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Waves, dangerous near the point where shoals broke them, rolled gently half a mile out. Anna kept her bow pointed into the swells and reveled in the sense of being part of the lake instead of a motorized nuisance, a noisy intruder it would shrug from its skin as a horse would twitch free of a fly. Northeast was Passage Island with its historic lighthouse. To the south long fingers of land, rock shredded by fifteen centuries of a glacier’s feints and retreats, reached into the lake. In the spring sunshine, the peninsulas were clothed in rich greens and the water in the coves was tropical blue.
It was the third that drove ships to their deaths. The waves were called the Three Sisters. It was they, lakers would tell, who had drowned the Edmund Fitzgerald. Denny liked to say he had met the third sister and married her. If gossip could be trusted, he had spent more time on board the 3rd Sister over the past eleven years than at any woman’s breakfast table. Castle wasn’t drinking at all, nor was he talking. As he ran back out into the night to check on dinner, Anna poured herself a glass of Mondavi red and, wondering what the hell was going on, settled close to the stove.
The old tub had enough buoyancy left that a few more minutes wouldn’t make much difference. And, by the sagging flesh of the man’s cheeks and his dilated pupils, Anna guessed he was about half shocky with fear and cold. Hal finished his pile of Boy Scout knots and made his way back the length of the boat. He was younger than the man white-knuckling the stern line, maybe thirty-five. Fear etched hard lines around his eyes and mouth but he looked, if not entirely reasonable, at least able to listen.