Barry Level

"When I arrived home, my housekeeper screamed as I entered, and fled  away. And when I rang, I found the housemaid had likewise fled. I  investigated. In the kitchen I found the cook on the point of departure.  But she screamed, too, and in her haste dropped a suitcase of her  personal belongings and ran out of the house and across the grounds,  still screaming. I can hear her scream to this day. You see, we did not  act in this way when ordinary diseases smote us. We were always calm  over such things, and sent for the doctors and nurses who knew just  what to do. But this was different. It struck so suddenly, and killed so  swiftly, and never missed a stroke. When the scarlet rash appeared on a  person's face, that person was marked by death. There was never a known  case of a recovery.

"I was alone in my big house. As I have told you often before, in those  days we could talk with one another over wires or through the air. The  telephone bell rang, and I found my brother talking to me. He told me  that he was not coming home for fear of catching the plague from me, and  that he had taken our two sisters to stop at Professor Bacon's home. He  advised me to remain where I was, and wait to find out whether or not I  had caught the plague.

"To all of this I agreed, staying in my house and for the first time in  my life attempting to cook. And the plague did not come out on me. By  means of the telephone I could talk with whomsoever I pleased and get  the news. Also, there were the newspapers, and I ordered all of them to  be thrown up to my door so that I could know what was happening with the  rest of the world.