Bird Of The Sea

46 Sickness Spreads

Jemima walked down the velvet carpeted aisle, invisible to the people around her, seated on the pews. Light poured in through the decadent, stained glass windows, but all Jemima felt was darkness.

Step by step, she approached the end of the church, stopping before she reached the steps. A man and woman stood before each other, one smartly dressed in a suit, the other, beautiful in her white dress, flowers decorating her golden hair. They gazed into each other's eyes, so full of love. All other sound faded away, just leaving behind the two words spoken by the couple.

"I do." She whispered, her fingers intertwined with his.

"I do." He breathed, unable to take his eyes off her and turn to the woman who watched from the aisle.

"You may now kiss the bride."

Thomas leaned down to Elizabeth and Jemima cried out. Even more so when the bride thrust a dagger through her groom's stomach, kissing him anyway.

"Jemima!"

The young woman woke, panting, forehead dripping with sweat as Mary shook her. The darkness of the Jamaican prisons weren't exactly a welcome sight, but she would rather be here than live her nightmare.

"Jemima! What's wrong?"

"Nightmare..." She managed, before falling to her side, exhausted.

Mary held her, lying her across her lap, feeling her forehead. In was uncomfortable, Mary's belly pressed against her head but Jemima didn't complain.

"Anne!" She called to the cell beside them. "Jemima's sick! She's burning up!"

"Jemima!" Anne called back, the sound of her gripping the bars rattling around the prison. "Stay with us!"

The young woman groaned, her head swimming as her body burned. Her eyes fluttered, trying to focus on Mary, to no avail.

"Jemima!"

Mary took off her head band and reached for a battered tankard of water. She drenched the cloth in it and placed it over Jemima's head. Weakly, Jemima put her hand to the cloth, murmuring thanks as her eyes shut.

Mary stroked Jemima's hair as she slept, calming her as she struggled, face contorted in fear as she dreamt of terrible things.

Jemima didn't get any worse, but she wasn't recovering either. Mary continued to stay beside her, trying to heal her with the little resources they had. Everytime a guard walked past, Anne shook the cell door, yelling for him to help the young woman, but they would just ignore her. Whatever came first, death at the scaffold or death in prison, it was of no consequence to them.

"Mary..." Jemima wearily said, eyes half open.

"What is it?" She replied, cradling her in her arms.

"You shouldn't be helping me." She breathed.

"Why not? I'm our friend, I'd do anything for you."

"You'll catch it." Jemima managed before breaking out into a fit of coughs.

"I don't care." Mary told her. "I'm going to do everything I can to make sure you don't die." She smiled. "Just as long as you do the same if I do get sick."

"Of course." Jemima gave a weak smile.

In the eery quite of the prison, Anne decided to fill the silence.

"Far have I travelled,

And much have I seen,

Dark distant mountains,

And valleys of green,

Past painted deserts,

The sunsets on fire,

As he carries me home to,

The Mull of Kintyre."

Jemima smiled and slipped back into the past. There she was, by that waterfall, her voice pure and strong as she bathed, everything peaceful for once. And then there was Thomas. He was there, singing with her and oh, how seductive he was. He was so close to her, barely an inch between them. She wanted him back, holding her close once more.

As Jemima fell asleep, she dreamt, for the first time in a long time, of happy times and those days that she missed.

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