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The story continues from yesterday:
It didn’t take long for Luke to work out where he might find what he was looking for.
“Somebody what works here will have keys!”
It never occurred to him that he would need a particular key for the particular lock he wanted to open but, as it happened, that wasn’t going to be a problem. When the zoo was built over thirty years earlier, it boasted the largest number of animal enclosures in the country. It was deemed impractical to have hundreds of different keys so the same three locks were fitted to everything: one for animal enclosures; one for outer gates; and one for buildings. Each key-holder carried the same three keys. That was all anyone needed. It was all Luke needed.
Back in the hubbub of the zoo, Luke kept a low profile. It felt good to be outlawing again. He saw plenty of zoo workers but there was no way of knowing whether they had keys without asking them. Then he heard a familiar jangle.
“I know what that means,” he thought, triumphant, “that man’s got keys on his belt!”
The man was alone. At a grassy, low-fenced enclosure inhabited by small, furry animals Luke didn’t know the name of, he caught up with him. The man seemed engrossed in what he was doing, or perhaps lost in his own thoughts. Luke could see the keys dangling against his hip and crept up so close behind him he could almost reach them through the wire fence. Just as he was about to touch them a loud voice, crackling from the man’s walkie talkie, startled his hand back. The voice sounded impatient.
“Brinley! Can you hear me? I need you to open the Goods Entrance – the delivery’s just arrived.”
“I heard you! I’m on my way.”
The man, and the keys, hurried out of the enclosure. Luke followed him at a discreet distance. He went past a sign which said ‘STAFF ONLY’ and up to a big gate. No one else was around. The walkie talkie shouted at the man again.
“HURRY UP BRINLEY! It’s that bad tempered lorry driver!”
“I’m coming! I’m coming!” said Brinley.
In his rush he left the keys in the gate after unlocking it and rushed up the track. He would probably only be gone for a moment or two. But that was enough.
Luke ran as fast as he could to get back to the elephant. It was easier to go unnoticed than it had been on the way out because there was some kind of commotion on the other side of the zebra enclosure. He overheard something as he passed through which assured him it was nothing to concern him. The elephant was waiting right where he’d left her.
“I got it! I got the key! Sorry it took so long.”
He unlocked the gate and led her out.
“That’s it, out you come,” he encouraged her, “I don’t know your name so if you don’t mind I think I’ll call you ……… Emma.”
Emma seemed as happy as he was about her outing and she trumpeted with joy.
“Shhh shhh,” Luke looked up into her big, dark eyes, “we’ve got to be sneaky, remember?”
He pointed to a gate behind Emma’s enclosure beyond which he could see a wide open space – a meadow bordered with woodlands.
“Let’s go this way,” he suggested, “don’t worry, no one’ll see. They’re too busy lookin’ for a lost little boy. Hope they find ‘im.”
The story continues from yesterday:
He wondered what on Earth he’d done to deserve such a reception as he stood, with muddy face, muddy hands, muddy knees and muddy shoes, at the end of the trail of muddy footprints on the tiled floor.
Being considerate in all things, Luke complied with Mum’s vehement suggestion that he wash more than just his hands, and came to the table in clean clothes. Jared, his older brother, looked at him curiously as if wondering what he’d been doing and Luke returned the look without enlightening him. Mum served up their tea but, as usual, didn’t sit down with them. She would wait for Dad to get home and eat with him.
Luke was dismayed to see bacon on his plate again. He had recently discovered what bacon really was: not food at all but slices of dead piglet. He was horrified. The fact that his parents, who had always told him to be good and kind, would choose to eat it was very confusing. He thought at first that they must not be aware of what it actually was, but when he explained it to them they were not surprised. They told him that people need to eat meat but that he shouldn’t worry because the animals were killed humanely (which they said meant ‘gently’ ). Luke was unconvinced.
“Killed gently! So they don’t mind you killin’ ’em then, is that what you’re sayin’? They like it do they? They look forward to it I suppose because their murderers are so gentle!”
After some lengthy discussion in this vein, during which Luke’s parents failed to persuade him to see reason, his mum effected his silence by sternly insisting that she knew best and Luke must eat his meat. Luke said no more at that time but was determined not to.
Again faced with the need to be rid of his bacon, Luke discreetly took a rasher and held it below the table for Dudley. Dudley, his dog, very obligingly took it from him. At that moment Mum reappeared in the doorway.
“What did you just do?” she demanded angrily.
“Whaaat? Nothin’. I dint do nothin’.”
“I was on’y feedin’ someone what was hungry,” Luke explained innocently, “jus’ bein’ generous, that’s all.”
“You know very well that Dudley has already had his dinner and if you keep giving him yours he’s going to get fat!”
Dudley ate fast. Mum went on.
“Don’t ever do that again! You’re a growing boy Luke, you need to eat your meat!”
Luke stuck to his guns.
“I don’t want it! I’ve got Prince Pauls!”
He’d heard the vicar talking about living by one’s principles in the school assembly that morning. It meant having values and putting them into practice; it meant actions speak louder than words; it meant if you love animals you don’t eat them. Luke had never heard of Prince Paul before but knew he must have been a good bloke.
“Prince who? What on Earth are you on about?”
Mum had obviously never heard of him either.
“I’ve got veggietarian Prince Pauls.”
Mum was not impressed.
“Oh give me strength!” she said, “well, you can explain that one to your Dad.”
“But he won’t be home ’til after bedtime right?” asked Luke, hopeful that he wouldn’t have to have that conversation tonight.
“He’s already home. I just saw him walking down the garden. Checking on his lettuces no doubt.”
Luke, suddenly not so confident that he’d thought of everything, became pale as it dawned on him that Dad might not understand that it was a good idea for the damsons to live in the veg patch. He felt sure that, in time, his new friends would be welcome additions to the family, but knew that his dad was not one to take to something right away and it would be better for everyone if they did not meet just yet.
“LUKE!” His dad’s booming voice reached the house before he did.
“How did he know it was me?” Luke wondered.
You can read the whole chapter here.
Stay in touch for Chapter 2, coming to this site sometime, or buy the first eight chapters in paperback if you can’t wait that long 😉
The story continues from yesterday:
He crawled across the lawn feeling like Robin Hood or one of his band of outlaws, risking everything to save the innocent.
“I don’t care if Mrs Tebbut don’t think I’m Robin Hood material, that jus’ means I’m doin’ a good job foolin’ ’em,” he rationalized as his knees slid through the mud. “It’s good that I’m goin’ to be Sheriff of Nottin’am’s Guard Number two – then no one will guess that I am actually an outlaw in real life.”
When he reached the hutch he glanced towards the house to make sure he wasn’t being watched. The windows looked dark so it was impossible to tell. He’d have to be quick and hope for the best. He opened the hutch and reached for the rabbit.
“Shh shhh, it’s ok, I’m not gonna hurt ya,” he whispered reassuringly, “I’m savin’ ya, like Robin Hood savin’ damsons in distress from the Sheriff’s dungeon.”
He tucked her safely into his shirt and hurried back to the hedge. The rabbit wriggled and squirmed uncomfortably, her heart beating hard and fast.
“Ow! Stop scratchin’ me!” hissed Luke before regretfully adding “I’m sorry to tell you off, but it’s for your own good. I’m bein’ firm but fair,” and he crouched down to exit the way he’d come in.
As his left foot followed the rest of his body out of the Butler garden it knocked over a rake, which struck a gnome, which fell from its pedestal and broke with a crash. Mrs Butler opened the back door.
“Who’s there?” she shouted.
But no one was.
In his own back garden, Luke headed for Dad’s vegetable patch.
“Here you go Scratcher,” he said to the white rabbit as he closed the gate, “this is your new home.”
He placed her gently among the lettuces.
“There’s plenty to eat ‘ere see, we don’t mind sharin’. Dad’s always tellin’ me to share.”
Scratcher hungrily and gratefully tucked in. Nearby, between the carrots and the peas, a reddish brown rabbit and a grey rabbit watched with moderate interest as they nibbled and chewed. Luke made introductions.
“And there’s friends for you to play with. I rescued Rusty yes’dy but Ash just come today like you. They’re quiet but I think you’ll get on alright with ’em.”
It transpired that Luke, though quite new to outlawdom, was not one to procrastinate. As someone who hated being confined to his room, he sympathised with anyone imprisoned alone and was determined to help them. Ash and Rusty had been housed similarly to Scratcher in two different back gardens adjacent to the playing field. Spotting them during ball retrieval operations, Luke had decided that those damsons needed rescuing and was certain he was the outlaw for the job.
Luke kept his new friends company for the next ninety-eight minutes until the sound of his mum’s voice calling from the house reminded him that it was nearly tea time.
“I’ve got to go in for me tea now,” he explained, “but I’ll see you tomorrow,” and he showed Scratcher where she could sleep when she got tired.
Ash and Rusty didn’t need to be shown, being already aware of the small hole in the side of Dad’s shed made by Luke with Dad’s hammer. He had been very considerate in making the hole, ensuring that it was at the back so as not to look untidy to the casual observer; and making it just rabbit-sized. He was confident he’d thought of everything.
“Dad on’y uses it at weekends,” he concluded, “so you won’t be in nobody’s way in there at night.”
Feeling very satisfied with his first week of outlawing, he said goodnight and went inside. Mum had her back to him when he stepped into the kitchen.
“Is tea ready?”
“Yes, just about. You’d better go and wash your hands,” she said as she turned to face him. “Luke!” she gasped.
“Whaaat?” said Luke, frowning at his frowning parent.
To be continued ….
Click here for the whole chapter
Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er is a comic about an eight year old boy who doesn’t let a little thing like following the rules stop him from defending and liberating animals. To put it simply he is a vegan Just William. He means well but those who try to control him (ie parents and teachers) find him rather, well, trying.
Luke’s story begins on this site in comic-book style with episodes 1 and 2, Luke Walker and the damsons, and Luke Walker AWOL, on the ‘stories for ages 5 and up’ page. They are also included in the bumper comic book Reflecto Girl and other stories.
However, there’s more. I have since decided to write his stories in prose, for a change, and a book containing the first eight chapters of his adventures, called simply Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er, is available from Amazon.
Starting tomorrow, Chapter 1 of this book will be published here in instalments. See you then! 😉
A look at his notebook will give you a taste of who he is 😉
We had to do some shopping in Brighton today so we indulged ourselves in a visit to the Loving Hut while we were there. Twice actually – once before we started shopping and again when we were finished. On our second visit we were especially lucky because the lovely ladies at The Hut brought out two cupcakes on the house for me and Miranda while my husband waited for the dessert he’d ordered 😀
Love the Loving Hut
I was just browsing other people’s blogs when I came across this post, titled ‘Napping on a shoulder under a collar’ on Rethinking Life. It reminded me of the little house marten that my daughter rescued ten years ago because this bird also used to take a nap on her shoulder under her collar. He/she was a pretty little thing who touched our lives briefly and then flew away. Here’s a couple of pics of Eve (my daughter) with Minnie (her house marten friend):
So where is Deidra going? And why so secretive?
You’ll be able to find out soon when this colourful story comes to Violet’s Veg*n e-Comics 🙂
Edmund’s Lunch is back! It’s changed for the better and before it’s available on Amazon (hopefully from tomorrow) you can see it here first! Looky here! 🙂
The repainted version of “I’m not dinner!” is now here! Check it out 🙂
Edmund’s Lunch is following hot on the heels of “I’m not dinner!” and is currently being revamped. That means that in a couple of days you’ll be able to get Edmund’s Lunch on your Kindle! But that’s not all – the new and improved versions of “I’m not dinner!” and Edmund’s Lunch will soon replace the old ones on this site too so everyone can enjoy the new paint job! Gotta run, see ya soon 🙂
“I’m not dinner!” has had a new paint job and is now available as an individual story on kindle and as part of the ‘Why are you a vegan? and other wacky verse for kids’ bumper compilation paperback 🙂
Of course you will always be able to read it for free right here
Check out this 1 minute video of 5 year old Mya who is learning about veganism. Gorgeous:
1. They are high in antioxidants. They’re rated the fourth highest in antioxidants out of all the fruits, only to be beaten by blackberries, cranberries and raspberries. Antioxidants play a role in keeping our cardiovascular system in tip top shape
2. They’re a great source of vitamin C, which plays a large part in keeping our immune system strong and healthy. Vitamin C can also help fight stress.
3. Strawberries contain magnesium, a mineral that helps our body produce energy and maintain strong bones and healthy teeth.
4. Because they contain potassium, strawberries can help your muscles and nerves function properly, lower your risk of high blood pressure and can help your body maintain healthy electrolyte levels.
5. Given their high antioxidant and anti inflammatory benefits, strawberries are considered a cancer-fighting food.
Oooh, can’t wait til summer – bring on the strawberries! 🙂
We already have a popular vegan comic for girls but here at Violet’s Veg*n e-Comics we don’t want the boys to feel left out so I have enlisted the help of six-year-old twin boys, Thomas and Elliot Thacker to help me with feedback on the creation of a new comic for boys. Thomas and Elliot came up with the excellent name of Luke Walker for the hero of this new series of stories.
8 year old Luke Walker is a determined young man who won’t let a simple thing like doing as he’s told prevent him from helping animals.
So WATCH THIS SPACE, or more importantly, FOLLOW THIS BLOG and don’t miss the launch of the NEW vegan comic for boys, COMING SOON! 🙂
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