What Was The Sweating Sickness?

“I don’t know,” I said. “I have never heard of it. What do you think? Could that be what you’re having? A fever caused by the sweat of a human being infected with this plague?”

He paused for a long time before answering. He was trying to figure out how much he could tell me without getting into trouble or losing his job. Finally he gave up and told me exactly what had happened when they took him in the cell one night, stripped off all his clothes, put him on an examining table covered with disinfectant, stuck needles in his arms and legs and pumped them full of poison so strong they nearly killed him. Then they sent him home—home to die alone in darkness while everyone else slept soundly knowing there would be no new cases tomorrow morning at work because everybody had died overnight from some strange disease nobody knew about except for Driscoll who had been taking care of patients and couldn’t keep anything secret anymore because people were dying around here like flies on your back porch every day lately but nobody wanted to listen to anyone who might actually know something useful about why things were happening any more than we’d want our neighbor coming over five minutes after we called 911 if she asked us what happened last night or even whether there was anybody left alive inside our house once the firemen got done putting it out; nothing left alive but ashes and water where bodies used to be; not her fault nor

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