Dark Sickness

It came silently, and without invitation, the dark sickness spread to every village and hollow in the region, Folksbury Wood was no exception.

As the dead are laid to rest, many wonder why there is no cure. Ursula, the wise woman, doesn’t have the answers the people want.

Ursula admits nature wanders its own course and understanding it takes time.

On a cold and rainy day, a mysterious figure appears in the wood. His dress causes new fears to erupt throughout the forest.

Wearing a mask of the plague healers of old, the stranger offers cures for the sickness at a price many find hard to meet.

From his cart, the Healer produces devices that spark, glow and hum like angry hornets telling the sick they are the tools of science, not the fabled magic of the past.

The stranger examines the ill with his devices then prepares brightly colored potions, which seem to work wonders as a surge of energy flowed through their wearied bodies.

The Healer promises full recovery in days as long as they keep taking his potions.

The Wise Woman is troubled by the way the Healer is using fear to control the forest folk and decides to challenge his methods.

The Waldvolker mocked the wise woman saying she is stuck in the past as they move closer to the ways of the Healer.

As more folk fall to the illness or fail to recover, many begin to question him as well.

In a desperate move to retain control over the village, the Healer blames the Ursula for the sickness and says she is an agent of dark forces.

The Waldvolker may have fallen to the Healer’s sweet tongue and rejected folk medicine, they could not, however, accept casting Ursula as a force of darkness.

Lead by the elders, the Waldvolker chase the Healer from the village.

Ursula once again tends the village sick as they slowly regain strength and return to their daily lives.

Weeks later, a traveler passes through and hears the story of the Healer from the forest folk.

The woman relates similar stories about a mysterious figure showing up in sick villages with claims of remedies for the dark sickness. He abruptly vanishes once the money is gone or is chased out for his deception.

auntiemillies@icloud.com © Christopher Johnson 2021