© 2022 Daniel Verastiqui
Cynthia Mesquina was seated at her table on the patio of Chez Windell overlooking the marina for all of ten minutes before she spotted a familiar face in the passing foot traffic. He looked out of place—a hulking man of at least two hundred and fifty pounds in a purple blazer and dark gray slacks. The wide brim of his hat cast half of his face in shadow, but Cyn would have recognized the white stubble and jutting chin anywhere. As she waited for him to climb the steps to the patio, she wondered how he had found her so quickly. But then a soft breeze coming in off the water carried the question away, and she felt comforted by the idea that he had been waiting for her, checking for her, probably every day since she had dropped off the grid.
The sun was low, simmering orange just above the horizon. Lincoln Tate sat with his back to it, looking monolithic in the plastic chair. He removed his hat and smoothed one side of his hair wit...