I kept on laughing and laughing to let my happiness out and started the journey upstream. Sometimes, I wondered if I was dreaming but the chilling cold at night and the eerie embrace of the sea would bring me back to reality where I shuddered constantly lacking warmth. It continued for some days until one night I decided to walk for some time to get some exercise and heard some strange sounds in the bushes nearby. I felt eerie but hopeful. As I walked towards the source of sounds, I was dumbfounded to see it was someone of my age, a little boy. He looked to be around 6-7 years old with short hair and unkempt appearance as it should be after a few days in the wild. Unlike me who has decided to wash myself regularly after I found a river, this one smelled from afar. Moreover, the kid didn't even have leaves wrapped and around his waist so he was naked. He looked to be in his own world as he was punching a tree in a special rhythm as whenever he put his one hand down after the punch, it shuddered while making loud crunching noises. Just when I decided to walk up to him and introduce myself, an immature voice called out to me
" WHO is it?" He asked loudly with slight vigilance showing up on his face.
I took a step forward to clear the misunderstanding, "Hey there, I don't mean any harm. Due to a freak incident, I am somehow los.."
"So it's just a kid" The kid muttered while looking deep in thought.
I was unable finish my whole sentence before I was interrupted and ignored. Annoyed by his calm behaviour, I had black lines on my forehead. I tried to be nice for a second time,
"HEY, y'know it's just the two of us here, so maybe we should introduce ourselves. I'm Ryne and earlie.."
"Fetch me some water brat" the nude kid muttered while punching the tree.
It was as much as I could endure. The disregard made me forget my situation and I muttered some things my father used to say when I was behaved mischievously,
"Undisciplined little brat, learn to behave in front of your father."
At that time I didn't know what those words signified but I guess the other knew as he stopped doing everything else and looked at me with an angry glare.
"You little piece of s***, what did you SAY?"
I was a little happy to see him like this and as such I used the same method. Faking a long sigh which signifies loss, I put up a melancholic expression as I chided,
"Your mother would be so disappointed if she knew what she carried for nine months in her womb turned out like this - a tree punching exhibitionist."
I added something of my own in the end. The kid on the other end who was turning red and white one second earlier now had a calm smile on his face as he asked politely
"Hello, I'm Dane and who might you be?
I was about to answer when suddenly I felt the world turning dark as a fist arrived in front of my face. I only opened my eyes next morning.
It was my first meeting with Dane, someone who was forever a massive influence on my life.