Tofino Timeless: Chapter Ten
by David Floody, Tofino
The story so far: A schlock horror flick about evil merfolk breeding with the people of a seaside village and stealing their souls? For Danny Cubit, advance location scout for Fantasy Films, Tofino was just another place, 'The Waiting Deeps' just another movie. But barely a week later, fantasy was approaching reality. Danny's universe had shifted.
He'd dreamt of swimming with the merfolk; attracted the interest of the mysterious psychic, Velella; endured the hostility of the hulking Mussel; felt connected to the words carved into the ancient Eik Street Cedar, 'He is come to repossess'; won the love of the beautiful Shell; and seen her arrested for punching the bribe-taking mayor who was in league with Nash. Danny's production boss wanted to destroy the 800-hundred year old treasure to make his movie. That was the true horror.
Danny had surprised himself by joining the protest to save Eik, but outraged Nash. No wonder Danny needed a stiff drink and a double order of honey-garlic chicken wings.
The Seventh Seal is broken! Great Ingmar is dead! Revelation! Tribulation! Trial! The First Soul of Film has passed!" The wild woman in the old black and yellow gumboots had the full attention of the evening patrons in the Dockside Pub.
She sank into a chair near Danny, bemoaning Bergman's loss. He recognized her as the woman offering acting lessons to potential extras in Nash's movie. But there would be no movie now. Shell and Velella had rallied the citizens around the Eik tree and forced Nash to halt work. Fantasy Films had fired Danny by cell phone. He had lost his job, but found Shell and love. Maybe even a new direction in life.
"We are left desolate!" The woman wailed. He could almost sympathize.
"May I get you a drink and some of these honey-garlic wings?"
"Ingrate! Philistine!" She pointed a witch's finger at Danny.
"Right, no comfort food," he said, red-faced. Two locals hustled her away, gumboots dragging. His new direction might require more work than expected. But Danny would have Shell's loving support. He would not be discouraged.
"Ah, here you are, Danny. You must come with us." Velella, with a scowling Mussel, appeared beside him. Other diners edged their chairs away. Definitely more work.
"I'm not finished eating. And I'm hoping for a call from Shell at the police station."
"Shell can take care of herself." Danny wasn't so sure, but Mussel put a huge hand on his shoulder.
Danny was sitting at Velella's table on her float-home in Wettening Cove. Mussel stayed with the boat outside.
"I'm listening," Danny said.
"Good. What I must tell you will sound fantastic. Only Shell knows." Velella said.
"Why the 'must'?"
"Because the threat is not over, Danny. Because only you can deal with it. And it must be tonight."
"But . . ."
"No buts. Swear to keep the secret." Who was this elusive woman with the streaming blonde hair and strange eyes? She gripped both his hands. "Swear!" Danny's mind resisted, but his mouth didn't. It was his love for Shell.
"OK, I swear."
"The merfolk sent you a dream," Velella said. "You shifted bodies, swam under Wettening Cove to a sacred cave, saw the Presence, saw the prophecy, saw yourself." Danny fought down panic. How did she know? He wanted to pull away, but her control was complete. "They revealed their past, their present peril, and your future. Have you the courage to seize it?"
"But who are these merfolk?"
Danny listened to what she'd told Shell--the legend of Poseidon's marriage to Amphitrite; Amphitrite's fond visits along with their son, Triton, to what became Clayoquot Sound; Triton's love for a mortal woman here; the birth of the merfolk their union produced; the merfolk's guardianship of the wild ocean places and the rich life they contained; the danger of their extinction; Velella's role as their intermediary. Danny slowly withdrew his hands from hers.
"It's just too fantastic, Velella."
"And there is risk." She conjured a tarot card and revealed its dark image: a lightning-struck tower, figures falling in flames. Danny thought of the crazed woman's accusing finger. 'Revelation. Tribulation. Trial.' He shivered. "You're a sensitive, Danny. What are they telling you?"
Was it her Mesmer eyes, or only his stress and nagging hunger? Words floated into Danny's head and broke from his lips like bubbles. "Trust. In the truth. Of the tree." Velella pulled him to his feet.
The village was midnight restless around Danny and Velella. The rising mass of the 'bondage tree' held up a heavy sky turned strange as Velella's eyes.
Nash had been wrong. Danny felt it. This eight-hundred-year-old cedar was not a prisoner. Eik was an emissary and a caution: Care. Care deeply. The selfless efforts of Velella, Shell, and yes, even Mussel, had preserved it. As had the wisdom of generations from the dreaming times before.
"You see?" Velella pointed at the three Fantasy Films' equipment vans, the stacked scaffolding, the piles of tarps and Sof-mats. Danny sensed Nash's threat. "It's not over."
"You'll need these." Danny shrugged on the Helly Hansen jacket and took Velella's heavy backpack, then knelt down to look inside. "Open it later."
"Just what am I supposed to . . ." But Velella was gone--again.
"Trust in the truth of the tree, Danny." Her voice drifted back from the water behind him.
"Geez, I hate that!"
Danny approached Eik timidly. "Just a big old tree," he lied. Danny reached out his fingers to the carved words. 'He is come to repossess.'
Danny snapped back his hand. Had the words moved, rippled under his touch? "No way!" He took a centering breath and tried again. The wood bulged outward and shaped itself to his fingers. Then Danny knew. But could he trust the tree? Did he have the courage to risk it? He was an out-of-work location scout, not Buckaroo Banzai.
Danny shouldered the backpack, then reached both hands to the rough bark above his head. Two bulges! Now he longed for Velella or Shell, even Mussel. There was only he and Eik. Deliberately, Danny put his right foot against the tree--the bulge like a step. "Oh shit!"
But in a moment he was climbing.
"Tofino Timeless" is a serial story written by the Clayoquot Writers Group.
Watch for Chapter Eleven in the November 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 10, writting by David Floody, Tofino