It’s that time of the week again, #SampleSunday. This week the excerpt is taken from Inside Evil, Chapter 11. Roberta and Sam have made their way to the strange woman in the mirror, but Roberta is disheartened to find that there are no clues to further her plight….or she thinks…
A minute later Sam appeared in the doorway again, carrying a silver tray. Upon it was a small plate of biscuits, three china cups and a gleaming silver teapot. He raised an eyebrow at Roberta as he came across to the chairs and set it upon the low coffee table. Behind him, Mrs Peacock hobbled in and made her way across to an ornately carved bookcase. She ran her fingers across the dusty spines of several large volumes before pulling a thick out a thick book with a mottled brown covering. She looked down at it sadly and then made her way to the red armchair, where she rested her stick against the curtains and made herself comfortable on the plush upholstery.
“Pour the tea dear,” she smiled as she softly flicked a small white curl off her forehead.
“We can’t stay,” Roberta replied. “I’m sorry to have disturbed you.” She had trouble hiding the disappointment in her voice.
“Oh no dear, we must have tea and biscuits, it’s cold outside now the first snow has arrived. At least stay and allow a lonely old woman to have company for a few minutes.” She looked towards Roberta with such intensity that it was hard to resist. “Indulge me dear, it’s my finest brew.”
“Well, I for one would love tea,” Sam said, leaning forward, stuffing a biscuit into his mouth and then picking up the silver teapot.
“Pour it yourself would you, in that blue cup dear. I’ll have the chipped one and Roberta can have the other.” Mrs Peacock folded her arms in her lap, before carefully taking the cup as Sam made the correct servings. She had placed the book upon the table, and both Roberta and Sam’s eyes were desperately devouring the cover with a need to look inside.
“May I?” Sam asked.
“Of course, I believe it’s yours now.”
“It’s quite beautiful,” Sam said as he reached forward and lifted the heavy book carefully. “It looks ancient.”
“Oh, it is. Passed down through the family, year after year, I’m told…”
In Roberta’s head, the voices faded away. A strange sense of numbness was taking over her body and whilst she could still see that Mrs Peacock and Sam were talking away, she couldn’t hear a word they said. She blinked rapidly and took another sip of her tea, hoping that she’d be able to clear her mind again and focus on the matter in hand, but as she moved her arm she realised that her limbs were becoming stiff. She tried to turn her head but couldn’t, and she realised that the numbness was continuing to spread through her body and she now couldn’t move her legs. Roberta sat in the chair, completely rigid and unable to move anything but her eyes. Across the room she saw that Mrs Peacock was still chatting with Sam, and Roberta thought that she was hallucinating as she saw a ghostly figure rise out of Mrs Peacock’s body. Mrs Peacock remained completely unaware and carried on talking to Sam who was now leafing through the faded pages of the book. He looked across at Roberta with a look of triumph on his face at the find of the ancient tomb, before placing his attention back on the paper without the slightest realisation as to what was going on.
The figure, Roberta now recognised, was Mrs Peacock. Like a shadow had fallen out of her body, Mrs Peacock stood up and left her other self sitting happily on the armchair, turning to look in Roberta’s direction as she did so. Roberta gasped and put a hand to her mouth, realising that she was free to move again. She drew the hand away from her face and saw that, like Mrs Peacock, it was silvery and translucent. She was amazed to look straight through her fingers and see both of her arms still folded in her lap.
“It’s OK Roberta, it’s just the tea. I said it was my finest.” Mrs Peacock’s form offered a reassuring smile.
“Mrs Peacock?” Roberta said, staring up at the ghostly form.
“Yes, and you are still Roberta.”
“I was very careful about which cup he had dear, he’ll happily continue talking for as long as we’re gone. This form allows us to leave our earthly bodies and discuss the real reason why you had to find me today.”
“So you do recognise me,” Roberta said, knowing that she hadn’t been wrong.
“Of course my dear, but one has to be careful when the Ammokra is in flow. I’d have never lived this long if I introduced myself properly to everyone I met. Come dear, I need to show you something.”
She turned away from Roberta and shuffled around the side of the coffee table.
“Try not to hurt yourself Roberta. There’s been many an accidental death by those who thought themselves invincible in this form.”
Roberta slowly lifted herself from the seat beside Sam. It was strange looking down at her body which was sipping tea and chatting to the others as if nothing had happened.
“Yes, you’ll remember your whole conversation when we go back, don’t worry. Now come, we haven’t much time.”
“Are you a witch, Mrs Peacock?”
The elderly lady looked around at Roberta and chuckled. “There’s no such thing as witches dear girl. They are a myth created by those in the past wanting to hide the real evils of the world. I am a gatekeeper, but more in time,”….