The Cannibalistic Winter of 1610

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
What happens when people die and others are starving? (I wrote this a while back.)

Submitted: May 23, 2014

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Submitted: May 23, 2014

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 I was tired as I heard my mother call for me weakly. I managed to pick myself up from my straw mattress and go to her aid. It was the winter of 1610 in Jamestown, Virginia and our people were starving. They were dying like a plague had swept through the town. I blamed the farmers. They had chosen the wrong land to plant the crops on and hadn’t grown as much in preparation for winter. And because of that, they were the first ones to go.

 They felt a sense of grief for the death of so many people, so they didn’t even try to fight off the starvation. They let themselves wither away. What happened to their bodies, I didn’t know. I didn’t care to know. There were suspicions around the town, but everyone wanted to deny them. There were whispered rumors of graves being dug up and the dead’s flesh being eaten. I had hoped and prayed this wasn’t the case.

 My mother called me once more and I made my way to where she was lying on her bed. She was pale and sick with fever. She was dying and I knew it. It wasn’t the starvation that was killing her, but the cold. She had grown sick a few weeks back digging through the snow in our garden to find any type of food or roots left there, but there was none. By the time I had found her she was blue all over. When she died I would be all alone.

“Yes Mama?” I asked standing at her side. “Water, water. I need water. Could you get me some?” she asked weakly. “Yes Mama.” I walked over to the water pail and picked it up. It was empty. “I’ll fetch some from the well. I’ll be back.” I pulled my coat on and made my way outside where it was freezing. It had been snowing all day, but it had stopped for now. The snow was hard and compacted so I could walk on it without sinking into its coldness.

 It was tedious business making my way to the well. When I did reach the well the water was frozen and I had to slam the pail into the layer of ice a few times to shatter it. When I made my way back to the house there was a deathly quiet and I knew something was terribly wrong. I made my way straight to my mother. She was lying on the bed face up, her eyes frozen and glossy. I slowly approached her. There was no movement or recognition. She was gone.

 I barely had time to mourn before the front door was thrown open and a group of four men intruded. I backed into a corner and watched as they lifted my mother’s corpse and left. There were no words of condolences; there were no words at all. I was fearful of what they’d do with my mother. Would they do that to me as well, when I died? No I couldn’t die here, not with knowing what would happen to my remains. I would rather die somewhere in the frozen snow.

I pulled my mother’s coat on top of mine and made my way outside where the weather was turning harsh once more. I had no chance of living. No one around here did unless they ate the dead and I would refuse to do that. I would not eat my fallen comrades. I hoped I could make it far out where no one would find me and die there as peacefully as possible.


© Copyright 2020 Paige Phillips. All rights reserved.

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