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

woman reading a book sitting on mattress near the blue string light inside the room
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Elena had a theory that whatever Pluto touched, he could potentially mask or make invisible in a birth chart. It was only a theory. Pluto’s reputation was one of transformation. She calculated that if Christopher Marlowe had been born around 2pm on the day of his birth, Pluto would have been exactly conjunct the Sun. But what did it really mean? She ran it by Mary one more time.

“So I’ve set the chart for 2.13 pm, look at this.”

Mary understood the meaning of this birth chart. “It’s him to a tea, isn’t it? The Moon rising in Leo, all that drama and creativity in his personality. And then the Sun and Pluto locked together in Pisces in the eighth house, he just had to be this shadowy, mysterious and strange individual, a spy – a man wearing a mask! It’s funny, but some say the image of Shakespeare in the First Folio looks like he’s wearing a mask.”

“And look at the well-developed Mercury, in good aspect to that Jupiter Saturn conjunction. He was a born writer too.”

Mary sat up. “Ah yes, of course, the birth and death of kings, that’s true. This conjunction is associated with that. And I would argue that Marlowe’s Edward the Second was really the first history play, very much along the same lines that Shakespeare would continue to write and develop later on.”

Elena then noticed something else. “He died on May 30 1593, didn’t we find out?”

“Yes.”

“Look, if I put in the transits for that very day, Pluto is closely conjunct his midheaven and Neptune is hovering close to his ascendant, just like it is in mine right now.”

“Curiouser and curiouser.”

Elena was beginning to feel more than a twinge of excitement. “Pluto on his midheaven might mean his career was rocked to its foundations, destroyed even, but it could also mean it goes underground, to become a career in disguise. And Neptune dissolves his personality. It’s like a kind of death.”

Mary eyed her friend. “Yes, either way he disappears forever. It is all very Faustian.”

“What do you mean?”

Mary picked up the book with the picture of Marlowe in it. “Maybe his play Faustus was not only a warning us about getting mixed up with magic, it was in part autobiographical too. Maybe he’s been in some kind of limbo ever since he died, a place from where he can at least contact us through the medium of dreams.”

Limbo maybe, but Elena still couldn’t figure out the other mystery. “So are we any nearer explaining the initials on that oak tree, I wonder?”

Mary thought for a few seconds. “Not yet, but give it time.”

Elena took the pregnancy test as a precaution, she knew pretty well what the result would be: positive. Michael too had his suspicions, though neither of them had intended starting a family just yet. Although privately pleased, even with the continuing morning sickness, she kept it to herself.

So it was with mixed feelings that Elena booked a doctor’s appointment, somewhat surprised to get an appointment that same day due to a cancellation. She had been sick again that morning, several times, and didn’t feel too good while she sat in the waiting room. It concerned her that she couldn’t see her own doctor. Instead she had been given an appointment with a locum, Dr Kim Parris. At least it was a woman, she much preferred to see female doctors.

Half an hour later, she was still waiting, the appointments evidently running quite late. Elena was wondering whether she should go to the toilet, when the light on the screen flashed. It was her turn. Taking a deep breath, she stood up and walked briskly to the surgery door, ignoring the slight sickness she was feeling once more in her stomach. She knocked on the door.

“Come!”

Some women had rather deep voices, she figured. She opened the door to find no one.

“Please, sit you down,” came a voice from behind a white screen.

“Thank you.”

Doctor Parris emerged. He was putting on a jacket, his hair swept back. He was clean shaven and smirking. Elena blinked a few times during those few seconds. They seemed to be gilded with a semblance of eternity.

“Elena, what a lovely name,” he said, sitting down in front of her. “That’s Italian for Helen, isn’t it?”

ends

copyright Milly Reynolds 2020

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