Merge changes from master into Kitch

Thomas Kitchen authored
revision 66808c89874600b4a719ea138abd88d2a1edcc0f
vignette-1
# Vignette 1

The sunlight slips through the curtains, wrapping me up in cozy warmth. I move slowly move one of my eyelids, but it seems too heavy. I decide to stay here a bit longer, but the noise that comes from the kitchen won’t let me enjoy the peace of sleeping.

In some weeks the harvest time will come. I love the aroma and the sight of our blossoming olive trees so beautiful and peaceful. This year we couldn’t hire many men to do the collection of fruits but my father believes we will be able to do it. My mother and I will have to check that the leaves are removed and the olives are properly washed to take them to the trapetum. She always advises me to be sure that additional oil is kept to go to the temple. I can’t tell her I lost my lunula, the amulet given for my protection! My mother will be furious if I tell her I've lost it. It's my only protection from evil forces, like demons and, worst of all, the evil eye. But I'm sure I'll find it before too long, and my mother will never need to know it's lost.

The noise from the kitchen doesn't get any quieter, and I can still hear it no matter how much I try to cover my ears, so I sit up, resigning myself to the fact that I'll actually have to get up. Covering a yawn with my hand, I pad out of the room, heading towards the kitchen where I know the others will be. I adjust the neckline of my tunic as I go, hoping to hide the fact that my lunula isn't hanging around my neck.

As I enter the kitchen, I feel the earth below me tremor. My heart drops and the first thought that comes to my mind is that this is an effect of loosing my lunula. I shake my head and realize that I'm being paranoid. After all, Pompeii is known for it's tremors. This wais normal.

Looking around, I notice that there are extra members in the kitchen today. This explains the unusual amount of noise.
"Hi uncle Alanzo, aunt Livia!" I acknowledge them and take my seat at the table where fresh cheese and hot bread are presented to me by my nonna and I look at her gratefully. This is not a regular breakfast.

I look at them, my dear ones, and I'm grateful to be here in this wonderful place surrounded by love. I look at my mother and she looks back at me...something is wrong. Her look is swamped in sadness. I have never seen those remorseful eyes before. I try to ask her what is this all about but before I can say anything she tells me: "My pretty little girl, it's your birthday...your last birthday here...please try to understand us". She starts crying while everyone's faces turn white, red and then white again.

My slice of bread and cheese stills halfway to mouth as my head shoots up. There are few possibilities: it is my fourteenth birthday, and many girls are betrothed and married by fifteen!

"But I've barely started weaving my _tunica recta_" I stutter. Aunt Livia knows how much trouble I'm having with that blasted loom.

"Sweetheart -" Papa begins, as my beloved Mama turns into his arms and starts to weep.

The words are cut off as another tremor rumbles through the house, far stronger than the first. My uncle and I dive under the table, Mama and Aunt Livia clutch the solid outer doorframe, and Papa races to protected the _lares familiares_, the small statues representing the gods who care for our household, while plaster rains down from the walls on all sides. My hand automatically reaches for my _lunula_ - it isn't there, of course, but Uncle Alanzo holds me close while gripping the dancing table with his other hand.

We stumble outside as soon as we dare, still wobbly and choking on the dust, each one of us staring toward the apparently placid Mons Vesuvius. It is the feast of Vulcanalia as well as my birthday - what could this mean?

My little brother Claudius must have seen me reaching for my lunula by reflex.
”You lost your lunula! This is your fault!” he says with a look that makes me realize he probably knows where it is - why else would he say I've lost it? Wouldn’t he have said I'm not wearing it?
Everyone turns and looks at me. ”Ah, um, It’s not …” I stammer. I turn to my little brother. “What did you do with it?” I yell at him. “Give it back before something else happens!”
“Claudius,” my mama says, “Do you have your sister’s lunula? You know how important it is; give it back to her.”

"N-No, mother, I... I don't have it!" And then Claudius starts to run out of the house, thus proving my hunch that he has something to do with the loss of my lunula. Everyone else calls out his name, but to no avail - he's gone like a wild horse. So, I decide to chase after him, but not after another tremor hits the ground, causing me to lose my balance and stumble to the floor.
I'm now in the main road, shouting out Claudius's name, but it's all hopeless - he has probably hidden himself well somewhere in Pompeii. As I continue my search, the unexpected suddenly happens -: the great Mount Vesuvius spews out a dark tower of black clouds from it's peak. The tremors intensify; pots fall down from everywhere; stalls suddenly collapse without warning; people are panicking and running around in circles. What if the loss of my lunula is connected to this very, very, very bad omen?

I shake off the thought and sprint down the road. Lamenting at my missing lunula will not get it back. I must find Claudius - he knows where it is. I hear my mother calling my name from afar, but I keep running. Must find Claudius. Must find Claudius. What if something happens to him? What if something has already happened to him? What if he is hurt?

I run faster still.

I try to remember where he usually hides with his friends. Outside the bathhouse where they like to hear the echo of their voices as they sing, or by the market where they usually like to toss rocks at the goats and see them buck in the enclosures. The Mmarket is closests, and I run in that direction as fast as I can. People are already outside now looking over at the Mons Vesuvius. The sky is starting to darken, and more people are coming out into the street to look at the dark cloud that is rising.

I don't stop to look, I only find that my legs carry me faster towards the Mmarket. The road now is starting to fill with the chatter of people as they start to talk and some are now praying. "Claudius!" I start screaming at the top of my lungs. I no longer care about the Llunula and I find that tears are now running down my cheeks.

I'm no longer sure if I am crying because Claudius is missing or because my father just told me I was being betrothed. All I want to do now is find my little brother and hug him. Hold him tight and take him back home. I can't find him I can't see him, and more tears rush down my face. "Claudius!" I scream once again as the animals in the market start to look of fearful. Their eyes wide, the goats pulling on their leashes. The horses are now restless as their owners start to lash them to keep still.

The sound of birds now flocking as the ground shakes again scares me. There have been tremors as long as I can remember but never this long. I feel the ground now shift below my feet and I fall, my hands hit the dirt next to the enclosures. I feel as my knees scrape and my tunica is now soiled with straw and mud. I sit up on the floor. L, looking around as people start to pack up their stores and belongings.

Cyprian, one of the hands that works for my father during the harvest, sees me as I fall and comes rushing over to me. "Little bird, be careful," he cries out as he leaves the fence he was mending to come byto my side, leaning down and lifting me back to my feet.

I try to clean my tunic but my hands are so dirty they only smudge the dirt more. Cyprian takes some water from his goat skin and pours it over my hands as he helps me clean them. The dirt is washed off as well as some of my blood. "Cyprian, have you seen Claudius, he ran off and I need to find him."

"Ah yes, I'd just saw him running in that direction." He points in the direction that is further into the market. "But why? Why is he running away from you?"

"It's hard to explain, Cyprian. But I have reasons to believe that Claudius had makde off with my lunula."

A rush of cold water pours over my hands as Cyprian drops his goat skin. He has turned pale. "This is a bad omen, it's evil. It certainly is."

"I can't afford to lose him, Cyprian, not now. My family cannot lose him now. My family... I... Wwe just can't..." I started to sob. Cyprian stoodands still, very close to me, but seems not sure what to do to console his master's beloved daughter. Finally he sigheds and whispereds, "Listen, precious, why don't we just pray to the gods? They must be able to bring Claudius back, not just alive, but safe. Come on, here's my bulla. Let's hold the bulla and join hands as we send our humble request to the powerful gods of our ancestors. May they grant him safety and guidance..."

I triedy to stop crying, but couldan't. And even as I nodded to Cyprian and we joined my our hands to pray, I feelt the dread rising in my heart. The tremors below my feet seemed to be getting stronger and stronger. I triedy to concentrate on my prayers. B, but couldan't. My eyes just wandered around, trying to spot my brother. But instead of him, they sawee shock and terror, on every face. And then I noticed, it waisn't just me who was crying there's crying.

"Cyprian... ," my voice sounds weak and pathetic even to my own ears. He looks up; his eyes catch mine and I glimpse his panic before he looks beyond me. An old man is moaning, knees in the dirt, hands on his head... lamenting. Two young women I recognize are holding hands and walking by so fast that they need to hold their skirts up. A darker fear grips me as it becomes clear that something far greater is happening here than a regular tremor and my runaway brother
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**Vignette 1: Write from the perspective of a peasant citizen of Pompeii living his or her regular life leading up to the eruption, and then witnessing the eruption first hand. (We will submit this vignette as our official Guinness World Record attempt, so please make sure you contribute to the story!)**
vignette-15
# Vignette 15

**Vignette 15: Write from the perspective of an archeologist unearthing the remains of Pompeii. How might it feel to discover these ruins? **

I wiped the sweat away from my eyes, the sun beat down on my head. How could the sun be so inconsiderate? I had been climbing for probably close to three hours and that stupid star just kept burning, heating my hair so much that I wished that I wore one of those stupid tiny umbrella hats.

As my glasses began to slip from the sweat behind my ears, I saw it, and they fell into the dirt next to my feet. I didn't take the time to wipe them off before I put them back on. What I saw nearly made me scream.

I guess I didn't know fully what to expect, I had read the articles and studies by others, looked at all the pictures for probably too long, getting super nerdy over history. I knew what I would see, and I thought that I was prepared, but actually seeing it was... terrifying.

The open mouths, arms out in front of faces, trying to stop the onslaught of hot ash that tore at skin. These people were not just preserved by this ash, they were seared by it, tortured by it. The ash did not preserve them, it took them as prisoners of its conquest.

This city was not owned by its people anymore, nor was it truly owned by any person. I know this because of the dust attacking my lungs. Nature had taken its territory back from these people. Forces of nature were more real (and probably more powerful) than the gods that the people of Pompeii had worshipped. Nature has no consideration for the life that it has created. It demands to be felt, to be paid attention to, it's like a teenage girl, only it can hurt people over a larger area.

After the initial startling effect wore off, I realized that what was spread out before my eyes at the excavation site was a gruesome and morbid time capsule. The destroying ash had perfectly preserved the ancient city and its people, just as it had been, minutes after the eruption. And there were parts that were yet to be revealed - mysteries of private lives that I and my fellow archeologists were to discover. Though I was, as always before a dig, excited at the prospect of the secrets about to be unearthed, here at Pompeii there was something slightly holding me back. I was not simply excavating tombs of old kings - I was, in a sense, intruding on the personal lives of individuals who had never thought to be so molested. Kings prepare tombs with the hope of someone seeing them - whether that be the gods of their religion, or an archeologist years into the future. The citizens of Pompeii had no such ambition.

As I walked into the site, along the crumbling large cobblestone of the streets, toward the yet unexplored area of the ruins, I gazed up at the looming Vesuvius, and felt a tinge of fear. The smoke, the flames, the heat, the ash - I could imagine it all, coming in a deathly cloud, claiming everyone in its path. If you were a poor citizen in the center of the town, there would have been no escape, and you would probably have guessed it. What must it have been like to be staring down inevitable death in such a way?

I shook my head to dispell the horrifying vision. Although the volcano was still active, with its most recent eruption in 1944, we now had enough technology to determine when the next eruption would be, and to know to clear out fast enough if it should choose to blow. We would be prepared. Those buried beneath the ashes hadn't been.

Pillars from temples halted abruptly at odd angles as they stretched towards the cloudless sky like a hundred jagged fingers. It was no hard task to envision the glory that had been so many years ago. The corpses we would be uncovering had once walked with lively steps through the same forum in which I now stood, and haggled in the marketplace beyond, of which was left no more than a barren square. If I died now, I pondered, would I have wished to have my body exhumed, years after, and studied as a specimen? It was a kind of invasion of privacy.

The more I thought about it, gazing at the surrounding ruins, the more I decided that it was, mildly, a pleasing thought to be able to contribute to the learning of history by being a scientific specimen. And so, as I smiled and walked down to my collegues working in the excavation site, I hoped that those whose secrets we were about to discover wouldn't mind too much. They, though unknowing and unhearing, were about to become a part of history.

I climbed back up the hill to my accidental discovery, realizing no one had seen this part of the necropolis. The partially uncovered remains lay at the top of a windy hill, and ash and sand cascaded down the side into pockets of black in the green hillside. It was far from the official excavation site.

Looking at the mummified bodies, I thought of the thousands of tourists who, with their feet and their hands, added to the destruction Vesuvius poured on Pompeii.

I faced the modern day ethical dilemma; to tell my colleagues and the Italian Culture Ministry of the new discovery or to keep it secret. Through the work of grave robbers and archeologists, ancient and modern, much of the unearthed city lay bare to weather, thieves, and tourists with their money and donations for restoration. As an archeologist, I am a professional grave robber. I should start the process of uncovering and excavating and looting to give the world the newest horrified skeletal expressions of the necropolis and gold jewelry to grace the museums of the world.

Or, I thought, I could leave the deceased in their sacred grave.

Many of the world’s experts had already agreed to withdraw, but I now possessed the power to be famous, or I possessed the power to be respectful.

I pulled the folding field shovel out of my backpack and concealed the horrified remains with ash from the hillside. Some cuttings of green, grassy turf made a wind-proof cap along the top of the grave.

The mountain’s presence loomed over my finished work. I straightened to stare at the gaping, rocky face. These ancient, doomed people worshipped the gods of the mountain; made sacrifices to the mountain. The mountain answered with its nature; the natural Vesuvius.




vignette-19
# Vignette 19

**Vignette 19: Write from the perspective of a farmer tending his or her crops or herd near the base of the volcano. What signs does this person see before the eruption? Is he or she used to this volcanic activity or does it seem different this time? This vignette should take place before and possibly during the eruption.**



Vignette 19

It is already past three in the afternoon and the people are beginning to stir after their afternoon rest. A cart drawn by two tired looking mules approaches the Central Baths on Via di Nola through the Nola Gate. A few shop fronts still have their awnings down against the glare of the afternoon sun dipping on the western horizon. The entrance to the baths is brightly lit and the yellow and blue frescos on the walls facing the street, dance in the light. The walls of the houses facing the street are windowless and this practice lends a sense of protection and security to those within the walls. Usually, it is quiet enough at this time of day for one to discern the sound of the many household water fountains, but today it is eerily silent.

“Where are the people? Wake up and drink your fill at the fountain of this blessed wine. You will find no better. Neither here, nor anywhere else in the Empire! Come, Christians and citizens of Pompeii alike.”

“What fountain are you talking about? The fountains have dried up overnight. What do you know about it?” An old woman shuffles along after sweeping in front of her door. ‘Mad Christians! They are everywhere now-a-days and have pinched the ritual of Bacchus and claim it as their own.’ She aims a swiping blow with her broom at the legs of the offending mules and they skid on the cobblestones.

“Woah! I come in peace, Old Woman.” The mules are steadied and the wagon comes to a stop at the door of the baths.

“You are too early for the cliental at the baths. They will not arrive before the business of the day has been concluded. Come back just before sunset.” The gentleman addressing the driver of the cart holds the reigns of the mules firmly in his tanned hand. “Why don’t you take your cart to the Via Consolare. It will be safe to leave it there. You may visit one of the temples or if you please, one of the many places serving refreshments. This ash that Mount Vesuvius has been sprouting the past few hours has left me parched and I am keen to wash the dust off me. I hope it stops soon as I have a business to attend to and everyone seems to be on edge today, for whatever reason I do not know. Even my dog is hiding under the stairs and would not come out with me this afternoon, as is his habit. ”

“I came to do business, Sir, and I am in a hurry to settle the business before dark. Others might wait till the people are sated with food and drink to negotiate business deals, but that is not my way. I do more business in one day than some merchants do in a week.”

“Only ill can come of driving a business deal without regard for the comforts of the client. Hungry people do not fare well when confronted with figures and decisions.”

“To the contrary, Sir. I am sure that the prospective clients are all well fed and rested, if not in their beds, at least in the arms of their mistress.” With a wink, the reigns are expertly whipped out of the restraining hands and the driver swings from the seat.

After much heckling by those present, Euseno got the merchant to divulge that the secret to the best full bodied white wines there are to be found in the region, and indeed, the whole of the Empire, is the tried and tested method of the grapes being stomped by the feet of maidens, instead of using winepresses. Served with the usual carafe of water fresh from the spring fountain, it makes for an excellent thirst quencher; a very welcome libation during the many hot days still being experienced during the month of August. The merchant only has one wagon left of amphorae of wine and wants to sell them to the highest bidder before sunset. Someone enquires who his master is and where the vineyard is that he is speaking so highly of as they all know one another and every inch of the Pompeii viticulture region.

“Didn’t I see you yesterday at Herculaneum? You were selling wine outside the Forum where Emperor Titus was being received. You then also said that you only had this one consignment left to sell ...”

“No. It could not have been me ...”

Before the driver can stop him, Euseno is on the wagon and lifts the tarpaulin covering the cargo. “Here!” he says in triumph. “It is the same seal that was on the flagons being sold at Herculaneum: ‘Vesuvinum.’ You still assured me that it was from a private winery just outside Pompeii, on the lower western slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Hence, the name: Vesuvius and vinum* combined! I thought it was a silly name and it stuck in my mind and it had a kick like a mule. It did not agree with my stomach and I prayed to the goddess Caca all night!”

“You are mistaken, sir. I have never seen you before.”

“Are you calling me a liar?” Turning to the ever growing crowd, Euseno throws his arms wide in a gesture of including everyone in this conversation. “Have I ever knowingly lied to anyone, especially to someone belonging to the honourable and ancient guild of winemakers?”

“Yes, you have.” And a few others in the crowd join in with this confirmation of his guilt.
“You sell water only flavoured with wine at your tavern and the women are, therefore, not as comely at your caupona as at other establishments.”

Ribald after ribald remark beset the innkeeper and he beats a hasty retreat before the crowd can accuse him of more serious crimes against his patrons.

“Tell us a bit more about this blessed wine of yours? If it kicks like a mule as Euseno attested, then I would buy the whole consignment from you.”

“Thank you, Sir ...”

“I am Gaius et Quintus and I deal on behalf of my master, Quintus Poppeus.”

“Well, Gaius et Quintus, I will be happy to give you a taste of the wine before you buy. As luck would have it, I have a wineskin of wine right here with me. Now all we need is to find a goblet and I will pour you a fair measure for you to appreciate.” With a smile, the stranger produces the wineskin straining at the seams and awaits the inevitable clamour for a sample of the wine. Soon there is many a wine cup extended by the onlookers, eager to avail themselves of the offer of free wine.

“And might I enquire as to your name, Sir?” says Gaius et Quintus as he wipes the tears from his eyes at the strength of the very agreeable wine.

“I am Flavia Lucia Augusta, but you may call me Flavia Augusta.” Lucia waits for the usual reaction of astonishment from the crowd.

“But, you are a woman!”

“That I am indeed,” says Lucia and drapes the toga she has been wearing in a tighter flourish over her shoulder.

“And you are wearing a toga ...” The people drop their eyes, each with their own thought.

“Yes, astute Sir. It was cold this morning on the road and, therefore, I took my late husband’s toga to keep me warm. I did not think that the citizens of Pompeii would mind the error in dress code as all can see that I am a wine merchant and not a prostibulae as my hair is not dyed yellow, red, or blue.” It took the crowd a while to join Lucia in laughter and some good natured banter is exchanged.

“Does that mean that we can get the wine at half price? You do not have a guild to pay dues to,” asks a cheeky fellow at the back of the crowd.

Lucia looks expectantly at Gaius et Quintus. “It seems to me that you have already drummed up a demand for this wine and it would be prudent of me to make you an offer. Shall we retire to the taverna across the road were we can continue to discuss our business?” He does not wait for Lucia’s answer as he deftly weaves his way through the people, accidently spilling some of their wine still undrunk in their cups.

“Tell me, Flavia Augusta: why are you in such a hurry to sell what by all accounts seems to be the best wine you have produced in years?” Gaius leads the way into the dimly lit taverna and indicates to the young woman behind the counter that he wants two goblets and a carafe of water.

“Well, Gaius, where do I begin? Yes, it is the best wines I have produced in years. Last year’s crop was the highest yield I have had since my late husband and I have planted the vineyard at the base of the mountain. Yesterday, during the festival of Volcanalia, my sister, who serves at the temple at Herculaneum, told me she had a dream that my wines will be served to kings thousands of years from now. I did not know what to make of it and thought that she meant the new religion of Jesus of Nazareth which I have embraced, would flourish.”

Gaius bursts out laughing and reaches for the wineskin that Lucia had placed on the table between them. “Mark my words, that cult is just another fancy that will soon blow over. But that doesn’t answer my question. Why are you in such a hurry to sell your stock? If you would be prepared to wait for a year or two, then the wine would be even better in quality.”

“I woke up yesterday morning to a noise in my cellar. Some of the amphorae had burst open and the wine had spilled out on the floor. It was extremely hot in there. I do not understand why this is so. I decided to bring the wine to town and to sell it off as soon as I can, before losing everything. Since my husband died last year soon after the harvest was in, the hard work of pruning and tending the vines has left me exhausted. I intend to leave for Cape Misenum tomorrow morning. I have friends there and it is not as crowded as Pompeii. One cannot move in this town during the summer months. All of Rome seems to take their vacation here during the hot month of August.”

“Yes, it can get pretty crowded here during August. It will be cooler across the Bay of Naples. You will like it there.”

“Well, could you make me a fair offer for the wine, Gaius? I must get back to my house and prepare the evening meal. I have left my slave, Jucista, in charge of the kitchen.”

“I need to confirm the price with Quintus Poppeus as we would need storage place for the wine. I still think that it would improve with age. Why don’t you return to your home and come and see me this evening? I will have an answer for you. Here are a few gold pieces as payment in good faith. Then you can stay overnight in town and make arrangements early next morning for your passage to Cape Misenum.”

“I would rather not travel at night. May we agree to meet here tomorrow morning after you had your breakfast? It will give me time to make arrangements at my house for the tending of the vineyard and the household chores, before my departure. I am already packed and am keen to get away as soon as I have my purse. Do not disappoint me, Gaius.”

Lucia gathers the toga from the chair where she had dropped it when she had entered and drapes it over her right shoulder before stepping out into the road. On impulse, she hands the clasp with the three black pearls, which normally held the toga in place, to the old woman who was standing outside the door eavesdropping on her conversation with Gaius. “I have a feeling I would not have any use for it anymore after today. May it bring you luck.” A sense of finality comes over her, akin to the day that her husband had unexpectedly died of a heart attack.

The ash in the air makes her cough and she draws the material over her nose and mouth.

"Look at the mushroom cloud above the mountain. Nothing good will come of this. The god Vulcan was not appeased at the Volcanalia festival held yesterday. Before I depart tomorrow morning, I will bring special offerings to the goddess Opi during the Opiconsivia festival."

"Your gods have nothing to do with this," says Lucia. She stands tall, removing the material from her face. Her tight lips and unwavering stare challenge Gaius.

"_My_ gods?" says Gaius in mock sincerity. "I can assure you, the gods themselves would disagree greatly with you. Just tell Vulcan over there." He gestures to the volcano.

It towers over them, a pillar of smoke leading up to the sky. The ground had rumbled softly even as Gaius had spoken, as if promising a certain doom to all who did not believe.

Lucia’s journey home faced her away from the volcano, but the layer of ash in the air confirmed what she sensed was happening behind her: the volcano was still active and wasn’t slowing its progress. Lucia flicked the reins and urged the mules homeward. She only had one more night in this town filled with strangers and ash and memories. One more night to sleep in the bed she had shared with her husband. One more night to worry about her livelihood growing in the fields around her and again in the cellar under her home. Just one more night.

The night passed fitfully. After debating whether or not to bring the wineskins back into the cellar for protection, Lucia decided to save the extra work and the danger of losing more wine in the hot and sulfur-scented room. She left the bulging wineskins in the cart overnight, covered with the tarpaulin, but woke from a restless sleep every hour or so to check and make sure they remained undisturbed. A few times during the night she saw the sky glowing a fiery red above Vesuvius, the dark cloud of ash silhouetted against the bright sky.

When dawn broke, the ash in the air was thicker than ever. Lucia hurried her cart along the road, barely giving a second glance to her memory-filled home behind her. The urgency she felt at getting away outweighed the pain of leaving the place she had known for so long. Sell the wine, board the ship, and start a new life elsewhere—she repeated this pattern under her breath, almost like a prayer, as the wagon clattered toward the city.

The town was beginning to wake when Lucia reached Gaius’s store. Women passed her on their way to the market, walking quickly despite the early morning heat. The volcano’s activity was putting everyone on edge, including Gaius, who came out to greet her.

“You’re back,” he said.

“Of course I am,” she replied. “This is my last stop before I leave Pompeii for good. I shouldn’t say so, but I’ll take almost any price you give me for this wine. I can’t bring it with me.”

Gaius gave her a thoughtful look. “I’m an honorable man and will give you a fair price. It seems you can't get out of here fast enough, and something tells me that it’s more than just Vesuvius that’s driving you away.”

Lucia adjusted the straps holding the wineskins to the wagon and avoided looking at Gaius. She didn’t want to get into it, not with him, nearly a stranger, and not now, when she was so close to making her escape. Of all the things that tied her to Pompeii, this wine was the last of it.

Gaius offered her his price and she accepted, tucking the bag of coin inside her toga. A young boy, likely Gaius’s son, scampered out of the store at Gaius’s call and started unloading the heavy wineskins from the wagon. Silence settled over the three of them as he worked. Lucia watched the smoke plume from the volcano and Gaius watched Lucia. None of them spoke, although the boy grunted a bit as he lifted the bulging wineskins.

When the boy was finished with his task he went and stood by Gaius. The man rested his hand on the boy’s head and Lucia knew then he was his father. She climbed up onto the wagon and nodded at Gaius and his son. Gaius raised an arm in salute as she cracked the reins and the wagon rolled away, more quickly now without its heavy load.

Lucia clattered down the street, the port in sight down the hill. Her last encumbrance had been disposed of and she was free now—free of her old life, her tearful memories, and the person everyone knew her to be.

Lost in thought, Luica barely noticed when the ground began to rumble, and didn’t snap to until the mules began to buck and whinny. The ground shook and rolled like the ocean. Behind her, the volcano erupted in a fiery, smoky burst. Lucia sat in the wagon transfixed by the sight. All this, and now the place she had been trying so hard to leave would be destroyed.

[*Vesuvinum (combining Vesuvius and the Latin for wine, vinum]

vignette-7
# Vignette 7

**Vignette 7: Write from the perspective of a citizen of Pompeii who is leaving the city for good. Maybe they’re on the road or a ship when they hear of or even see the eruption. What would they feel and think? This vignette will cover the time before and during the eruption.**

It was early. The sun was just rising and from the bed he could feel the hot rays already making their way into the room. The hut was now empty, not that it had many things to begin with. This was his grandfathers hut or so it had been until two days ago when they carried his body back from the field to be buried. He stood up and looked around the room and felt estranged, he had never really known his grandfather, he only remembered the summers he spent as kid sitting around the campfire with him as he told stories of his many journeys. Even then he was a quiet man, except when he spoke of traveling.

“Oneiros, remember that the gods are always looking down at us, watching us, we must always look to them for guidance, but we must also always be willing to defy them.” His grandfather said in a low tone as the crackling of the fire cooked the small foul they were having for dinner. “I’m not Oneiros,” was all he remembered answering, his grandfather always called him Oneiros, and it wasn’t for many years that he finally understood what his grandfather meant.

Now, he could only think about the way his hair looked as it burned on the pyre he had built in his honor, and the smell of his body as the fire consumed him. No one else came, no one else helped. The villagers resented him. "Just dig a hole and cover him," is what they said when he asked them for help with the pyre. His family had long ago stopped visiting and even the stray dog that lived off the scraps seemed indifferent to his absence. He had finished loading everything in the hut into a small little cart pulled by an old mule. Everything was packed except for a small bundle wrapped in a bright red cloth.

He had found the bundle behind the bread pantry, it was in a small box where his grandfather hid his valuables. He hadn't opened it yet, he wanted to wait till the very last moment to see what his grandfather had considered worthy enough to hide. Everything else in the house was old and worn, but this package was clean and new, and even the scent of it felt different from the rest of the house. It smelled of freshness compare to the rest of the place that smelled of dust. It was heavy, and as he carefully set it down and started to unwrap the package when the ground shook, the roof sifted dirt all over, covering the swept floor, the table even the bed, the small gravel bounced on the wooden planks as he looked up to make sure the old hut wouldn't come down crashing on him.

Instinctively he found his hands covering the package, keeping it safe from the dust and dirt. He had heard the priest tell everyone that the gods were displeased but that the offerings they were making would appease the Gods. Even his father the magistrate had made a speech to keep the people calm that these tremors would pass. They were getting stronger and even at night the plume of smoke from the mountain was thicker. Everyone was scared, but it was important as his father had said, "to stay calm, to stay true to what we believe and have faith in the power of the Gods."

Slowly he undid the tight knot at the top of the bundle and watched as the fabric unfolded leaving behind another package with the same red cloth and a letter on top. Carefully he took the letter and broke the wax seal. He looked at the dark thick strokes of his grandfathers hand, and read:

> Oneiros, I hope this letter finds you well. I realize that by the time you get it, I will have passed away. I know that when you were little you promised that I would be returned back to the stars that I loved so much, you have always been a man of your word. I can only leave you this as a thank you for your diligence. I bid you my son to travel far, to see the world you have only read about.

Emilio pulled the small cart down the hillside, toward the city. From this vantage point, Pompeii lay sprawled over the plain below, all the way to the sea. The magnificent city was hewn from stones from the hillside and sculpted into a city. Homes and businesses bunched together in clean and tight little groups. It’s citizens rushed here and there, going about their day, buying food and haggling over wares.

Emilio wondered if they had noticed the funeral pyre burning in the hills, or if they even cared. He would never understand why his father and the other townspeople resented his grandfather so much. Was it because he had travelled to places that they may never see? Could people, so rich in culture and belongings, be jealous of the frail little man who had seen the world without them? Or was it because, that as the city grew in numbers, he had chosen to leave the lush riches of city-life for a simple and quiet life at the foot of Vesuvius?

Even if any of these reasons were why they disliked his grandfather so much, it still made no sense to him that they would not at least give him a proper burial. Even the worst criminals in the city received a proper burial, praying that the gods would be merciful in their judgment. Emilio wondered if he had not gone to bury him, if the rest of the family would have just left his body to rot away in that little hut? He shook his head at the thought.

Emilio stopped before reaching the edge of town. He needed to readjust the items in the cart before pulling it over the uneven cobblestones streets. He did not want to risk the cart overturning and all his grandfather’s possessions flung out into the road. As he readjusted everything, the little red package caught his eye again. He picked it up, feeling the rough red fabric, and wondering if he should open the package before he went home. His grandfather had clearly set it aside just for him. He did not want to dishonor his grandfather’s memory by letting the rest of his uncaring family in on this last precious gift from grandfather to grandson.

After all, it was his grandfather who had talked and listened and understood him, much more than his own father ever had. His father was more of a dictator than anything else. He had practically forced Emilio into politics, but Emilio had always been drawn more toward artistic endeavors, like painting or sculpting. That was something his father neither understood or thought was a worthwhile occupation.
Emilio turned the red package over in his hands. It seemed heavy for such a small package and his curiosity won out. He ripped the red fabric away and underneath was a wooden box—simple and rustic, with a hinged lid. When he lifted the lid, Emilio could not believe what he saw. The box was full of denarii.

Emilio panicked and slammed the lid shut. Even out there in the open, he suddenly felt exposed, like he had done something wrong. He wrapped the box back up in the red fabric and tucked it deep down in amongst the rest of the items in the cart.

How had his grandfather accumulated so much money? Perhaps it was leftover from his wealthier days, and he had just waited for the right time to give it to him. Emilio could never be certain now that his grandfather was gone. All he could do now is accept the gift and remember his grandfather’s love.

So, what was he going to do with all that money? For the first time in his life, he had options. He did not have to do what his father wanted. He could get away from his father’s expectations once and for all. He could take the money, get on a ship and travel the world. He could finally live the life he wanted, following in his grandfather’s footsteps. Maybe now he could truly live up to his grandfather’s nickname, Oneiros.

Emilio decided to keep the denarii hidden from his family, not wanting their greed to take over or their influence to sway his decision. He pulled the cart onto the cobblestones, driving it down the streets and trying to put the mysterious gift from his mind. Thoughts kept creeping into his head, however, and he found himself being drawn back to pondering his options. _I will leave this place,_he finally decided, _and I will follow in my grandfather's footsteps, traveling throughout the world. I will learn much about art, and will find my way for myself._

As Emilio was thinking all of this to himself, suddenly someone ran into him and almost knocked him onto the ground, rattling the cart. He turned to the person, ready to rebuke them for their clumsiness. He set down the cart and grabbed the person's arm, yanking him up from the ground. When he turned to face Emilio, Emilio realized that it was not a man; it was a woman. She had bold eyes and dark hair, and she looked afraid of him. Realizing he still held the woman's arm, he let go quickly.

"I apologize," Emilio stammered, trying to find the right words.

The woman's expression changed from shock to something unreadable. She nodded her head shortly and turned, quickly walking away in the opposite direction. Emilio stood in the middle of the street, unaware of anything else but the sight of the woman's blue cloak disappearing through the thickening crowd.

Emilio put the thoughts of the woman out of his mind and watched as the crowd continued to gather. They were looking up at the giant mountain that was billowing out smoke. He looked at his cart and then back in the direction where the woman in the blue cloak had gone. Perhaps she had the right idea. Emilio now had the money to travel the world and by doing so he'd get out of the shadow of not only the mountain, but his family as well.

He turned the cart around and started to follow the woman, though she was no where to be found. It was no matter, he was just happy he had happened upon her. The streets were getting busier and busier. It wasn't as if the mountain had showed her contempt for the city before. He wondered why so many were interested in it now. Yet again people were fascinated by the mountain. It was easy to be. The gods had placed it there for a reason.

Back on the out skirts of the city he stopped at the stables. He secretly dug out the box and withdrew a few coins. Sliding the box into the cart and under some other items he walked into the barn. There was scarcely a horse left. The attendant looked up at him.

"If you're looking for a horse you better make your selection right quick. We're nearly out."

"Why such a call for horses suddenly?" Emilio asked.

The attendant shrugged. "Who knows. You interested?"

"I need a good steed to pull a small cart."

With a smile the attendant went to a medium sized mare. Her mane was long and braided. She was of good enough stock and she certainly would be able to pull the cart. The mare was capable of carrying himself if needed too.

"She's perfect." Emilio handed the attendant the coins.

"She's only worth half of this."

"Then keep the other half for yourself."

Emilio took the reins from the attendant and walked out towards his cart. That was when the earth began to rumble. The mare stirred and pulled against the reins, but Emilio held on firmly. He looked up to Vesuvius and noticed the smoke was getting thicker and the sky getting darker. There seemed to be a panic stirring deep within in the city. He soothed the horse the best he could and looked back to his cart.

His grandfather had left him all his belongings, but did he need them. Something was going on with the mountain and he wanted to be as far from it as he could. Walking a horse with a small cart would take time, too much time. Emilio pulled out the box and grabbed a bag from on top of the cart. He shoved the box and a few other keepsakes into the bag and threw it over his shoulder.

Fear filled the horse's eyes. She sensed something evil coming. Emilio looked back at the Mountain. It looked vengeful, it that was possible for a mountain. Looking back on the cart he grabbed the saddle his grandfather had used the first time he had left the city. He saddled the mare quickly and after mounting he took one last look at the cart. His grandfather's journal and maps had been all he really needed. Emilio looked to he city and Vesuvius. There was no going back and that was fine with him.

Without looking back he rode up the hill and out of view of the city. He didn't look back as the boom echoed over the land. The mare bucked slightly, but he maintained control and both of them continued their journey as the mountain began to spew it's vengeance down on the city of Pompeii. Emilio only hoped he hadn't waited too long.
vignette-8
# Vignette 8

**Vignette 8: Write from the perspective of a child who is separated from his or her parents during the eruption. Do they search for their parents? Do they run and hide?**
Destruction

As the molten ash came falling down, the destruction of my city was almost like a nightmare I couldn't wake up from. I happened to be coming back from a long day when there was a sudden jerk, and the entire city was covered in ash. Well, let me start from the beginning. I was about 15. I was a typical fifteen year old with her future just within grasp, but was still too little to be an adult but too big to be a kid. I had many jobs that had to be done. For example, I had to make sure all of the younger kids stay out of the street and do chores. My mom and dad drowned when I was 14, so I was basically like mom, dad, and sister rolled into one. My siblings are Arachne, Basil, Amara, and me, Cora.

Meanwhile Agrippina was watching the fundamentals of her power crumbling before her very eyes. Her temple, the city that held her in great esteem...gone. As the ship sailed away, she felt so much anger, that she wished those cold, cruel gods would actually listen to her for once, and crush to death that stupid, arrogant fool, Marcus Venetius. It was his fault. His....and Caesar's, too.

"Keep people calm, keep people happy" - these were her orders from Caesar and she had done just so. Every day people came to her with offerings and asked about the white smoke coming out of the sacred mountain. "The gods are happy, the goods are generous and send their sign of peace and benevolence." Agrippina had known it was a lie. But it was a lie coming from the highest place of human power on earth - from Rome.

On the day of the eruption I had taken my sisters with me to the market. Basil was old enough to stay home and tend to things there. My father had left us with a good fortune. The home was left in my name, but when Basil was of age the house would be moved over into his name. He protected us the best he could, but on that day no one could have protected us; only the gods and they had seemed to forsake us.

"Amara we already bought enough fabric for one day. You don't need anymore." I scolded her and handed the silk back to the merchant.

"How do you expect me to find a husband if I must wear these rags?" She tugged at her dress, which had been our mothers.

It was far from being the rags that Amara made them to be. Mother had kept her belongings orderly and neat. I, myself, had only worn the dress once.

"Don't you dare insult mother's dress. She met father in that."

"That makes it old."

I sighed and pulled her away from the merchant who was by now quite perturbed with my interruption. Archane was playing with a small doll I had purchased for her. She giggled as she made it dance. It was nice to see her smile. Those had been far and few as of late.

"Lady Cora." A man's voice came from behind me. As I turned I wish I hadn't.

"Cornelius."

Cornelius Sergius was a terrible man. Twice my age he had been pursing me since my parents passing. He wasn’t shy about it either. It wasn’t that he was much older than me, which was quite normal; it was the fact that he was so disgusting. He chewed with his mouth open and he often did that too much because he was quite robust.

Cornelius licked his lips. “Have you considered my offer any further?”

I leaned down to Arachne. “Run off with Amara.” I turned back towards to Cornelius, while Amara took their youngest sister off towards one of the food stalls. “I have.”

“And?”

“I’m sorry Cornelius, but it’s just not the right time.”

“This is your only time and opportunity. You aren’t getting any younger and not many men will want you in your current state.” Cornelius sneered.

“Let me be clear, I am not, nor will I be, interested in your proposal. If that means I must remain a spinster and marry off my sisters I will. Their happiness is what matters the most.”

“We’ll see about that. The Magistrate might have a different idea little one.”

“Do what you must, but I doubt the Magistrate will want anything to do with this matter.” I turned and walked away from Cornelius.

“He won’t give up, will he?” Amara whispered.

I shook my head no and led the girls back towards our villa. We weren’t far from the market and the walk would be short. As we neared our street I stopped when I felt a rumbling of the Earth. I looked up at the mountain.

Somehow we had angered the gods as Vesuvius was starting to spew smoke. Arachne grabbed my hand and squeezed tightly. I turned to Amara who looked weary. Leaning down I scooped Arachne into my arms and hugged her tightly.

“Be a good girl and head home with Amara. I’ll be there soon.”

Amara looked at me with question, but said nothing as she took Arachne from my arms. I looked at them as they giggled with one another walking down the street. When Amara set Arachne down she skipped ahead of her playfully taunting her sister. We would be in for a long night if the gods were unhappy with them.

I headed back towards the market and into the housing district just behind it. My friend Marius lived in one of the small villas just off the market. It wasn’t ideal for him, but someday he’d be a merchant and able to provide better for his family. I hoped to be part of that family someday. Marius was much better than the atrocious Cornelius.

“Cora!” Marius exclaimed. “Why have the gods graced me with your beautiful face today.”

He pulled me close to his body and kissed my head softly. I melted into his grasp. Here I felt safe. It was in his arms that I forgot about Cornelius and the mountain both.

“Cora, you’re shaking. Does this have to do with Cornelius?” He pulled back. “Cora.”

“The mountain, it seems upset with us.”

Marius went to the door and peered out toward Vesuvius. When he leaned back in his face told me he too was worried. This meant my suspicions were right.

“Where are your siblings?” He asked hurriedly. Marius began moving around the villa packing things into a bag. “We’ll head back there. I fear we should think about leaving all together.”

“Leave Pompeii!?” I exclaimed.

“Vesuvius is a dangerous beast. If the gods are using her to wreak their havoc upon us, none of us are safe.”

My body froze and I frowned. “What about Arachne, Basil, and Amara? They’re all too young for this.”

“So are you Cora.”

He finished filling his two bags and grabbed my arm. I wasn’t grasping what was really going on. It wasn’t until we were outside that I saw the chaos that was starting to erupt in the streets. People were running frantically. The smoke from the mountain was getting thicker and an ash started to fall upon us. I looked up at Marius who looked as worried as I felt.

“Come on. We haven’t much time.”

We ran through the streets towards my villa. Out front a worried Basil, Amara, and Arachne stood.

“Where have you been?” Basil demanded.

Marius released me and I ran to wrap my arms around my two sisters. Both of them were crying and soon I realized I was too. Streams of salted water poured down my cheeks. Basil pulled me away from Amara and Arachne. He had been crying to, though he would never admit it.

“Leave her Basil. She came to get me. You three need to grab whatever you can carry.” Marius pushed basil towards the door. “Hurry.”
I followed the three in and it was there Basil confronted me. “Why did you bring him here?”

“Because he can help. Now do as he said and grab whatever you wish not to lose.”

Basil stomped off and went to gather whatever it was he wanted. I walked towards mother and father’s room and grabbed the small box of jewelry that mother kept. Under the bed father had kept some money. We would need this if we had to start over somewhere else.

“Cora we need to go now. The ash is falling heavier.” Marius placed a hand on the small of my back and pushed me out towards where Amara and Arachne were standing. Basil was nowhere to be found.

“Where is Basil?” I asked frantically.

“He ran off into the city.” Amara whimpered.

The day was starting to wear on her, stress lines making their way over her delicate face. I hugged her tightly. “It’ll be ok.”

“Let’s go. Basil is old enough to make his own choices.”

“He’s still just a boy. Please. We have to find him.”

“If we don’t leave now Cora we might not be able to.” Marius’ eyes were understanding, but his jaw was tight.

He was trying to help us and I was pushing him away. “Alright. Let’s go.”

“Alright girls, if we get separated head for the hill looking over the city. We’ll meet there. I have some horses in the stable.” Marius took my hand in his and squeezed tightly, just as Arachne had done earlier in the market.

People were screaming and yelling for loved ones throughout the streets. It was hard to stay close to one another. Amara had picked Arachne up and held onto her tightly. I felt like that should have been me. After our parent’s death I had become like a mother to them. Basil often argued with me as we were only a year apart. That was why he had rushed off. He wanted to prove me wrong, of all times.

I looked behind me towards Vesuvius and where Basil had run off into. The mixture of ash falling and people filling the streets I couldn’t see but a few feet behind us. Facing back towards my future I suddenly felt a pit in my stomach. Amara and Arachne were out of sight.

Pulling at Marius’ grasp I tried to run after them, but he wouldn’t let me go. “They know where to meet us. We have to keep going Cora.”

My heart sank. What if they didn’t make it? I couldn’t leave them behind. Right now I had to push on, even if I couldn’t see my sisters. They would be at the meeting point. They had to be.

The ash was becoming to think and Vesuvius kept spewing more out. When we reached the stables the clouds above the city were filled with lightening. Marius left me to get the horses and I kept watching for my sisters. We couldn’t stay here long. The gods were too angry. I feared they’d destroy the city and everyone with it. I didn’t want that for my sisters. It was a sad fact that my brother would face that fate.

Marius exited the stables. His eyes were cast down and he walked no horses behind him. At my side he took me into an embrace unlike any other he had ever given me. I kissed his cheek.

“There are no horses, are there?”

He shook his head no. I brought his lips to my own. They felt cold and wet against my own. We were both covered in ash and it was becoming increasingly heavy. Right there in that moment it didn’t matter.

“Do you remember that field we used to meet in when I was younger?” I stroked his cheek with my hand. He nodded yes. “Let’s go there.”

There was nowhere either of us could run or hide. The ash was everywhere as far as the eye could see. Rock had already started to shoot out of the mountain. Even the ocean had rebelled against the city. Its waters pouring back into the streets. I couldn’t imagine the countless number of people that had been caught in its path. My only hope is that whatever death would come it would be quick for Marius and I. Amara, Arachne, and Basil deserved their deaths to be quick too. We were all too young for this. We deserved better.

“I’m sorry I never got to propose to you.” Marius whispered. “You would have made a wonderful wife and mother.”

I rested my head in his lap. “I may not have been your wife, but I was a good mother. I just wish I could have protected those three better.”

His body covered mine suddenly. He was crying softly. I knew what was coming. It was our time. Death was welcoming us home.

“I love you Marius.”

“I love you too Cora.”


vignette-9
# Vignette 9

**Vignette 9: Write from the perspective of a builder who is just finishing his architectural masterpiece when the eruption occurs. Does he try to save his work? How does he react to the destruction?**

Carmelo wiped his damp brow with the back of his hand and gazed up at the brilliant blue, cloudless sky. The ferocious August Mediterranean sun glared down onto the back of his head. He was standing on the edge of a building site. Sculpted stone columns majestically held up the roof of an ornate new building. Overhead, a gull from the nearby harbor circled aimlessly. Four slaves worked a huge block of stone into place on the new steps leading up to the building. The new library would soon be finished. In all his years as an architect, Carmelo had not created a building as beautiful as this. Pompeii Public Library was to be his greatest masterpiece. From his point of view, the library was to be a tribute to the most beautiful women he had ever met.

Gone but never forgotten.

Carmelo fought back tears as he thought of his beloved wife, Lavilla, and daughter, Julia. The library was indeed to be a fitting tribute; Lavilla and Julia had both loved to read, and had been patrons of the new library before their passing.

The library had been commissioned by the Council. Carmelo remembered the destruction of the old one. Seventeen years ago the gods had been angered, and had punished the citizens of Pompeii by moving the earth and destroying most of the town, including the local library. Carmelo’s masterpiece had been sixteen years in the making. This was to be a new start, both for Carmelo and the local population. The townsfolk had become obsessed with drunkenness, gluttony and debauchery in recent years, and a library would provide both information and literature to rescue the morals of the decadent people.

Carmelo wiped his brow again and adjusted his toga slightly. He sighed and turned to the building site foreman.

The foreman and all other workers seemed to be working diligently he knew. But the progress of the building felt still too slow to him. Carmelo was conscious of becoming more restless and impatient with his workers as his masterpiece neared completion.

"It must be because I'm impatient to see it complete. It must be just that."

And yet, he couldn't altogether disregard a weird feeling that he had since past several days felt rising in his heart. A feeling almost of dread.

But what was there to be scared about? The library building was almost complete. And its magnificence was already being talked about all around. He, and his genius, was being talked about. Then what was he afraid of? He had achieved what he had dreamed of.

Almost.

Only a few more months. Just a few more months. And then, his creation would make his wife and daughter immortal. They will live for ever. And he with them.

Even as his brow remained frowning, a smile stretched out on his lips at that thought. But the very next moment, the memories of his lost wife and daughter drowned that smile in tears. He blinked them away quickly and shook his head to pull himself back to the task at hand.

Carmelo took his chisel into his hands to carve the tribute stone in honor of is wife and daughter. when he looked up he noticed some workers talking, or at least listening. Listening to one man. "Back to work!" he shouted in a harsher voice than he intended. "what's going on there?" Bastista, a stone worker came over. "The new one, Salavatore, is telling us about Jesus". "That story again!" Carmelo said. " I am tired of hearing it." "Preach on your our time, this is the counsils time". The men scattered and went back to work. Carmelo went back to his stone. He thought about when he saw this Salvatore in the street. He had a crowd around him. People were listening. Hesisn't want to get to close. The man was taking a risk. Rome didn't like the people, followers of the fishemen they called themselves. But one thing kept bothering him. Salvatore kept saying you will live forever in God's kingdom. In happiness. Carmelo was hoping his wife would live forever in this building. Generations would know them by this stone that would stand for a thousand years. But would it? Just then the mountain grumbled again. Were the God's angry? Should this library have been a tribute to Jupiter? Was he placing his love for his family before his love for his god? The stone cutter said his God loved all people. He didn't talk about demands for temples and sacrifices. Carmelo realized he had listened to Salvatore more than he thought. He had known people in the city who had converted. The summer crowds, the vacationers, had brought stories with them. Stories that devote people believed and suddenly changed. Changed beliefs to what Rome says is superstition and punishable. Carmelo started to lose his vision f the stone. He stopped working. He went to speak to Salvatore.

Sweat lingered on his brow as he stepped down the steps towards where Salavatore was working. His mouth moved to utter words, but the shaking of the ground stopped him. A large boom was heard far off in the distance. Carmelo looked up towards Vesuvius, smoke was billowing from its top. The earth continued to shake as thicker smoke began to fall down the sides of the mountain.

This is what many had feared would happen. He himself had never believed the day would come. The mountain had rumbled before. It had even spewed a little smoke, but never this much. Never had it rumbled and shook the ground as hard as it was doing now.


Later that afternoon, as he was leaving the construction site, he heard a man's cries from afar. He turned to the direction of the sound and saw that the man was restless; running to and fro in the street. Some of the passers-by moved out of the man's way or avoided him as he was about to grab them.

"Listen, please! Anyone!" The man cried.

Curious, Carmelo walked closer toward the street.

"We have angered the gods, we have angered the gods." The man gestured wildly. "They would come to punish us. The earth would crack and out would come fire." The man walked closer to the on-lookers; near where Carmelo was standing. The man looks at each of the on-lookers searchingly until his eyes rested on Carmelo.

Carmelo suddenly felt an overwhelming feeling of dread. Is this a warning? Is this what he was scared of? Despite the man's looks being harmless, Carmelo found the man's words ominous. The man walked slowly towards Carmelo. Feeling a cold chill down his spine, Carmelo quickly turned and walked away.

He took refuge under his labor of love. His wife and daughter looked out towards Vesuvius. Following their line of site he watched as the smoke continued to bloom over the mountain. Suddenly an ooze started to burst through the clouds of smoke and down the sides of the mountain. Carmelo looked up at his wife and daughter. Neither looked worried, but how could they, they were only stone now. Lavilla had always warned that the mountain might one day reclaim what we had stolen from it.

Screams began to fill the air. Down below the site of the library people were running towards him and away from the mountain taking its revenge. Carmelo would have a head start if he wanted to run from the monstrous mountain, but he didn't want to leave his wife and daughter once more. They could be together now if only Carmelo had listened to his dear Lavilla.

"You were right my darling. You always were."

There was no answer. He knew she would tell him to run and live, but he was tired of it. There was nothing left for him on this Earth. Soon he'd be reunited with Lavilla and Julia. Together they'd be happy once again. Here and now he'd be able to leave this with them. Both of them would protect him in their embrace. He knew this now.

"I'm ready."