Blood is thicker than water

'I leant into his side, smiling to myself when i felt his arm tighten around me'

14 year old Alicia lives in a small village in the 14th century. Trying to discover herself, and the true meaning of love, family and friendship. Along with her best friend Mary and the gorgeous Elias, she faces the horrors of the black death. Will she survive? Will she have anyone left?

'Please... please don't leave me, I don't want to be alone...'

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20. Chapter 20

“Is this… heaven…?” My voice, barely a whisper, rasped in my sore throat. The angel shook his head softly.
“No my love, you are not dead. In fact you are not even dying, not anymore, your buboes have burst and you’ll get better.” My brow furrowed as I tried to make sense of what my angel was saying: how could I be alive? This disease it claimed everyone, including him, Elias was dead. “How are you…? I saw the body outside your door…” I tried to turn the haze of thoughts in my mind into a coherent sentence. A shadow crossed Elias’ face and he gave me a small sad smile.
“That was my father’s body love, I’m alive, I caught the plague but I lived, and so will you.” He pulled down the collar of his shirt to show me a pattern of dark scars on his neck where his buboes had burst. As the realisation that I was going to live sank in, Elias helped me to sit up, supporting my body weight fully. Compensating for my aching body he carefully picked me up, cradling me in his arms as he walked out of the cottage, leaving the bodies of my mother and father behind. I caught glimpses of the devastated village as he walked, cottages with the doors hanging open, bodies of children lying inside, still tucked into bed. The aftermath of the plague was evident in every corner, death and despair. Here and there faint noises came from inside, the cries of pain from the dying, and the guttural keening of those mourning the dead. My head span as we approached Elias’ house and as we reached the door my vision went black.

***

I awoke a few hours later laid carefully on a bed, as I surveyed my surroundings I noticed Elias huddled in a corner, a blanket wrapped around his shoulders. “Elias…” I cleared my throat and tried again, louder this time, “Elias”. He lifted his head, blinking sleep from his eyes and he broke into a smile, shrugging off the blanket and stretching before walking towards me. He perched on the bed next to me, keeping a cautious distance between us; he carefully felt my forehead with the back of his hand, his cool fingers tracing my cheek as he pulled away. “Your fever is going down, you’ll be fully recovered in a couple of days, I need to go and get some fresh water and I set some eel traps earlier, will you be okay on your own for a little while?” He gazed down at me with concern but I squeezed his hand in what I hoped was a reassuring gesture and nodded, the ghost of the smile that I used to know and love, flickered briefly across his face before he ducked down and kissed my forehead. “I love you…” he quickly walked out, glancing back at me just before he left.

I sat up carefully, realising with a sigh of relief that my head had stopped spinning. The bed I was laying on was simple, a basic wooden frame with a straw mattress and pillows stuffed with wool; the woollen blanket that was crumpled on the floor seemed to match the one I was laying on. I quickly surveyed the rest of my surroundings; it didn’t take long. The room was sparsely furnished, although simply having a room was a luxury. A small chest at the foot of the bed probably housed Elias’ clothes and a table besides his bed held a candle and a small leather bound diary, complete with ink and quill. I breathed a sigh of contentment; maybe, just maybe everything would be okay. With that thought in my mind I drifted off into a dreamless sleep.

The comforting smell of wood smoke roused me from my sleep, Elias had returned. He was perched on the bed next to me holding a wooden bowl from which steam was rising. “It’s just vegetable soup,” he smiled apologetically; “I thought that that would be best, as you haven’t eaten in a few days.” He set the bowl on the table and putting his arm around my shoulders, lifted me into a sitting position. I licked my lips in anticipation, feeling how cracked and sore they were, and attempted to reach for the bowl. With trembling hands I brought the bowl to my mouth and sipped carefully, feeling the warmth spread throughout my body. I met Elias’s eyes over the rim of the bowl as I took another sip, he seemed reassured that I was eating. It was still hard to believe that he was alive, here in front of me. Despite all the death and despair that had ravaged our village and our lives, against all odds, we were alive and we were together.

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