A Dark Time in History
As we arrived at the grey stone church, thunder swept down on us. We entered the building, shaking nervously, I sat down on the cold stone benches. The Reverend stood anxiously in front of everybody. He murmured that the village had the infectious Black Death! We had to follow these rules: bury your own dead, no more inside worship and most shocking- self guarintine! I gasped and glared at Rowland with my heart beating like a drum. A quiet chat went all around the church. One person even ran out the building because she was so shocked.
We went outside into the humid air, tears poured down both are faces. Rowland clutched me and stuttered “I’ll never leave you Emmott!”
“You have to Rowland, I don’t want to be responsible for infecting your whole village!” I exclaimed. Rowland looked dismayed; he looked at me with fear consuming his eyes. I suggested that everyday we could meet by the tree- our special tree - and wave to each over. Rowland agreed, he gave me one last tight hug and trugged off with the rain following him back to Stoney Middleton.
As weeks went by into months, people were doing some strange and - quite nasty - things. Some wondered around smelling sweet herbs like rosemary, while others whipped themselves so God wouldn’t punish them! Every few nights the whole village would have a huge bonfire to keep the evil spirits away. I didn’t believe any of these things were true but I still took part.
We were running out of supplies so neighbouring villages left all sorts of things like food and medicine by a well and we would leave money at the Boundary stone.
Nevertheless, I still missed Rowland. Everyday I would wait by the tree and wait for him to turn up. Everyday, he would turn up, but my dad was becoming more and more ill and I didn’t always have time to wave anymore. What if Rowland thought I was dead?
Just two weeks later, my father died. My heart drowned in devastation. I buried him in our tiny garden, by his favourite roses. My brother carefully carved his name into a gravestone. Looking around, other gardens were hosting their own funerals too.
In the middle of October, 1666, the quarantine was lifted. Rowland rushed into the quiet village of Eyam. He searched everywhere for Emmott. Reverend Mompesson spotted Rowland and solemnly tried to explain that Emmott had died. Rowland’s knees fell heavily to the ground. What would he do without his beloved Emmott?