The Evil that Befell Sampson
By Pip Ballantine
“We all know you are the best person to deal with peculiar things,” Mrs. Kate Sheppard smiled at the younger woman standing before her, “And quite frankly what has been going on is most peculiar indeed.”
Though she was asking for help from Eliza D Braun, Field Agent in the South Pacific Branch of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences her tone was warm and friendly. However, even though they had known each other for a long time, more than a quarter of Eliza’s life, she still did not feel entirely comfortable around the older woman. Hero worship would do that to pretty much anyone who entertained it. Even more so, when that very same heroine is was one that Eliza hoped could be her mother-in-law given time.
So the younger woman had tried to shake it off many times, but it stubbornly clung to her psyche. Mrs. Sheppard was everything the Agent strove to be: brave, kind and gentile. The first Eliza had easily mastered, the second she managed on occasion, but the third often eluded her.
Kate sat on a walnut parlour chair upholstered in emerald green in the sunshine, her fine white-blond hair fairly gleaming, and her hands folded on her lap. At her side, a small doily-covered table held a steaming teapot, two cups, and a selection of little biscuits. Mrs. Sheppard’s posture was erect and firm. She could have taught it in a finishing school.