Smoke – Scene Five

S C E N E    F I V E

They would reach the bridge that crossed over the Quinomish, a bridge that would lead to the Tribal Center. They were not to cross the bridge, but keep straight and a few miles further on they would find the gas station. Near the edge of the map the hooked feature was known as the Talon and protected the inner waters of the bay, the river the same Quinomish that passed under the bridge. Apprehensive when asked about beach access the old lady made it clear that once they went beyond the gas station they would be on the ‘Res’.

“Not where you want to be in this fog,” warned the shopkeeper.

With the old woman and her shop in the rear view mirror the couple broke into the beer and Oreos.

“Did you see that old lady’s eyes,” from the woman over a lick of hard cream center filling.

“Yeah, she was completely blind.”


Driving on in silence, not noticing that as morning drifted along it was getting darker not lighter.  The fog was not burning off, but settling in, getting tight, getting cozy.

Thickening by the moment, the fog was moving faster now as it traced the course of the river. Moving faster nearer to the surface, peeling off in gauzy wisps that spiraled up into the cedars and firs, so many ghosts gathering in the treetops collectively weighing down the canopy. Bringing the car to a standstill the couple focused on the choice before them. 

At the crux, planted in a festoon of giant spiked fern leaned an old plywood signpost propped up from behind by a tangle of tree trunks and branches, epiphytes, plants feeding off other plants. The billboard itself raw unpainted wood. Two black symbols tattooed on the board; crude arrows, one pointing right, the other left.

To the right a bridge stretched out into the fog spanning the river below, the landmark noted by the blind shopkeeper. Dead quiet now, barely visible through the swirling fog, glimpses of movement, a menacing hide-n-seek of shape and formless dance as an owl sounded taking a bite out of the silence.

Bleeding out to the left, a dotted line on a map.


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