Unprepared

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

They weren’t prepared for what they found.  Parked in the field, alongside the still confined sheep, was a double decker lorry.

The top deck was already full of sheep.  The farmer was there, with his dogs, talking to the lorry driver.  It was clear to the boys what was about to happen.  That’s why they were locked up there.  They were waiting for transport.  Waiting to be taken to their deaths.  Luke and Joe stood frozen at the bus shelter. They dropped their bags of apples.

“The lorry must be late,” said Joe in a husky whisper.

“Why?”

“Coz they haven’t been fed for two days, they must’ve not known it was gonna be that long.”

“It’s not late!” snapped Luke angrily, “look how clean an’ shiny that lorry is!  I bet they don’t wanna get their lorry dirty – they don’t want no poo and wee in their lorry so they don’t let ’em eat or drink before the journey.  Their last journey!”

Joe felt a lump in his throat and his heart ached.

“That’s horrible!” he said desperately, “what can we do?  We’ve got to do something!”

Luke’s eyes started to sting as he watched them send in the dogs to herd the hungry sheep onto the lorry. He picked up the biggest stone he could find and threw it as hard as he could at the lorry’s windscreen across the road.  It missed.

“There’s nothin’ we can do!” he said, grabbing his bag of apples, “unless you’ve got a thousand pounds to pay the farmer for ’em, and a hundred allotments to keep ’em on!”

Still they hated themselves for doing nothing and walked away in silent misery.

***

Friday morning at breakfast, Luke’s dad observed how cold and wet it was.

“It’s big coat weather already,” he told his wife, “it’s amazing how quick the temperature drops once September arrives.”

“Sometimes,” Mum agreed, “it’ll probably be warm again tomorrow.”  She looked at her boys.  “Your big coats need a wash to freshen them up,” she remembered, “so you’ll have to wear an extra jumper under your summer jackets for now.”

“I’m not wearin’ that wool jumper!” said Luke firmly.

“Luke, it’s cold.  If your Dad says it’s cold then you know it is.  He’s usually hotter than the rest of us.”

“Than you,” Dad corrected her.

“Yeah,” Jared agreed, “you’re the one who’s always cold,” he laughed.

“Well then, there you go, so if Dad thinks it’s cold …”

“I’m not wearin’ that jumper!  Take it back an’ get your money back!  We’re not givin’ money to farmers!”

Everyone stopped eating.  Dad was not impressed.

“Luke Eugene Walker, how dare you speak to your mother like that?  Apologise right now!”  He spoke in that slow, quiet, angry way that meant you’d gone too far.  Luke realised he shouldn’t be taking it out on Mum.

“Sorry,” he said quietly, “but I don’t want you to pay money to sheep farmers.  I hate farmers!”

Mum’s response was gentle.

“Luke, clearly something has upset you, but the fact remains, as I told you, that wool isn’t cruel.  It doesn’t hurt them to be sheared.”

Luke tried to explain it to her in a way she would understand.

“It doesn’t make any difference,” he said, “they kill ’em anyway.”

“Not for wool they don’t.  They kill animals for leather but not for wool.”

“They kill ’em anyway,” Luke said again, “they make money out of ’em for wool; then they kill ’em and make money out of ’em for meat.  They kill ’em for money and they’re horrible, nasty, evil, criminal murderers and I don’t want you to give them any of our money!”

Nobody could argue with that.

“Okay,” said Mum, “I’ll take it back today.”

***

Joe gave Luke back the books and pens he’d left in his garden the day before.

“I forgot them last night,” he apologised.

“Me too,” said Luke, taking possession of three brand new, very soggy, text books, and two exercise books in which a lot of his work had dissolved.

“Put them on the radiator,” Joe suggested helpfully.

“Yeah,” said Luke.

The bell rang and they went their separate ways.

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The story concludes on Monday but if you don’t want to wait you can finish it here now 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, sheep, sheep farming, wool

A brilliant plan

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

On their way home from school Luke and Joe discussed the Christmas concert.

“I don’t wanna be in it,” said Joe.

“You could just ‘ave a small part,” Luke suggested, “then we’d be together.”

“Oh yeah,” said Joe, but his heart wasn’t in it.  He was terrified at the thought of being on stage; of being watched by people.  Luke sympathised and racked his brains for a way that Joe could be part of the production without actually having to be on stage.  Then it came to him.

“You could be the scenery painter!” he said with great satisfaction.  “Then you’d ‘ave to be there, paintin’ the scenes while we’re rehearsin’.  Then I could chat to you when it’s not my scene and I could help you.  I could fetch your pens and paints and brushes.  You could tell ’em I’m your assistant so they don’t send me back to lessons when it’s not my scene.”

It was a brilliant plan.  Joe was as happy about it as Luke.

They ducked into Joe’s house for sheep food.  His mum was in the kitchen.

“Hello Joe, oh, and hello Luke.  Are we returning the favour tonight then?” she asked.

“What d’you mean?” said Joe, trying to think of a way to entice her from the kitchen.

“Is Luke staying here for tea today?”

“Oh, er, no. Thank you,” said Luke, “I’ve jus’ come to borra somethin’.”

That gave Joe an idea.

“Yeah, I want to lend ‘im my book about trains,” he said, “ya know, the one Auntie Sue gave me.”

“Okay,” said his mum without looking up from the potatoes she was peeling.

“on’y,” said Joe, tentatively, “I don’t know where it is.  Could you find it for me?”

“Haven’t I got enough to do?” she said indignantly, “what else do you want – shall I tie your shoelaces? Shall I clean your teeth for you?”

Joe shook his head.

“Find it yourself you cheeky beggar!” she concluded, and that was that.

The boys stepped back outside.  It was no use.  She’d started the dinner which meant she’d be in there for at least another hour.

“Sorry,” said Joe, “we’ll have to get somethin’ from yours again.”

“There’s nothin’ left to take,” said Luke, “Mum said we’ll have to have tinned veg ’til she can get to the shops again and coz she thinks I took it for Curly and Squirt and the damsons – typical! They always blame me! – she won’t let me watch telly for a week!”

The boys looked at each other and thought hard.  There had to be a way to get something to eat for those poor starving sheep.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” said Luke, not for the first time.  Then he had a thought.  An idea.  A good one.  It might be tricky but it was do-able.

“Remember that farm behind the pony field, next to the rec?”

“Yes,” said Joe.

“They grow salads and things, in them plastic tunnels.”

“Mmm,” said Joe, nervously.

“So, I’ve seen ’em, them tunnels, all they ‘ave to do is water ’em twice a day.  The rest of the time there’s no one in ’em.”

“But they’ve got them big dogs,”

“Okay, well, we’ll take a couple o’ dog toys, and then you can distract …”

Joe shook his head.

“I don’t want to distract.”

“Okay, I’ll distract ’em and you can go into the tunnels to get the salad.”

“That’s stealin’.”

“To save lives!” Luke reminded him, “and anyway, they’ve prob’ly got hundreds o’ lettuces and cucumbers, they won’t miss a few.”

Taking Joe’s silence as tacit consent, Luke continued.

“First, we’ll go to mine to get the dog toys; and a bag; then we’ll go to the farm and I’ll climb in to play with the dogs; as soon as I’ve got their ‘ttention, you sneak into the …”

Joe laughed.

“What?” said Luke, annoyed that his great plan was a source of amusement.

“Look over there,” said Joe, pointing to the bottom of his garden.

There stood two heavily laden apple trees.

“Or,” said Luke, “we could take some apples.”

They emptied the contents of their school bags behind the water butt and replaced them with apples. With no time to lose, they headed to the muddy paddock.

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The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, animals, animal rights, animal protection, animal rescue, vegan children, veggie kids, sheep, sheep farming, wool