Harold could hear the voices before he entered the room. Did Lucy have the television on? Or the radio? It seemed unlikely, given that she was talking and the other voice was answering.
As he entered the kitchen, he gazed at the strange woman talking to his daughter. She was dressed in eighteenth century clothing although coarse servant's linens rather than the baroquely decorated silks of the upper classes. He could feel the density of her personality from here. One strong enough to survive the centuries at the very least. Prickles of fear rose on the back of his neck, though it could easily have been his hair, still damp from his shower. He pulled the belt of his dressing gown tight and strode forward. “Sorry it took me so long, darling. Who's your new friend?”
“She's called Amélie and she turned up when the toaster didn't work, although she doesn't know what a toaster is.”
“Good morning,sir.” Amélie curtsied and for the first time Harold noticed her eyes, dancing orange flames where the pupils should be.
“Hello. Where did you come from, then?”
She looked around the kitchen. “Here, I think, though it's all so different.”
“Did you live here?”
“Yes. Do you?”
“Yes, I'm Lucy's father. “You're a spirit, aren't you? You've crossed the line between life and death.”
“Yes. Do you like spirits?”
Harold held up one hand. “Not before lunchtime, thank you.”