Tofino Timeless: Chapter 7
by Joanna Streetly, Tofino
A horror movie is being filmed in Tofino. The plot: evil merfolk try to breed with townspeople and steal their souls. Location scout, Danny Cubit has joked that he's here "to fulfill prophecy," but since then the locals have been acting strange.
The cute girl, Shell, has been leading Danny around by the nose and was last seen leaping out of his car near the Eik Street cedar tree.
The strange blonde psychic woman, Velella, keeps giving him long, suspicious looks.
Even the boat driver, Mussel, seems to have something against Danny. Recently Mussel swerved his boat suddenly, causing Danny to fall head first into the freezing water. This combined with a near-miss car accident has got Danny wondering what's real life and what's fiction.
To top it all off,
he found a seemingly-ancient inscription on the Eik Street cedar tree: He is come to repossess. For the first time in his life he feels as if he's in the movie, not behind the scenes as usual.
Last seen, Danny was warming up and cooling off in the tub
at his hotel room.
Please," begged Shell. "I need to know."
"And I've told you," replied Velella, "I don't know anything. I'm only an intermediary." She stared out of her floathouse window at the waters of Wettening Cove.
"But you believe in the merfolk, surely that means they trust you?"
"All it means is this: I receive their signals. It's no different than overhearing a conversation on the vhf radio."
"Well, what have you overheard so far?"
"It's not like that, Shell. It's... vague."
"I don't care if it's vague. You heard what Mussel said: when Danny fell in the water, the merfolk wanted him. They recognized him! For a guy like Mussel to say that, it's gotta be real."
Velella sighed. She rapped her Tarot deck on the table, flinging out the old energy. Then she began to shuffle.
"Here's the legend: Long before our time, Poseidon and Amphitrite married and gave birth to Triton. Amphitrite was said to be especially fond of this area and Triton came with her when she visited. He fell in love with a local girl, a mortal, and they had many children. No one knows what happened to Triton, or Amphitrite, but their descendants here still wait for them. Meanwhile the population is dwindling, their habitat is threatened and they are on the brink of extinction."
"Of course!" breathed Shell, "Amphitrite Point Lighthouse... ."
"Switch to present day. This guy Danny shows up here with a film about--of all things--merfolk. We all get a vibe from him and the merfolk sense it too. Heck, even Mussel feels it! Danny even finds the ancient writing on the Eik Street tree. So, maybe the guy does have merblood, but if he's The One they're waiting for, then it's going to be messy. Because Danny's boss, Steve Nash, is bad news. The merfolk will be toast by the time Nash leaves here. Their habitat will be ruined and their reputation, too. Of course they want Danny! Whether he's The One or not, they need him on their side."
Velella cut the deck into three piles. Then she put the cards back together.
"Do you really believe in merfolk, Velella?" asked Shell.
"I believe what I feel, when I feel it. I also believe that there are things that we can never know. Now, turn over the top card. We'll only choose one today."
Shell blinked at the image of the trump. Number xvi,
The Tower. Blackness. Lightning. Flames. People burning and falling. Destruction. Turmoil. Change.
* * *
Danny Cubit, location scout, has finally drifted into a sound sleep. His bed at the lodge is soft and warm; the stress and weirdness of his few days in Tofino have fallen away from him. For now, there is peace. Between the sheets, his body seems to float, unaffected by gravity.
As he floats, he finds that he is underwater again. But unlike his earlier dunking, this is pleasant, natural. He meanders along, exploring an underwater pathway through the rocks and seaweed. He swishes his tail from side to side. Huh! He has a tail, just like a fish. The path is beautiful, gleaming with light and colour. He barely notices how deep he has gone. Then, up ahead, he spies an opening. A cave! He pokes his head through the entrance, expecting darkness but surprised by light--little jewels of colour, sparkling and flashing, leading him along. His webbed hands propel him as he swivels and turns, delighting in his prowess as a swimmer.
In the centre of the cave, he discovers the source of the light. A sea anemone the size of a car. Amethyst-coloured light pulses from the gently undulating tentacles--each one as tall as Danny. Lines of light dance across the floor of the cave like a loosely-woven net. The water is so clear that Danny experiences a moment of vertigo. Looking up, he sees the ceiling of the cave swirling with patterns--a thing of beauty. He stares and stares.
Suddenly, the patterns make sense to him. Not pictures. Writing. Each swirl is full of information. As the patterns sharpen and take form in his head, Danny finds himself reading them like text.
We are the keepers of the Life of the Ocean, part of the never-ending current of Life. We live to maintain Mother Ocean and all creatures and plants in her protection.
All at once, Danny feels himself being dragged backwards, out of the cave. The images start to blur. As his body is pulled away he glimpses one last pattern. He shivers as he makes out the words.
He is come to repossess.
In his mind's eye, he sees again the inscription on the magnificent Eik Cedar. He struggles, a great noise filling his ears. He thrashes left and right expecting to feel water; instead, he feels the soft covers of the bed. His eyes blink open and he sees his hotel room. The ringing in his ears goes on and on, until--finally--he reaches into the semi-darkness and picks up the phone.
"D-D-Danny," he croaks.
"Goddamn you Danny! Where you been? It's like you're on another planet these days."
It's Steve Nash.
He sounds pumped.
"Look, Danny, I seen that tree you told me about. You done good, boy! The chains and cable are just perfect for the battle scene. All we gotta do is lose the greenery, make it sinister. Lop the branches off--leave it stripped bare. Man, it's perfect! You ever run a chainsaw before, boy?"
Danny's chest constricts. His stomach begins to heave.
The Eik Street Cedar! The inscription. His dream--was it really a dream? Suddenly all he can think of is the tree, protecting it from danger.
"Nooooo!" he screams. "Keep your hands off that tree!"
Too late. Dial tone hums in Danny's ears.
Nash has already hung up.
"Tofino Timeless" is a serial story written by the Clayoquot Writers Group.
Read Chapter Eight in the August issue of Tofino Time Magazine...
Previous chapters of Tofino Timeless are available online:
Tofino Timeless is a serial story written by the Clayoquot Writers Group. This is chapter 7 of the novel, written by Joanna Streetly