The Black Death

It was the end of the year 1347 in Pisa, Italy. A girl named Sofia was gracefully walking down the cobblestone streets. She was the doctor’s apprentice. He had told her to try to find a special herb to cure a very deadly disease that was spreading through Italy. He wasn’t sure if there was an herb that would cure the disease, but she went to check anyway.

Sofia had a feeling that there was no cure for the deadly disease. Her parents had already succumbed to the disease better known as the Black Death. The plague had claimed several hundred lives at this point, and it was still spreading.

The air smelled of dank, rotting corpses. Many people thought the air is what caused the plague, but Sofia knew this wasn’t true. She knew the only reason the people thought this was because of the way the air smelled. People tried burning various incenses such as juniper, pine, beech, lemon leaves, and rosemary to keep their houses disease free. Also people tried dipping their handkerchiefs in aromatic oils to cover their faces with outside. Many people also thought that black cats, of all things, had caused the plague.

Sofia noticed there was a sort of rally going on in the town square. She decided to stop by and see what was wrong. As she approached, a figure on a pile of wood rose before her eyes, a black cat. Sofia knew there were no such things as black cats that turn into witches, but no one else would listen.

Sofia supposed that they had found a black cat, assumed it was a witch, and set up a public burning. Sofia felt sorry for the cat, went up to it, and petted it. The cat was actually more of a kitten and it licked her hand. While the reverend was talking about witches, she took the kitten and hid it under her coat. Fortunately, no one noticed as she walked away.

After she was a safe distance from the town and any people, Sofia took the kitten out of her coat. The kitten was so small she could fit it in her hand. She couldn’t see why she mistook it for a full-grown cat. As it turns out, the kitten was a girl. Sofia then said happily, “I’ll call you Mia” Sofia held the kitten close to her face and smiled. Mia licked her on the cheek.

After awhile Sofia began to feel ill. She went back to their town without an herb. When she reached the town, she tucked Mia under her coat. Sofia went to the doctor. He also didn’t believe in cats turning into witches. When she got to the doctor’s house he was bleeding a patient.

Sofia told the doctor after he was done with his patient that she had contracted the Black Death. He immediately took her to her usual room at his house and comforted her. They both had been friends since before her parents had died. Now they were reminiscing about her life. Mia sat there quietly with her head tilted to one side.

Sofia was a sixteen-year-old girl. She didn’t wear normal dresses like the other women. She often wore robes of reds and grays. Her parents had died when she was seven, and the doctor had taken her into his home. He had had a daughter, but she had died from small pox. Sofia, at the age of thirteen, had accepted the role of apprentice under the doctor. Sofia was the only one of seven children to live more than one year. Unfortunately, this was not irregular at the time.

Sofia’s breathing slowed. Her eyes drooped and closed. She breathed once, twice, then no more. The doctor put his head to her chest to hear a heartbeat. Her heart beat once, twice, then no more. Sofia was dead.

Mia meowed sorrowfully. The doctor sighed, picked up the kitten, and said, “All lives must come to an end. Young Sofia’s life was no different. Poor girl, she was so young and innocent.” He then said to Sofia’s corpse, “I’ll miss you, Sofia.” He sighed once more and said to Mia, “Oh well, at least I have you. Come on. I’ll get you some milk.” He walked out of the room, pausing only to turn and look at Sofia’s motionless body. A single tear came to his eye. Then he went into the kitchen with Mia at his heels.

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