Story

Epidemia

I used the fire that flames in everyone’s soul and burned an empire to the ground

It had been going on for too long. Longer than the time I was born, my great grandfather was the third victim, from there the body count never dropped.

We live in the gutters, avoid them by miles…live on their leftovers, still we get hunted. This had to stop. So I took the initiative.

I was already well on my road to dying, since I had been “cursed”, or at least that’s what the village leader told me. So I took it upon me to carry out my fate. Before the harbinger of death visited me, I wanted it to visit them.

It wasn’t easy, finding the right place for me to accomplish my task at. It mattered a lot where I started it, we did have many locations set up for a contingency plan, if I failed. But it didn’t matter if I failed, I was just the spark, and the catalyst to a reaction so great that it would be remembered for centuries to come. If I failed, somebody else cursed with the same fate would take my place.

Our first choice were the lower levels in Penrith. Since it provided us an advantage in numbers. Our next target was Constantinople, then Italy, Marseilles, nothing would be left.

My task you ask? I just had to die! That was the sacrifice needed to bring justice to our people. We were large in numbers but weak in the being and mind. They could crush us and not blink an eye, the only advantage we had were our numbers, which made some of us escape their clutches. By dying, I could let the harbingers carry over my curse to them, let them suffer as we did.

And so I waited, waited for my time to come. As soon as I knew it was close, I ran to the nearest house, I could feel it with my every breath, everything was waning, I was losing control of my limbs, every breath, taking more of a toll than the one before. But before I go, with all I have left in me, I leave this to you, my last words. You find these, you know my legacy.

I have to be the first, I knew if I succeed my comrades will follow. So let’s end this.

Who am I you ask? I have a name, yes. But after being given this quest, I was given another one.

I am their final call.

I am The Black Death.

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Story

“Never Let Me Go”

I used to be daddy’s little princess. My life used to be perfect until I made a couple of mistakes that totally turned my life upside down. My first mistake, I made a boyfriend when I was 16. I guess making a boyfriend wasn’t that big a mistake as was sleeping with him. He always said he loved me and would never let me go. I was always comforted by those words which is why I didn’t mind going to bed with him. But then I got pregnant and that is when my life took a huge turn. My daddy stopped treating me like a princess. My boyfriend simply disappeared from my life and suddenly had nothing to do with me. So much for “never let me go” crap. I decided to keep the baby and that is when everyone I was close to in my life started to freak out. They all told me it was a bad idea and that I knew nothing about raising a child. They were right, I didn’t. I grew up without a mother so I literally had no idea what being a mother was all about. But I had made up my mind and there was no way I was going to turn back. My decision didn’t go too well with my father. He had a heart attack. He survived it but I realized I did not want to be a burden on him. So I left the house. Alone and scared, I had no idea what to do and where to go. It’s quite fascinating how in times like these all your so called true friends are nowhere to be found.

My second mistake, I moved to a new town. And not just any town, it was one of those places that people called “bad neighborhood”. I couldn’t help it though. It was the only kind of place that I could afford to live in. I met this woman named Samantha, my new roommate. She could have been anywhere between 40 and 60. The wrinkles on her face did not agree with her make up. Her eyes and her lips never smiled together. I lived with her for a few months before I realized that she was a hooker. I somehow did not judge her for that. Every crazy person has a sad story, just like I do. She took good care of me during my pregnancy. She got me food, took care of my rent and even accompanied during my regular clinical checkups. I was happy. I found an elder sister I never had. She was there clutching my hand real tight when my baby was being born. She was the first one to hold him. I named him “Sam”, after her own name Samantha.

I used to feel tired and restless a lot. Taking care of a baby was no joke. The feeding, the bathing, the pooping and above all the crying. Thank God I had Samantha otherwise I would have gone nuts. Sam was 2 when he started walking. I remember how happy we were. Our little boy was growing up. I realized that may be that was the right time for me to get a job and put Sam in a day care center. I wanted to help Samantha for all that she had done for me, for us. I applied to like a thousand jobs but sadly I did not have the right skills or qualification for any of them. Little did I know that darkness was around the corner and my life was going to take another plunge in a pile of shit. Samantha got sick, very sick. When I admitted her to the hospital I had made up my mind I would not let anything happen to her after all that she had done for me. She was hospitalized most of the time and I had to figure out a way to pay for those medical bills as well as for the nanny that I hired to watch Sam while I was in hospital. The bills were starting to pile up and there was still no luck with the job search. I knew well enough even if I did get one of those ordinary jobs, there was no way I could manage the expenses with that kind of salary. Finally that moment came where I had to take a stand to choose between the people I love or my self-esteem. I chose love. I looked into Samantha’s old mobile phone to find a few contacts from her workplace who could help me out. And they did.

I started making a lot of money. I was working all night, every night. While I was spending my nights with disgusting drunk freaks with breaths that smelled like dead rats, all I could think about was how could I leave my baby alone in the middle of the night like that while he was asleep? What if he has a nightmare and wakes up looking for me? What if he is hungry? What if someone breaks into the house? But I had to do it for him, and for Samantha. I had to swallow my guilt and do it for them. It was all for them. Then one day, the time came when Samantha’s body gave up fighting her disease. I never told her about my job. She never asked either. I thanked her for all that she ever did for me. Before she started walking towards her stairway to heaven she made me make a promise. She told me to move out of town to a new place. A place that would be more appropriate for Sam. I already had that in mind. There was no way on earth I was going to raise my child in that hell hole of a neighborhood.

After Samantha passed away, I took Sam and shifted to a new town. A town which was safe and filled with good people. I had raised enough money to pay for Sam’s new school (I got him into the best one). His education was always one of my top priorities. I got a decent job as a cashier at a supermarket and finally started living the dignified life I always dreamed of. Whatever money I had saved from that old rotten town, I put it in Sam’s college fund account for when he would grow older. When Sam entered his teens, we became good friends. I had to play good cop/bad cop to ensure that he doesn’t make the same mistakes that many teenagers tend to make and at the same time doesn’t distant himself from me either. I think overall I was an ok mother. When Sam turned 18 and was ready to leave for college, he asked me a question that I always dreaded he would ask. Where did all that money come from? I looked him right in the eye. I was a good liar but not to him, he always caught me. I told him the truth. Everything. About Samantha, the old town, everything. He looked at me like I was some kind of a criminal. He was furious. I thought I would get a slightly sympathetic reaction but it didn’t go down like that. He grabbed his luggage and stormed out of the house without saying goodbye. His last few words before he left were “How could you live with yourself? How could you stoop so low?”

I guess I had failed to explain him that I could not let the woman, who gave us everything she had, die like that. I did it for her. She was the angel who was there for me when all doors had closed on me. I did it for him too. I had to raise a baby all by myself when Samantha got sick. And I did it. I am not proud of how I raised the money but if I had to do it all over again for him and Samantha, I would do it with a smile on my face. My son is mad at me. I cannot blame him. Any normal person would be repulsed by me, including him… if only he knew what I had truly been through.

The doorbell rang. I opened the door. It was Sam. He dropped his luggage on the floor and rushed towards me. He hugged me so tight that this time I actually felt the words even though neither of us said them – “never let me go”. We both wept like never before. He softly whispered in my ear “I love you, mum”. That was the longest and the best hug I ever had. All my pains are history now just because of that one giant hug. What kind of life did I live, you ask? I would say the one with the happy ending.

~KK