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Tori

United States

The Black Death

April 10, 2016

  • It was the year 1348, the black plague had been going on for a year now. People were dropping like flies and panic was still at a high. Jack, a boy the age of thirteen, looked wildly around for the man that was going to bring him to safety. A few minutes later a tall stocky man loomed out of the shadows of the trees, a grim expression on his face. "Have you brought it?" The man asked looking Jack up and down. Jack gulped and hastily untied the pouch that was attached to his waist. He handed it to the older man, his hands shaking. The man took it and looked inside. "You did well boy" the man said grinning happily. "Where did you get all this?" the man asked looking up from the pouch. "A good man does not ask where the money comes from, they just take it" Jack said his voice shaking. The man shrugged and said "Smart kid." The ship for New Zealand leaves tomorrow at dawn. Get there on time or we leave without you, the ship doesn't wait for stranglers" the man said seriously. Jack nodded eagerly, he would not miss his only chance to escape this horrible disease. "The only reason I wouldn't be there sir, is if I was dead" Jack said earnestly. The man looked at Jack blankly, "You're sure you are not  sick kid? We can't spread this disease or the death of those people will be on your hands." Jack gulped and nodded stiffly. The man gave a quick nod and started off toward the village. He walked with a steady gate and Jack watched until he was out of sight. As soon as the man was gone Jack relaxed. Jack just had to make it one more day without getting the black death.
        After a minute or two Jack walked the way the man had toward the village. The sun was going down and Jack didn't like walking in the dark. He jogged through the woods until he made it to the gravely path that lead into the small village. He passed small huts with hay roofs expertly woven together by the townsfolk. By this time the sun had completely been engulfed by blackness. Jack hurried down the dirt path to his hut. Jack ducked under the cow skin that covered the entrance to his home and walked in. He hated the emptiness of his hut; his parents and little brother had been taken by the black death and all their land had gone to him. He got down on his hands and knees near the fire pit that was in the middle of the room and started a fire. The warm glow soothed Jack and he moved a little closer to warm himself. After a few hours of sitting near the fire his eyes started to droop and right as he thought sleep was going to take him a scream sounded from a few huts down. Jack's eyes flew open and he saw the dying embers of the fire. Screams were not unheard of in his small village, but they still chilled Jack to the bone. Most of his neighbors had died a month after the plague started, about the time his family had died. The neighbors that were left kept to themselves and always moved away from Jack if they crossed paths. He quickly stamped out what little light was coming from the embers and peaked out the hole in his wall that sufficed as a window. His eyes adjusted to the darkness and he saw a man stumbling from house to house mumbling "Help me. Oh please help me". Jack knew as well as the other townsfolk there was nothing he could do. You just had to wait for the black death to take you.
        Jack ducked down as the man got nearer. He started to back away from the window and knocked a clay pot over that held oats in it. The oats spilled everywhere and Jack bit his lip hoping the man had not heard. He looked out the window and saw the man turning towards his hut, the mans eyes were glazed and black spots covered him from head to toe. The man started walking hastily towards Jack's hut. Jack's eyes widened and he yelled "Stay back! There's nothing I can do to help you, you will infect this whole town!" The man kept walking toward his hut and Jack knew if he was touched by this infected man he was sure to die. He looked around his hut and realized he had nothing to bring with him to the boat. Jack decided he would just go to the docks early. Jack climbed out the back windowless hole of his hut and ran towards the boat docks. He'd wanted to make this journey in the morning after most of the rats had gone back into the sewers, but he was not going to be infected by this man. He ran through the streets of the town. The town reeked with death and Jack ran even harder. Rats scurried around in alleys and Jack's heart pounded. Jack stayed well out of their way. His feet pounded against the ground as he ran feeling the wind in his hair. As early rays of light appeared Jack saw the boat docks. He ran even faster and saw men carrying cargo onto the ship. He spotted the man he had payed and ran up to him. "Ah I see you've made it" the man said smiling. "Get on board and we'll be off." Jack hurried up the plank and smelled the salty air. Men brought in the plank and lifted the sails. "Next stop New Zealand" a man called from the head of the boat. For now Jack was safe and almost bursting with joy, but then he heard a ragged cough from across the ship.

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