I arrived outside the village. There was a pungent odor hanging in the air. Cries rang out in the darkness. As I passed a man pushing a wheel barrel full of bodies, I knew the smell. It was death.
This was the Poema Morale in the reality of life. This was the suffering everyone wished to escape and thousands already had. The good people who rose early to milk their cows, tend to their harvests, cook meals, raise families and pray to their God were returning home to His kingdom under the shroud of a large black cloak. The Grim Reaper took entire families in one swoop and whisked them away leaving their boiled, scarred, and decaying bodies behind.
I asked myself whether the plague was a dire, detrimental disease or if it was a measure of humanity. These people lived on the edge of near starvation oppressed by warring lords who took their sons to battle. The Black Death saved them and returned their blessed, hard-working souls home.
For me, one who was immune to this disease, all I could do was walk through it, witness it in all its gruesome horror—mangled, marked bodies and not enough soil to bury them all. I thought of my fortune, or lack of fortune, being a servant in the monastery and a consort of the monk while life and death were happening outside the stone walls.
Lost in my thoughts, I had almost forgotten where I was until a matronly woman came running to me. She must have thought I was a nun as I was wearing a black cloak and hood.
“Sister, sister, I beg of you. Please give me your blessing,” she said tugging on my hand.
Reluctantly, I followed her into her hovel where her entire family lay dead—scabs and boils covering their parched, dead faces.
The woman cried, “I am all alone now. They have all left me.”
I turned toward the woman and opened my arms to her. The woman fell against my body, burying her sobs in my shoulder. I pierced my teeth into her neck. Her embrace loosened around my shoulders and I felt her life leave. I rested her body next to her husband's.
This was the humanity of being a vampire. As her blood ran through my veins, I too felt their sickness—chills radiated through my body, my head throbbed and I ached with fever, but this was nothing to the experience of those who lay before me. I would not die. I would feel better with the next drink of healthy blood.
I returned to my room at the convent, sick in my bed for several days. It was Father Phillip who tended to me without concern for his own welfare. He had no idea I would survive and no idea he would eventually die from the same disease he tried to save me from. Fortunately, he too was saved from the suffering of mortality and sent to the riches of God’s Kingdom.
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