Infectious diseases -- fiction
They call it “Draco Incendia Trychophyton,” or Dragonscale. It’s a disease—a perpetual plague—that is wiping out the world with its intricate black and gold tattoos scrawled across its chosen, ill-fated bodies. At first, its carriers believe it to be harmless, maybe even a beautiful illness.
But then, your body bursts into flames. Spontaneous combustion is now a real thing.
Eel’s early morning spent scavenging on the Thames River as a “mud-lark” brought a few things to the surface. There was a nice piece of copper, but he had to give that over to one of the stronger mud-larkers, a kindly blacksmith turned to this low way of making a living. But he did come away with two valuable things—or at least valuable to him. One was a half-drowned cat, thrown into the river by a bully boy. The other was a word of warning from the old blacksmith. Fish-Eye Bill was looking for him again, he said. A year Eel had spent in an easier life, getting his schooling, working two jobs and staying away from places he might be seen by Bill’s crew. It sounded like the makings for serious danger. Though in Deborah Hopkinson’s The Great Trouble, Eel’s problems are only beginning.