Grace Is Gone by Emily Elgar

Grace Is Gone by Emily Elgar

Author:Emily Elgar
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2019-11-03T16:00:00+00:00



Down on the beach the police put a tent over her. They won’t tell us anything. The crowd jostles around me. Whispers of “What’s happened?” or “Is it the disabled girl?” make me want to hide. I need to leave, I need to be with Mum. My body moves robotically, getting me first to the car and then driving me to the salon, to Mum.

The salon is only slightly less busy than it’s been all week. There’s a small group of people outside on the pavement in front of the photos of Grace and Meg on display in the window. I don’t know most of them but I spot Brian from the pub; I know he sees me, but I don’t acknowledge him. I just need Mum. It’s busy inside but the atmosphere is heavy, it’s like walking in to the end of a disappointing party. There are balloons around the corners of the room, tied to the dryers and stuck onto the mirrors. People I know and some I don’t stare and nudge each other when they see me. Dennis the butcher is standing by the door, with Barry and Marie. Dennis puts a heavy arm around me and says, “Martin called us from the Point. We’re so sorry, love,” into my ear. I picture him in his white apron, hands inside a pig’s ribcage, smell the iron tang of blood and instinctively pull away.

Either Zara or Mum have stuck search maps of the local area on all the walls, but no one is looking at them anymore. What’s the point? Everyone’s exhausted, their Find Grace T-shirts are crumpled now—some of them have been up for the last three nights looking for Grace. Some of them, like old Dr. Parker, are so shattered they look numb, and are perhaps secretly relieved that their searching might be over. Others, like Zara, are wet-faced and angry. She calls “Cara!” when she sees me and pulls me towards her thin but strong body.

“Your Mum’ll be so pleased you’re here, babe.”

She holds my hand firmly, the way Meg used to, as she leads me past Molly, who smiles at me as she rocks Zack in his pram, past the farmer Mr. Leeson, past Sylvia, who squeezes my arm, past the vicar who prayed at the vigil, and past others I don’t know until we get to Mum, who sits at the head of a trestle table. Mum sits still and upright in her chair; her makeup’s been wiped or cried away. She looks more herself than usual, more beautiful despite her tear-stained face. I want to fall on her, drop my head into her lap, but something stops me. Mum is trying to hold herself together; she knows that if she gives in to sorrow everyone else will too. There’s a pink cake in front of her; only a few slices have been taken. David from the Wishmakers sits next to her, his head in his hands.

Mum’s hand trembles as she reaches for me.


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