"Bring out your dead!" I chant whilst walking down the dirt road of the town, wheeling my wheelbarrow before me. A family comes out all at once. Five boys, two girls, all varying ages, and their parents. The father holds a little girl in his arms, and I notice the red bumps around her neck, then the black skin, and the way her chest doesn't rise and fall. They all were saddened faces. I walk toward them, and the father sets the girl's small body in the wheelbarrow along with another man I picked up earlier.
I nod at he father of the girl, but he doesn't say anything.
"I'm sorry, real sorry." I say, and hand him a bronze coin. The families of the dead get a bronze coin per body, a small pension, but in my world a great resource. A piece of candy for Emily can be bought with a bronze coin. The High Priest says he can't afford more than that per family, another lie. He takes it, and goes back in his home to grieve with the rest of his family.
I greet two more families in the town, giving two more bronze coins, and carrying two more bodies to the field in piles. I will have to put those bodies back in the holes tomorrow.
We dig until midnight, then are given our money. I only get one silver coin, but it's enough. The Grave Master gives me an extra bronze coin for working harder than the others. To be honest, I think it was because of my sister.
"I'm here to collect Emily, Ma'am." I state for the second time. She finally understands, she must not be of very good use this early in the morning. I didn't know what to do after finishing, work last night, so I slept in a haystack until four this morning, and couldn't stand Emily to be gone from me so long, so I came to get her.
"She was fine. She didn't eat much, just a half a biscuit." I didn't plan on them feeding her. I dig in my pocket and pull out my single bronze coin.
"I thank you kindly." I say, handing to coin to her. She smiles, and looks down, staring at the coin's shine.
"She can come back again anytime, free of charge." I return her grin, and take a sleeping Emily from her husband, who stands as straight at a stick. Emily's weight doesn't even make a dent in my step.
I take her home for a visit, and a short one at that. I lay her on her bed after slipping in the house, and start packing everything we own in a burlap sack. A single sheet, our quilts, our pillows, and my only other set of ripped pants and robe I used to wear to church. Emily is already wearing every article of clothing she owns, a yellow dress, that fits her perfectly, a bonnet, white-holed tights, and underskirt, and white paten slippers. All of them are ridden with dirt and filth.