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  • Ayan Datta

The Hunter Gatherer

John was a 14-year-old boy who lived in a small town in the countryside with his parents and younger sister. He had always been a curious and adventurous boy, with a passion for exploring and discovering new things. He loved spending his days in the woods near his home, exploring the paths, streams, and wildlife that he found there.


One day, as John was wandering through the woods, he stumbled upon an old cabin hidden among the trees. It was a small, dilapidated structure with a crooked roof and walls covered in ivy. John was immediately intrigued and decided to investigate further. As he approached the cabin, he noticed a faint light coming from inside. He cautiously pushed open the door and stepped inside.


A path of broken cobblestones led up to the front door of the house, strewn with leaves and vines as Nature was slowly reclaiming her land. The door itself was made of withering wood, and creaked open after several hefty pushes. The air was dusty and strangely moist as John stepped into the abandoned old hummel, his boots leaving tracks in the thick layer of dust that carpeted the floor, revealing brilliantly faded wooden panels behind. There was a table in the center of the room, with an old leather-bound book lying on top.


John walked up to it, curiosity getting the better of him, and picked up the book and began to read.


“ THE TRAVELS OF DR. SAMUEL R.D. JACKSON”


He flipped through the pages carefully, afraid of accidentally tearing the frail old parchment; as his eyes trailed across the pages, reading the closely knit loopy handwriting that intricately outlined the memories of life well lived. Ink blots and strange stains, diagrams and practical specimens of everything and anything, from compressed dead butterflies to flattened leafs to an interesting piece of waxy material that felt suspiciously like snake skin.


The journal was filled with stories of Samuel's adventures in the woods, and John was captivated by his tales of discovering new plants and animals, exploring hidden caves, besides having elaborate descriptions and studies of nature.


Sitting cross legged on the wooden floor of the cabin with complete disregard for his poor clothes that were slowly suffocating in the overwhelming amounts of dust all around, he read the book cover to cover as time gushed away with the fading light of day and the page was illuminated by the feeble efforts of faltering rays.


As John read on, he noticed that the last entry in the journal was dated several years ago. He wondered what had happened to Samuel and why he had stopped writing in the book. John decided that he wanted to continue Samuel's legacy and explore the woods as he had done.


Over the next few weeks, John spent all of his free time in the woods, exploring and discovering new things. He found hidden caves filled with sparkling crystals, secret streams that flowed through the trees, and all kinds of interesting wildlife. He wrote down everything he discovered in a new journal, just like Samuel had done.


One day, as John was exploring a particularly dense part of the woods, he stumbled upon an old man sitting by a campfire. The man was thin and wiry, with a long white beard and piercing blue eyes. He looked up as John approached and smiled.


"Hello, young man," the old man said. "What brings you out here in the woods?"


John explained about his love for exploring and discovering new things, and how he had found Samuel's old cabin and journal. The old man nodded thoughtfully.


"Samuel was a good man," he said. "I knew him well. He taught me everything I know about these woods."


John was amazed. He had never met anyone who knew Samuel before. The old man invited him to sit by the fire and share some food. John eagerly accepted.


Over the next few hours, the old man told John all kinds of stories about Samuel and the adventures they had had together. He told him about the different plants and animals that lived in the woods, and how to find them. He showed John how to start a fire without matches, and how to build a shelter using only natural materials.


As the sun began to set, the old man stood up and stretched.


"It's time for me to go," he said. "But I have something for you first."


He reached into his pack and pulled out an old leather-bound book, just like the one Samuel had written in.


"This was Samuel's journal," he said. "I think he would have wanted you to have it."


John was speechless. He couldn't believe that he was holding Samuel's actual journal in his hands.


"Thank you," he said. "I promise I'll take good care of it."


The old man smiled and patted John on the shoulder.


"I know you will," he said



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