Bob tapped the shovel against a stone, and bits of dirt fell off. His father had died quickly of the plague. He entered the kitchen and kissed his mother on the forehead.
“It’s done. I’ll have to leave now for a few days. Mr. Wilkinson across the street will look after you while I’m gone.”
She smiled, said nothing, but coughed a little.
He returned a week later and walked to the family plot to visit his father’s grave. He looked at the freshly turned earth. Last week there had been only one headstone. Now two. He coughed a little.
A week later, the 31st, Lon published part two:-
In the late afternoon, Bob pulled his wagon up to the general store, where he spent about an hour getting his supplies, chatting and laughing with the customers. He spent the evening with Rose, not his usual companion, but she would do.
“You ain’t afraid gettin’ any plague germs from me, are you?” she asked, teasing him.
“Nope,” he said. “I’m bigger than they are.” She kissed him for a long time, as she had – and would – with other men.
Later that week, approaching the farm on a warm day, he felt a chill as he approached the family plot.
Then, on the 7th February:-
Doc’s office was filled with townsfolk in various stages of incipient ill health clamoring for medicine.
“I can’t do anything. No physician in the country could fight this thing. Just steer clear of anyone who is sick. If you feel even slightly unwell, stay away from those who are healthy. That’s all I have to say.”
They filed out slowly, and he lumbered to his cot behind his office. He lay down shivering in the July heat and tried to warm himself with the wool blanket, a gift from Rosie.
True enough, it was the last thing he ever said.