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Savage 1

Caroline Savage


Pre-Ap English

20 November 2015


It had been four ​months since the deadly disease had seized my city and sucked the life

from my community, leaving only the vague image and memories of a once vibrant town. Death

had lingered in the town for as long as it could. It beat down the doors of friends homes and drug

innocent children into the wagons that rolled down the street like clockwork to collect casualties.

Yellow fever seemed to be the word that stripped away any hope or chance of renewal when

heard by its victims. Luckily for me, my family and I had been spared . I live with my keeper

whom I call Maggie, although everyone in my beloved town wished I called her mistress.

Though she isn’t my mother, she had treated me as nothing less since she freed me from the

authority of my past mistress from a plantation. Regardless of her pale skin in comparison to my

dark complexion she never treated me differently. “Coffee taste better with milk .” she told me

whenever society seemed to tell me different. Lately I have have been constantly reminded.

Three years had passed since I began my new life with Maggie and her daughter Rosalyn

in New Orleans. As my twelfth birthday came up the years of slavery and hardship began to melt

away. However I was constantly reminded from the scar of where I was branded from my past

mistress for not obeying. In the back of my mind I often repeat the loving words from Maggie.

As November comes around the corner the leaves began to change, sweeping death out of the air

to be replaced with the crisp smell of winter. On that morning the dirty looks I received on the
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way to the corner grocer are few and far between yet pure hatred gleaned from every white in the

square. The death cart passed by per usual.The smell had become a normal for me but a grief

struck me when the hollow faces rolled by. Crows gathered on the corpses eating out the

memories of the fatalities. It burdened me to know that I could end up there.

I was sent me to the grocer that morning. Rosalynn had contracted a fever and while I had

hoped for the best Maggie and I feared the worst. Chatter around town had suggested I go buy

ice to wipe around her face before she contracted yellow fever. My worst fear was to be left

alone like before so all I could do to protect my own life was preserving theirs. The line for ice

had grown exponentially in the last weeks and bearing the weight of my skin color I shuffled to

the back of the line hoping nobody noticed. People pretended I’m not there in line “Go out to the

fields” they murmur “You should be making mistress’ breakfast.” I knew better than to respond

but anger welled up inside of me almost uncontrollably. I want to yell but the consequences of

my voice where too. Two hours passed and I had made my way to the front where I received a

quarter amount of ice as the whites, but I took what I could get and scurried home

I slowly creaked the door open to our tired dwelling. Rosalyn had been lain out in the

living room next to the fire. Earlier that morning Maggie and I had dragged my bed into the

room. It was the most comfortable after all and we both wanted the best for her. I tip-toed into

our kitchen to grab my washcloth that my mother had given me. It was the softest fabric I had

felt in my whole existence. I desired the finest for Rosalyn so without thinking twice I dipped it

in the ice bucket and rushed to her side. Her jaundiced skin radiated from across the room.She

had been my rock and I couldn’t bear to look at her anguish. Maggie's soft voice echoed “Fetch a

doctor Josie” and with that I rushed out to the village.

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My desperation grew as the image of my dying Rosalyn appears in my mind. That time

last year a fake Santa Claus would be jingling his bell at the corner. It had been replaced with

sleep deprived doctors with lines a mile long begging for their knowledge and know how. Out of

the corner of my eye I noticed a doctor with dirt smudged against his face and the bags under his

eyes.His line has absolutely no people in it. I hesitated before sprinting across the drive, tripped

over cobblestones to get to his presence to somehow beg for his help.

“Sir!” I yell before I get to his side. Gasping for air I yelled again “Sir! I need your help,

I really need you help please help me sir!” He looked up

“I am not a qualified doctor I want to help, I know my stuff just not qualified”. I almost

walked away, but in the end nobody else would listen to the plea of a black child. I grabbed his

wrist and dragged him back to our home.

I thrust the door open only to see Rosalyn rustling around in the kitchen,flipping pots out

of the sink from the night before. We had not eaten that tonight and we wouldn’t.

“Rosalyn!” I yelled. “What happened why are you not in bed? Where is Maggie? Where

has the illness gone?” The questions came pouring out I needed answers.

“Don’t worry but our dear Maggie has developed the disease, while your were gone my

fever and my cheeks returned to normal. However, I turned around and Maggie was on the

ground vomiting blood.” My face fell I rushed into the living space to find my dear Maggie

thrust on my bed. The sheets were shoved across the bed intertwined in her legs and the beads of

sweat developed along her forehead and slid down her skin. It was enough for a tear to roll down

my cheek. I scurried back to the kitchen to grab the doctor. I realized I had not even asked him

his name.
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“Sir I’m begging you please save her. Without her I am a slave in society I need her.

please do anything you can to make her stay.” A grave look came upon his face and filled the

room with a weight almost too heavy to bear.

“Ma’am she is deeply caught up in this disease I can tell by looking at her. I can’t

promise you anything but I’ll try.” He called me ma’am. Slightly taken aback by his politeness I

pulled myself back to reality to the problem at hand. Maggie might be taken away on the carts

and I couldn’t let that happen.

Days went by with Maggie throwing up all over my sheets. I hadn’t sat down for a meal

in days. Doctor Jonathan arrived every morning at 7:15 to check on her. In the beginning she

would get better. At one point she even talked to me about the fight she still had. Rosalyn had

notably fallen in love with Jonathan and when they were not tending to Maggie’s need they

would go together to get medicine. I refused to leave her side because she is my strength and it

would be wrong for me to leave when she needed me most. Four days later she stopped talking.

She hallucinated and would mutter about things that didn’t exist. The cart came by and knocked

every day to see if Maggie needed to be added to the numbers,to become a statistic. Every day

they rolled by a constant reminder of the lingering death. They had come by and quarantined our

house. Every time I saw the sign and paint it was a constant reminder of the death that had

gripped our household.

Today marked a week since her diagnosis and Maggie fluttered between life and death. I

cried nightly thinking that the next day I could be without my protection. I walked downstairs

hoping for a better day until I saw Jonathan crying with Rosalyn by Maggie’s side. I rushed over

to her and found the sheets folded up like they had the night before.She hadn’t moved over night.
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“Josie she won’t last another day she is in much pain and the fever has overtaken her

body.She is slowly shutting down just prepare yourself please.” Jonathan pleaded as my face

turned from hope to complete distress. I shrieked and ran around the house and out the door

through the frostbitten streets receiving glares on every corner but for once I don’t care. I cried

and ran. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing her and it felt like a thousand knives were stabbing

my chest sucking the air out and throwing it away.

I returned home and she was gone. I hadn’t said anything when I left and she had been

taken from me. I had done nothing wrong yet the one thing that kept me strong had been stripped

away. My future was up in the air. My community would thrust me into a neighboring field to

work for another mistress but nothing in me wanted to return to that life. I ran to my room and

cried, I smelled the sheets that once wrapped my dear Maggie to keep her from the cold. My scar

got caught in the threads. I yelled in frustration into my pillow in shock and doubt when I heard a

knock. It was the man to come collect the dead.Today Maggie would join the other souls who

had their lives taken away.

I walked down the creaky old steps to the living room.. Maggie had been removed from

us and Jonathan had her arm around Rosalyn. She was shaking violently with tears rolling down

her cheeks and the arms of Jonathan seemed to comfort her but I was there broken. Rosalyn

lifted her head from Jonathan's shoulder and extended her arm out to me to welcome me into her

embrace. A warm relief rushed over me and I realized everything will workout. My new life

would begin with Maggie replaced by Rosalyn and we would be forced to continue our life in

this dead city. We cried.