Maureen Bush's The Veil Weavers

by Shaun Hunter


Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers

An image of the Highland Valley wetland painted on the side of this protest truck evokes the entry to a magical realm underneath Calgary in The Veil Weavers. (Photo: Save The Highland Valley Wetlands) 

An image of the Highland Valley wetland painted on the side of this protest truck evokes the entry to a magical realm underneath Calgary in The Veil Weavers. (Photo: Save The Highland Valley Wetlands

Magic is leaking from the realm underneath the city. On Halloween night, Josh and his sister Maddy are summoned by the giant of Castle Mountain: he needs their help repairing the veil that separates his world from theirs. In Confederation Park, crows open a secret doorway and, in the company of two otter-people, the siblings begin their journey toward Nose Creek and the Bow River beyond.

 

Even in the dark I could feel the difference between Calgary and the magic world. It was both brighter and darker, with no city lights, a gazillion stars, and a luminous moon. This world was rougher and wilder than the human world, with a power I could feel deep in my body. Maddy and I grinned at each other. We were back!

[…]

A boat rested on the bank of the creek. It was like the one we’d travelled in last summer, bark stretched over an oval ring of branches. We all climbed in, the smallest crow perching on the edge of the boat beside my shoulder.

Their paddles were magical and could travel upstream or downstream with equal ease, but tonight the otter-people were working extra hard, paddling in a fast, smooth rhythm as if they were in a hurry.

We followed the creek down a deep, treed valley, and crossed a marsh alive with the rustling of animals and the fragrance of mint and mud. A wolf howled as we slipped around a beaver dam. When Maddy shivered, I pulled her close to me.

She watched everything through the engraved silver band Keeper had given her. When I borrowed it, I could see magic strong and golden on Eneirda and Greyfur, and on the boat and paddles. It flashed off the wings of the crows and glowed softly on everything.

The stream carried us down to the Bow River. As soon as the boat slid into it we could feel the power of the current. Eneirda and Greyfur murmured to their paddles – the boat turned and we headed upstream.

 

Maureen Bush, The Veil Weavers (Regina: Coteau Books, 2012)