Words had become useless over time. My response to Jodah aka John Hansen's writing challenge.
I underlined the part I used for John's Challenge.
When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna's eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a "year of wonders.”
Inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the rugged hill country of England, Year of Wonders is a richly detailed evocation of a singular moment in history. Written with stunning emotional intelligence and introducing "an inspiring heroine" (The Wall Street Journal), Brooks blends love and learning, loss and renewal into a spellbinding and unforgettable read.
annus mirabilis means year of wonders
Words had become useless over time.
As she lifted her head in order to look closer at the elderly woman hunched over in front of her, she inquired one more time “annus mirabilis? Are you sure?”
The elderly woman dressed in no better rags than she motioned for the young woman to follow her.
Neither woman acknowledged the death that had wrapped itself around the arms of those most precious to them.
They slipped along the path now run over with briars with the elderly woman using a stick as her cane swiping at the tall thorns giving the younger woman a chance to follow while making the younger woman think to herself- in another time and place, she would have been the one clearing the way.
The year started off like any other year with most of the men living in the dark, working in the mines, arriving before sunrise and not getting home until after sunset only to get up and do it all over again.
The women doing their best to run whatever farm life the couples had managed to pull together.
The village had a tavern, a church and a family who considered themselves to be of greater stock living in the big house up on the hill.
But by the end of the year, catastrophe just did not seem strong enough a word to describe what had happened.
When it had become clear the devil and his army of soldiers had arrived, the family living in the big house packed up believing they could leave behind the struggles, and go somewhere safe foolishly thinking they could survive the wrath of the devil. Most did not have the means to go anywhere, and realized by doing so, they would only be caterers for the devil. Thus, a village decree was decided. Instead of leaving, the villagers would stay and not allow the devil’s seeds to spread and grow.
Surely, this unselfishness would be rewarded and their strong faith would protect them.
And often what becomes a group decision deteriorates once those most revered as the truly faithful fall victim to the devil’s claw of relentless pain and despair.
The younger woman considered herself neither faithful nor in any way lucky to be alive. She had watched as villager after villager, child after child died from the hideousness of this demonic disease.
She had watched as her husband, and then her own children fall victims to this hellish fiend with its poisoned talons.
Still, the elderly woman urged the younger woman to follow her.
No words were needed; words had become useless over time.
Sometimes, words are not what we need to hear. Sometimes, it is our hope that becomes the only sound we seek.
The younger woman was desperate. She had been fooled so many times into thinking she heard her husband or one of her children only to run outside and realize it had only been a dream.
But now, she was sure she could hear a sound, a soft lullaby, a memory from another era. She closed her eyes so she could concentrate. She could not be fooled again. Her heart could not take it.
When she opened her eyes, the old woman was no longer stumbling ahead, just sitting on a stump a short distance ahead of her. She began to put one foot in front of the other in order to move herself closer.
In her heart she knew the truth, yet she could not stop herself from believing once again if she got close enough, she would hear the sweet, sweet sound of wonders.
Hush Little Baby
Are You Up For Another Writing Challenge?
- "Common Disaster"
Somebody knows somebody who knows what really happened.
© 2015 ocfireflies