Chatting away non-stop

Story continues from yesterday:

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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) 😀

Introducing Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er

Ow! That was a thistle.  Luke poked and scratched at it with a stick until it broke away from its roots and could be pushed aside.  He then rubbed his grazed wrist and forged ahead, emerging moments later on the other side of the hedge.  Simon Butler’s back garden.

It wasn’t the first time Luke had gained illegal entry to Simon Butler’s garden but if all went well it might be the last.  He’d been eleven times before, to visit the rabbit.  Simon kept his rabbit in a small wooden hutch at the end of the garden, near the dustbins.  He used to let her out to play when he first got her but after a couple of months, when the novelty had worn off, he only visited his pet for five minutes once a day to refill her food and water.  Luke felt sorry for her.  He could see the hutch from his bedroom window next door.  When he borrowed his dad’s binoculars he could even see the rabbit.

vegan children's story

“She must be so sad and fed up.  And bored,” he said to the Robin Hood poster on his wardrobe door, “I’m going to visit her.”

A couple of times a week for the last month and a half, Luke had endured scratches and scuffs, and the hedge had endured bends and breaks, so that the rabbit could have a bit of company.  He always took her something from Dad’s vegetable patch – a bit of lettuce, or a carrot maybe – and after the first few times she seemed pleased to see him.  She put her face close to the wire and eagerly tugged at the treats he pushed through to her.  But he had to be careful not to get caught.

Simon was a smarty-pants who always did his homework and always got good marks.  He was good at sports and he was good at maths.  He was always the first to put up his hand in class and his shoes were always clean.  Irritating though all of that was, Luke could have let it go if Simon hadn’t done something unforgivable.

Luke’s best friend, Joe, was not very fast and he was not very clever.  He was last to be picked for every team game and first to be told off in every lesson for not knowing the answer.  But he always took it on the chin.  He shrugged it off.  Sports weren’t his thing.  Maths wasn’t his thing.  He wasn’t especially enamoured with science or history either but that didn’t worry him.  He was the best friend Luke had ever had and was totally reliable.  He had kept his mouth shut when Luke tripped over his shoe laces and knocked Mrs Tebbut’s mug of tea all over her desk;  he had kept it to himself when Luke accidentally cracked Mrs Tebbut’s windscreen with a cricket ball.  He was the kind of friend who could always be depended on.

So when Smarty-Pants told Mrs Tebbut that Joe had copied his test and Joe got sent to the Head Master for cheating, Luke was very cross.  Simon Smarty-Pants Butler was a tell-tale and a liar.  He could never be trusted.  And he didn’t like Luke any more than Luke liked him.  It was vital that Luke didn’t get caught.

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to be continued …

Click here for the whole chapter.