Spotting the Confederate

CHAPTER 11 the end of another virtually indiscernible path I found Peggy pulling in her fishing nets. We hadn't seen each other since the revolution. She'd carved out a little home in the cliff. We went inside and Peggy put the kettle on the hot plate. She was a pirate now and looked like stone. She had no decorations or furniture in her home except a wooden chair with a ream of wire on it. All was silent except the buzz of the generator; hard to believe we were still in the city.

I used her restroom and noticed the medicine cabinet was wide open and empty. The back of its door had a message scrawled on it in marker. Someone had used white paint to conceal the majority of the words so at the top I could only read the name "MARGARET" and at the bottom it said "THE KEY TO THE OPEN SEA" then a little more white paint, then the signature, "- THE DUCK" looked like a love note or a dear john letter or a love poem where all the love had been removed. The whole thing was in upper case letters.

I told Peggy where I'd been but intentionally left out having seen the minister's children. There was something troubling about her now. She listened to me but hardly said a word; smoking and sorting out her nets, never looking at me. She said she needed to leave but invited me to stay as long as I wished. We shook hands and I was left alone, sipping tea on the back porch, looking out at the ocean, wondering about the duck. I overheard the minister's children again just a little ways above me, then I saw a man trying to walk across the precarious incline at the edge of the island without rolling into the sea. He was wearing a confederate uniform. The minister's kids saw him struggling and went over to help him.

I realized Peggy's house was actually a houseboat; not part of Manhattan. She had a dinghy tied to the back and I borrowed it...