The small figure bent over a table place intentionally sideways in the center of a small, dirt-floored room. The only light source that allowed him to see was the little light that trickled In through the filth stained window. As his hands worked, sewing the soft, bristled fur, a chorus of childish voices found Its way Into the house from outside. “Ring around the rosy,” they sang. The figure couldn’t help but to cringe at the intricate lyrics, knowing their horrible meaning. “Pocket full of posies. ” The man stood up to straighten his back, plucking his new work up as he did so.
Pinched gently between his thumb and forefinger was the inert body of a rat, its fur hardened with dirt. The rat, though no longer alive, was positioned with its back arched up into the air and its paws held up as if ready to leap, whether to strike or flee. “Ashes, ashes. ” A small drizzle started to fall from the gray clouds outside. Fat rain drops thumped gently against the wooden door. The man placed the rat on the window sill, the heavy stains of dirt working as a sufficient background of his new masterpiece. The rain started to fall harder from the miserable sky, and then even harder still.
The fat drops pounded harshly now against the door and with a distinct flash of lightning that illuminated the rat’s eyes, lighting up its dead gaze, followed by the crack of raging thunder, it was almost as if death itself rapped upon his door. And as the small children fled back to their homes, their last chorus echoed through the wind, raising the hair on the man’s neck and sending a cold shiver down his spine. “We all fall down. ” Jonathan Merger, a tall, thin man with dark hair and hazel eyes, stood behind a small woman and her three children as he waited to meet the sorceress.
It had started to rain an hour ago, and if he hadn’t of had to come outside, he wouldn’t have. HIS clothes were already soaked with rain water. The offer of protection Is what drove him to come. Protection Is what drove everything now, standing alone against misery and fear. Jonathan watched as two of the children played around their mother, splashing in the muddy puddles that now line the cobblestone streets, still bustling with activity despite the weather. A third child, the smaller one of the three, grasped the dress his mother wore with small hands and buried his face into its cough fabric.
As if sensing someone watching him, the small boy looked up from his mother’s dress. Jonathan felt a pang in his heart. The boy, who couldn’t be older than five, had a small blister just visible on the side of his cheek. His face was flushed with fever and he looked out of breath, as if he had been running for quite a long while. The boy put his face back into his mother’s dress. The woman looked down and gently ran her fingers through his hair with motherly affection. As she left the small vendor, her children followed. Jonathan walked up to the small, simple stand.
Various stones and bracelets were laid out before him In small wooden boxes. Small woven designs and triangular cards tied to simple string hung from a wooden stick down past her shoulders and shockingly green eyes set into a wrinkled face splashed with freckles. Jonathan exchanged a few words with the older woman, and then placed a few silver pennies into her palm. She smiled, revealing chipped and missing teeth, then turned and reached up for one of the small triangular cards. She plucked it down from off the small stick and stretched out her arm towards him, her hand hiking with old age.
Jonathan took the intricate charm with a kind nod of his head, then turned away from the woman and walked down the flooded streets seeking shelter. A small figure caught his eye as he approached the local pub. He was cloaked in a black robe that hung heavily around his body from the rain. A hood was drawn up over his face, but it didn’t do well to hide him from the crowd. People began to whisper in the ancient language of gossip to one another, telling rumors and profound stories that they had heard about the man.
They told each other about owe he hardly ever left his home to appear out in public, much rather sticking to the loneliest parts of town. They murmured of his shady figure, how he never really talked of his past or personal life, or they whispered about the way he presented himself in the strangest of ways, nothing like a normal man would. The strangest part about this man, however, was the fact that he never seemed to approach any of the vendors that sold magical charms and trinkets of protection, seeming to ignore them all together.
Everyone tried to get protection from this horrible plague, but the an seemed to Just carry on as if it were none of his concern. Still, Jonathan couldn’t help but notice that today he had seemed even odder than usually. His fingers danced and interlocked in a nervous habit, and his feet seemed to shuffle around underneath him with small, almost unnoticeable movements. Usually Jonathan preferred to stay clear of the man, but his curiosity was taking over. Without actually realizing, he had begun to follow the man as he walked back to his home.
Carl Oakley walked into his small home and eased the door shut behind him. He drew his hood back from his face, now heavy and drenched with water. He sighed quietly and looked around at all the small projects he had recently completed. Black rats stood in various positions all around the room. His most recent one was placed on his window sill. He thought it would have been a good idea to put it there as a way for him to distinguish it from the rest, but now he felt as if he had made a very unfortunate mistake.
One of the people in town had stopped him as he was passing through, which was unusual due to the fact that many people preferred to avoid him, and asked him about the black rats in his house. He had been so shocked that he ad nearly remained speechless, but after a few moments found his courage to answer. To his relief, she had thought that it had simply been a normal rat that had found its way into his humble abode. Carl quickly moved over to the window and removed the rat, wondering how the child had been able to see it through the thick layer of filth covering the lower half of his window.
When he looked closer, he could see tiny streaks where the rain had run down the window, looking as if a toddler had taken its finger and swiped the dirt away. It wasn’t completely clean, but it was clean enough to where the small shape of the rat could be visible from up close. He gave At that moment, Oakley heard his door open, allowing the cold outside air to flood into the dark room. A man hurried inside, looking completely unabashed at the fact that he had Just entered another man’s home without any permission. Oakley threw him a confused look, but the man wasn’t focused on him. He was focused on the rats.
His face had gone a pale color and his eyes were wide in horror as he looked around at all of them, all in different poses, as if their death had been frozen and prolonged o that they may suffer the pain of living. His mouth moved as he tried to form words. Finally he managed, “What… What is this… This… ” “What is your reason of entering? I do not remember allowing you in,” Oakley said, his own face going pale. “Sorcerer,” the other man said, barely above a whisper, and then he spoke louder. “Sorcerer! What black magic is this? ” “l am not a sorcerer neither do I practice in the skill of Black Magic.
There is no such thing,” Oakley said, trying to keep his voice level at the situation. The man looked around, his eyes showing a mixture of fear and anger, and rasped a knife that had been lain down on the center table. It was the knife that Oakley had used to remove the skin from the rats. Dried blood now covered its metallic surface. Muff… L should have known… It’s you isn’t it? ” Oakley was taken off guard by the question. “It’s me what? ” “The reason this plague has fallen upon our heads, shadowing the entire continent in fear and death. I knew it… Ever since you arrived on that ship.
You were hiding something, I knew it, I knew it…. But no, I won’t let this go on any longer,” he said, raising the knife so that the tip faced Oakley. Have you succumbed to the rancid plague as well, or are you Just as mad as you sound! ” Carl said, his anger rising up. “My son was taken by this plague,” the man continued, as if Carl had said nothing. “But no more, no more death, no more fear. ” “Stop making foolish accusations against me! ” Oakley shouted at realizing the reason for the accusation. The man was seeking revenge for his son, and he wanted it any way he could. Carl spoke again, this time his voice was softer. Do you not see what I have done? Look around you. ” The man glanced warily around him. L can see very well what you have done. ” “l have preserved these small creatures,” Oakley said, with a sense of excitement and awe in his own voice. “Don’t you see? I have made them everlasting. Now they shall be preserved for all future generations. Everyone may know of this plague, but not in the way we must suffer it. What I have done is great. ” Oakley spoke like an artist would speak of one of his new masterpieces. “What you have done is evil and unholy! And I will send you back to the deepest parts of… Jonathan had begun, his eyes gleaming bright with fear. Off still don’t see! I have done nothing to cause this plague! ” Oakley replied in anger. “l have done something marvelous that will help us too… ” “No more! ” the man cried in a shaky voice. Muff think you’re innocent, let God decide. Let us abide to the laws of the church! ” Oakley froze, his hands up in gestures that he had made while he had been Jonathan had heard enough. The insanity of anger had overcome him, and now he only wanted one thing. “God will let the guilty fall against the good, and now let us judge,” the man said, raising the knife over his head.
Oakley looked at the gleaming metal, feeling fear wash over him like waves of the ocean. His hands fell to his side. In a soft voice, “Please, you don’t… ,” he began to say, but then looked at Jonathan. His Jaw was set in determination, and his eyes shone with something so pronounced, it scared Oakley. As soon as the fear came, though, it vanished. He raised his arms out, leaving a clear strike for the man. “It doesn’t matter. I have already left my mark upon this world. My work will be remembered, and later on copied. I will not be forgotten. ” There was a flash of metal, and then blood sprayed the walls.
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