TITLE: Shaping Fate
GENRE: Historical Fantasy
The rhythmic squeak of the death cart's wheels interrupted London's silent midnight. The smell of rotting meat accompanied the two men who pushed the rickety cart stacked high with corpses. Several bore the telltale black rings encircling swollen, red lumps on their necks and armpits; others with blood caked at the corners of their mouths.
William sat in his kitchen and gazed through the cracked window pane to the street below. The chill of the early spring night slithered inside and sent a shiver through William. He’d seen the same two men at the same loathsome chore during the day, but the foggy darkness created a more macabre scene.
As the cart rolled by, it hit a loose stone, causing one of the corpses to flop off the cart. The gray-skinned woman hit the ground, her lifeless milky eyes catching William’s in a morbid gaze. He turned away as one of the men hobbled over and hoisted the woman back onto the cart, mumbling something William could not make out.
Pestilence had laid itself upon the land like a death shroud. Young, old, men, women, children, pious, faithless. . .Death had diminished each. Some believed it to be the Wrath of God. Others believed that hell had broken loose on earth. Neither option swayed William. His only concern was to keep his wife and daughter untouched by this awful scourge.