He saw the first tree shudder and fall, far off in the distance. Then he heard his mother call out the kitchen window:
"Luke! Inside. Now." He had never disobeyed the order to hide. Even as a toddler, barely able to walk in the backyard's tall grass, he had somehow understood the fear in his mother's voice.
"Why?" he asked at the supper table that night. It wasn't a common question in the Garner house. There were plenty of "how's"—How much rain'd the backfield get? How's the planting going? Even "what's"
No, they didn't.
Matthew and Mark never had to hide, did they?
There was a law against Luke. Not him personally— everyone like him, kids who were born after their parents had already had two babies. Actually, Luke didn't know if there was anyone else like him. He wasn't supposed to exist.
Somehow, Luke never got as old as Matthew and Mark. The day of his sixth birthday, Mother baked a cake, a special one with raspberry jam dripping down the sides. At supper that night she put six candles on the top and placed it in front of Luke and said, "Make a wish."
"Matthew and Mark never had to hide, did they?" he asked. Mother was scrubbing the remains of scrambled eggs out of the skillet She turned her head and looked at him carefully. "No," she said. "Then why do I?"