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Black Death

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In the late Middle Ages, the disease known as the Bubonic Plague struck Europe with an iron fist. This horrible pandemic wiped out over a third of the population on Earth. People at this time were really scared of this disease, and soon, they started getting ideas of how to contain or prevent it. One man, who is still unknown but known as Black Death to investigators of today and the people of that time, came forward and said he was the one who created this plague. The people of England brought him to face the justice of the king, demanding the warlock be disposed of. He ordered Black Death’s execution right there on the palace stair. Instead, they took him to the mass burials of the recently deceased, tied his hands and feet together, and buried him alive with the dead and the dying.

Hundreds of years passed, and finally, in 1946, a secret unearthing began near the Tower of London. The burial of hundreds of people was uncovered, yet the mysterious Black Death was nowhere to be found. His remains were missing... but how do we know of him today? Most records of the Bubonic Plague were lost or destroyed.

This story, however, will explain everything that needs to be known.

In 1348, a teen boy by the name of Jonathan Veil was set in the hospitals of England. The Bubonic Plague had just struck, and he was determined to try and rid of it with his father. His father, Francis Del Veil was the most respected doctor at that time in the royal court. He performed many successful experiments and autopsies that would help spark the Renaissance and many successful scientists to come.

Jonathan set out on the morning of July 10, with his father to the Tower of London. The fortress was the resting place of many sick and dead, and they both had worked there ever since the plague began in the northern borders of France and Germany. They were preparing for the disaster to come, and they were by all means prepared to fight back. But before going out, they put on their pitch black doctor masks, and stuffed the long snouts with lavender, basil, sage, mint, and olive leaves and petals to protect themselves from the evil forms of the plague.

“Father,” John started, ”do you think we shall bring peace to England if we truly defeat the evil in the air?"

Francis looked at John from beneath the dark eyes of the mask, and answered, “Forces made by God cannot be stopped by man, only can the creator himself stop it. But us? We can certainly help him to stop it, but I fear us interfering with his plans will certainly bring a hex above us. We are but ants meant to be stomped on by the creator, we are nothing more but meager pests.”

They finished putting on their clothes, which consisted of large black cloaks and boots. The masks shined in the sunlight as they stepped out, their blackness bringing an evil and disturbing atmosphere in the beauty of day. They walked to the fortress, which wasn’t far from their home. When, they arrived only a short time later, they found many patients stacked in the Death Ditch, a hole dug by the tower to house the death of many. Some who were in there were patients only from last night and the night before, people who felt fine earlier that fortnight, but have now fallen into the ground.

They continued the walk into the Tower of London, huddling into their cloaks and masks for protection, and in silent voices, prayed to be spared. They stopped and Francis turned to his son.

“This is where we go once more my boy,” he starts, “remember to never remove your mask unless absolutely needed. Oh, and carry this with you; you need it more than I.”

He handed John a silver cross, its edges fine and the metal shining in the bright rays of the sun. The silver chain crossed around his fingers as he clenched the talisman with all his might. He fell forward, hugging his father, and his father responding with a fierce embrace back to his son. They let go and finally parted, not saying another word.

John’s job as a plague doctor was to see to the sick and drag or carry the dead to the pit of hell itself. He hated the dragging job, but loved to tend to the patients, his loving nature and quick wits made him a good learner of how to care for the people that are maybe doomed to die. He hated and blamed himself because he kept feeling responsible for not being good enough for the victims. He never told his father, or anyone this, he only kept it to himself, which made his mood and personality darker as the weeks went by.

Later that day, as night approached, John gazed toward the fortress, its stone walls rising menacingly to the blue sky. It almost seemed to John as if the stones of the walls were turning a bloody red, which wasn’t really surprising, since the Tower of London was also renowned as the Bloody Tower. Many executions happened at the cursed fortress, and now more blood and innocence was being spilled and sold to the damned stronghold.

John shivered and turned away, not wanting the ghosts of yesterday to haunt him. He then remembered his mother, he didn’t want to, but the castle beckoned him to. He remembered his mother and himself, walking down the older streets of London, his mother being twenty five years of age, and himself being only eight. He remembered how a dark man attacked them, his hand pushing John away, and pulling his mother closer to the blackness of an alleyway. John retaliated and jumped at the assailant and clawed at his face and hands. The man let go, but revealed a large dagger that then lunged at John, but it never struck. The man let out a gasp as he pulled the knife back, finding it drenched in blood. John looked up to see his mother, her life fading through the large entry and exit wound at her heart made by the dagger. She fell backwards and John rushed to her, but the attacker looked far down the street, seeing the large carriage pulled by two great white horses coming their way. The coachman yelled out to the man, but the man was already gone in the shadows of the night, and John’s mother’s life had dashed away with a final, "I love you."

Coming back to the present, John found himself crying, the tears of the pain of the past running freely down his cheeks, soaking the black velvet inside the mask with salty remorse and pity. He opened his eyes once more to see the golden sun finally disappear behind the extent of the city, and out beyond the hills of the west. He let out a deep breath, his breathing hitching back and forth to saddened and then normal, then finally, he let out one last deep breath, and stood perfectly straight, his composure nearly perfect of that of a king. He turned back to the gates of the Tower, and slowly approached the large leviathan-like opening, and entered. He wandered around till he finally found his father, who was putting up white sheet after white sheet over a victim’s head, and saying a silent prayer before he went to the next soul lost to Satan’s hand.

John cleared his throat and his father turned, and nodded once, acknowledging John that he knew it was time to go back home. His father prayed to the last victim, and covered the man’s head. He stood, breathing roughly and struggling to regain his composure. He leaned slightly to the left, dizzy from an unfathomable weakness that consumed him. He turned to John who turned his head curiously and slowly advanced to his father.

He didn’t get close enough to catch him as he fell to the cobblestones in the courtyard of the Bloody Tower. John cried out as his father hit the stone pathway with a mighty thunk and crack. John frantically turned his father over, only to see the half broken plague mask revealing his face: it was grey with his veins pulsing out nearly from his skin. His eyes were dark rimmed and his breathing had stopped completely, along with his heartbeat. John shook his father, as if trying to wake him from sleep, but it was in vain. John cried out again, but this one was full of pain, anger, and sadness. He rocked his dead father back and forth as he sobbed beneath the crane-like mask, and the other doctors heard his cries and rushed to see the sight. They gasped as they saw their leader, their teacher, their maker dead, his eyes closed forever, never to see his son again.

After looking into how Sir Francis died, they discovered that it wasn’t the plague that killed him. They found that his heart completely stopped, causing a completely painless death. They told the news to the rest of doctors of London, and how he died. Every reaction was nearly the same; surprised faces and questions racing through their minds.

When John finally arrived back at his home outside the city, he was in no condition to talk to anyone, or do anything. He simply took some firewood and added them to the still hot coals of the fire. The logs went up almost immediately, the dryness of the bark making the logs easily flammable. John sat silently on the black leather chair that was his father's, and stared into the fire, his emotions wiped clean off his face, leaving it blank and almost soulless. His bright green eyes moved from the fire to stare at the large painting of his family, the most precious possession the family owned. His father was wearing a dark cloak with dark red garments and a black ruffled collar. His mother was wearing a blood red dress, the distinct flash of white shining from her collar and wrists. John’s clothes were similar to his father’s, only the collar was white. But one thing John forgot to notice was the necklace his father was wearing in the picture. The simple silver cross gleamed, even if it was only on a picture.

John reached down into his shirt and brought out the cross. The majesty of the simple grey of the object was illuminated by a holy glow that defined John’s heritage. He stared at it, his cat-like eyes staring at the metallic shine of the cross. He got up and walked toward the fireplace, his breathing hitching once more, and his sight becoming blurry. He concentrated his vision once more, and rage boiled in his heart and mind. He lifted his hand with the cross in his claw-like grasp, and threw the necklace into the burning fire. The shining of the cross increased as it landed right in the middle of the burning logs. John could see the cross beginning to turn a bright orange as the metal began to heat up from the hellish fire. John turned away, his face ran with anger, and his eyes started to bring up a fine mist, but the tears would not leave. His fists were clenched tight and his feet were set on the hardwood floor. He lifted his chin and walked slowly to the door, his face staying in the fit of rage when he threw the cross to the fire. His mind was set, he would join his father and mother, no matter how disturbing or unnerving his death may be.

“I shall live in this world no more forever,” John silently told himself.

Wandering the woods of North London, John was alone, only with his thoughts, which were now as dark as the deepest depths of the ocean. He walked slowly, not wanting to get back to the city in a rush. He listened to the sounds of the forest: nothing. This sound reminded him of what he truly felt at that moment, just nothing. He didn’t care about his father dying, he didn’t care about the plague, he didn’t care about his past, nothing mattered to him now.

He stopped.

He fell to his knees and the emotions started to return; rage, anger, sadness, pity, remorse, frustration, any emotion that he felt the past day came rushing to him. He sobbed, his head bent low and his hands grasping tightly to his eyes. His breathing turned harsh once more, and he gasped for breath as he cried at his heart's content.

He suddenly ceased, now only sniffling his nose. He almost felt as if he wasn’t alone. He lifted his hands from his eyes and looked around, again, there was absolutely no noise from the forest around him. He simply gazed into the trees, wondering why he didn’t feel alone.

“I knew you would be the perfect choice,” comes a harsh voice from the dead silence.

John turned, frightened by the tone of the voice and by the sudden appearance of it. He looked around to find the voice, but the night had proved to him that his vision wasn’t quite adjusted to the dark. He squinted his eyes, trying to look deeper in the blackness. He then saw him: a man wearing dark clothes and a black cape. He stepped forward and revealed himself in the moonlight. His face was covered in a plague mask, but this one was different. The nose wasn’t short and stout, it was long and pointed. The paint wasn’t a ghastly white, but a metallic black that shined with the moon. Behind the mask was a hood that hid any other features that would try to be visible, but alas, none appeared.

“Who are you?” John asks, his voice crooked and weak.

“My name is not important,” the stranger starts, “the only thing that is, is that you know of what I’ve done.”

John starts to feel uncomfortable, and starts to back off slowly.

The stranger continues, “I am the one who created this plague, and many others before it. Now that I have gotten old and useless, I now need a prince to take my place.”

John stops. “Have you chosen me?” he asks.

“Yes,” the stranger answers, “before you ask why, I will tell you. You went through something that no other person other than I has gone through; loss. Death is our new friend, and he greets us with his cold embrace. I lost my parents as well, but it doesn’t matter now. What matters now my prince, is that you, you my lad, are the new Black Death!”

John stares where the man’s eyes should be. “Why shan’t I just walk away, forget this?”

“Because you know you need this power,” answers the man.

The dark figure pulls out a large scythe, only it was connected to a shorter handle, and the blade was well rounded, nearly an entire circle in fact. The blade was black as night and sharper than the sharpest weapon in England. He lifted the scythe and pointed it to John, whose wide eyes relaxed along with his shoulders and legs. John walked slowly to the man in a trance, a hypnotic sleep where John can see everything, but not control his actions. The man handed the scythe to John, and John’s arm slowly went up and grabbed the black handle.

“Never give in to fear, for you are the new form of fear,” the man says.

John is released from the trance and finds himself more powerful than ever. He felt as if he could take over the world. He lifted his left hand to balance against the tree, but on contact, the tree went limp and dead. He backed away, astonished by the reaction of the tree. He looked at his palms, they stayed the normal color of flesh, but as he focused his vision, he saw within him, thousands of tiny living creatures, all different in size and shape.

He was gifted the power of disease manipulation. This power allowed him to control diseases and manipulate them to turn them into something worse than they can be. But since he could manipulate germs and such, he could manipulate the many germs within himself, and these could make him nearly invincible. All were in his blood and could change anything in him, whether it be his appearance or even the way he thinks.

He quickly looked around looking for the man, but he was gone as quickly as he came. John let out a heavy sigh, and bowed his head, he then realized he was wearing the man’s black plague mask. He gently pulled it off and found the nose filled with nothing but air, and the eyes covered by a thin black covering. John let out another deep breath and put the mask back on. This was his destiny, he thought. God has a funny way with rewarding someone.

The next day, the man revealed himself and he was executed on the grounds of the Tower of London, and was buried with the many dead. Some say that when they started to bury him, his solid form started to fade away as an ethereal being, then eventually vanished into thin air. Jonathan Veil was reported missing, and the plague moved on to the north, causing more havoc and hysteria. The people of Europe were afraid, and they were right to be.

Now we skip over 600 years later to the end of World War 2. The former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill urged the rebuilding of London, and got his wish. He then secretly went to the Tower of London, which miraculously was left untouched. He ordered his new workers to start on the grounds, since many shells had fallen into the vast yards of the fortress. What two workers found in one such crater chilled them to the core. What was revealed by the Nazi bombings was the Death Pits, where all those who died from the Black Plague were buried and forgotten. Churchill ordered that the ditch be covered once more, in order for the spirits of those who passed to remain at peace.

Years later, on January 24, 1968, Winston Churchill died of stroke in his home of London England. He never revealed the secrets to anyone, as to try and protect not only himself, but the whole city. But before he died, he revealed that he felt as though, he was always followed. He claimed that someone would always be lurking in the shadows, watching intently as he walked by wherever he was walking. The black mask was large, with only two eye holes visible in the darkness. The eyes glowed green with a spark of evil that lurked around the figure and within him. That was all Churchill would see of this figure.

Today, the mystery of that black figure is still unsolved, others claimed to have seen him wandering modern-day London, but those have been dismissed quickly. Today, modern diseases have proven to be hard to contain, these include Ebola, HIV/AIDS, the common flu, and many others. That is because these diseases are evolving into something much worse.

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