@@The boy went about his chores the following morning: milking the cows, putting out a bundle of grass for the cows to munch on, filling buckets of water from the well, watering the small vegetable patch and making shapeless flat bread for himself. He poured the milk into the milk can and went out on his daily walk of the village, in pursuit of customers for the milk. Grandma had left behind a little fortune but he wanted to work and sustain himself like a grown up. He was thrust into responsibility too soon, but he had eased into it rather effortlessly.
His daily chores that day, didn't feel so mundane. The cat stayed close to the boy's feet, lapping up little drops of milk that trickled out of the milk can. The boy turned around and petted the cat.
"Now that you are my friend, I'll call you Darkness because I met you in the dark. My name is Mark and I am eight years old."
Darkness followed Mark throughout the village. Every time Mark made a sale, Darkness got a chance to lap up any fallen drops of milk. They returned to the hut and Mark placed a bowl with the leftover milk for Darkness. Soon, Darkness had curled up into a black ball on the bed and his eyes were shut tight.
Mark broke some flatbread and ate it with pickle. He then wrapped some more bread and pickle in large piece of muslin cloth and set out towards the peepal tree.
Mark seated himself in front of the peepal tree. The man in the orange robes had wrapped a black shawl around his frail body. He seemed to be chanting something.
Mark waited patiently. The man opened his eyes. Mark placed the muslin bundle in front of the old man.
"What have you brought for me today, boy?"
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