A Visit from Dr. Rae, Lawnmarket 1645 – Stephen Barnaby

A Visit from Dr. Rae, Lawnmarket 1645

Quack quack quack

A beak is looming over her
As she is awoken by the aroma
Of sweet smelling herbs

She thinks she can recognise mint, cloves
Maybe sage

Slowly, she becomes aware of discomfort
Then pain
In armpit and groin
A dull throb behind her eyes

Gradually she focusses
On a long leather coat
A figure, leaning, brandishing
A glowing red poker

Then a voice, muffled
I’ll just lance the buboes, my dear. Then all will be well.

And as the beak looms ever closer
A single word swirls
Round her aching head

Quack, it goes
Quack quack quack



Stephen Barnaby grew up in Thurso, the furthest north town on the Scottish mainland, before going to Edinburgh to study. He currently attempts to live quietly just outside the capital in Edinburgh with his partner and two teenage daughters. He has mostly written and performed 50 word stories over the years, but also had a pamphlet of longer short stories (if you see what I mean) published by Postbox/Red Squirrel Press.


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