Old Papeete concentrates on the steam escaping from the cracks in the earth, as if the sulphurous cloud could take him back to the past. Standing in the vapor, Papeete sees his father calling him, as he did 75 years before, to tell him about the apocalyptic eruption of the Tarawera volcano. "Listen carefully, son. It happened on May 31st 1886. You hadn't been born. I was working on a boat, taking tourists around Lake Rotomahana. Suddenly, an old war canoe appeared on the water, heading toward the volcano. We went after it, but it vanished. We consulted old Tuhoto, our tohunga (spiritual guide), and he told us we had seen the 'Ghost Canoe,' an omen of a great tragedy to come. A little later, on June 10th, Tarawera awoke and buried our village and two others. One hundred and fifty locals died, and seven Europeans. Your mother and I were saved..."

Published in Altair