Wide smiles signaled the end of the conversation, a clutch of paper, some-kind of fabric, transferred from one to the other. Hands touched. Equal in swiftness to the youth’s appearance the child-like figure was gone, an apparition absorbed into the thickness of the cool night, the void filled by the piercing screech of a disgruntled owl.
“Everything ok?” the question coming from the passenger seat as her husband returned to the car.
“Better than ever, actually. We missed it, drove right by, back about half a mile on the right.” Power had gone out several hours earlier, a freak burst of wind, toppling trees, taking out power lines. Lights that would have indicated the lodge were dead.
“What about the kid?”
“Lives over there somewhere,” hand flipped in the general direction of the forest that encroached upon the dark road.
Settled back in the car the couple reversed direction intent on finding the lodge as quickly as possible. Alert now, keen eyes seeking, they spotted the lodge nestled comfortably thirty yards back from the road beneath a colonnade of Western Red Cedar. After parking the car, but before entering the office to register their arrival, the two weary companions snicked on the overhead reading lamp to check out the material passed from the young boy.
Unfolding a tired white sheath, smoothing creases, the two peered at a single page from either side of the console. A map. Roughly etched in faded ink the depiction of a hook-shaped bay. Waves indicated in the most northern section above where the hook pinched in from the south forming a natural breakwater. Additional markings suggested whaling or fishing, canoes, a sprawling village and a significant river emptying into the bay. What looked like a broken path snaking through a scrawl of dunes ended abruptly at an expanse of open beach.
Heads together in the lamplight, tomorrow’s agenda was set. Get gas, find the beach.