‘The Kissing Game’ Short Story Serialisation, Chapter 6, by Milly Reynolds

man and woman kiss each other
Photo by Vera Arsic on Pexels.com

The following day, Elena was too tired to work in the morning. In fact she felt quite sick until she had a piece of toast. She asked Mary Allen if she fancied a walk in the park. Thankfully for Elena, she did. Wrapped up well against the chill, they sat on a sheltered bench overlooking the river, where a collection of ducks were huddled together for warmth, contemplating whether they should ask for some food.

As ever, Mary was right on the case. “Is there anything else going on in your birth chart, apart from the Neptune transit?”

Elena nodded, vaguely. “Well, transiting Pluto is coming into opposition with my natal Venus in the fifth house.”

Mary looked concerned. “Ooh, your love life is going to change.”

“Mn, I’ve been thinking that, or it might just mean a kind of creative clear out.”

“Cripes, you’ve lost me there, girl. The fifth house is about children too, isn’t it?”

“Yes, but as I don’t have any, it might be more to do with children of the mind. If I’m honest, Pluto scares the pants off me.”

“Really?” Mary took out some bread from her pocket. “I thought this gentleman didn’t scare you.”

“No, not him, I mean Pluto.” She watched Mary throw pieces of bread towards the ducks who all came waddling over. “Astronomers can classify him as a minor planet now if they like, but as far as I’m concerned, Pluto is still very powerful, a heavy weight.”

“Wait there!” 

Elena flinched, looking across at Mary. She had suddenly sat forward. “The H you saw in your dream last night.”

“Go on.”

“Only a guess, a stab in the dark..”

“Yes?”

Mary leaned toward her, raising an eyebrow. “Could H stand for Hades?”

Elena was watching a mallard duck scramble awkwardly out of the water, rushing to join the feast. “Hades is the Greek name for Pluto.”

“Eureka!”

“Hold on, though, it was only an H. It might have stood for Hercules, Henry, Humphrey, Hermione… it might not even have been an H at all.”

Mary was touching her arm now. “What if you were Persephone? The way you described yourself to me in that dream, it sounds a bit like her.”

“I couldn’t get out of that room, but it wasn’t in the underworld, if that’s what you mean. It was a bright, clear and warm day this time.”

“If I remember correctly, Hades can come into this world occasionally, according to one version of the myth.”

Elena pulled the woollen hat over her ears. “But I’ve only ever seen this man in my dreams.”

Mary touched her arm again. “Are you sure about that? Think, girl. Hades spots Persephone in a field of flowers, I believe, falls in love with her instantly.”

Elena laughed out loud. “A field of flowers? In February? Where am I going to find that? Madeira?”

“I’m only recounting the story, Dear… Elena, are you alright? Elena?”

She felt even colder now. A memory from the other day was replaying in her mind, over and over.

“Elena, come on – out with it.”

She sat up. “So, it might be nothing, but on Saturday morning I went to the florist. I wanted some daffodils to brighten the house up, remind me that spring was on its way.”

“As you do.”

“I don’t often go there, but there was a new guy serving, clean cut, clean shaven, but now I think of it, he had that dark hair and those eyes, kind eyes, the sort that make you stop in your tracks. And he was certainly very friendly, in a quiet sort of way.”

Mary swivelled towards her on the bench. “If he was that gorgeous, how could you forget about him, not make the connection to your dreams?”

Elena rubbed her tired eyes. “I know, but I did. Maybe it was the change of context, so I didn’t think it was related. That was real life and we’re talking about dreams, aren’t we?”

“And he had very similar features to the man in the dream.”

“In retrospect, yes.”

“Elena, Dear, you must go back there, to the florist.”

She looked at Mary. “I don’t think so.”

“Why not? Are you scared?”

She had to think about that. “Yes, a bit, if I’m honest. Michael would be furious if he found out.”

“Nonsense! I mean, does he need to know?”

“So what are we saying here? The god Hades works in my local florist? I’ve got more chance of finding Elvis working in the chip shop.”

Mary paused, looking at the river. “It does sound rather bizarre, I have to concede. But even so, it’s all we’ve got right now.”

“You’ll come with me, won’t you?”

Mary took both of Elena’s hands in hers. “Just you try and stop me, girl. I’m loving this retirement. And it’s not every day you have the chance to meet a living god, is it?”

“Mary, please, don’t say that.”

copyright Milly Reynolds 2020

also look for Milly Reynolds on amazon.co.uk

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