Story by Michael Shapiro
Photos by Dana Edmunds
The two-lane road hugging the south shore of the island of Tahiti ends at a river. If you’re driving a four-by-four, you can ford it and continue along the rutted, muddy lanes. If, like me, you’re driving a rented Fiat just a little bigger than a Matchbox car, you park and cross a footbridge. Either way, once you leave the pavement behind, you enter an enchanted, almost mythic Polynesia: serene lily ponds, electric rainbows, radiant sunsets. Wood smoke drifting from houses tucked among banana trees. The people of the village tote armfuls of baguettes to Sunday brunches of poisson cru and breadfruit, piloting their bikes one-handed through clusters of chickens and poi dogs.
But if Gothic literature and B-movies have taught us anything, it’s that monsters stalk idyllic places. In this, our happy little hamlet is no exception.