I hear the old, wooden door close behind me and hear my family run far away from the tiny, dark, shack they left me in. I feel my hot tears stop flowing and I push my auburn
hair behind my ears and rub my hazel eyes. “You’ll be safe here.” They said. “We’ll come back for you.” They said. They just left me here to die. They did this so they wouldn’t catch the
deadly plague. They did talk to me before they left me here. My mother was crying and my father was holding back his emotions. They said they were going to put somewhere safe, where I could heal in
peace. Yeah right. I know better than that. I look around the old shack and find a piece of paper and a quill pen that is filled with ink. I start to write:
The date is December 14th 1349 and I, Elizabeth Armstrong have been diagnosed with the bubonic plague. I knew I had it for weeks. I didn’t need a diagnosis to confirm my fears. I could tell I was getting thinner and much paler. And I can easily see the black on my fingers and the swollen lumps on my legs. I feel extremely ill and I can feel myself getting closer to death by the minute. I can hear The Lord calling my name from Heaven. I’ll be dead in a month or two, maybe even tomorrow or the next day, but it won’t matter. No one will be here to mourn me. My family is gone and they’ll probably already gotten infected too. I will not receive a grand funeral like I dreamed when I was a little girl. My body will be dragged out of this old shack and either burned, or buried in a mass grave. I somehow always knew that I would die at a young age, maybe not at 17. Maybe at 20 or if I’m lucky 21. I was always weak. I was lucky to survive my childhood. My mother told me that two of my siblings died before they spoke their first word or took their first step.
I always knew that I would get the plague too. It erupted in France last year and spread through the country like a wild fire. It turned neighbor against neighbor. Friend against friend. It even made parents fear their own children. People did the unthinkable to the people they loved. People were killed, shunned, and locked away where no one will catch the deadly disease. I’m an example of that last one. It’s so strange to be in such an old dusty place. I want to be back into my clean, modern home with my mother, father, my sister Anna, my baby brother Henry, and my cat Sir Arthur. Does it matter if I miss them? I’m never going to see them again, so why make myself more and more homesick. I can see snow falling outside my window; a sign of my death. I can feel my eyes getting heavy and......
I stop writing when the words get lighter and lighter and I realize the quill is out of ink. I look around for some more until my breathing stops. I drop the quill and paper and I fall onto the floor. I crawl over to the paper and quill. I am able to get a small amount of ink out of the quill, enough to write one sentence before I die:
I hope I am remembered after I die here on this dusty old floor. I hope-
I drop the pen and grab the paper with my shaky, frail hand. My sight gets blurry and everything slowly fades into a sea of black.
Elizabeth Marie Armstrong died on December 14th, 1349. She was found dead in the small hut a few days later. She was buried in a mass grave and was never spoken of again. Her note was found and it was burned because it was touched by a carrier of the plague All her family got the plague except her baby brother Henry, who was sent to Spain to live in an orphanage. He was never told about what happened to his sister or the rest of her family. But, he died at age 18 from pneumonia. Please remember Elizabeth and all she wanted.
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