I look across the desk at the plague doctor in his study and he gazes back at me through the mask with the bird’s beak that covers his face.
I desperately want him to love me but he doesn’t seem to be interested.
“I have no need for love, I already have someone” he says dismissively
“Oh” I say disappointedly.
“May I ask her name?”
“You may, but it will achieve nothing, for she does not have a name.”
“Would you like to meet her?” he suddenly says.
I look around the study but no-one is there.
He goes to a clay jar with a tightly stoppered cork lid and opens it, then puts his hand inside it.
He is holding something between his fingers but I can’t see what it is.
“This is the only one that I love” he says tenderly.
He holds it close to his face and smiles.
Then I see it.
It’s black and slimy and looks like a slug.
But it isn’t a slug.
It’s a leech – they suck the blood from humans, plague doctors tried to cure their patients with them during the Great Plague of London in the 17th century.
“I love her more than I could ever love a human being” he says softly.
Oh my God!
I’m in love with a plague doctor who’s in love with a leech!