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The Black Death:A Journal of One Who Died

Dear Journal,
























March 19, 1348

Never in my thirteen years of being a doctor have I seen such a horrifying sickness among so many of my patients. Streams of people are constantly flooding into our hospital, their legs and necks covered in swollen bumps that blacken within hours; goose bumps rise upon their skin as they shiver with exceedingly high fevers, and many are violently throwing up blood. Nurses are madly dashing around from person to person, trying to aid them as much as possible, while our top doctors are desperately racing against time to find some sort of remedy; the hospital is in mass chaos I tell you, mass chaos! I just can’t take it anymore, seeing so many faces that were once smiling and laughing all of twenty-four hours ago to now being masked with such desolate fear and misery. I want to leave this place, just like Dr. Kamish and Dr. Maveroh and about ten more of our staff members that deserted our hospital did. It would be better than hiding in this old closet that I’m in now, which reeks of must and unused cleaning supplies. Although, the stench of dirt and Windex couldn’t possibly smell as bad as the vile odor of the sick and decaying people outside; I don’t want to go out there. I’m petrified. If I go back out there, I could get sick myself, and leave behind my husband and kids. But I can’t stay in here. It’s wrong. I’m going to go out there right now and try to do my best to help the people that have fallen ill during this grave time, the grimmest time of my life.

-Sue

Dear Journal,
























March 20, 1348

Yesterday at work was one of the most horrifying sights that I have ever had to witness. And now, as scared as I am to admit it, I have a terrible headache and my lymph nodes are beginning to swell. I have a gut feeling that I may be catching the disease, and the thought of possibly dying within the next four days lingered in the back of my mind while I made my way around town today. As I ran my errands, I saw that just about every civilian had handkerchiefs tied around his or her face, and people were buying talismans and charms from our city’s local wise woman in a fretful attempt to shield themselves from the disease. Church bells rang endlessly in a hopeless effort to force this pestilence away, but more and more people continued to perish. When I saw Annie at the shop, she told me about how the lord of our manor left town, abandoning his sick son with the intent of not becoming ill himself. I couldn’t believe how selfish his actions were, and all I could do was shake my head as she told me more. “Lawyers are refusing to come and make out wills for the dying. Friars and nuns are being left to care for the sick, and monasteries and convents are being deserted, as they are being stricken, too. Bodies are getting left in empty houses, and no one is willing to give them their rightful Christian burials." Annie twisted the jade necklace, a symbol of hope that many people have been wearing recently, around her neck, and hopped around her feet uneasily. “Sue,” she said to me, “the animals on our manor are getting sick as well; what are we going to do for food?” I didn’t answer though, as I noticed Rob, the shop owner, collapsed outside. We ran to him, hoping that he, too, hadn’t been consumed by the ailment. But he was. I couldn’t bear to look at him, so I told Annie I was going home. Now I’m lying on my bed writing in this little red journal, thinking about how everyone I know is falling prey to this monster of a disease. I don’t know what I’d do if I or my family were to become victims; all I know is that my headache’s getting worse, and there’s a few areas of my thighs that are starting to swell.



-Sue


Dear Journal,
























March 21, 1348

If dreams can come true, then so can nightmares, and one of my worst ones has come true: I officially know I have the plague. The swellings on my legs are as red as the tomatoes that were in the salad that I vomited this morning, and my fever has skyrocketed to 102°. Everything’s starting to become blurry. It takes effort to walk from my bed to the bathroom, and my legs have given out from under me twice. I know it’s only a matter of time before I go like everyone else, so I’ve quarantined myself in my room to keep my family safe; thinking about leaving them behind makes me sick to my stomach. But, I’m trying to stay strong. After all, I’ve lived a pretty good life. I made a successful career as a doctor, which not many women are given the chance to do, and I have a great family that I know will make it through this. I also know that the pages of this journal are getting difficult to see, and keeping my eyes open is becoming harder and harder as the minutes go on. I think I’m going to get some sleep now; if I wake, I will write again, and if I don‘t, then just know that I’m resting happily in heaven.

-Sue

Dear Journal,











March 22, 1348

They say that people die young because they have completed a task. This leaves me to ask myself, what is the task that I have completed? This is a question that I ponder, ponder with great consideration. I can’t seem to think straight though, as my thoughts are disoriented and, at moments, I’ve felt delirious. I’ve gone through three, four, maybe five seizures today; I can’t quite seem to remember the exact count. I’ve found myself forgetting thoughts only seconds after they’ve crossed my mind, and while this frustrates me, I try to make peace with it. I’m practically blind—I can’t distinguish anything further than an inch or two away from my face. I do notice the colors of my fingertips though, and they are blacker than the coal that my kids are scared of “Santa” leaving in their stockings at Christmas. You know, this disease should be called, “The Black Death”—it’s certainly a fitting name for it. Ugh, the smell that I was so repulsed by only three days ago is now coming from my own skin—my own, burnt-looking skin that is now too dreadful to look at. As I continue to write, it’s getting harder to breathe, and it’s taking a great amount of effort to keep the pen moving. I know what I’m scripting right now will be the last words to ever come from me, and the thought’s overwhelming to consider; so, I just want my friends and family to know that I love them, and to live their lives to the fullest. Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die tomorrow.

I’m going to go to sleep now. Goodnight.


-Sue




Join the Discussion


This article has 10 comments. Post your own!

surfergirl888 said...
yesterday at 12:29 pm:
This is great!!!!! I loved the part at the end where she's talking to her family. I also just wanted to say that all those people who try to correct the windex bit need to chill out. Its the story that matters, right?
 
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marleymoomoo said...
Jun. 14, 2013 at 6:19 am:
it was a very captivating story, but it was very historically incorrect. women werent doctors, they didnt have nurses or hospitals and there were no cleaning supplies like windex because of their poor hygeine. it was a great story but quite a few errors
 
lovetowrite22 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm :
I was 14 when I wrote this. Chill out.
 
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hist said...
Apr. 13, 2013 at 11:42 pm:
Only read first paragraph - women weren't doctors, no such things as nurses and no such things as hospitals in those times.  They also didn't recognise the importance of hygiene so there were no cleaning supplies.  Further research required.
 
lovetowrite22 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 14, 2013 at 1:20 pm :
I was 14 when I wrote this. Chill out.
 
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1234ASHLEE said...
Mar. 3, 2013 at 6:35 pm:
They didn't have 'Windex' back then but it was good overall.
 
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the.expressionist said...
Aug. 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm:
I liked reading your story, it is very captivating. Maybe the use of the word "Windex" as you heard from a previous comment took away the reality of the situation, but all in all quite good. One thing I would advise to you when you are writing future stories is to go more in depth with your story. 
 
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Angelic_Rose said...
Jul. 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm:
oh and ignore arosed- its arose. No "ed", my bad :)
 
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Angelic_Rose said...
Jul. 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm:
I have to say that this isn't too bad. You've definitly done your research, since it's pretty accurate in my opinion. I think that some parts were a bit vague, like when you mentioned "Windex" and "skyrocketed", but it's not entirely bad. And i absolutly loved the last journal entry! The first sentence, the last part of how you leave the reader hanging even though we know what happened- so sad! And as for the "windex" problem, maybe you could mention ingredients used as disinfectio... (more »)
 
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GigGleZ said...
Feb. 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm:
VERY INTEREATING WISH I COULD HAVE SEEN SOME OF THE JOURNAL.
 
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