Supernatural beings existed.  Beings that turned in on themselves to feed on their own grief and tragedy: ghosts, ghouls, poltergeists.  Much in the world couldn’t be explained.  Which was good.  Humankind was arrogant enough without knowing everything.  They would be absolutely insufferable.  Not even dogs would love them then.

Georgia picked up her spoon and angled it.  Oat porridge sludged off the bowl of the spoon and slopped back into her mug.  The mug she used for everything.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It was her soup bowl, her teacup, her water glass.  One mug and one spoon.  Just two things to wash.  Water was precious in the Desert.

Georgia remembered her first archaeological expedition, when she was barely a woman but hardly a girl.  One of the patrons had come along, Mr William Pace.  He had brought along an entire tea service, rugs, and furniture, the lot set up very nicely inside his huge khaki tent.  Almost as though he were picnicking in the back garden rather than the middle of nowhere.  Georgia’s job at the time had been cataloguing artefacts and taking down dictation.  She was let near the actual dig site but once.  She had spent most of her time in the main tent, across the way from William Pace’s desert palace.

Of course, Mr Pace was not there to work.  He was there on holiday, watching where his money went and pretending to be involved in the discoveries. He’d been a kind sort, if not patronising to everybody not moneyed or male, and had not got in the way of the experts.  That was something in his favour, Georgia supposed.  She finished up her porridge and put mug and spoon in the wash basin.  She’d deal with them later. Mr Pace was not a nuisance where the work was concerned.  After a few progress checks and attempts at conversation, he had even let her alone, too.  All that had been ten years back.

That first expedition had given her ‘the bug,’ as her mother called it.  Her father called it the ‘itch’.  He understood that phenomenon quite well himself.  Wanderlust had been a hefty influence on his chosen career, that of airship captain.  The two terms always made sense to Georgia: bugs made you itch.

Captain Sharpe had always wanted a son in addition to his three daughters.  A firm believer in education, he had arranged for Georgia to study with a private tutor.  Jenny and Penny also gained an education, though their interests were less to the ‘dusty’ and more to the practical.  Both were employed as stenographers at the law firm Tolly & Tate: Solicitors.  Penny was engaged to be married to one of the young lawyers, a man by the name of Gregory Brown.  Jenny was unattached.

Perhaps Georgia could lay blame on her father, or even his father, her namesake, for her interest in the past.  The historical portion of the tutoring had been strong.  Grandfather George’s library furnished anything she could want, from travel writing to myths and legends.  She certainly could lay blame on her mother, whose family home the Sharpes inhabited when Georgia was growing up.