“The bells of St. Brigit’s are calling tonight.”
“They must have gotten yesterday’s report.”
They both stood there listening to the sonorous tolling of the bells. One unending string of beats, each beat a life that was lost. He went inside to finish packing. She paused on the balcony. The clouds hung in tatters above her like the rotted remnants of shrouds hiding nothing but brittle bones of long dead souls.
She shook her head. The daily ritual of ringing the bells for each Great Plague death was bringing her down. She pondered how much longer the ringers would be there to ring.
And here is my take on the Master Class prompt. This is another scene that came to mind based on the world suggested above, but does not necessarily integrate seamlessly with the piece above, if that makes sense. Concrit is always welcome! Please enjoy.
He was the only one left to fulfill that contract and try to justify the labor and the harshness and the mistakes of his parents’ lives, and that responsibility was so clearly his, was so great an obligation, that it made unimportant and unreal the sight of the motley collection of pall-bearers staggering under the weight of his father’s body, and the back door of the hearse closing quietly upon the casket and the flowers.
Their work had been brilliant, was supposed to have changed lives. It certainly did that, just not in the way they thought. His parents’ detractors insisted they were tampering with the natural course of things. The supports cheered his parents on. Either way, it spurred his parents to work harder with their viral DNA manipulations. They were so convinced they could create the perfect virus. It would attack just the harmful cells, consuming them, stopping the cancer from growing.
But it did more than that. It consumed everything. It was a plague, just like the ones from the history books. His mother was the first victim. His father lingered a few days longer. He thought his mother had the better end of the deal.
While they may have been the first to succumb to the virus, they weren't the last. And now it was up to him. Up to him to make it right. Up to him to stop the spread of the virus.
And be sure to read other great responses with the line I used as the opening sentence here by clicking on the badge below.