting. However, today was woodwork and he didn’t want to miss that. It was the final day for working on his toolbox. Next week they’d got to start making picture frames. His toolbox was brilliant. He already had a padlock for it. It would fit his walkie talkies, the wire cutters he’d bought with his Christmas gift voucher and Jared’s Swiss Army knife for which he was currently in negotiations. With obvious effort, Luke hitched up his heavy rucksack and set off at a brisk pace. It was quarter past eight. If someone gave him a lift, he might still make it before the bell.

As he walked past the village shops, the pub, the cemetery and the allotments, he noticed that there was an unusual amount of traffic coming through the village, but his hoped-for offer of a lift didn’t materialise. Normally, since the dual carriageway had been built, the only vehicles entering the village belonged to residents or delivery vans. It was quicker now for drivers to bypass Gingham if they were headed anywhere else. But as Luke approached the northern edge of the village it was clear that today, for some reason, the main road was closed. Not only cars but vans, lorries, even ambulances, were taking the slower route, too fast, through the village. It was noisy and smelly. Luke kept walking.

When he crossed the boundary into the adjacent town he saw, across the road, a horse, tethered on the grass verge. She recoiled every time a vehicle rushed past her and if it was something big like a lorry she tugged and pulled at her reins, trying desperately to get away. She was tied to a wooden fence on the other side of the grass verge. She had no room to retreat from the traffic and was in considerable distress. Luke, no longer caring how late he was, crossed the road towards her at the first opportunity.

“Easy girl, easy,” he spoke soothingly in an effort to calm her and carefully took hold of the reins under her chin. Thanks to a brief lull in traffic she calmed and watched Luke as he smilingly whispered these same words to her over and over. He rested the heel of his left hand between her nostrils and softly stroked her beautiful nose. The next few passing cars were considerate, giving the horse a wide berth and driving slowly. Now that she was more relaxed, Luke took the opportunity to drop his bag to the floor and rummage in it for his apple. When he turned to look back up at her he was startled by a huge lorry that came out of nowhere. The horse panicked again, pulling her head up and back, trying desperately to free herself. Luke knew he had to get her away from the road. On the other side of the fence was a meadow. No crops, no animals. She would be much happier in there. Luke unbolted the gate and pushed it wide open. Then he stood with the mare, stroking her and talking to her to keep her calm while he waited for the traffic to die down again. Once he was sure she was calm, he untied her from the fence and encouraged her to come with him. Happy to move away from the road she followed him into the field.

“This is better isn’t it?” he smiled, “you’re safe from the traffic in here. The grass is short but there’s plenty of it. Oh, and there’s this,” he offered her his apple and she took it eagerly.

As the traffic built up again Luke was relieved to see that she remained relaxed. When she’d finished the apple, she bent her head to the grass at her feet and grazed comfortably. In this position her reigns dragged on the floor so Luke was worried she might trip on them. Best to take them off, he thought. He gently unfastened all the straps and lifted the bridle over her ears. She dropped the bit from her mouth and was free. Luke disposed of the tack over the fence, out of harm’s way. Now she looked happy and so was he.

He wondered how someone could just abandon her on the side of the road.

“I should think of a name for you,” said Luke, “erm, how about Cocoa? Yeah, that suits you.” He realised he was going to have to come up with a very persuasive argument to get his parents to let him keep her. Then again, maybe that wasn’t the best idea because she’d be lonely without another horse to keep her company. A better idea would be to ask the horse sanctuary to take her. The one that Isabel had told him about. Yes. Then she would have friends.

Just as Luke was deciding that he couldn’t possibly go to school now, a car pulled up at the gate.

“What are you doing?” said an angry man.

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Story concludes tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read it here now 😀

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vegan, vegetarian, veggie kids, vegan children, animals, horse, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, humour,