Sickness

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         I lived a fairly decent life, well...as decent as it would be for someone of my stature.  During my time as a plague doctor in my native country of France, I have had a fairly fruitful venture as a healer of the sick.  But, not everyone appreciated my services.  As much as my venture as a healer was fruitful, especially after having been only a fruit trader before, there was always the critic.  Those few people ever questioned my methods never thought beyond the simple expenses I charged.  I did not always charge money for my services, but the purse of the city was only willing to provide me with a certain amount of coin for my services.  And unlike the other deceitful and outlandish plague doctors who serviced other cities and towns, I took great pride in protecting the people from disease.  Of course, I deserved money for my services.  Not only did I help to isolate the sick from the healthy, but I helped to heal those with wounds and people who were rotting before my own eyes.  My elixir was the only one that actually showed signs of healing anyone.  It was my own blend of oregano, garlic, and honey, and as for the open rotting flesh of the soon-to-be deceased, I used a mix of concentrated liquor and garlic.  The pain from the ethanol healed their wounds and my blend of honey, garlic, and oregano helped to soothe and heal those who had fallen ill to sickness.  Most readers who will find my document will wonder why an esteemed doctor such as myself would be revealing my secrets at all.  Well....the matter is that there is not much time left for me.

         It started three days ago, as I was making my rounds throughout Paris, and I was on house calls to aid in healing those who had fallen with the most terrible of diseases:  the black death.  I readied myself from my small home within the city, prepared the elixir I would keep within my mask to prevent contact with foul air, and I readied my remedies and equipment to go about my day.  I made sure to reexamine the cases that were messaged to me in my mail.  I first went to the home of an elderly couple.  I wanted to simply skip them because they had lived a fulfilling life already, but they insisted that they would fill more coins in my purse, so I complied.   I made a visit to their small home, and I examined the wife who was ill and in her bed.  "Is there any hope for my wife doctor?"  I fed her a dose of my elixir and rubbed the concentrated liquor on the bumps that emerged upon her skin.  Her husband was a bit abrasive about the pain that his wife was experiencing, "Why are you harming my wife?  Unhand her!"  He forced my hands off of my patient. My patient!  She may have been his wife, but she would not remain his wife for long unless I treated her for her illness.  

          "Sir, your wife is terribly ill, and although my elixir may be painful, but it is proven to heal."

           "How does your witchcraft heal anyone you false healer?!"

           I was about to reply to this foolish shoemaker when his wife spoke to stop the argument, "My husband, please!  I am doing better!"  It was these words that she croaked that gave the man some hope.  He stopped holding my hand and holding his wife's.

           "Mary...." He hugged the old hag so hard that he almost killed her himself.  "I thought I had lost you...."

            "I will be fine Charlie.  The doctor has helped me.  Let us pay him."

             He looked at me with a face of slight contempt and resistance, but after a moment's thought, he went into his house to retrieve some fresh coins to pay me with.  I was very pleased, to say the least.  "Thank you, doctor.  I admit to my doubts about you, but it is quite apparent that your elixirs do work."  He handed me the coins and he released a sigh of relief.  "She has not spoken in several days.  I was afraid that I would lose her to the sickness."  To note this part of my story is absolutely important to explaining my predicament; my elixirs do not work in every case.....as is with mine.  I thanked the shoemaker and his wife for the coin, and I left to my next call.

           I was heralded to go and aid a young woman who would be baking under normal conditions.  However she had fallen ill to the sickness, and it was my job to take her case.  I normally would request more coin as I am the most successful plague doctor in Paris, however, she was a beautiful young woman, and her death would be quite the loss.  So I immediately went to her home and performed the same treatment on her as I did on the old shoemaker's wife.  Her father did not offer any coin, but for her case, I did not demand any.  I even had a surplus of elixir for my final case of the day.  However....I wasn't quite expecting any peculiar circumstances for my final case of the day.

        I made my way to the final house.  The description of this man's case was rather vague in details.  However, he offered the coin amount that the city of Paris would pay for three full moons.  I could not afford to miss this man's case....nor could I avoid accepting his coin.  I arrived at his home as quickly as I could, but I was not prepared for what I witnessed as I arrived at the house.  I rang the bell outside of his home.  His home was rather large for an average citizen, I assumed that he was a wealthy trader, so I had believed that it would take him some time to arrive at the door.  However, when I called for him as I knocked on the front door to his home, the door opened, and I was revealed to a horror upon the walls of his home.  There was blood splattered across the walls of the foyer of the house, and furniture was sprawled across the floor.  I proceeded slowly into the house and called out to him in hopes of gaining an answer.

        After a few moments of no response, I began my walk through the household in search of my patient, and my payment.  The traces of blood led far into the house into a large bedroom.  I made my way down towards the back of the house....and that's when I saw it.  The door to the room was open, and as I proceed in, I was met with a pile of bodies of other plague doctors laid out in one corner of the room.  I took notice when I saw a man with one of the masks breathing heavily and another plague doctor was next to him.  I had assumed that he was near death, but that's when I saw it.  He pulled out a knife and drove it deep into his wrist, sliding the blade down the length of his forearm, and then leaped with great speed and drove it straight into my side.  

          He took me by surprise, and my legs reacted before the rest of my body had a chance to.  They struck him in his face, and he fell back against the wall, weak and barely able to breathe.  I was still in shock, at his actions, and by the feeling, I began to experience.  "Gadzooks! What have you done to me you vile pig!"

           His voice was raspy through the mask, but sounded deep and continues to ring in my mind.  "You plague doctors only bring death.  You do not bring life."  He was heaving heavily now, he was near death.  I ripped out the blade and took aim at his head, but his voice stopped me.  "You sarding doctors are absolutely pathetic.  No one was willing to stand above your authority....so I called upon the powers of dark magic to invoke the black death upon anyone who comes to aid you."  I wanted to drive the blade into his head again, but his voice heaved once more and stopped me....and it was in that moment that he revealed how doomed we all were.  "I received this curse from the vermin of Paris.  This curse comes from an agent beyond air and God.  I summoned it from the pits of Hell to wreak havoc upon plague doctors like you.  However, I did not anticipate that the curse would affect me as well.  I now realize that not only is Paris doomed, but all of Europe is doomed as well.  You have until nightfall to stop my spell, but you will not succeed.  We are both doomed to be tortured in Hell.  But at least, I dragged you sarding demons down with me."  And with that, his chest finally stopped moving.  I dropped the blade in fear and dread.

            I ran frantically out of the house and ran faster than when I was a young boy to my home to examine my wounds.  I immediately began to remove my clothing and reached for my elixir and fabrics.  I poured the concentrated liquor over the wound and stuck two cloves of garlic to the opening of the wound.  The pain was very great, but it did not show much improvement.  I dressed the wound in fresh cloth and hoped that some sleep would allow time for my elixir to work, but it was to no success.  I now have developed a fever, sweating, headaches, my throat has begun to swell, and I am noticing buboes forming on the surface of the wound.  

           I now realize that not only am I doomed, but the rest of Paris is doomed.  And I never did receive my payment.  I realize now how my payment means nothing, and how as much as I pray for forgiveness, I am doomed down to Hell for my greed and actions.  My hypocrisy should not stand as an example for anyone, but if any survivors read this document, please take heed in my words.  Do not believe the words that anyone tells you.  This plague will kill anyone who approaches me, and will kill everyone who comes in contact with vermin.  Avoid the curse and flee.  I do not have much time before I become one of the other bodies that will be burned.  I fear for my life and the lives of other, because once the sickness....the black death catches you....you will be doomed to suffering and death.  May God have mercy on the world.

        

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