“Then it’s time she told me,” he muttered, stalking down thestreet. “I deserve to know the truth.”
It was a good two-mile walk back home, but Dalton didn’t mind.
He used the time to clear his head and reconsider what he’d heardMrs. Putshukoff say to Arnie, the storekeeper. She had come into
the store all excited. Apparently there had been some untimely deaths in the Tlingit village; a fight of some sort had seen two
men killed and a woman gravely injured. Mrs. Putshukoff declared
there hadn’t been so much trouble since the mess that year LydiaGray had come to live on the island.Dalton had been standing near the back of the store, looking
over a supply of paint, when the conversation had begun. He’d
tried to edge closer without looking obvious, but Arnie knew hewas there and hurried to hush Mrs. Putshukoff. In a town where
gossip ruled, Dalton found people particularly closemouthed about
his past. Perhaps it was out of respect to his mother. She was quitebeloved and a pillar of the community. Maybe folks felt they owedher their silence. Then again, so many of the folks who’d lived inSitka the year Dalton had been born were long gone.
The sun remained positioned high in the sky even though
it was half past five. Summer days were long in Sitka, and therewould still be a good four or five more hours of light. Today was
even better, because they were blessed with no rain. The clear skies
would give everyone a reason to celebrate with outdoor activitieswell into the evening.
Dalton’s father always said this was his favorite time of the
year, and Dalton felt much the same. It really was a pity that such aperfect day had to be ruined by the weight of the secrets concealedfrom him. The long walk home had done nothing to calm his spirit;
if anything, Dalton felt his need for answers only heightened. Helonged to know about his birth—about his real father. All he knew
for certain was this: His mother had been a widow when she’d