The Black DeathThe misery is everlasting. The streets are filled with a bloody stench that is vulgar. You try to hide away your face, but to no avail. The effects of The Black Death are tragic. Bodies piling up on the streets like waste. My child and I are trying to stray away from the Black Death. I’m trying my best as a mother, to do what’s best for my child. Europe was not spared from the plague. We are running, but with no direction. Nothing but death and disease filling these empty streets. My close friend lost her only child to the plague. So for hours, she watched her little boy slowly die. Succumbing to the deadly disease. In this place we call Tallinn; we don’t have many resources to save those who have become ill. I am trying to slowly gather our things, as to not make my dear Alice suspect anything. Although, she has realised that something tragic has begun happening. Many of her friends had suddenly…disappeared. But how do you explain to a young child that everyone they’ve ever loved, cherished, is dying? You can’t. So for now, the truth must be kept from her. For her safety.
Not everyone in Tallinn is dying, but people you once knew have been lost. There is nothing that we can do, I suppose. Just hope and pray for the best. Yesterday, I had to go to the local markets and collect some supplies so Alice and I could stay for a few more days. I grabbed some simple ingredients; fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat. As I was strolling through the markets, one of the shopkeepers began to scream out in pain. I was alarmed, but knew to stay clear. So there I stood, watching a noble man hit the ground in agony as his body burned like a flame. My head dropped, and tears began to fall down my rosy cheeks. I wanted nothing to do with this. I never wanted to see this. I knelt down and looked the man in the eyes. He looked back, and clasped onto my arm. At first I felt fear, but soon followed relief. He seemed happier to know that someone cared about him. Shortly after sitting with him while he bled, monks took him away. He thanked me with a kiss near the lips. I began to walk away.
Then I realised. My heart thud. Could it have been intentional? No, he seemed too nice. He surely couldn’t have known about that rule. To never come into contact with someone who has been cursed. Perhaps he wasn’t educated about this. I felt a sudden sickness wash over me, like flooding water. I panicked and rushed home to Alice. Once I opened the door, Alice began to violently cough. I felt the blood drain from my face. I rushed over to her and took her face in my trembling hands. There is no way that I’d let anything happen to her. Unless…she’d gone outside. “Alice?? Where have you gone?” I asked frantically. She replied in her angelic voice, “I’ve been playing with Thea, outside in the streets”. A part of me died. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I was infected with the curse, and knew the rule. Although I wanted nothing but to take Alice in my arms and tell her everything will be okay. I had always been a pessimist. About life, about religion. Although I kept this to myself. All of the possibilities engulfed my head.
You will both die. A voice in my head shouted at me angrily. I shook my head and tried to ignore all the things that could happen. I shook my head, and ignored reality. Alice asked me “Mummy, what’s going on?” I tried to answer, but no words found their way out of my mouth.
I already knew what was going to happen. “I…I…Ali...” My voice trembled. I couldn’t speak the words. Instead, a flood of tears trailed quickly down my face. “Mummy??” she asked sadly. I covered my face and rolled into a ball. I quickly found Alice holding me, patting my hair. It was too late. We were both sick. It was only a matter of time. I heard from the local priest that people who got infected died shortly after. There was nothing but silence, sadness. Death was in the air. I sat up and cuddled Alice, and looked into her beautiful hazel eyes. “I love you with all my heart, my darling. I will always be here for you. I will always be here with you, no matter what happens”. “I love you too mummy”, she softly spoke. She was fearful and timid, but now that I was responsive, she began to seem calmer. We sat on the cold floor holding each other until the sky transformed from a dark grey to a jet black. This was it.
Hours later, I awoke in darkness. There was some light from the night sky shining through the window. Alice was still in my arms, little snores coming from her every now and again. I gently kissed her forehead and stood up with her in my arms. Walking over to the bed, I gently placed her down and tucked her under the thin blankets. Then I just huddled in with her and fell asleep beside her, all the sadness drowning with my blissful sleep. Laying there with my precious Alice. A brilliant grey light was through the dusty window. It awoke me from my slumber, as did the chooks outside. I looked into Alice’s eyes. Her beautiful hazel eyes stared back at my face…but there was emptiness. It didn’t occur to me at first. I nestled her in my arms. She didn’t respond.
I jumped up and tried to wake her up. Still no response. My heart pounded inside my chest. I couldn’t breathe. She was dead. I hugged her lifeless body and whimpered miserably. Tears suffocating my clothes comfortably, as I screeched and screamed. I no longer had a reason to live. I had no purpose. If she died, I died. I embraced her once more. Savouring the last bit of humanity in this world. The last bit of hope I had in this world had gone. I had nothing left. This would be the last time I would see her. Her body was limp, her face was pale. Her eyes were lifeless. She died in her sleep, but she must’ve been looking at me before she died.
Although I was struggling to lift myself because I felt weak and sorrowful, I pushed myself up and carried her to the bed. I tucked her in once more and kissed her forehead. Sitting at her feet, I put my head in my hands and sobbed. I knew what had to be done. I was scared, but there was no way that I would live without her. She was all I had left. I stood up and walked over to the wooden door. My clammy hands clasped the handle, and as I opened the door, the sight of the bodies hit me. I walked over to the nearby lake and observed the calm water. It was a large lake…large enough for an adult to drown in. I breathed the air once more. The wind flew through my hair. Then I began to cry again. The terror and pain I felt was indescribable. I would be happy to die, happy to jump in the water and fade away. The sky had patches of white and grey, but no blue. No more blue skies.
I knelt down and slipped into the freezing water. I let out a gasp and thrash around. “No! You have to be calm!” The voice said in my head. I listened. I slowed down and pushed against the muddy walls. Then I heard her. “I love you mummy”. I started to scream and cry. I pushed myself down further into the water. My hands were becoming bloodied from the rocks in the mud besides me. Clasping the walls for one last time, then my head went under. Although water was in my eyes and I couldn’t think properly, I could have sworn that I saw her again. Smiling at me under the water. My pain instantly washed away. I was down far enough to let go of the muddy walls. I reached out to her and smiled happily.