CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and FIFTY-NINE
“Do you think that they’ll get big?” Tanesha asked.
“I think that we’ll have to keep them alive in the winter,” Heather said. “But otherwise, they will get big. They live a long time.”
Tanesha gave Heather a broad smile and turned back to the pond again.
“I know you’re right,” Tanesha said facing the pond. “I never wanted to be an ER doc. ‘You told me that you wanted to deliver babies.’ ‘You could work with Jeraine’s dad.’ ‘You could be a plastic surgeon for that matter.’ I tell myself the same things, I just. . .”
When Tanesha turned to look at Heather, she was crying again.
“I’m good at this,” Tanesha said.
“You’re good at everything you do,” Heather said.
“I can’t cook worth a shit,” Tanesha said.
“That’s why we have men in our lives,” Heather said.
“I wonder if I might show you something,” Heather said.
“I’m so tired,” Tanesha said.
Heather looked at her friend. Tanesha shook her head. The two looked at each other for a long moment.
“Oh, fuck it,” Tanesha said. “I need to be home in time for Jer’s show.”
Heather gave her a kind of bowing nod. Heather reached out for Tanesha, and Tanesha grabbed onto Heather. The world began to whirl.
“Where are we?” Tanesha asked.
“Modern Day London,” Heather said. “This is East Sheffield road.”
“Why are we here?” Tanesha asked.
“They recently found two plague cemeteries here,” Heather said. “I wanted to show you what modern day looked like so that you could see.”
“Okay,” Tanesha said.
“Watch,” Heather said.
They stood on the edge of open space. Heather nudged Tanesha aside as a horse drawn open carts drove over where they had been standing. The driver and passenger got out of the front and went to the back.
Tanesha gasped when they threw off the covering.
Human bodies were neatly stacked six across and five or six high. The men carried the bodies one at a time to a deep hole. They swung the body and let it fly. It landed at the bottom of the pit with a thud. The men walked back to the cart to carry the next body. They continued working until their cart was empty.
They were just pulling out when another cart, equally as full, pulled up to the pit.
“This is the 14th century,” Heather said. “These are victims of the Black Death.”
They watched another cart unload its dead. As the cart pulled away, another full cart appeared. This time, one of the men jumped into the pit and began organizing the bodies.
“I can’t believe them,” the man complained bitterly. “They are so lazy.”
When the bodies were stacked, the man got out of the pit and helped the driver to clear their cart. Another cart pulled up before they finished.
“Between 1346 and 1353 — less than ten years — 30-60% of Europe was dead,” Heather said. “History reports that it’s something like 75 million people or possibly 300 million people. I’ll tell you that it felt like 300 million people.”
“There wasn’t anything anyone could do for people,” Heather said. “Once they were sick, they died. No one knew how the disease was transmitted. Or even what caused disease. It was such a hopeless time.”
“I know that fleas bites gave it to people, but I don’t know how it spread,” Tanesha said.
“Slave ships,” Heather said. “Rats on the ships would pick up the disease, get on the ships, and off to the world.”
“Horrible,” Tanesha said.
“Shall we?” Heather asked.
Heather hugged Tanesha. When Tanesha grabbed on, the world spun for a moment.
“This is Paris,” Heather said. “Sissy lives just above us.”
“Where are we in Paris?” Tanesha asked.
“We’re in the original limestone mines under the city,” Heather said. “They cut out the limestone to build the buildings.”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...
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