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By Alejandro Bruzzese and Mike Cavalier


[That’s the last straw] he thought to himself.

He walked to the jungle just beyond the city limits, shedding various layers of shame, disappointment, and inadequacy as he marched. It was cold. And though he was not yet hungry, the Young Man began to fear the oncoming hunger.

To say our hero was unprepared for this grand exit from civilization would be to state underly. He did not have the luxury of being raised by wolves or apes or even pangolins. He had read exactly zero books, consulted zero experts, and looked up zero websites on the topic of survival before stepping into this world of rocks and bark and teeth and filth. This would, indeed, be a difficult new way of life.

The feral walls of the monsoonforest enveloped him. Heavy, dripping, leviathan leaves hung so low that he had to crawl on his knees, like an overgrown infant eagerly returning to its womb.

[Hello.]

He spoke it aloud in this new world as if English were its native tongue, as if nature understood any language besides violence. A bitter breeze answered back, leaning into him, cutting through him, pressing a thousand shards of glass into his flesh. The Young Man could’ve sworn he heard it whispering advice.

«Go back.»

But he couldn’t go back. Going back would require an exit. A path that had been marked. Foresight. The cardinal directions were four shrouded ghosts, taunting him from unseen balconies as he looked to the sky for a clue that would never reveal itself.


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