‘The Kissing Game’ – Short Story Serialisation Chapter 2, by Milly Reynolds

silhouette photo of man and woman kissing
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Elena Trimble was a young astrologer. It was an unusual career but she loved it. While studying psychology at university, she had done a brief course on the ancient art of astrology – and was hooked. She did individual birth charts, a kind of modern psychological astrology, you might say. She didn’t believe in the mumbo jumbo prediction aspect of it, that the future can be clearly seen.

“So what’s this about today’s date, then?” Michael was speaking around a rather large piece of toast he was chewing.

“I’m pretty sure it’s to do with the dream. Dreams can speak to us in symbols and allegory.”

Elena had written down everything she could remember. The dark place she had found herself with this man could have been a church, or perhaps a chapel. Dreams were ruled by the Moon and perhaps the planet Neptune, she figured, hence the allegories, signs and symbols. She was trying to get a clearer view, not only of whom this person was, but what he was trying to say. And why did he kiss her?

She sipped her morning cup of tea, looking out onto perfectly still day, the sunlit grass, the frost slowly dissipating. “Let’s say we were in the chancel end of a church. There was a window ahead of us, though it wasn’t letting in much light, like it was nearly dark outside. There was a book open.”

“A bible, perhaps?”

She shook her head. “It was more like some kind of…parish record?”

“A register.”

“Yes, very likely a register. I felt sure he was directing me toward this book, as if to an entry in it. I remember the number twenty three quite distinctly, you see. I didn’t see it in the book, it just popped into my head out of nowhere.”

“Hm. Maybe he whispered it into your ear after kissing you.”

“Funny, ha ha.”

Elena began to surmise that twenty three could have been either a christening, a birthdate, or a burial. The fact that today was February 23 might be meaningful. There didn’t seem to be much else to go on. There was his general appearance, she supposed, slightly taller than her five feet four inches. It was the eyes she remembered, large, chocolate brown and loving. She didn’t recall being at all scared by him.

“Elena, you need more to go on than just a number.” Michael was placing the breakfast dishes in the sink.

She joined him with her own dishes. “I know, that’s why I’m making sure I take my notebook and pen to bed again tonight.”

Michael looked at her, seriously. “You’re expecting him again, are you?”

“I don’t know, but I’d better be prepared, hadn’t I? I get the feeling he’s got more to say, that’s all. I’ve never had a dream of this clarity.”

Michael had that pretentious little boy lost look in his eyes. “So should I be worried?”

“Hm.” Elena took his hand and kissed it. “Worried? About a figure in my dreams, maybe only figment of my imagination?”

“Nevertheless,” he said, examining her hand, “he evidently makes a good impression.”

copyright Milly Reynolds 2020

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