The Black Plague took place in the 14th century, and I know that the tone of this is probably all wrong, but it wrote itself anyway.


Mary, you are mad, they say.

That is good. Perhaps madness shall keep the sickness away.

She crouches in the street, ratty tails of hair swinging in her face. It is red-brown, just like the city's dirt where it rises to the surface.

She nibbles on a bone. Cat, rat, or dog?

Doesn't matter.

A cart rumbles by, burdened with bodies.

Burdened with bodies for burning.

She laughs.

A hand reaches from the pile, begging, pleading.

Help me. I am not dead.

Not yet.

A child's toy falls from the cart. She scuttles out to grab it. Cradles it to her chest.

Mine now. All mine.

Ashes drift like snow. People cough, and others cross themselves as they pass. They speak to God.

What God? No God here.

A stranger stagers past, shouting in a tongue she does not know. But she knows what he says.

The city is cursed. They are dead. They will die.

The people just laugh at him.

They know.

They know that they will die.

Another cart goes past. Many dead already.

More will join them soon.

So many sick.

So few well.

She scratches at an arm. It hurts.

A man stands on the street corner. Melted gold and powdered emeralds will cure you, he calls. Bring them here.

No gold or emeralds here. None at all.

Children spin on the hard-packed earth, holding hands.

Ring around the rosy

A pocket full of posy

Ashes, ashes

We all fall down

The boils spread. This is not right. A person cannot have two plagues brought down upon them.

Is not the madness enough?

She rocks and whimpers.

Priests pass, chanting prayers.

Help me!

Why does God do this?

The Crusaders have gone. Is that not good?

The boils cover her now. People walk around her.

The plague has found another victim.

Another cart passes, and takes the body.

So many dead.

Ashes fill the air.


Who doesn't love a cheerful ending? (And yes, that's dripping with sarcasm.) Please, let me know what you thought!