The stench of rotting meat greeted him at the docks. He also quickly noticed the awkward silence of the usually busy city. The two mixed together created an uneasy feeling in his being. He docked his Daisy at the port and stepped down into a grey mud. Apodemio the Traveller, as his name suggests, was fond of travelling to faraway places on a constant basis. His baptismal name proved his future fate of being a traveller and because he travelled so much, he became fondly known as not simply Apodemio but as Apodemio the Traveller. Owning a fleet of boats, a few caravans and some donkeys and horses, Apodemio was able to travel to anyplace from the next village to the nearby towns and cities. He also loaned travelling vessels to his fellow countrymen and operated this as a business.
Here, Apodemio came to Pompeii, a place blessed with his frequent visits, to pay tribute to a friend and to do some business. The walk from the dock to the nearest residential area was a bit lengthy so it would be a while before he would gain sightings of human life. From the distance he walked, Apodemio had a strange feeling of uneasiness; the place was too quiet. Despite the distance, he would hear the humming of the crowds asunder. The grey mud-like substance relieved his fears in no way neither did the stench which although resembled dead animals, had a distinctively more pungent smell. Apodemio tried to ascertain the ordour’s origin, but to no avail. He knew what dead animals smelled like because in his hometown, there was always some stray dead animal on the roadside due to careless behavior. Be it a month old, or two, this smell was too intense to be that of animals. As he approached closer, it became almost unbearable.
Upon entering the city, Apodemio saw two men. His heart raced faster than his stallion and his speed boat combined. The two men were seated at the foot of an anvil, one with a hammer and nails near him and the other with a few battered shoes up for repair. The two men were covered in the grey mud and seemed frozen. The stench was evidently stemming from them; they had been dead, minimum three weeks. Apodemio instantly gazed around and noticed the emptiness of the city. The uneasiness that he had felt was wholly due to this. He walked around the mud and debris of ruins. All around were dead bodies of seemingly unsuspecting people, many of whom were caught frozen while engaged in various activities.
At the sight of a totally destructed city, sorrow panged Apodemio’s soul. All these people were dead, everyone, even… the thought literally seized him in his spot…Glaucus too was gone. Apodemio had travelled for two months after he last saw his dear friend. He had promised to visit him earlier, when Glaucus fell ill from a terrible flu. Apodemio’s promise was stunted when he got an opportunity to travel to the Caribbean. He had told his friend of this once in a lifetime occasion and was responded with a knowing understanding. He was grateful at Glaucus’ temperament and promised to bring him a token from his trip, besides, Glaucus had assured him that he was recovering fine.
Dreading what he knew to be reality, Apodemio managed to walk the path ot his friend’s little cottage. Oh how he wished he had not taken that trip, how he wished he was there for and with his friend, how he wished….Glaucus was there to walk the path with him. In his remorse, he wished many things even that Glaucus, if he had to, would die of the flu instead rather than this horrible death. Approaching the cottage, Apodemio could discern nothing; all was covered in gray mud. He knew however, the exact spot where the house was because he had been there so many times.
As he climbed the four concrete stairs, he began to sweat profusely, as if his sweat was competing with his heart beat in a race. Shaking hands dusted the dried mud off the doorknob and pushed it open. As if giving him no time to prepare, the body of his friend greeted him. Glaucus was sitting upright on his favourite chair, facing the hills, a spot he admired dearly. He looked peaceful with a pipe protruding off his half enclosed lips and hands well placed on the armrest of the chair. He seemed to have died peacefully. This alone gave a bit of consolation to Apodemio who knelt beside his friend and wept bitterly.
His heart was filled with sorrow which flowed through his tears. After sobbing fir an extended period, Apodemio decided that his mourning would do nothing for his friend. He went to the back, sourced a shovel and dug a hole in the backyard. After hurling Glaucus over his shoulder, he placed him in the hole, facing east, his friend’s favourite direction; he was buried facing the hills. With courage overcoming great difficulty, he heaved shovels of muddy sand over the body and placed the small package that he had brought him over the burial site. Apodemio then placed his last respects to his friend and left the now deserted city of Pompeii.
On his return to the boat, he had decided to pay tribute to this once beautiful city full of beautiful people. He thought shortly and decided that he would name his next boats Pompeii, in honour of the lost city and Glaucus, in honour of his forever friend.