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The Day The Earth Went Black

Updated: Jul 8

Picture this.

Florence (1350 AD)

Its the peak of the Black death as the plague has ravaged entire Europe , around 50 million have perished during a span of 4 years.


Daylight : 6 am


You and your family wake up at the crack of dawn to a knock of the door , on opening you are shocked to notice a eerie figure wearing matte black covered from head to toe and his wearing a bird mask.He is called a plague doctor , he checks you and your family for symptoms and he leaves.Its really dark in the house as all the doors and windows are locked shut . You have breakfast of bread and wheat porridge and you leave the house to go make ends meet.

Morning : 8am


You rush off to the grand market near the center of the city. You are surprised that the market is almost full despite the city being under quarantine.You wonder whether people give a damn about the rules of the city.

You purchase a bouquet of flowers , it’s was common superstition that the plague spread via the air through miasma, so it was advised to carry a flower to ward of the plague , But the truth was that the virus spread via flea bite which were tiny to spot and they like to hitch a ride on rats which were abundant due to the lack of sanitation and unhygienic living conditions. Armed with your flower you head to the consecration grounds.



Midday: 11 am

It’s really hot and the July heat is taking its toll. You reach the consecration ground which is a large circular pit surrounding the walls of the city. You work as a gravedigger who is tasked with the transportation and burial of plague victims. You see a lot of people weeping over loved ones , you flashback to the day your younger son fell victim to the plague a year ago , with a tear in your eye . They are a lot of people who have volunteered as gravediggers. With the flower as protection you enter the pit. It is a terrible experience as the rotting flesh makes you barf and flies are a common. You complete the task anyway and leave the ground with your wages.


Afternoon: 1 pm

After having a hearty meal at the restaurant downtown you decide to head of to the church to offer your prayers to the almighty. It’s pretty hot , the plague is most likely to spread rapidly in humid conditions.You pay no heed and rush off to the church.

Outside the church you notice a large group of people called the flagellants gowned in a white robe and screaming in agony, They believe that god has sent the plague as a form of punishment for their sins. They start beating themselves with metal whips until they bled to repent for their sins. Little did they know that the virus also spread through blood.


You go on your way and open the church doors. the room is dark and eerie , you observe a large consecration of people silently praying. At the end of the church hall you observe that there is a single abbot holding a candle and silently praying. Most of the priest fell victim to the plague , but the abbot is the only remaining survivor . He prays in order to convince god to stop the plague. You thank god for granting the disease as a form of punishment. You take blessings from the abbot and leave the church.


Evening : 4pm

You walk through a narrow street which is dark and infested with rats. On the way you meet a group of 3 plague doctors who examine you for symptoms and they let you go.If they caught you with symptoms they would physically torture you for medical research. You reach a plaza and see a large group of people holding torches and screaming in a haphazard manner , you push yourself to the front of the crowd.

AAH.....


As Expected , it was the public execution of Jews , The people of Europe needed someone to blame for the plague , and so jews were chosen as a scapegoat because very few jews suffered from the plague cause of their cleanliness. Rumors spread around that the jewish community polluted the rivers by washing their plague ridden clothes.

You observe the governer stand up on a podium and delivers a speech , in the background jews are bought in one by one and publicly tortured in gruesome manners until they confessed. Many men , women and children were burned alive as sacrifices for god while the crowd goes wild.

You walk away in disgust and grief....



If your traumatized already, here is some Salt to your wounds


Medicine wasn’t as sophisticated as present day , doctors were frantic to solve the case of the plague, Even their most complex practices were futile. They weren’t completely aware of the spread , given that they spread via the miasma which was false. One of the cure is to drink urine or to attach 2 live chickens around the armpit area to ward of the plague. These all were superstition as they weren’t effective methods for cure.

If you contracted the plague your only fate was in god as it had a 80 percent fatality rate..


Dusk : 6pm


You walk across a wide open field on your way to home. Your eyes gaze upon a large group of people who seem to be partygoers , These people seem to be having a fun time , drinking , dancing and playing games . These poor souls have lost faith in god and medicine and decided to live life to the fullest before their demise. You decide to join in on the fun . You end up dancing and drinking , you get drunk and start a fistfight which ends you up bruised and bloody . You reach home late at night and go to bed.



The next day at 5 pm

You end up with a cough and the fever , it’s escalates quickly into a high fever with nausea , you can barely see as your vision is hazy . You become dehydrated , by afternoon there is swelling in the armpit and the groin region..

OH F***!

These bubos (Swelling) spread rapidly throughout your body and they squirt pus out of the swelling. You curse yourself for joining the party that day. You scream in agony as the doctors try their best to diagnose the cure. The attempt was Futile...




The next day..


You went into an eternal slumber....


- Vaibhav.K

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