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The fortune teller

Incense, Romanian rhythms and a powerful crystal ball in the latest 'Through the K hole'

Desperate to escape the dry heat and bustle of the market, she pulled back the heavy curtains and stepped inside. Looking around her she noticed that the tent was onion-skinned, with bright tasselled fabrics which filtered out most of the sunlight.

The atmosphere was thick with incense and Romanian rhythms. The fortune teller sat at the other side of the tent, cross-legged on a divan, trance-like and dark-skinned. In front of her was a piece of silk, draped sensuously over the object of her trade, her crystal ball.

She leant forward, the portentious whites of her eyes flashing like beacons, and gestured for her visitor to join her. In the half-light, the gossamer mist inside the ball began to swirl, the supernatural fumes luminesced and broiled like the surface of a Jovian moon.

She began to see images. A rose slowly rotated and unfurled, its flesh dissolving into a series of cracked-mirror faces. There was a thorn bush snagged with red silk and messages from another time slowly turned like heavy cart wheels.

'I have news my dear, from your future,' she began.

'In three years time you will begin to suffer. You will become depressed. You will no longer be able to leave your home, and your husband, my dear, will leave you. You will start to claim incapacity benefit and you will fall out of society. Your chances of returning to work will become less and less and your future will involve an unhappy mix of anti-depressants, return-to-work assessments and sick lines.'

The mists cleared and the sad grains of time telescoped back to the present.

'That is all I have.'

She thanked the fortune teller for her insight and left. Once outside, her eyes blinking against the glare, she shrugged. It was nothing that she didn't already know. She'd had an appointment with her GP the same morning and there was nothing there that he hadn't already predicted. Sample sets and statistics had finally replaced tea leaves and the tarot.

In response to the Pulse article: GPs 'can spot long-term sick three years early'

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen.

Click here for more from Through the K hole Through the K hole - credit HaPe Gera, Flickr