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Ask Not for Whom the Bell Tolls

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It was another early morning. The bell was chiming over the quiet London village. Gary knew this meant one thing. Another person had succumbed to the plague in the night, and Gary had to go out to retrieve it.

He woke up and put on his work clothes like usual. A set of coveralls, and a large pair of rubber gloves, and he was out the door.

He grabbed his cart, and his shovel, and began walking towards the town center, where he'd be informed of where the house was. Maybe he'd be lucky this time and find it on the way. At least he wouldn't have to deal with the mayor, talking down to him some more.

As he was on his way, he began to think of the other people he'd had to pick up. He had names for them. Bloaters were the ones who people didn't realize had died for awhile, and were left in a closed room.

They were some of the worst. Gary had to handle them with the most care, because if they burst, the room would be contaminated, and the smell was something awful.

Ickers were the ones that oozed slightly. They always had that black mucus substance around their mouth, and were the hardest to clean up after... The plague had no mercy for anyone, and the Ickers always seemed to leave behind a dripping trail of infected bodily fluids. Gary hated them almost as bad as the Bloaters.

He really hoped it was just a Passer... one of the ones who had the plague, but fortunately had died peacefully, when the fever was too high and killed them. They were really the easiest to deal with. Just grab it and carry it to the burial site.

As he wheeled through the streets, thinking of what he'd surely come across, he began to wonder who it was. He walked up to the nearby cafe, and asked if anyone knew who the bell was ringing for this time.

No one looked up for him, or even seemed to notice he was there.

"Tourists..." Gary muttered.

Even with the plague in heavy effect, and most roads blockaded in and out of the city, people with a strong morbid curiosity still managed to get into the city to peek around. They were notorious for being foreigners though...

Gary continued along. He noticed his good friend walk by, and tried to stop him to ask who the bell was this time, but his friend hurried past going the opposite direction.

"Musta been busy... Always is..." Gary muttered again.

He grumped forward and finally made it to the town square. It was strangely cold for the early summer morning. The usual crowd wasn't there, either. There were usually a few people milling about, waiting to see who the dead chap was this time. Gary couldn't even find the mayor, which was odd, since he was always there when the bell rang off...

As he looked around, he noticed a man in a black robe behind him. The man had a calm face, and had obviously noticed Gary. He was walking towards him.

"Er, Mister, I don't think I seen ya around here before, but do you know who this bell is for?" Gary asked. He was getting slightly agitated. The man nodded slightly, and pointed back down the road.

"Come." He stated.

Gary followed the man, all the way back down the streets he had just walked down.

"Y'mean t' tell me, I done walked all this way juss for it t'be right down the opposite direction from me house?" Gary asked when the man stopped.

"No." He said. He pointed towards Gary's house.

"So it's me tenant, and I juss din't notice 'I'm in there." Gary muttered. He opened the door and began to walk upstairs.

"George? Where you at? George, y'dead? Ahh, damn, why'm I askin' if 'e's dead? He can't answer..." Gary grumbled, getting back up the stairs.

Halfway to George's flat, Gary stopped. His door was open, and people were inside. He looked in, suspecting robbers, only to see the mayor and Gary's family sobbing near him.

"What's this about? What's all this?" Gary demanded. "I got up jus' to get the damned body again, and yer all crying about in me room? What's all this?"

Gary tried to get inside. The man in the black robe stood in the corner of the room. He looked at Gary, and pointed at the bed.

"Him." He said.

"Who's him? This's my room, and I'm standin' right bloody here! Who's the damned bell..." Gary stopped. The mayor had moved, and Gary noticed who was on his bed.

Facedown, in a puddle of black mucus, Gary lay dead from the plague.

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