Merge changes from master into mpedone

Matthew Pedone authored
revision daeb25935ae8d60a93c93d864d27119b90bba053
About
### Welcome to GrammoWriMo!!
![_thumb_23364.png](images/_thumb_23364.png)

**12/08/14 Update**
Hello GrammoWriMo-ers,
I want to thank those of you who have contributed extra text to our GrammoWriMo group novel. In the last week we've increased our word count by around 6,000 words, bumping it up to around 36,000 total. With the additions of the short stories from our Short Story contest, we'll have a really great, complete novel. Thank you!

You can continue the GrammoWriMo fun by entering our [Short Story contest](http://www.grammarly.com/grammowrimo/short-story-contest/) and our [Create our Cover design contest](http://www.grammarly.com/blog/2014/grammowrimo-create-our-cover-contest/). Congratulations, also, to Gayle, who is the winner of our Name this Novel contest. The winning title is: Frozen by Fire!

-Ann at Grammarly
socialmedia@grammarly.com

**11/29/14 Update**
Hello GrammoWriMo-ers,

With a little over a day left in GrammoWriMo we have about 26,000 words in our GrammoWriMo group novel. Let's finish strong and try as hard as we can to meet our goal of 50,000 words during the month of November! We can do this! Keep writing!

-Ann at Grammarly
socialmedia@grammarly.com

**11/19/14 Update**

Hello GrammoWriMo-ers,

I wanted to give a quick word count update: we have a total of approximately 17,000 words in our GrammoWriMo group novel right now. This is a great start, but let's keep going! Those of you who haven't written yet: now is the time. Let's do this!

-Ann at Grammarly
socialmedia@grammarly.com

**11/17/14 Update**

Hello GrammoWriMo-ers,

I hope you all had a wonderful, productive writing weekend. I want to take a minute to thank our awesome Vignette Moderators, who are working hard to encourage conversation, approve text, and troubleshoot any issues they run into. Hats off to you, moderators!

Writers, please remember to allow moderators to approve text submitted to your vignette. Our moderators are very active and will get to any text awaiting approval as soon as they can.

Thanks for making this an amazing GrammoWriMo so far. We're more than halfway through November, so keep it up!

-Ann at Grammarly
socialmedia@grammarly.com

**11/14/14 Update**
Hello GrammoWriMo-ers,

I wanted to let you know that we just opened our first GrammoWriMo contest of the year, our Name This Novel contest. Click the link to enter for your chance to win cool prizes from one of our sponsors, Scribophile!
http://www.grammarly.com/blog/2014/grammowrimo-name-this-novel-contest/

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to their vignettes already. I know the Penflip platform can be tricky sometimes, but everyone seems to be figuring it out and helping each other. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Have a great weekend of writing!

-Ann at Grammarly
socialmedia@grammarly.com

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### **11/7/14 Update**
Hello GrammoWriMo-ers,

You all should have received your suggested assigned writing day via email on Thursday. Just to clarify, you can write anytime, but you'll receive an email reminder to write on your assigned day.

Please also make sure you're adding your text to the correct vignette. A few submissions have been made to the Example Chapter, and I'm a little worried that some text might get lost in these early days. Find your vignette number, add your text, and wait for your moderator to approve it.

Thank you! I hope everyone has a productive and fun weekend of brainstorming, writing, and general good times!

-Ann at Grammarly
socialmedia@grammarly.com

**11/4/14/ Update**
Hello GrammoWriMo-ers,

I wanted to clarify something about the writing process. Each vignette group should write independently instead of waiting for other groups to finish first. Each vignette will be it's own "mini story," and after they're all completed we'll integrate them together in the editing process. That way everyone can write at the same time, but our edits will ensure that the novel will read like a novel instead of a collection of short stories.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you!
-Ann at Grammarly
socialmedia@grammarly.com

**11/3/14 Update**
Hello GrammoWriMo-ers!

If you scroll down on this page, you can see that I added individual chapters for each vignette. These chapters are where you will write the actual text of your vignette after you're finished brainstorming in your discussion group.

Once your group is ready to write, go for it! Later this week I will also send out a loose writing schedule that you can follow if you would like to write on specific days.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you!
-Ann at Grammarly
socialmedia@grammarly.com

**11/1/14 Update**
Hello GrammoWriMo-ers!
It looks like brainstorming is off to a great start. There are some very exciting ideas being shared in the Discussion groups, and it looks like a great novel is taking shape.
If you have any questions about the writing process, your vignette group, or GrammoWriMo in general, please don't hesitate to email me at socialmedia@grammarly.com. I'm happy to help make this process easy and fun for everyone.
-Ann at Grammarly

**10/30/14 Update**
Hi Everyone,
I apologize for the massive influx of emails you received today about the new discussion groups. If you would like to change your email notification settings, go here: https://www.penflip.com/profile/notifications

Now that the groups have been created, you shouldn't receive any more email updates about them. Thank you again for being part of GrammoWriMo!

-Ann at Grammarly
socialmedia@grammarly.com

**10/30/14
Hello, GrammoWriMo-ers! Here are your GrammoWriMo updates:**

- We just finished creating the vignette assignment groups. You will receive your vignette assignment along with your orientation packet either today, October 30, or tomorrow, October 31.

- The first week of November is set aside for brainstorming with your vignette group. Use your vignette Discussion board to talk about characters, themes, plot points, etc.

- We need vignette moderators! Moderators will approve text within vignettes and guide the group discussion. If you would like to be a vignette moderator, send an email to socialmedia@grammarly.com.

As always, get in touch with us using the Discussion feature in Penflip,
[@GrammoWriMo](https://twitter.com/GrammoWriMo) on Twitter,
https://www.facebook.com/grammowrimo on Facebook,
or email: socialmedia@grammarly.com.

Thank you!

**10/22/14
Hello, GrammoWriMo-ers! Here are a few GrammoWriMo updates:**
- We're extending the sign up period until Monday, October 27 in hopes of gaining a few more writers at the last minute. Tell your friends, family, and colleagues about GrammoWriMo and send them the sign up link: http://www.grammarly.com/grammowrimo/

- Our group novel will be composed of many smaller story vignettes, each focusing on different characters, scenes, perspectives, and more. We're developing themes for the story vignettes right now, so if you have any ideas about what our group novel should focus on, please share them using the Discussion feature. We'll assign vignette themes to groups of writers after the sign-up period closes.

-Have you checked out our contest sponsors yet? Learn more about them at: http://www.grammarly.com/blog/2014/grammowrimo-partners-and-sponsors/

Questions?
Get in touch using the Discussion feature in Penflip
@GrammoWriMo on Twitter
https://www.facebook.com/grammowrimo on Facebook
Email: socialmedia@grammarly.com

***

Thanks for signing up for #GrammoWriMo!
Writing starts in November, but over the next few weeks we'll post updates on the writing process, schedules, and guidelines here and at [www.Grammarly.com/grammowrimo](http://www.grammarly.com/grammowrimo/).

For now, feel free to do some background research on our group novel theme, the destruction of Pompeii, on our [Research Links page](http://www.grammarly.com/blog/2014/grammowrimo-research-links/).

Stay in touch with GrammmoWriMo on [Twitter](https://twitter.com/GrammoWriMo) and [Facebook](https://www.facebook.com/grammowrimo).

- Brush up on Markdown: http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/basics
- Learn about Penflip: [penflip.com/help](http://www.penflip.com/help)
- Talk to a person: support@penflip.com


Contents
vignette-9.txt
About.txt
chapter3.txt
vignette-7.txt
vignette-4.txt
About.txt
chapter1.txt
vignette-1.txt
chapter2.txt
vignette-8.txt
vignette-9.txt
vignette-1.txt
vignette-10.txt
vignette-11.txt
vignette-12.txt
vignette-13.txt
vignette-14.txt
vignette-15.txt
vignette-16.txt
vignette-17.txt
vignette-18.txt
vignette-19.txt
vignette-20.txt
sarno-river.txt
cycles.txt
vignette-6.txt
vignette-5.txt
lonely-sailor.txt
lonely-sailor
# Lonely Sailor

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.

vignette-1
# Vignette 1

The sunlight slips through the curtains wrapping me up in cozy warmth. I move slowly 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 was 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 could 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 turned white, red and then white again.

My slice of bread and cheese stilled halfway to mouth as my head shot up. There were few possibilities: it was my fourteenth birthday, and many girls were betrothed and married by fifteen!

"But I've barely started weaving my _tunica recta_" I stuttered. Aunt Livia knew how much trouble I was having with that blasted loom..

"Sweetheart -" Papa began, as my beloved Mama turned into his arms and began to weep.

The words were cut off as another tremor rumbled through the house, far stronger than the first. My uncle and I dived under the table, Mama and Aunt Livia clutched the solid outer doorframe, and Papa raced to protected the _lares familiares_, the small statues representing the gods who cared for our household, while plaster rained down from the walls on all sides. My hand automatically reached for my _lunula_ - it wasn't there, of course, but Uncle Alanzo held me close while gripping the dancing table with his other hand.

We stumbled outside as soon as we dared, still wobbly and choking on the dust, each one of us staring toward the apparently placid Mons Vesuvius. It was 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 said with a look that made me realize he probably knew where it was, otherwise why would he say that i had lost it? Wouldn’t he have said i wasn’t wearing it?
Everyone turned and looked at me. ”Ah, um, It’s not …” I stammered. I turned to my little brother “what did you do with it?” I yelled 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 started to run out of the house, thus proving my hunch that he has something to do with the loss of my lunula. Everyone else was calling out his name, but to no avail - he was gone like a wild horse. So, I decided to chase after him, but not after another tremor hit the ground, causing me to lose my balance and stumble to the floor.
I was now in the main road, shouting out Claudius's name, but it was all hopeless - he had hidden himself well somewhere in Pompeii. As I continued my search, the unexpected suddenly happened - the great mountain Vesuvius spewed out a dark tower of black cloud from it's peak. The tremors intensified; pots were falling down from everywhere, stalls suddenly collapsed without warning, people were panicking and running around in circles. What if the loss of my lunula is connected to this very, very, very bad omen?
an 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 turned 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 were 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 Market 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 Market. 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 he Lunula 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 fear. 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. 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 by 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 make 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... We just can't..." I started to sob. Cyprian stood still, very close to me but seems not sure what to do to console his master's beloved daughter. Finally he sighed and whispered, "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..."



**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-16
# Vignette 16

*Hello everyone, your friendly mod Jared (wjw42) here! Let's get writing! Our topic:* **Write from the perspective of a criminal who is in jail during the eruption. Do they see it as an opportunity for escape? Do they resign themselves to this end?**

[Make sure to discuss recent changes here!](https://www.penflip.com/Grammarly/grammowrimo-novel/discussions/18)

Look at real Pompeii jail cells [here](https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/80/209551580_a601b63d16.jpg) and [here](http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-NWiB9W0Rle4/Ub7-snnel2I/AAAAAAAAAIY/37qJNRlPTTM/s1600/IMG_0337.JPG).

Read more about the volcanic eruption [here](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eruption_of_Mount_Vesuvius_in_79) and [by watching this really cool video](http://museumvictoria.com.au/pages/39446/vesuvius_eruption_high.mp4).

Story plan (so far, can be changed):
-Character Name: Lucilla Felix (?)
-Written in scroll ✓
-Backstory ✓
-In mostly underground prison in Pompeii when Vesuvius erupts ✓
-Most problems are avoided because of the protection of being underground ✓
-Screams from other cells (what going on!?), Lava starts to seep in ✓
-Sees it as a chance to escape, escapes with some type of damage ✓
-(More adventures outside.)

Most likely,
-Her roomate should die.
-Her family should probably be dead, already, too.
-She leaves this scroll as a record of her family, so they are not forgotten, and she leaves it in a library or something. It is ambiguous if she survives or not.

*And start writing below!*

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This scroll tells the story of my last day in prison. I had been in prison for almost seven years before I escaped. I've lived in Pompeii all my days, but they have not treated me well. The days seemed to turn into weeks and into months without me taking notice of the sunrises and sunsets. We couldn't tell much anyway since the prison cells were mostly underground. I didn't care much either. My days were consumed with thoughts of my demise and my children. Just like that, for seven years.

All I was doing was trying to provide for and protect them. They were still young when I entered this place, although by now they will be grown up into young men and women. Thinking about the days before everything fell apart, as a single mother with no family around, every day was a struggle. Wondering if each meal would be my children's last. Wondering if anyone would want to buy my body anymore. Waking up hopeful each morning, only to be met with the fact that likely there was no hope. But getting out of bed, anyway. Putting on a smile anyway. Covering my bruises, concealing my pain. Loving my children in such a way that they didn't didn't know the truth. The ugly reality. And I didn't know how much longer I could play this game. Or what would happen when my mind told my body that it simply couldn't take it anymore. And when I believed it.

The day that I "believed" is still a blur, a whirlwind. He hit me, there was a knife. He was a military General. I knew I'd get caught. That there was no longer any use in trying to hide. But I still tried. Later on that day more of his kind found me tucked away in a closet, with my four children shielding me from the eventuality of what I had done. I had killed a man. It didn't matter that he was trying to kill me. It didn't matter that if I had stayed with him his anger would have carved me up into a thousand pieces. I was a woman. And I had killed a man. An important man.

And then the earthquakes came. We had earthquakes a few times a year, but never so often as these. A day was filled with two or three. So there I sat, listening to the earth as it kept trembling. We did not know what was going on in the city, but I felt something was wrong. Could my actions have brought about this? Did I anger the god by shedding the blood of a vile man? Slowly, the thoughts that consume me shifted from "Will I ever get out?" to "Will I ever get out alive?".

We were on the outskirts of Pompeii. If you could reach it, the tiny hole they called a window had a view of the whole city, with the large mountain to its left.

"Vipsania, anything special?" I called to my roomate, who was tall enough to see through the hole.

"Nothing much, Felix." My full name was Lucilla Felix, but everyone called me by my surname. A surname which, when translated, meant "luck". I never really liked that name. I was far from lucky.

"It's the same city as ever. I don't know why you are so worried, the guards told us everything was fine."

But she didn't understand. She had no family, no friends, and no other ties that bound her to the life outside the prison cell. As I sat there, again diving deep into my emotions, the earth shook like it never had before. But not only could I feel it, but I could hear it too.

"F... Feli... Felix...." she could barely, breathlessly articulate. "Vesuvius... exploded. Jupiter's wrath is upon us."

Emotions flooded me. I needed to do so much - save my family, my friends, even myself - yet there was so little I could do trapped in that cell. We could only sit, wait, sit some more, and watch as the sky grew darker. Or rather, Vipsania could, as I sat there, only knowing what she could tell me. Hours that felt like years passed. The thick, black clouds rolled over the city until they met us.

Suddenly, black and grey ash shot through the hole. The room grew hot, cramped, the air unbreathable. The ash covered Vispania's face and got in her eyes and mouth. She screamed, but I didn't know what to do, then-

Darkness. The hole had been plugged up by the ash. It settled, and it was only slightly easier to breath. Like the ash that filled our cell, moans from the prison cells surrounding us filled the air. I reached out for Vispania but I couldn't find her.

"Lucilla!" she screamed. I didn't even know she knew my first name. I grabbed her and hugged her tight. "My eyes... they feel as if they are on fire! Help me!" But like before, I could not do anything. I felt so hopeless, so alone, meandering in the dark void.

Again, we waited for endless hours. We sat on the floor, she crying out of pain, me crying out of fear. We had seen and gone through so much, yet it was the waiting that seemed the worst. Hours would pass by with no activity, but you knew something would happen. Something you could not prepare for. Always helpless.

We waited. I had no idea what time of day it was, it was continually dark for us. The only thing that permeated the silence was the screams of others. So many others. I had no idea how many - dozens? Hundreds? All locked behind a veil of darkness, no way to escape. The screams were contstant and unceasing.

But slowly the screams loudened. Something was different, something in the severity of the sound. I looked to the hallway. Only very faintly I could see the iron bar door again. A glow grew brighter, from the right side of the hall. Had a guard come to save us? The screams discounted this. And then I heard it, from down the hall. *Liquid fire.*

I had heard of it before, coming from deep beneath the ground. It was red, hot, and it had to be deadly. The glow was brighter still.

Vispania's cries grew even louder. "We are going to die, now, aren't we... aren't we Felix?"

I knew we didn't have much of a chance, but I had not given up. This was a time, not for death, but for freedom! I frantically began searching my mind for ways of escape.

As I desperately scanned the room, I noticed that the latch on the door was not on the sides, but at the bottom. I knew these metal bars were not particularly strong, and if it were heated just hot enough...

"No," I told her with a confidence I had not felt in years. "We are going to escape."

Soon, the liquid-fire made its way to our cell, but much slower than I had anticipated, and the metal bar was starting to glow at its touch. I could see already that the bars were starting to mangle. As the molten rock would flood our cell, it would heat up the iron door hot enough to bend.

I looked for something to protect my hands, but in the darkness, I could not see anything suited for the purpose; only a clay bowl and some broken pieces of pitcher which the quake had knocked over lay on the floor. I had to think of something. And quickly.

I pulled up my robe and made an incision on the hem with my teeth. And I tore off a rather large piece of cloth with a loud ripping sound. I tore it up further into six pieces.

I tied the bigger ones over our mouths, covering the noses. I threw the rest onto the floor and squatted over it. I realized I was close to bursting, as I had been kept busy since the initial tremor.

"Vispania, here, quickly, tie these around your hands!" I gave her two of the dripping pieces of cloth. I tied the remaining around mine.

"Grab onto the bars! We cannot touch the floor for much longer!" I made it easily, but she, having trouble seeing clearly, was slow to finally secure herself. The heat was becoming almost unbearable. The metal had better soften quick, or else we would be burned alive. As it started to glow, I pulled with all my might, and the door opened! Thank the gods! We would be saved! We forced the door all the way open, but our next problem was waiting for us. The molten rock had flowed down the length of the hall.

"We have to climb as far as we can, Vispania!"

"I know, but the bars stop here! We cannot go any further!"

We had to jump. Further than I had ever before. But we could not wait any longer. She was scared, I knew, but the longer we waited the further the jump. "Go, Vispania, hurry!"

She jumped, but only barely made it. "Felix! Now!"

I rushed over to where the bars stopped, and looked over. There was no way I could make it. She was even taller than me, so how was I supposed to escape now?

"Felix. Now. You have to! For your family."

Somehow, for some reason, I jumped. I flew. Like never before. I was escaping, I was free! Or almost, until a pain soared through my left foot. I had made it, but my bare foot was not so lucky. Felix, the unlucky girl with the unlucky foot.

Vispania screamed my name and rushed to pull me out of the molten earth. I told her I would be fine, that I just needed to wrap my foot, but I wasn't so sure of myself. And while everything was telling me to stop caring, to sit there and rest my foot, to be buried in that prison - I knew I had to escape, for my kids. They were my only hope, my light in the darkness that smothered that prison cell. They kept me alive.

By the glow of the liquid red rock, we barely made it to the door. I was limping so badly you could barely call it walking anymore. I shook the door. "It's not opening but it's not locked. There's probably something on the other side."

We both pushed as hard as we could, and it budged a little. "Okay, Felix, we're onto something. Just a couple more pushes."

Every push moved the door just a bit more. But it wasn't enough. "The liquid fire. It's getting close again. We must hurry."

We both slammed our bodies against the door, each time moving it some more, but it moved too quickly toward us. We had opened it just enough to let my tiny frame slip through, but Vispania was too tall to wedge her way through.

"Here, I can hold it open. Felix, just go. To your family. Save them."

I shook my head. "No, I will not, no, I *cannot* just leave you here!"

"We'll never make it out before the fire finds us. Please, just go. Don't fight it."

We both pushed against the door and it opened that few inches yet again. I made my way to the opening. Hesistantly, I stepped my foot outside, but I couldn't do it.

"Vispania, I will not leave you here! We-" Whatever I would have said was drowned out by another of the thunderous roars that enveloped the prison. The mountain must have exploded again. I heard something fall outsidet was not as large as the previous ones, but it still made my heart race. I heard something fall from the other side of the door, and suddenly we were being thrown outside. The quaking earth must have shifted something that was blocking our way. No one had to die just yet! We looked at each other with relief, but not for long. I could see why the door had been jammed. Rubble and ruins were everywhere. Grey ash covered the ground and the sky matched its color. Thick clouds bellowed from the mountain, which now was sporting a rather large crater at the top, from the explosion I assumed. In the distance I could even see some rocks spewing from the top.

I looked around - there were people everywhere, running from the terror that was Vesuvius. Screams of the citizens filled the air, or at least that which wasn't filled with ash or smoke. How would I make it into the city? Would I ever see my children again? Were they already-

No, I couldn't think like that. Not now. They had been keeping me alive, and now it was my turn to save them.

"Vispania, how will we get to my family? I would never make it if went on foot."

She spat out some ash that had found their way onto her tongue. "With all these people running away, there must be some abandoned cart around here. We can figure something out."

We ran up to the main street the prison was right by and saw, just a few passus away, was a cart with a small, but healthy horse. How lucky was I! Maybe my name was for me.

I turned around, ready to congratulate us on our success in freedom, when the unthinkable happened. It happened all too quickly. She was on the ground. Lifeless. Still. A black steaming rock lay not too far from herQuickly, suddenly. She was on the ground. Still. Lifeless. The smouldering black rock was still rolling away from her.

I stood there, as still as she was, unable to comprehend what had just happened. We had just found the cart, we were going to be free! Destiny had called us to escape!

But apparently it had only called me. A larger rock flew past me. Another hit the cart. I came to my senses. Another rock flared by. They were getting larger. I checked the cart. The wheel was torn to shreds. One came smashing through the prison roof. I cut the cart from the horse. More rock fell. I fumbled onto the back of the horse. More rocks. I pulled the reigns. Rocks. They must have been from that last explosion. Rocks.

Going into the city was harder than I thought it would be. Not that I was really thinking anyway, I just wanted to save my family. Unless they had already left the city. It was likely that orphanage had moved them out days ago when the earthquakes started. But what if they hadn't? What if they didn't make it because I selfishly saved myself instead? Was it wrong to save myself?

Was it wrong to save myself with a dagger? Society thought so. He was military, he was a man - he was important, and I was not. Are the less important less entitled to life?

"No," I said audibly. I was entitled too.

"No." I would not abandon my children.

"No!" They would not die today.

I whipped the reigns and we soared into the city. We ran past grey ash, flying rocks, and more rubble and ruins. Pompeii was being destroyed.

And yet the horse raced on. He was braver than I, probably. He never even knew me and he was ready to face death with me
.
vignette-20
# Vignette 20

**Vignette 20: Write from the perspective of a blind citizen of Pompeii. They can be from any class or walk of life. They might experience the days leading up to the eruption differently than other citizens, and they will certainly experience the eruption itself differently than those around them.**


Sitting at the markets was the best part of the day; it was here that Sarni made her living. Even blind, she was still the best hand at weaving, her nimble fingers working over the nets to repair rents and tears for the fisherman. Day after day, she would walk her way to her spot on the stones, waiting to receive her customers, to give back the nets that she had finished and to carry home the ones she was newly given.

The rich smells occupied her as her hands worked steadily and her unseeing eyes cast back and forth. She guessed at the pungent spices that wafted her way but they were hard to determine with her location being so close to the fish hall. Still, the fish mongers had small pots and braziers set up and sold hot seasoned samples of their wares to those shopping for their household. Business was brisk.

Today felt different, but Sarni could not exactly say how. The air felt heavier, if that were possible, and she could feel the press of it against her skin. It felt like a storm was coming but the sun shone warm and loving high above, proof that the gods watched over them. She could hear the chatter and murmur of vendors and customers alike, the market packed with slaves and owners, business of every sort being discussed between the walls of the Macellum. Her fingers worked over the tough cords that made up the net and enjoyed the caress of the warm morning sun. Her place by the wall was advantageous. By the time the heat of the afternoon arrived, she would be in the shade and still be comfortable.

Sarni allowed the familiar sounds of the hum the market made in the morning to flow in, and felt her fingers move quicker through the intricate twists of the net, when a rumble shook through her, something deep that was not a sound per say, but more of a vibration that caused Sarni's entire world to shake, the half finished net tumbled to her feet landing in a pile of soft fiber. She waited, expecting to hear shouts from those surrounding her, but no one made a sound, only the continued sounds of people selling and buying their wares.

"Maybe it was simply my own imagination" , she told herself, but something in her gut told her that it was so much more than that, something had felt sinister. ** The recent tremors reminded her of the tremors leading up to the Great Quake during the anniversary of Augustus about 13 years ago. ** The priests said there was no reason to be alarmed though, so she prayed to the gods that they were right.

She felt around for the fishing net she had been working on when she felt a pair of leather sandals.

"Salve Sarni!"

She instantly recognized the voice. It was Cacallus, her longtime friend. When so many abandoned her after she lost her sight from being hit on the head during the Great Quake, he stuck with her. She had lost her shop, her livelihood, and was near broke. Cacallus would get her food from the nearby Thermopolium.

He still brought her treats from time-to-time, even though now she didn't need the financial help

"I brought you an extra special treat today, Opimian Vintage!" Cacallus exclaimed.

"You are too kind Cacallus, but how can I ever repay you?" Sarni asked.

"Don't worry about it amicus, it only cost an extra 15 denarri," Cacallus answered.

"15 DENARRI!!!" Sarni cried, "that's nearly a week's wages for you!"

"Don't worry about it, you deserve it."

"Why do you waste your money on me? You need to save up and leave the city. Go to Roma, or Syracuse or Alexandria even! Just leave this place like all the other smart people, Pompeii is well past its prime for trade after the Great Quake," she said.

Cacallus paused for a minute, and although Sarni could not see his face, she could imagine that he had on a small smile.

"Leave you behind in the city? I fear the both of us would become fearfully lonely."

Sarni replied with a humorless laugh, "You would never be lonely, Cacallus. You are far too friendly for all of that."

"No matter," Cacallus said, "Pompeii does after all have the best wine, I'd be lost without it."

His words caused Sarni to break into a fit of laughter, a rare occasion for her, after the accident, it sometimes felt as if the ability to laugh had left her in the same blow as her sight. If anyone could bring a laugh to her mouth, it was Cacallus though. Her heart was full when he was near.

The faint scent of melting wax reached Sarni's nose, signaling the beginning of the Vulcanalia Festivities. Sarni began to feel around her surroundings so she could stand up.

"Let me help you," Cacallus insisted.

"Thank you," Sarni replied.

"We'd best get to the temples, the sacrifice should be starting soon," said Cacallus as he helped Sarni up.

Sarni didn't know why, but she had always hated these festivals. There were so many in such a brief period of time. In fact they had just had one two days ago. But there was something else, the way they had been celebrated for the past several centuries seemed heretical. After all, they were supposed to sacrifice a human to repay the gods for their generosity in keeping all of our souls on Mother Earth, but now they just throw a few small animals and fish into a big bonfire and call it good. She felt that this would have been evident as not being a good practice after the Great Quake and the Great Fire of Rome, but there was no change.

"And who knows? Maybe we will go back to the old traditions like you always go on about. Watch out though, maybe you'll be the first sacrifice," Cacallus snickered.

Sarni couldn't help but smile, but she still had a feeling of dread hanging over her.

Since losing her sight, Sarni's other senses seemed to work better than others. Those senses, combined with her sense of intuition, which she had always trusted, made that dread thick today. She tried to keep that smile on for others. She didn't want her mood to affect them.

"Maybe I'm just imagining it," she thought to herself. But her sense of smell was picking up an unusual scent as well. "I think maybe I should tell someone," Sarni whispered softly.

"What did you say"? Cacallus asked gruffly.

"Nothing. Nothing", replied Sarni quickly.

She didn't want him to worry and mostly she didn't want to worry herself.

"Oh well, come on then," he said.

They both walked in silence to the temple each preoccupied in their own thoughts. Cacallus couldn't help but wonder what was worrying Sarni. He has known her long enough to know when she was hiding her thoughts. He knew better than to press her about it.

With passing minutes, Sarni felt the danger more and more. Just as she was about to confide in Cacallus, she realized that they had reached the temple.

She never liked the new sacrifices because she preferred the original one where humans were sacrificed. It made more sense that way. That was the way the elders did it. It was the only way to truly satisfy the gods. Today, she didn't even notice the sheep that was sacrificed nor did she complain to Cacallus about it the way she normally did. She was just lost in the lingering sense of danger. She didn't even realize when the ritual was over. By then, Cacallus was really worried. As they left the temple, he took her aside and asked her what was bothering her. Sarni was initially hesitant, but she finally gave in.

"It's just that I can feel that something is wrong. I don't know how to explain this to you. I can just feel it," Sarni said.

"What do you mean?", asked Cacallus.

"I just feel it -- the smell, the air, everything. Do you feel it?"

"No sorry. I don't feel anything different. Maybe you are just imagining it. Come let me walk you home, we'll walk by the Sarno River. I know it always calms you".

Sarni reluctantly agreed but she knew that her senses were not deceiving her.

They went back for her nets and started for her place. She lived near the Sarno River. Sarni was a young, vibrant girl, being youngest in the family she was always loved and pampered. She had beautiful brown eyes which captured everyone's attention.

Cacallus, the best friend she had there. He lived next door. They use to play and eat together. They wandered in the streets of Pompeii, and beside the river from morning to evening. They use to swim and fish.

Sarni grew up to be vary beautiful woman, with her brown eyes she could spellbind any man in Pompeii. Her flawless black hair resembled the clouds over the mountain on a rainy day. She had dimples in her cheeks when she smiled. Sarni was nothing short of the most beautiful woman for miles around, but Sarni had always been in love with Cacullus. She never told him about her feeling as she was waiting for the right moment.

She never got her chance. The earthquake took everything from her; her family, her friends, her house and her eyes. Now she lived just in a small house close to the river for fresh water and also far from civilizations for peace and freedom.

Cacaullus has also loved Sarni. He loved the way she smiled when they were together. He loved for the innocent soul she was. He was also waiting for the right moment but earthquake messed up everything. In the aftermath of the earthquake what Sarni needed was not a relationship but a friend. He kept his emotions in check and waited for the perfect moment again. Cacaullus was always worried about her. Given her condition, it was easy for her to be injured and there was no one close by to help. He has often expressed her fear to her. She would just reply: "I place my trust in the Gods."

"I will stay with you always, Sarni. I will keep you safe."
and being the youngest in the family she was always loved and pampered. She had beautiful brown eyes which captured everyone's attention.

Cacallus was her childhood friend. He lived next door. They use to play and eat together. They wandered in the streets of Pompeii, and beside the river from morning to evening. They use to swim and fish.

Sarni grew up to be very beautiful woman and with her brown eyes she could spellbind any man in Pompeii. Her flawless black hair resembled the clouds over the mountain on a rainy day. She had dimples in her cheeks when she smiled. Sarni was nothing short of the most beautiful woman for miles around, but Sarni had always been in love with Cacullus. She never told him about her feeling as she was waiting for the right moment.

She never got her chance. The earthquake took everything from her; her family, her friends, her house and her eyes. Now she lived just in a small house close to the river for fresh water and also far from civilizations for peace and freedom.

Cacallus has also loved Sarni. He loved the way she smiled when they were together. He loved her for the innocent soul that she was. He was also waiting for the right moment but the earthquake messed up everything. In the aftermath of the earthquake what Sarni needed was not a relationship but a friend. He kept his emotions in check and was waiting for the perfect moment again. Cacaullus was always worried about her. Given her condition, it was easy for her to be injured and there was no one close by to help. He has often expressed her fear to her. She would just reply: "I place my trust in the Gods."

"I will stay with you always, Sarni. I will keep you safe."

That's what Cacallus always felt like telling her but the time never seemed right. Maybe today was the right. His mind made up, Cacallus was going to tell her today. Suddenly, the ground shook. It was just like Sarni had felt earlier. She felt to the ground. Cacallus quickly helped her up.
"Are you fine?", he inquired worriedly.

"Yes, I am fine, this is what I was talking about".

"But this often happens, don't be worried. Let me take you home".

They were quite accustomed to minor earth tremors in the region. Cacallus could not understand Sarni's concern.

Sarni had a hard time sleeping, she would again and again relieved the earthquake that took everything fromm her. Every now and then, she felt an earth tremor. Indeed she was quite accustomed to the tremors but this time it felt different and dangerous. She silently prayed to the gods to keep her safe.

The next morning she made her way as usual to the market. However, she couldn't concentrate. She could not complete some of the nets. They were due from last night. Some of the customers were angry with her. Around mid-day Cacallus came to seeh her. He knew she must still be worried. Even during the nights there had been many tremors. He could not sleep as he was worried about her. He reached her spot only to find an unpleased customer leaving angrily.

"Sarni, are you okay"?. He asked her softly taking both of her hands in his.

"No, I'm not. I feel like I am going crazy. I so want to get out of here."

Cacallus was silent for a while the he said: " So lets go".

"Are you serious? I am not joking!"

Cacullus took her face in his hands and told her: " I am always serious about you. Tell me when you want to leave."

"As soon as possible".

"Fine. Just give me two days. I wrapped up everthing here. I have a friend in Velia. We can go there".

These two days were so long. Also there have been many minor earth tremors. However, the only one that was worried about it seemed to be Sarni. Sarni prepared her things and impatiently waited for Cacullus. He should be here any moment.

Cacullus was finishing some business and was making his way to get Sarni. Suddenly, the ground shook violently. He felt to the ground and hit himself on the head. Black clouds began appearing in the sky. He suddenly realized as he heard a loud noise that these were not clouds but smokes. The Mount Vesuvius was in eruption. That is why they had been feeling those tremors for the fast four days. He quicky made his way to Sarni's. He hoped that she was fine.