Sagas Among the Arcana: The Plague Doctor, Part IV

If you’ve been reading since the start of the arc, thanks for sticking around! This will be the final part.

It continues in a commanding murmur. “So what do you expect of me?”

The blank black eyes bore into him. He wants to walk back further — run, anywhere away from here. But he remains in his spot, locked by invisible chains. 

“I expect you to help my mother.”

“And that is what I will do.”

The Ten of Cups is drawn — family, similarities, peace

When the doctor first came, Robert had noticed dark skies blanketed with grey clouds. The grounds were already damp from a previous downfall and he worried that they’d soon become so wet that he’d drown if he dared to step out.

Now, it has yet to flood, and Robert wishes it would so he could drown. 

Has he done something wrong in letting this strange “doctor” in? He can’t bear to look at what it’s doing to his mother — he doesn’t want to know. And he may never know because everything is silent. Is that creature doing anything at all?

“How much do you want her to live?”

The crow-creature’s voice startles him.

“What do you mean?”

“How much do you care about her?”

Robert shifts his weight between his feet.

“She’s my mom.”

“I know — but how much do you care?”

He immediately turns around. Its hands are pressing around his mother’s face and upper body. 

“Why do you need to know that? What are you going to do to her?”

He steps forward. The creature’s hand is on her chest —

Her un-breathing chest.

. . .


This is not what she wanted to happen. Her movement across the woman’s chest becomes frantic. Amina didn’t do anything to the woman. Sure, she never intended to cure her, but she never meant to harm her either — how is she already dead?

“What did you do to her?!”

. . .

The guy — her “client” — screeches frantically, embarrassingly. She would have laughed if she didn’t realize how deep of shit she was in. Luckily, he doesn’t notice her hyperventilating through her ridiculous mask. 

“What did you do.”

This time his tone is low. Something crawls up Amina’s spine.

He whips his head around to face her and she feels the tables turning. His eyes have darkened and his eyebrows have scrunched in pure hatred. No longer does he look like the pathetic, skittish boy that she found at the front door. No longer does he appear gullible to her tricks — and that’s a dangerous thing.

Finally, Amina begins to feel dangerous herself. 

. . . 

The Ten of Cups

“I’ve given her peace.”

Robert stares hard at the expressionless mask. He hates it so much, with all its lies about the plague and helping his mother. For the first time, Robert begins to wonder about the ugly creature that lies beneath the mask. 


So he lunges — 

— and then he’s lunged at, and then they’re both tumbling through the sharp glass and out into the open world where the clouds begin to clear —

— and onto the damp ground, they make wet with their blood.


. . . 




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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