The East Bay Shipping Emporium | 5 Minute Freewrite: Day 1895 | Prompt: water front
The day began as an adventure. My employer, The East Bay Shipping Emporium, was about to embark on its most important mission yet: to connect with the eastern trade route in the year 1907 to deliver exotic goods from overseas. I made sure nothing would prevent me from reaching its shores.
Having never visited the west coast, I stood on the water front admiring the sites, together with the company's handsome ship about to make its maiden voyage. I smiled thinking about the eastern port and my mission. I had no idea what to expect.
A loud whistle blew, stirring me to the present. I hurried to the port office to check on some bills of lading. Stepping into the doorway, I bumped so hard into another customer that she fell from the waiting line.
I wanted to reach out and assist her, but my hands were full. I glanced at my transit papers. My orders were explicit. I couldn't miss the deadline.
Another gentleman assisted in her recovery while I issued my apologies. I remember noticing her neck was covered with several small, discolored lumps. I shrugged it off. Nothing was more important than my voyage.
I searched the boarding schedule. The word "CANCELLED" was written in large letters next to my company's vessel.
Frowning, I attempted to push aside other customers to reach the front desk.
There, I had no luck in discovering the reason for cancelling the vessel's scheduled trip.
A loud commotion on the dock caused a wild reaction from the shipping office customers. All rushed to the nearest exit.
Confused, I turned to investigate.
From the window, I noticed uniformed officers escorting individuals from the ships. Apparently, they weren't allowing anyone to board.
Someone shouted, "run if you want to live!"
Shocked, I turned to ask the office manager. Before I could utter a word, he shoved me out the door and followed, then locked it and disappeared down the wharf.
A bell tower rang five times. People scurried about, soon disappearing behind the dock.
Men in white coats with masks walked orderly in a line as though participating in an unannounced parade. However, the white masks, shaped like elongated bird beaks, weren't entertaining.
My heart beat faster as I noticed hand-written signs with a large letter "X" marked across the front.
On the opposite side, the words: Plague - Black Death stood out prominently.
Horrified, my thoughts spun wildly as I tried to remember reading about a strange, ravishing illness from abroad, causing excruciating death that was rapidly spreading to other countries.
There was no mistaking. The plague was here. In the very spot I was assigned to be in San Francisco.
Backing away and shaking my head violently, I dropped my packages, turned and ran as fast as I could in the opposite direction.
As I rounded the next corner headed away from the wharf, the aroma of rosemary and odor of hot tar filled my nostrils.
My thoughts whirled as I remembered the signs, the woman in the office, and reading about the herb and tar for sanitation purposes.
I kept running as fast as I could. I didn't want to die. In that moment, I realized my life was more important than opening up trade avenues for The East Bay Shipping Emporium.
The day ended as a nightmare.
My story is based on Day 1895: 5 Minute Freewrite: Friday - Prompt: water front
Happy rest of the week everyone with whatever your endeavors.
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Quite a story -- and I'm sorry your character's time-travel to my hometown came just at THAT time!
I love the old and classic look of the picture you shared above, it reminds me of black and white movies we use to watch in the early days of life. I love your way of writing, Keep writing.
Have a wonderful and healthy life @justclickindiva.
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This was a really good short story with easy reading!
I didn't know that the doctors back then wore the white beaked mask. I just looked it up on google on wikipedia
It's creepy looking and always wondered where the design of the mask came from.
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Hello @adcreatordesign. Normally I'd create a short story fiction. However, when I saw the prompt, I immediately thought to just try a short story about the epidemic in the early 1900s. Yes, I knew about the strange looking masks. Really weird. But it got people's attention.
Thanks so much for your visit and kind words of support. I appreciate it.
Take care and have a good rest of your week.
P.S. Have you heard from our old friend, Debra?