He followed the sound to the corner of the shed, behind an old riding mower covered in dried mud and ancient grass clippings. A very small boy hid behind the mower, huddled in the corner. “Oh, hello,” Blaine said politely. “What are you doing here?”
“Hiding,” the little boy said in a quiet, high voice.
“From what?” Blaine inquired.
“What kind of things?”
“Oh,” Blaine said, brightening. “Are you in football camp too?”
The smaller boy’s mouth tightened. “Uh-huh,” he said.
Blaine frowned. “Don’t you want to be in football camp?” he asked. “I do.”
The boy’s mouth pressed into a thin white line, and his chin trembled. He shook his head. “I don’t want to be here,” he said. “I wanna go h-home.”
Blaine crouched down beside him. “You can’t go home until three o’clock when camp is over,” he said.
“Then I’m gonna hide here until three,” the little boy said, raising his chin stubbornly even though he looked like he was on the verge of crying.
“I don’t think you can do that,” Blaine said warily. “You’ll get hungry and you’ll have to pee. And I think you have to come play football.”
“But I don’t like football,” the little boy said. “My daddy made me come.”
“But if you didn’t want to come, couldn’t your mom tell your dad not to make you?” Blaine asked, perplexed.