Sagas Among the Arcana: The Plague Doctor, Part II

This post is a continuation of last week’s. You can read that here.

“You don’t look like a doctor.”

“Of course I am,” it stresses.

He imagines eyes rolling underneath that crow mask.

“I’m a plague doctor.”

The Two of Pentacles is Drawn — “economy of action, caution”

Robert eventually relents and leads the “plague doctor” in. 

What a curious name, he thinks. He tries to search deeper — recounting from old textbooks he may have read in school. Why is it familiar? Is that an actual profession? Not to mention that “plague” is such an archaic term — he knows that at least — no one has used it in centuries. Perhaps a “plague doctor” came from that time. But how would their skill be different from a regular doctor? 

Leading the doctor up to his mother’s room, Robert notices that the creature is somewhat shorter than him. It also has a heavy gait, which is likely the result of the too many robes that it wears. 

They pause before Robert opens the door.

“Is that what this all is? A plague?” he questions carefully. His voice is so low, he doubts that he’s even saying anything.

But it hears him. “What else would it be.”

It takes a step forward. A leathered glove reaches from underneath the robes, about to twist the door knob.

Robert quickly catches it in a tight grip. He expects it to turn into a taloned appendage. 

A minute passes. No one speaks.

The doctor’s hand shakes. 

“Let go.”


“I can help them — whoever is sick.”

Robert stares at the ground, refusing to look at the crow-like face. He feels pathetic — once again a boy taking scoldings from his mother.

“Have you helped anyone else?”

“No. You will be the first.”

He squeezes tighter, hoping it hurts.

“Then how can I know your medicine works?”

“It will work.”

“You could make her worse.”

“Is it your mother that is sick?”

“Yes,” he answers without thinking, then curses. Shit.

“My medicine works especially well on women.”

What a strange claim to make. The thought makes Robert hesitate. It feels like such a lie.

Yet, sacrificing caution, Robert believes it. 

He opens the door. 

Two of Pentacles










To be continued . . . 


Suparna Hande is a junior majoring in Creative Writing & Literature and Asian Studies. Her current series, Frivolous Fairy Tales for Modern People, features short fiction written in the well-known fairytale form, but in a modern context. Her pervious series, Sagas Among the Arcana, included poetry and fiction based on weekly tarot readings. In her free time, she enjoys playing the violin and dancing.

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