Mark of the Plague

by - 9:59 AM


Then the Archangel's Fire exploded.

It boomed like a dozen cannons. Chunks of stone and shattered tile blew everywhere, scattering over the houses nearby and the streets below. Fragments smashed off the chimney behind where I lay. They ricocheted into me, ceramic needles raking my skin.

I clawed my way back over the peak of the roof and looked at what I'd done.

There, in the side of Tom's house, was a hole big enough to fit two men.

I slid down what remained of the roof of the house next door and tumbled into Tom's.

Tom knelt in the doorway to his bedroom, shivering, almost shaking. He was sweating, buckets pouring down his brow. His skin was pale, almost ashen. His eyes twitched, as if unable to focus. 

He wobbled, his hand against the frame.

He stuck his legs under him and tried to rise. He wobbled again, then fell, dragging me back to the floor.

"Hello, Christopher," he said. "Did you know there's a hole in my house?"

"Is there?" I put his arm around my shoulders. His sweat dripped onto my collar. "Let's see where it goes."

We staggered toward the hole.

He crinkled his nose. "This smells funny."

"Does it?"

"I've smelled this before. It's like..." His eyes went wide. "You didn't!"

"I did. Sorry." And with that, I heaved him onto the roof.

He toppled over and rolled into the cool night air. I grabbed my lantern and crawled out after him.

"Come on now, Tom," I said. "We have to hurry."

"Oh, hello, Christopher," he said. "Did you know there's a hole in my house?"

Shouts rose from below. "Please, Tom," I said. "We have to go. Please. I need you to trust me."

"That sounds dangerous."

I couldn't argue with him there.


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