The Mysterious Mrs. Kippling

Edmund sat in the kitchen, waiting on the edge of the counter with his legs crossed beneath him. He knew he wouldn’t have to wait long; he had paid very close attention to Mrs. Kippling’s daily schedule.

Sure enough, he had only been waiting a few minutes before he heard a rattling at the door. Mrs. Kippling was trying to unlock the already unlocked door to begin the day’s breakfast. It had been an easy lock to open, Edmund reflected. He almost wondered why she bothered locking it at all. Perhaps this door was older than all the other ones he had practiced on, or perhaps the humours flowing through his body were guiding his hands, his nerves focusing his thoughts.

After a few moments of confused fumbling, the door opened tentatively, revealing Mrs. Kippling standing at the ready, her fingers balled into tight fists, ready to strike should it prove necessary. She may have only been a house-keeper, Edmund mused, but she kept a house filled with Mouldes, and to keep that job she must have known how to be careful.

When she saw Edmund, sitting on the counter, she almost laughed in surprise.

“Master Edmund,” she gasped, her fingers relaxing. “Begging-your-pardon. You scared me half to death!”

“I’m sorry,” he said, keeping his eyes on hers. She brushed her hands on her apron and walked into the room, heading for the large soup pot that sat prepared to cook on the stove.

“I must have forgotten to lock the door,” she said, half to herself. “I’m getting old, I suppose.”

“I think you’re old already,” Edmund said. Mrs. Kippling gasped, turning to face him with a wounded look on her face.

“Now, Master Edmund, It’s-not-my-place, but that was a cruel, spiteful thing to say.”

“I am a Moulde,” he shrugged.

“Now that doesn’t mean anything,” Mrs. Kippling sniffed, turning away from his gaze to grab at her utensils. “It’s-not-my-place, but I’ve known quite a few Mouldes that weren’t plain rude like that. Kolb isn’t vile at all, and Matron was quite nice when she was younger.”

“And you knew Plinkerton, didn’t you?” Edmund asked.

Mrs. Kippling stopped, her hands poised over the handles of the knife chandelier. Slowly, her hand began to move again, selecting a long thin blade and drawing it carefully from the wheel.

“Now what makes you think a silly thing like that?” She said, too casually. Edmund smiled.

“I missed it at first, but a long time ago, when we were talking about Kahmlichimus, the Gran Gargoyle, you said you spoke to Matron Victrola about it–but she was Matron’s Grandmother. You’d have to be at least a hundred years old to have spoken to her at all, much less given her advice.”

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