At first Layke had thought Percy had said; “Way behind the Lighting Tree.” What was that meant to mean? Then he realised that it must be someone’s name.
“Way behind the Lighting Tree?” Layke called after Percy, but he didn’t turn back. “What’s that meant to mean, Percy? Who’s Way?”
Percy kept on walking. Layke desperately wanted to run after him, but he didn’t know where Percy was going, and anyway, he needed to get back home before his mother yelled at him. Layke decided to ask someone else about Way later. His first priority; get home before his mother found out he had snuck off.
“Where were you?” his sister asked disdainfully. “Off playing with your silly little friends?”
And you were the one who made me not have enough time to play with them, Layke thought. How ignorant you are.
“No, I wasn’t, Sister. I was … chopping the firewood,” Layke lied. “So that we could be warm.”
His sister rolled her eyes. “I know what firewood does. I’m not that stupid.”
His sister sniffed, then walked off, fluttering her handkerchief near her nose as if some unpleasant smell plagued her. Layke resisted the urge to snort as he went into the kitchen to prepare dinner.
Unfortunately, he hadn’t actually been chopping firewood, so no wood lay in the stove waiting for him to light it. Layke sighed and went out into the yard to chop the firewood.
If only lies came true, Layke thought as he chopped. Then I’d lie about the revolution all the time.
By the time he finished, it was starting to get dark already. Layke carried a bundle of firewood into the kitchen and started to chop up carrots.
“Layke, prepare extra today, we have company,” his mother said, sweeping past. Before he could reply, she was gone.
Layke looked at the meagre supply of vegetables on his chopping board. That certainly wasn’t enough to feed as many people as his mother wanted to. He hated getting orders at such short notice, and yet his mother still expected him to have exactly the right amount of food ready by dinner-time. He didn’t even know how many people he was supposed to feed. Layke didn’t bother asking his mother, though, because he knew she’d just punish him for being so ignorant and not listening, and he wouldn’t even get the answer in the end. He’d bear the punishment if she actually told him the answer.
Layke sighed, and went to the back door. He could see his father still working. “Father!”
His father looked up, wiping the sweat off his brow. “Yes?”
“Mother has guests today, and I need more produce to work with. Can you get me more vegetables and see if you can get your hands on some meat? I’ll go over to our neighbors and see if we can borrow some bread.”
His father nodded. “Alright, Layke. Where do I put everything? Just on the kitchen bench?"
Layke smiled. “I knew I could rely on you.”
His father went back to his work, working doubly hard so he could dig up more vegetables. Layke’s heart dropped when he saw the few vegetables on the cart destined for the city. They’d have to use some of the produce that were meant to be sold at the markets.
Shaking his head, Layke got a basket and walked to their closest neighbour’s house. It was a fair way away since they lived on a farm and farms were quite generously spread out.
Knocking on the door, Layke resisted the urge to run away. He hated asking his neighbors for food, because then he’d owe them something and they would be denied one less morsel that was rightfully theirs.
The door opened slowly. “Hello?”
It was Percy.