Saint Anthony's Fire?

Samuel rose early on Thursday morning for his class. His head was pounding and even in the pre-dawn darkness, he noticed his vision was blurred.

He had been feeling off-kilter for days. His legs and arms were sore, as if he’d been working in the fields. Beer was the only thing to cure him for the moment. As a matter of fact, it had never tasted better to him.

“I’ve got to start drinking a little less... no, I think getting to bed a little earlier will suffice for now... no need to overreact...”

Many of his neighbors mentioned feeling the same way too, even vomiting. Some were having horrible dreams; dreams of being strangled by velvety-charcoal-black men. The pastor had been preaching about how the devil had taken root in town. The baker was complaining to Samuel about an infestation; only Samuel found no sign of any vermin. Nonetheless, the baker continued to scratch and itch so much, his hair was falling out and the skin was peeling off his fingertips.

Outside, Samuel could hear the sounds of the city of Basel coming to life on August 7th, 1566. The sun was just beginning to poke it’s fiery crown above the horizon. He grabbed a hunk of dark rye bread from the table and opened the door.

He almost fell over when he beheld the supernatural event taking place in the skies outside. Vibrating black orbs were zooming through the air and towards the sun. Some made sharp turns and ignited into red blazes before fizzling out. Others crashed into each other, almost as if in a battle, and ricocheted off into the distance before reforming and rushing back from over the horizon.

Samuel Coccius missed his class that morning, having spent several hours watching the sight in awe.

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