Pilgrim’s Plague, by Michele Cacano

Skeewhauksis eyed the foreign ship warily. Anchored all winter in the bay that would one day be known as Cape Cod, the ship’s inhabitants had yet to emerge, although spring had begun to melt the snows.

“What do you think, Nisnippe?” Skeewhauksis asked his older brother. “Should we go and see?”

Nisnippe sighed heavily. Since the fever had swept through their village two years earlier, their people had been reduced from thousands to mere hundreds; forcing them to move and join forces with a neighboring Wampanoag village. Nisnippe was reluctant to face the dangers that this foreign vessel might hold, but, on the other hand, it could be more dangerous not to know.

“Let’s get Wewes.”

Returning to the beach, they planned a signal to send back to Wewes, who would wait onshore. They rowed the mishoon out to the masted ship and climbed aboard.

“Kwe…?” called Skeewhauksis.

Nisnippe shook his head. “Hello!” he translated.

They heard a noise from belowdecks and flanked the hatch, standing at the ready.

A balding grey-haired head came into view, followed by a very thin, very pale body. Nisnippe searched his memory for the English words he had learned from the traders.

“Sick?”

The gaunt man’s eyes roved wildly over the deck, blinded by the bright sunlight. Finally, they locked on Skeewhauksis, and he lunged forward.

Skeewhauksis’s scream pierced the air. Nisnippe didn’t hesitate as he grabbed the knife from his belt and sunk it into the back of the stranger’s neck. The reek of filth and death assaulted Nisnippe’s nostrils, and he was viscerally reminded of the fever plague of last winter. He pulled his knife and lurched backwards to let the body fall, but the body didn’t fall. The Englishman turned from Skeewhauksis to attack Nisnippe. With a sharp intake of breath, he again raised the knife, this time plunging it into the man’s eye. He didn’t scream as expected, but as the blade sunk deeper, striking brain, the man squawked, stopped, and fell.

The brothers heard more noises from belowdecks.

~~

Michele Cacano is an avid fan of the supernatural in books, movies, and real life. Despite being plagued by zombies regularly in her dreams, she lives happily in Seattle with her husband. Her primary career as a massage therapist allows her time for many interests and goals. She regularly hosts a local writer’s critique group and often volunteers in the arts. She recently began a new blog, on her writing life, titled “A Dream and a Scream”, which can be found here: http://michelecacano.blogspot.com/. She also has a facebook page for her forthcoming zombie apocalypse novel at http://www.facebook.com/HowISpentMyZombieApocalypse.

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Posted on October 29, 2012, in Issue 5: The Historical Undead and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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