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Chapter 16 continues from yesterday:
Mum opened the bedroom door.
“Luke, don’t you want to help decorate the tree?”
“erm, no thanks,” he said without looking at her.
“Are you okay?”
“Are you sure? You haven’t been yourself since we went to the Maybury Centre.”
Luke didn’t say anything. Mum tried again.
“What happened to upset you? I thought you’d like it there.”
Luke let go of his trains, sat back and looked at her.
“I’m fed up.”
“Coz I’m fed up of grown ups not doin’ what they say.”
Mrs Walker waited for more.
“Maybury is a animal sanctry wot says it teaches people to be kind to animals. A man from Maybury even came to give a talk at school to tell us not to keep animals in small cages, or let them have puppies.”
“So why do people whose whole job is lookin’ after animals and teachin’ other people to look after ’em prop’ly, still let animals be killed for food? Why don’t they care about them animals? Why do they on’y care about some animals?”
“What makes you think …”
“They sell dead animals in their cafe.”
“Really? That does surprise me.”
“If I can’t trust people whose job is lookin’ after animals then I can’t trust nobody. ‘cept myself!”
“Ooh, that’s hard. No wonder you’re fed up,” said Mum sympathetically.
“And Joe,” he admitted.
“Well, that’s something. But you know Luke, you shouldn’t give up. You should tell them how you feel. You should tell them you are offended by their decision to sell meat in their cafe.”
“I did tell ’em.”
“Good. And what did they say?”
“Nothin’ sensible. Jus’ said it was okay coz it was rangin’ and stainable. Rubbish!”
“Tell them again. Write them a letter.”
“What’s the point? They won’t take no notice o’ me.”
Mrs Walker was sorry her son felt so discouraged. It was a terrible thing to lose your faith in humanity at such a young age.
“The thing is,” she told him, “you never know when someone might listen. The only thing you can be sure of is that if you don’t say anything, they definitely won’t get the message.”
Luke looked at her and didn’t say anything.
“Come with me, come and help decorate the tree,” she said.
When they got to the living room Jared and Dad already had things well underway. The tree was gleaming with glittery gold and silver tinsel and different coloured shiny baubles.
“Mm, pretty good,” said Mum, “but it’s missing something.”
“The star for the top,” said Jared, “I’m just about to do it.”
“Something else,” said Mum and she left the room.
A moment later she was back with a small box from the kitchen. She handed it to Luke.
“No Christmas tree is complete without a few sweet treats,” she said, smiling.
Luke looked in the box. It was full of chocolate Santas. On the wrappers were the words:
Moo Free Organic Chocolate,
DAIRY FREE, GLUTEN FREE, VEGAN
Luke’s jaw dropped and his eyes lit up.
“Are these for me?” he asked.
“No, greedy boy, they’re for all of us! Why don’t you hang them on the tree?”
“But, … how come …?”
“I found your leaflets,” Mum explained.
“The ones stuffed in the back pocket of your black cords; the black cords you shoved under the bed and forgot about I don’t know how long ago.”
“Oh, I wondered where they were.”
“Well I found them and I checked the pockets before putting them in the wash, and there were these leaflets. One with a picture of a cow on the front entitled ‘The Dark Side of Dairy’ and one with a cute little brown and white piglet on the front entitled ‘Think Before You Eat’.”
“And you read them?”
“And I read them.”
“And that’s why …?”
“Yes it is,” she paused for a moment, searching for the right words. “Luke,” she went on, “you have good instincts. When you started this crusade for animals you did it on instinct. You hadn’t been told any of the shocking facts and figures that are in those leaflets, you just knew it wasn’t right. And you did something about it. You spoke out bravely and you acted. You broke the rules when you felt you had to and you endured punishments, but you never wavered; you never stopped fighting.”
Luke nodded. He wasn’t sure why his mum was explaining something that she must have known he already knew, but he waited. It would become clear eventually. She continued.
“So I don’t want you to give up hope now. I want you to know that if you keep trying, you will make a difference. You have already made a difference for Curly and Little Squirt and the rabb.., er, the damsons, but even more than that, you’re a good influence on other people.”
Now, those were words Luke never thought he’d hear from his mother.
“You have been a good influence on us.”
At this point she took his hand, led him into the kitchen and opened the freezer.
“What d’you fancy for Christmas dinner?” she asked.
Luke looked in the freezer. It was full – Mum always did a big shop for the Christmas holidays – and there were quite a few unfamiliar boxes and cartons. He lifted them out one at a time to read the descriptions:
Cauldron Wholefood Burgers
Made with Chickpeas, Cauliflower, Aduki Beans, Broad Beans, Spinach, Onions, Garlic & Potatoes
Cauldron Wholefood Sausages
Made with Grilled Vegetables (Peppers, Courgette, Onion), Beans & Wheat
Cauldron Aduki Bean Melt
“The combination of aduki beans, spinach and mushrooms deliciously filled with mango chutney and carefully coated in breadcrumbs gives a satisfyingly moreish taste.”
Biona Red Lentil Sun Seed Burger
A flavoursome vegan burger made with red lentils, pumpkin and sunflower seeds with a subtle hint of spice. Made using all natural, organic ingredients and free from artificial colours or flavours. Perfect loaded with your favourite burger toppings, added to salads or dipped in sweet chilli sauce as a tasty and nutritious snack.
Can be eaten hot or cold.
Dee’s 6 Leek & Onion Vegan Sausages
The perfect partner to velvety mashed potatoes and homemade gravy, our Leek and Onion Sausages will become an instant family favourite on your weekly menu.
Dragonfly Organic Bubble & Squeak Tatty
Our Tatty is a vegetarian burger that has a real bubble & squeak feel about it, made using locally sourced cabbage and onions
Linda McCartney Vegetarian Country Pies
Vegetarian pie made from a shortcrust pastry base, filled with rehydrated textured soya protein in a rich onion and beef-style gravy, topped with a puff pastry lid.
Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausage Rolls
Vegetarian Cumberland sausage-style filling wrapped in puff pastry.
And there were three flavours of luxury organic vegan ice cream:
Booja Booja Hazelnut Chocolate Truffle, Booja Booja Raspberry Ripple and Booja Booja Caramel Pecan Praline.
Luke was no longer fed up. He smiled broadly at his mum.
“Are these for all of us?”
“Yes they are. For all of us,” she said happily, “and I got them from Besco’s. They sell them in mainstream supermarkets Luke and that just shows how much progress you’re making. That’s what happens when you speak out and you keep speaking out.”
Mrs Walker was treated to a rare hug which lasted a good half minute, and then Luke ran from the kitchen.
“Where are you going?” she called after him.
“I’ve got some letters to write!” he said.
Happy Christmas everybody!
We hope you have a good one!
❤ ❤ We’ll see you in the New Year! 😀 ❤ ❤
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