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A Pox

A pandemic erupts in 17th century London. Flash horror written in Old English, for the London Weird & Horror Group.

By Addison AlderPublished 9 months ago 3 min read
Images by Midjourney

Mr Fitchett the blackmaster rouses me afore dorn. 'Business abounds,' he saith. And I know at wons that the pockes is come upon Whytechappel.

With the skye still pink, we drawe up our horse-cartte at the first abode. We could have found it blynd, by followyng the peals of lone wayles amid the surroundinges all sylent in the thral of death.

The man lyes upon the floor. The cloth upon his face sokes through, and his rottid features are trayced there in blood. I have seen this on many occaisions before. Those poor afflicted assume a ruddy complexion, swetting and moistening in wide patches across there boddies, until at the last the skin of the fayce erupts in rottun craters and falls from their cheekes, and their boddies tare and bleed unto oblivvionne.

No garstlier ague exists. At leest I praye that this is so.

I, being newley apprentist in the trade and yet to acquire the strenth of stummuc, press ferm the rosarie of lavendar and vineggar to my nose then we beginne our bussiness.

Mr F holds hisself with reverence until the mistress returns from her wayling and payes him our dues, 3 sylver coynes. It is a stepe pryce but faire for the risk we take. And no others shall do it at any price.

Mr F does give his signe and so I gather the fallen husband in his bluddy sheets and do throwe his boddy up-on my sholder and carry him across the thresh-hold and on to our cartte.

Image by MidJourney

By noon, one dozzen boddies filles our wain. Its wodden plankes are sopped with liquyd and entrayls.

The waite of our ill cargo fair tests the axels of the cartte, but the master at the reines darest not slowe our round for it is certenly to be a busy and most profitabel day. So I stepp in amid the corpsis and scoop the worsed of the muck upon the road where dogges and cattel following us lapp our sodden trayle.

At Gowers Walk, manny carttes throng the gate-house of the pitte-feilde. Blackmasters brybe and invagle the landowners men. The Council seezed his land for the ded but made no mention of its being without toll. Full carttes pay more, and I watch my master surrender half our earnyngs so we may relinqish the boddies.

Master drawes us near an open pitte. Blacke flyes clowd the air and blankette the boddies humming a-gain with lyffe. I beginne unloading the boddies all broken aparte now by our roogh jurney. The limbes fall on the pyle which lies shoolder deepe.

Wardennes in apronnes of cowe-hide carry pitchforkes to turne and tille the damned feilde. The boddies heat multyply under their compress’n and under the sunne. My browes swette mixes with ille oozes, and my blodded cheekes are aflame.

Mr F regardes my labours with a straynge countenans. Thence comes he down from his seatte and I entreat him thus: sir, do not besmirch your bootes in this fetid soil, but he grabbes my collare and wipes it ruffly upon my face. Then his own face turns a hew of vexation and I knew its meaning.

I put my hand to the spot the master wypped, and I feel the craterous telltales erupted there. I protest but the master does not delay, shooving me upon the breast, and I falle a mans hight, hard upon the peek of the horryd pyle.

I catch back my senses and see the master speke to a pyle-warden. He is poynting at me and saying this one’s ded, and I see he slips the man two coynes. Then he turns from the pittes lippe and out of my syte.

Then the pyle-warden approaches me, cudgel a-raised, and with three swifft blowes stowves in my pocksied face.


About the Creator

Addison Alder

Writer of Wrongs. Discontent Creator. Weird tales to enthral and appal.

All original fiction. No reviews, no listicles. 👋🏻 Handwrought in London, UK 🇬🇧

Buy my eBooks on GODLESS and Amazon ☠️

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Comments (2)

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock9 months ago

    Extremely well done, Nicholas. I'm impressed.

  • Susanna Kiernan9 months ago

    Wow. I'm impressed by the use of old English. It must have taken a lot of research and hard work but the effect is amazing. It really builds an atmosphere and makes the story so immersive. The ending is particularly haunting.

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