Sewing the Shadows Together

Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie

Book: Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alison Baillie
dress. Tom smoothed the curled corners and looked at the photo carefully. A very pretty girl of about thirteen, smiling shyly at the camera, a smile that showed attraction. Was this the girl he’d made pregnant? The mother of his half-brother? Tom felt a rush of revulsion. She was just a little girl, only about the age of Shona.
    He looked further into the box. There were some pencil drawings, harbour views, a fishing boat, the silhouette of a tree, a few awkward figure compositions. Tom was surprised. His father had talent, better at drawing landscapes than figures, though.
    Then he saw a thick roll of papers tied with a bit of string. He unrolled them carefully and straightened them out. There were about fifty pieces of paper and they all seemed to be of naked women. Or one naked woman. They were all the same prepubescent girl with small breasts and the beginnings of pubic hair. The face was sometimes blank, but where there were features it was recognisably the girl in the picture. Although they were drawn so many years ago, Tom felt an uneasy sense of embarrassment. This was too intimate.
    As he leafed further down the pile of papers the pictures became more stylized, the breasts sharper, the private space between her legs larger and cruder. And then there were other images etched on the drawings with thick, heavily-drawn lines; ropes, knives, bleeding wounds, giant phalluses violating the purity of the images, crushing every part of the sketched figure. Tom screwed the papers together in disgust.
    So, seeds of the violence and aggression that had characterised his father’s behaviour when he was older were there in his youth. Tom tried to think back to when he was that age. He’d fantasised about girls, of course, but this was something different. He thought of that poor girl. What indignities had his father subjected her to? Was this why he’d run away? He looked at the photo again. Her long blonde hair, her childlike innocence… there was definitely an air of Shona about her.
    An unthinkable idea began to form in the back of his mind. He didn’t allow it to take shape at first, blocking it out, but it diverted and found other ways to force its way into his conscious thoughts and solidify. If it wasn’t Logan Baird who’d killed Shona… and Rory had said he’d seen Tom’s father in the park that night…
    No, not his father… no!
    It was impossible, unnatural… Tom wrestled with the thought in his mind. But, after Shona’s death, his father had really fallen apart, and they say most murders are committed by a family member…
    No. it couldn’t be. His father loved Shona, he adored her, his little princess. He loved her sitting on his knee… No, these thoughts couldn’t go any further…
    Tom was shaking. The walls of the small bedroom seemed to be closing in. He felt suffocated, nauseous. He had to get out, he had to get this wicked, evil chest out of the room. He dragged it back to the car, panting guiltily. A nosy neighbour really would think it was a body, he thought, as he looked furtively in every direction before lifting it into the boot of the hire car and slamming the lid shut.
    The owners of the B&B didn’t seem to be around so he left the key with a note and payment for the next night. Still breathing heavily, he drove as fast as he could away from the village in the opposite direction from the church and Mary McIver’s pursed-lipped disapproval. Had she any idea of the secrets in the chest?
    Tom sped on into the gathering darkness, down a long road, past an isolated churchyard seemingly in the middle of nowhere. He had no idea where he was going, he just had to get away. The road seemed to peter out as he reached a deserted cove. The beach was different from the ones on Uist and Harris, rockier with piles of marbled stones, smooth and regular from the sea, with swirling lines and colours of years of prehistory.
    There was not much fuel around, but Tom managed to gather some driftwood, which

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