NIGHT FERRY

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NIGHT FERRY

Postby AshesOfEden on Oct 13 2016, 10:59pm

Hi All,

I am in the middle of my trip swinging from Vancouver Island through the inside passage to Prince Rupert and to the Haida Gwaii islands.

The principle mode of travel are the ferries of varying sizes carrying cars and passengers.

The coast and the islands are wonderful places to enjoy and you can spot a wide range of wildlife from the humpback whales and Orca (Killer Whale) pods to bald eagles and spirit bears.

I was on an overnight ferry last night when I wrote this short story.

This is off-season so travelling is quiet and there are not many passengers around on these trips.

But sometimes, in the dead of the night..

you can get some company..

----------------------------------------------------------


NIGHT FERRY

Chapter One: Talisman




M.V Naikoon was docked with its bow nose pulled back open to load the cars.

Against the setting sun hugging the Porcher island across the Chatham Sound, the ferry looked like a giant whale with its mouth open to swallow its passengers.

Unlike the sophisticated terminals near Vancouver where the passengers board the ferries through a raised terminal arm; like at the airports, here in the remote coastline of the far north, the passengers walk in through the same opened jaws of the bow nose that the cars load up.

Nathan felt like Jonas as he walked down the ramp against the setting sun.

The faint hum of the boat's turbines welcomed him as he walked the staircase to the passenger decks. All the car passengers were waiting for the elevators that would take them to the plush cabins with hot showers and warm beds.

It's the fall time and the throngs of tourists have long disappeared with the warm weather. Nathan decided to use the washrooms before settling at one of the passenger lounges, as there was no hurry to get a seat. He'd be lucky if he runs into anyone at all.

He did run into someone in the washroom however. A native Haida man in his sixties was busy washing his hands at the sink when Nathan walked in.

As Nathan lined up to wash his hands, he noticed that the Haida man with his haired pulled back in a ponytail, wearing a leather coat with ornate Haida art patterns emblazoned at the back, was actually washing a small object.

Nathan, being quite versed in the marine biology of the Pacific North West, noticed the object as a small half of an abalone shell, looped with a string as a pendant.

Nathan gave a warm smile and a respectful nod to the man and commented that it is a beautiful shell.

The Haida elder replied;

"I would never cross the dark waters without this charm la".. his accent ending with a soft cadence and ended with a "la".. a tail-off phrase like "eh" that people normally associate with the Canadians.

"May I have a look?"

The elder handed the pendant. The abalone shell shone with iridescent greens and purples, and there was an etching of a figure at the centre.

Nathan had seen many Haida art. There were the World known patterns depicting the Eagles and Ravens and Bears that grace the totem poles of the native Haida people.. but this one..

This one was of an older...more ancient design..

The last time Nathan had seen a like of this figure was on the Petroglyphs on the rocks by the sea on Vancouver Island. Petroglyphs etched some 3000 years ago.

"Starbucks la" the Haida man joked..

Nathan laughed.. catching the reference to the famous logo of the coffee chain.

But his laugh was a bit uneasy as this figure on the abalone and the glyphs both had another common feature.

Nathan was fairly certain that both figures have a sharp set of teeth.

"You wouldn't have another one of these around by any chance would you?" Nathan joked

"Haha No.. This was passed down to me from long time ago" he paused.. he then stared at Nathan for a second, paused, thinking..

"Come back with me, I might have something..".. both exited the washrooms and the Haida man went to a passenger lounge where he had unfurled his sleeping bag on the floor between two rows of seats, with assorted shells lying on the floor.

"Ah.. here.. keep this while you are on this boat".. the elder extended his hand to Nathan's and passed a small tooth looped into a bracelet band.

"Spirit Bear tooth la.. might keep them off you for a bit la.."

Nathan expressed his gratitude and offered some sandwiches and a Coke from the vending machines which they ate heartily. Such were the joys on the overnight ferries where one could swear the whole operation is automated with not a crew to be found.

The Haida man laid down on his sleeping bag and was snoring a short time after.

Nathan stood by the large floor to ceiling viewing windows in the room and watched an orange sunset fading in the clear and chilly fall air..

M.V Naikoon was soon swallowed into the darkness and Nathan sat down for a nap on the front row chairs by the window on the starboard side of the boat.

-------------------------------------------------------------


Chapter Two: Edge of the world



A whistling sound of the wind woke Nathan up. Out the window, all that he could see was a night fog, brushing past the ferry in swirls of thick formless bands.

Even in his groggy half awake mode, he recognized the distinctive sound as a door to the outer decks not being fully shut.

It is a duty in the polite world of the Canadians, to seek out those slightly ajar doors, and close them shut.

The Haida elder was still snoring and sound asleep but Nathan was able to trace the sound to a door where the fog was streaming in from a crack.

There was enough of the fog that had seeped into the hallway that Nathan felt the chill as he reached to close it shut.

The cabin section was quiet. With attached bathrooms, none of the passengers needed to come out into the common areas to mingle with the common folks like Nathan in the middle of the night.

"Well let's see what fun awaits at the vending machines for my midnight snack" he chuckled softly to himself..

He passed the stand with the tourist brochures and pamphlets on his way to the vending machines, and a front page phrase from a year old visitor guide caught his eye.

Welcome to the edge of the world

"Welcome to" he picked it up and started softly reading it out..

"The edge of the world eh?" A sweet voice finished the phrase from beside him and he looked..

To his side, Nathan saw a fellow passenger greeting him with a soft smile.

She was of a medium height with a slender frame in her thirties, wearing a blue MEC jacket and a blue-grey Columbia convertible trail pants.

She had a pale complexion with flowing curls of copper red hair to her waist..

Beyond her soft smile, Nathan saw the almost iridescent blue-green swirls in the Irises of her eyes.

Her trail pants and the Salomon Comet hiking boots had smudges of seaweed, bull kelp and moss that any beach combers or those who trek the terrain around these parts would have on their clothes.

"You don't seem like the brochure reading tourist type" she continued..

"Ah no.." Nathan put on his most wholesome smile..

"Damn Nathan, you are at a loss for words already" he thought to himself.

"Hi, I'm Therese" she extended her pale slender hands

"I'm Nathan" Nathan flashed his faint dimples and received the handshake.. and noticed her hands were a bit cold.

"Were you just out on the deck?" Nathan asked.

"Yes!.. I was trying to watch some stars from the deck..it's new moon so a great time to gaze at them.. but this fog just rolled in" Therese exclaimed

"So what brings you to the edge of the world Nathan?".. she continued.. doing air quotes with her fingers while her warm gaze is fixed on him..

"Oh I'm part of a team to evaluate laying some undersea fibre optic cables to the islands here"

"What about you?" Nathan asked

"I am a starving marine biologist stationed off the Nootka island.. we mostly monitor the J and K pods and some transient pods"

"Oh the Orcas" Nathan quipped.. He enjoys conversations where even among strangers, a higher degree of knowledge is respectfully conveyed as a sign of a more intellectual kinship.

"Yea silly little buggers" Therese quipped

"Aren't they aggressive pack hunters with sharp rows of teeth?" Nathan joked...

Having only seen them swimming placidly with their large black dorsal fins in real life during his journeys but the imprints of the videos where the killer whales jumping onto the beaches to snatch the seals were vivid in his memory.

"Nah, they are pretty tame kittens" Therese replied with a warm smile.

It was now past midnight..the fog had lifted the windows now showed the dark skies above and the dark waters below.

"Hey Nathan, would you like to go see the constellations from the deck? May be Orion?" Therese gently invited

As any Canadian who knew the lyrics of Bobcaygeon by heart, nobody from the true north strong and free ever turns down a chance to see the constellations reveal themselves, one star at a time.

"For sure! Let me go get my phone that's charging.." Nathan replied..

"Unlike you full time scientists, I need my star finding app to help me out you know"
he sheepishly added..

He went back to his seat near a power outlet where his phone was charging.

The Wifi on the ferry was slow but usable with practically nobody on it at night and he decided to do a quick unload on KaW.

An Aussie admin had started The Reckoning Blood Rains knowing most North American players would be asleep at this time.

Tap-tap-tap... chop-chop-chop!

Nathan sliced the tentacles to pieces

Satisfied that the dismembered masses of Z'uthmerak now littered the sea, Nathan put on his parka and followed Theresa, the lady with the coral-color hair, to the outside deck.

------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter Three: The Encounter


Nathan and Therese went up to the Stern deck where the wind was minimal. A faint glow of the Milky Way greeted them as there was no light pollution from any cities.

The sea was calm and the faint new moon bathed its feeble light on the nearby islands with their rocky beaches.

"There they are" Therese pointed to her left facing north

"The seven daughters of Pleione".. her sweet voice had a hint of something else Nathan noticed.. Jealousy? Grudge?.. he couldn't put a finger on it but it was definitely not a joyful tone.

Nathan vaguely remembered that Orion the great hunter is to the left of the Seven Sisters and on a fall sky at midnight, might still be lying low in the north sky.

"Time to bring out the techno wizardary and impress the scientist lady" he thought as he started the star chart app on his phone.

The app was a typical star viewing aid where the camera view came on and as you pointed to the sections of the sky, outlines of the constellations and their info showed up superimposed on the screen.

Nathan slowly swung the phone with the camera view on to the left of where Therese was pointing, staying low on the horizon.

The camera screen slowly crossed where Therese is standing... and Nathan froze with absolute fright.

On the screen of his phone, where the digital pixels were authentically replicating the objects from the lens being shone in the faint glow of the moon..was not Therese..

The rough human form was wrought with seaweeds and kelp and writhing with anemone like feelers wavering in the nightwind.. crawling, seeking...

Iridescent scales on its bodyshape interspersed with bony webbed limbs..

It turned its head toward Nathan on the camera.. it had eyes but they were softly glowing like red ambers on a dying bonfire.. flickering with a menace and thirst.. when it spoke, the barracuda like rows of sharp teeth gleamed..

"So did you find Orion?" The sweet voice asked

"Ahh the.. the hunter?" Nathan's cracking voice replied as he subconsciously started backing towards the door..

"Yes.. the hunter of the night" Therese replied.. slowly closing in on Nathan.. as if to embrace him on their first date.

Her hair gently swaying in the wind, her warm blue-green eyes peering into his inner longings

The tiny portion of Nathan's sane mind that had not occupied yet with abject terror signalled for immediate fleeing from this nightmare and he turned towards the door with lightening speed...

...and froze with sheer terror as if his veins were flooded with the icy dark waters below..


Another writing form stood between him and the door on the deck.

This one, he could see with his own eyes, had starfishes devouring half of her head and live corals growing out of her shoulders.. pulsating, oozing with sludge.

She emitted a shriek, baring her gleaming teeth.. and lunged at him..

Nathan was knocked backwards and fell on his back.. startled and frozen with shock.

The form from the dark waters extended her bony hands and the claw like fingers ripped open his parka..

The Haida man's bracelet of the Spirit Bear tooth fell out from the shirt pocket where Nathan had kept..

The form leapt back with a loud shriek.. its eyes glowing brightly with disdain..

Nathan summoned all his remaining strength and sanity and rolled, crouched and ran to the door, picking up the talisman..

He swiftly pulled the door open with all his might, heaved himself into the hallway and closed the door shut and held on to the lever with white knuckles..

A shape appeared into view at the porthole window on the door from outside..inches from his face..

It was Therese.. with her lush coral-red hair and soft blue-green pleading eyes.

"Let me in Nathan... Please" it implored

Nathan slowly backed away from the shut door and held up the talisman to her view..

Shrieks were heard as he backed away from the peering eyes that were glowing like embers at the window.

Nathan sat close to the sleeping Haida elder with shells strewn over the floor near his sleeping bag.

Nathan didn't mind the snoring for the rest of the night..

-----------------------------------------------------------
Last edited by AshesOfEden on Oct 14 2016, 8:41pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NIGHT FERRY

Postby AshesOfEden on Oct 13 2016, 11:04pm

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Re: NIGHT FERRY

Postby Boba-Fett on Oct 13 2016, 11:52pm

Aaaaawwwww dude I'm jealous haven't been back home in 26 years, enjoy your stay at Haida Gwaii!
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Re: NIGHT FERRY

Postby _Clyde_ on Oct 13 2016, 11:58pm

Great read, very entertaining.
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Re: NIGHT FERRY

Postby AshesOfEden on Oct 14 2016, 8:49pm

The Seven Sisters are out again tonight..

I am back on the mainland now..

Wishing you all a cozy night
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Re: NIGHT FERRY

Postby Ashvar on Oct 14 2016, 11:52pm

I miss Vancouver and the inside passage. Great story.
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Re: NIGHT FERRY

Postby ambermoon on Oct 15 2016, 3:11am

Great story Ashes...you never disappoint me!
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Re: NIGHT FERRY

Postby Explore on Oct 15 2016, 3:13am

Good Read
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Re: NIGHT FERRY

Postby TERRA on Oct 15 2016, 5:00am

I thought this story would have resulted in your death due to the storm
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Re: NIGHT FERRY

Postby One-BaDaSs_PaiN-In_Ur-AsS_LiLi on Oct 15 2016, 7:41am

Great story.. lol he unloaded on kaw when a hot chick was waiting for him :lol: typical
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