A Lost boy somehow gets even more lost.
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(And an extra eye out for squirrels.)

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There's some nuts! Relatedly, there's a squirrel. He's not within its flight distance yet.

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By the end of his first archery lesson, his friend Josh had casually put an orange on top of his target while they picked up arrows, then bet five bucks to any takers that Danny could hit it before his quiver ran out. Danny took aim without really expecting to hit it, despite having made the class's only bullseye earlier.

He still remembers the instuctor's skepticism that he hadn't handled a bow before that day. When he tried explaining that he read a lot of books about archery, some of which were really descriptive in ways that turned out to be accurate, the man's skepticism became more amused, like he thought they were in on a joke together.

He thought of that orange often, in the Hedge. He got it on his first shot, and it hadn't felt harder than any other shots before, once he'd learned how to handle the bow. Some factors change, not just wind or arrow, but also how tight the bow is strung, how tired he is. He sometimes misses his target, if it's small enough, because he has to adjust to something he didn't expect.

He thinks of those little things now as he carefully takes out an arrow, avoiding any sudden movements, then takes aim. A headshot will minimize damage to the pelt, or any organs that might ruin the meat. He's not sure if it's worth the risk of missing, but...

He slowwwwly nocks and aims...

Then releases.

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The squirrel plops to the ground. Something he can't see startles in the ferns beyond and runs away.

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Eh, a squirrel in hand is possibly worth a whatever in the bush.

He recovers his arrow, then field dresses the squirrel and ties it to his stick and keeps going, collecting any more nuts and things along the way to the river.

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Plenty of nuts. Those might be blueberries there.

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He'll collect them, and tentatively try some, despite still only being at Okay Maybe I Can Eat...

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Bleagh. Like oversweet, tiny sacks of wet mulch.

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He picks the rest of them anyway, hoping it's just his weird lingering Hedge madness and they're actually good berries.

Also hoping that touch of madness fades, eventually.

River? Muskrats? Piebald deer, perchance?

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River! It's got fish in it, and a couple ducks over there.

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Ducks! Oh man he missed ducks. Somehow he never encountered anything remotely duck-like, in the Hedge.

It makes him feel a bit bad to think of just shooting them right away...

He'll try scooping the fish up in his basket, first. He can enjoy their quacks in the meantime.

He'll test how easy it is to stand in the riverbed (callused feet carefully stepping to avoid putting his weight on anything too sharp or unsteady), and if the current isn't too strong, will stand for a few minutes, basket underwater, and wait for a fish to wander close enough to get scooped up.

Hopefully before his feet go numb.

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The fish do not want to go in the basket. The river's not too strong, at least, though it is pretty cold.

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Fiddlesticks. Time for his secret weapon.

He goes back over to the riverbank and shakes his feet to get some circulation flowing, then puts his basket down and takes one of the berries out of his pocket. He squishes it a bit, then walks back into the river and kneels, bait held firmly at the base of two fingers as he cups his hands together and waits.

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Does he want this minnow?

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...he'll wait a little longer, as the feeling leaves his hands and feet, in case another fish comes to nibble too.

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Just little ones.

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Alright, this is supposed to work by closing his fingers around the sides of a fish that's effectively already swimming in his grasp, but if he's got a few tiny ones nibbling, he'll sloooowly bring his other hand in behind them, then abruptly close his fist.

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They all spook.

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Okay, he's clearly out of practice with fishing and his hands and feet are cold. He's going to shoot the ducks.

Probably just one of them, really, since he expects others to spook as soon as he dries his hands, shakes the warmth back into them, then shoots the first?

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Yup, he nails a duck in the wing - it moved - and the other one takes off in alarm.

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He curses and hurries over to end its suffering from up close with a second shot to the chest, doing his best to track it as it flails around.

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The second shot cracks his arrow. He has a bit of a wade to get to the wounded duck, as it wasn't obligingly near the shore when he went after it, but he can get it without getting anything above his waist too wet.

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Ugh. He carries the duck back to the rest of his stuff, cleans it and his surviving arrow, then ties it to his stick opposite the squirrel and starts his trip back to town.

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