Merge changes from master into Kitch

Thomas Kitchen authored
revision fa3194de92e8465ca2249972fff8e227eb9b73a8
### Welcome to GrammoWriMo!!
> We loved with a love that was more than love
**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

**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

**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!

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

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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

**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

**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

**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 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:

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

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

As always, get in touch with us using the Discussion feature in Penflip,
[@GrammoWriMo]( on Twitter, on Facebook,
or email:

Thank you!

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:

- 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:

Get in touch using the Discussion feature in Penflip
@GrammoWriMo on Twitter on Facebook


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 [](

For now, feel free to do some background research on our group novel theme, the destruction of Pompeii, on our [Research Links page](

Stay in touch with GrammmoWriMo on [Twitter]( and [Facebook](

- Brush up on Markdown:
- Learn about Penflip: [](
- Talk to a person:

*** Vignette 2

Vignette 2: Paint a literary portrait of the scene before the eruption: What does it look like? What does it smell like? What sounds does one hear? What are the animals doing? How is the natural world responding to the signs of volcanic activity? Think of this vignette as a bird’s-eye view of Pompeii in the days leading up to the eruption.

When everything is about to change, the air becomes still. The sky turns a non-descript color of grey and people throw themselves into normalcy with a sense of purpose usually reserved for special occasions. They'll walk through town and wave brightly to familiar faces, laugh a little too loudly, and buy a loaf of bread for dinner. All the while, they understand that their reality will soon shift ever-so-slightly from its axis and life will never be the same again.
They feel it in the air, and so do I.
It’s still dark when I awaken. I unfold my wings reluctantly and flap them about to warm myself up. The people will be out soon. I fly about, determined to satisfy my cravings for a morning worm. I spot a few still basking in the cold night air and scorn their foolishness as I eat. Some animals are far too easy prey.
I rise into the air and survey the half-completed re-construction of the city. My father told me that a couple years ago, right before I was born, an earthquake shook Pompeii, one much bigger than all of the little ones that occur so often. It destroyed many important structures, including homes, temples, and bridges. Even the roads broke apart and had to be repaired. Since that day, many people have moved away, and only some have stayed to help rebuild Pompeii.
I swoop over the city and perch on a rooftop. Many people are already up, getting water from fountains in the plaza. The sun is rising, and the shops are beginning to open. I catch whiffs of baking bread and hear the mounting sound of noisy chatter. Merchants are wheeling their carts into the streets. Children are running about, chasing stray dogs and other birds that are too stupid to stay out of crowds. Homeless families are huddled in street corners and alleys, hungry and empty-eyed, being passed by as if they did not exist.
I know many of them are tired. Yesterday was the festival of Vulcanalia. The people lit bonfires in celebration and sacrificed fish and other small animals to Vulcan, the god of fire. At the beginning of the day they began work by the light of a candle. As was tradition, they also hung their clothes out under the sun. Last night I picked through the remains of the sacrifices and came up with some nice dinner.
A young boy dressed in rags, perhaps six or seven years of age, darts through the crowds. I see this scene every morning. I know what he is doing. I know what he will end up with. And I pity him. He attempts to mix in with the crowds as best he can, staying near motherly-looking figures. He has his eye on one fruit stand in particular. The merchant handling the cart turns around to help a customer, and quick as a wink, the boy sprints to the cart, snatches an apple, and spins around to run when he is collared by the burly-looking merchant.
“You again!” the merchant snarls, holding the boy by the ear and grabbing the apple. “I told you to stay away!”
“I only want some food, sir,” the boy whimpers. “I haven’t eaten since yesterday morning and I’m hungry.”
“I don’t care if you starve to death! That’s no excuse for stealing, y’ little no-good thief,” the merchant growls, he was not the kindly type, “Now stay away or I’ll really get you!”
The boy nods pitifully. The man shoves him, and the he quickly makes his getaway, probably to tackle another food cart.
The sun is rising steadily now. The temperature, although higher than before, remains chilly. I fly into the shade of some trees and watch the hustle and bustle of the city.
Smoke wafts about me as I sit underneath the blanket of leaves. It is the temple, and the people of Pompeii are coming to worship Venus. She is the god of love. I know, because I have managed to fly inside; the walls are coated with paintings of all colours, and there are marble and bronze statuettes abundant. The people are bringing incense and oils of all kinds to honour her, and to ask for her presence as the city is being rebuilt. But I have a feeling she will not be here for long.
Mount Vesuvius stands tall above the city. I pick up my wings and fly again, towards the volcano, beating against the air and letting the wind guide me - a mutual agreement of sorts. The air is clear as the city beneath me fades away, and the land stretches out in front of me. Shouts and bellows from merchants and whining children have ceased, and the cry of nature is stronger. I do not resist it, and continue on to the mountain.
I let out a squawk - the squawk so many humans seem to hate - knowing that here, alone, free, there is no one to hear me but Vesuvius. And she does not hate them. Vesuvius understands. We understand each other's solitude.
I cross the landscape, the trees, the grass, the roaming animals, and I finally look below me. I see Vesuvius, and she seems troubled. She is screaming and gulping, afraid and confused. I squawk at her, but this time she doesn't respond. She simply continues on with her cries, her cries at nothing. Panic surges through me.
Something is wrong. I have never witnessed a scene like this before. And there is more to her cries, she seems angered.I circle my friend over and over as I watched her choke out loads of smoke into the lights sky. I remember what my father told me once before. He talked of the earthquake, and how Vesuvius remained calm through the destruction. But today, I have a feeling, she is ready to cause one of her own.
I don't know what to do. So I fly back. Maybe I can get away from it this way. Maybe Vesuvius will calm down. I don't know. But I do the only thing I can. As I fly, I look below. I see people, foolish people. They are going about their work as if nothing had happened, as if nothing will happen. But how am I better off than them? How will my knowledge help me? If Vesuvius destroys everything, the only thing that will separate us, is this knowledge that we will die together.

Still I can't just fly by and do nothing. How can I help them? What can I do? Maybe a warning signal for all to hear, a loud caw perhaps? I know that seems futile - I am but a bird - but I will not just fly by and do nothing. Looking around I see a few of my brothers nearby. Some are collecting food for their nests; others are teaching their young to fly. Do they sense what is happening? Flying over I call out to them, telling them of the danger that awaits their families. No one responds. I call out again, louder, as I fly over the town. Surely the townspeople can hear me. Maybe they will note my odd behaviour and wonder. Still no one pays any attention to my cries.
Looking down I see the young boy huddled in a corner of a house ruin. Maybe he can help and he can warn everyone!
The little boy is crying softly, his small hands cluthing his stomach as if in pain. I watch him for a while and then fly and rest near his feet. Giving a caw I see him look over at me. Calling out to him again I begin to tell him of Vesuvius' anger.
# Vignette 3

**Vignette 3: Paint a literary portrait of the scene during the eruption: What does it look like? What does it smell like? What sounds does one hear? What are the animals doing? How is the natural world responding to the eruption? Think of this vignette as a bird’s-eye view of Pompeii during the eruption.**

Aside from a low, faint rumbling that was thought to be nothing more than the vibrations of a passing truck, or the snoring of an inconsiderate spouse, or even a small earthquake, the townspeople of Pompeii had little warning disaster loomed.

Within seconds of the eruption, ash, fire, and chaos spewed from the gaping hole torn into the mountaintop and rained down upon the unsuspecting population belowAugust lacked in mercy, so was its heat blooming with miracles. Miracles could be counted, when one peered at the dead fishes in Sarno River, and get perplexed to watch the springs, the wells, and the aqueduct dry up. Vines on the tender slopes of Vesuvius lost their spirit. There were minor quakes to remind the citizens of their unfavorable destiny ahead. Some had fortunately understood the call. They were glad, for pricked are only those who seek the rose!

Regretful! Remorseful, were these daring souls! Despite the thundering indication of the impending overflow of magma from the heart of Vesuvius in the Morning, they had stood stout. Little did they care about improbable dangers that were then engulfing them ‘velocius quam asparagi conquantur’! Midday saw fire and smoke romanticize and then…VESUVIUS ERUPTED FINALLY AFTER A LONG, LONG KIP!

Within seconds of the eruption, ash, fire, and chaos spewed from the gaping hole torn into the mountaintop and rained down upon the unsuspecting population below.

Thus, appeared a mushroom cloud of pumice particles high up in the sky, kissing the heaven, where soon these departing souls would arrive. Blues grew scarlet red. It seemed the devil himself was counting their last minutes. The air bristled, shivered, cowered when the explosion’s power conquered. And along the shivering, the citizens had wrinkles for a moment, as if one had slapped them for their foolishness. Ash showered upon Pompeii, and this showering seemed to continue forever. In a matter of minutes, panic pervaded the streets. One stooped, another ran, while still another watched this glorious genocide with sheepish eyes. Ash covered the entire city, so sooner that no one had time to recollect where to find a shelter. Those who could, prayed desperately. And those who couldn’t, played desperately a game of final breath

Then, molten lava began a destructive, undiscriminating sprawl through the streets, devouring all within its path. Nothing was safe; houses, roads, playgrounds, even a woman who’d suffered a broken leg during the initial chaotic rush to flee. Using bloodied elbows and forearms, she’d dragged herself for nearly a mile until exhaustion left her unable to move, and she’d watched, helpless, as the steaming sludge approached and eventually consumed her, inch by screaming inch.

The thick, black ash loomed ominously over the once bustling city. Men, women, and children alike all shrieked in fear. Clean air was becoming more and more scarce, as the black clouds of debris fell to the earth. The streets were full of people trying to escape, praying to get out of this catastrophe alive, clinging to life.

Dark...Everything went dark! The sun has disappeared and there is barely anything visible through the thick clouds. The smoke was descending quickly onto the town settled at its base. The birds had been long gone for hours, even days. The animals on the outer city had felt the vibrations deep in the earth with their worn paws and claws. The leaders helped the young and old to safety far away from the erupting mountain, but no amount of walking or sprinting could get them away from that toxic hell.

Grass was trembling under the force of the earth's stress. The rocks of the crust were bowing and shaking while molten lava shot from the depths of the volcano.

Were citizens used to panicking? Were they accustomed to hear an "Obscurum per obscuris" explanation of the situation? Apparently, the officials assigned for this petty job, were much obscured. Assuring those miserable citizens, seemed this time, the worst thing they had ever got their corrupt hands on. The Roman Statesman consoled those wild, confused citizens, "_No harm shall threaten us. No son shall cry seeing his mother in terror. No father shall hold his daughter's hands and say 'Brutum fulmen'. No wrinkled person shall begin losing his breath. Not now, my men. Not this hour, my brothers. Not today, my sisters. Never should that fate be a menace, my children_!"
"_CARTHAGO DELENDA EST, CARTHAGO DELENDA EST_…”, a long sob carried in through the air. Somewhere at a distance, a jostle was heard. The grunts died soon, leaving except one in dilemma. No sooner did that Statesman speak another word of solidarity than those men who had been maintaining their composure for long, engaged themselves in strides of fear. Strides to make out what that ruffle meant. And to their dismay, it didn’t take long!
Breaking the ramparts, came a quite crimson slurry. Some were gazing at the graffiti on walls, perhaps for the last time. Graffiti seemed to enliven them with their glories, their past that had made way for this present meretricious town. Several hundreds of frightened souls rampaged through the streets. The crimson slurry appeared ocher, then dead white, and finally an infernal red! Accompanying the slurry, was an overshadowing smoke. The smoke was strange in a way. For there were floating pyroclasts amidst suffocating odor, which rained over the landscape as a spider infests over a bare corner.

“_Father! Where is my brother_?”, a little boy gasped.
The father didn’t have the prowess to stop. He never looked back at his son. And another woman comforted the boy, “_Hush! Your brother will be safe. Your father is seeking him_.” Her lie was obvious. She knew that she had lost her stout and brave man back a while, when their house had been torn apart in pieces as the earth shook fiercely, shattering his dreams, his will to survive.
Nevertheless, he tread on, only to find out being crushed by a rumble of pyroclasts. And he was never seen again. Maybe one day, he will rejoice again. Sooner he may see his sons and his beloved wife in solace where he has trudged on to. Blessed are those who reconcile!

Vesuvius hadn’t become gluttonous. That was clear when in late afternoon, another explosion came high spirited to make the terror surreal. Higher above the mushroom, appeared dew drops. The dew drops were harsher. Pumice stones, pyroclastic rocks, much larger in size, much heavier in weight captivated everything below, as a tornado does when its eye infuriates. A new decoration seized the city as volcanic ash covered the once prosperous land in a thick crust. Buildings too were miniscule when ash collapsed them within minutes. Pyroclasts crated the earth. Fragmented rocks were after people running for their short lives.

**_Vulcanalia_** was meant to deafen the prospects that gained momentum at this time of the year, prospects when people could find themselves growing excessively helpless witnessing conflagration of their lands, forest they deemed. All they could, was crowning Vulcan in bonfires; sacrificing fest fishes upon the crown; baking tunics under the glad divinized sun, even working with a tiny candle all day long. Their efforts had undoubtedly failed. No amount of pleading could protect them that day.

"_Juno, save us from the might of your son, Vulcan!!_", screamed a hag in a debilitating voice. She was one of those most reputed hag in Pompeii's outskirts. Going through the pain of being separated, or specifically being deserted by her children, and spited by her grand ones, had consolidated her. And there she stood, weak, frail, crazy altogether with what she hailed. No one could justify her anguish in a right mind. So there was none left too.
"_Aloha! what devil had undone its wings? What! Are those stings?_", her shrill cry went through the smoke.
Beside her, stood another unaccounted helpless man whose tamed serpent had just slithed into her robe and stinged her in dire straits. And she was seen, smirking at her fate. Probably, she was more than blessed then, to be stung, to be confessed, to be relieved of all her pain. **_Staff of Asclepius_** had healed her soul!

Serpent's tamer was nowhere in the sight. His intuiton might have urged him to leave his tamed snake, for amidst tremors, surely fright shook even _**Mercury's**_ staff. A fright that made stinging obvious than healing. Mercury wanted their fate...his vengeance didn't abate!
# Sarno River

She could hear the running water. Like every morning, Sarah Beni woke up a little before dawn and set out for a walk. She liked to go before dawn. It was not the light that mattered to her for she was blind. What she liked was to smell the air, to walk in silence and to hear the sounds of the first birds. Everyday she went on the same route, she knew it by heart now because for 20 of her 30 years she has been coming on the same route every morning. She loved to be by herself because it was only then that she could be herself, it did not matter if she tripped on a rock, no one would make fun of her or rush to help her. She liked to walk from her house till the river. She started to feel the first rays of the day. That was the best part, to sit by the river of Sarno with the sun directly hitting her and this to that young blind lady was happiness...
# 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.”

**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 10

**Vignette 10: Write from the perspective of a mother who is separated from her children during the eruption. Does she search for them despite the danger around her? Does she eventually try to save herself?**

I could tell something was happening, but I didn't know what. Mothers just know. I assumed we had upset the gods, and they were punishing the town. I had no idea what would become of our precious city.

My eyes shot open in the dark. This was different. The last few days were only tremors. This was much more than that. The earth shook violently again. It was time to rise and check on the children. My husband slept soundly, so I decided to let him rest for now. I walked past the children's bedrooms and found them sleeping soundly, although I couldn't figure out how one could sleep through that last violent shake.

It would be breakfast soon. I left early to go down to the fountain and take water. By the time I arrived back home, the sun was coming over the horizon and everyone in the house was starting to rise as well. I prepared breakfast - bread, cheese and some vegetables that were left - before calling everyone to eat.

Chatter at breakfast was minimal. Everyone was tired of the shaking. It was disturbing the animals, and it made it more challenging to get work done. However, it did no good to complain about it, so they tried to act normal.

After breakfast, my two boys left for school. My husband would have some people over to discuss business and he headed to the atrium to receive them. I took my dear Lucia, the youngest of my three children, with me to do some spinning. While I couldn't explain why, I was more happy than usual that she could stay at home with me. I suppose it had to do with the bad feeling I had had since I woke up.

My little Lucia is only 8, so I guided her while she spinned her wool. Once she had gotten started, I began spinning a thread on my own. We worked like that quietly for a while, until around noon one of our slaves entered the room. I had to calm her down before she could tell us what she had seen, so distressed was she. Apparently, a large dark cloud had risen from the mountainpeak in the distance. Marcus, my husband, and his guests were still discussing what this meant. The slave had come here on her own, so I told her to go back and wait for news from my husband.

Lucia overheard most of the conversation and was afraid. Maybe she would simply have been curious under different circumstances, but the shaking of the earth these past days had her on edge. I calmed her down and distracted her by continuing with our work.

The slave returned a little later with a message from Marcus. The men he had been meeting with had returned to their own homes to check up on their families. While the large cloud was unusual, he was confident we would be perfectly safe if we just stayed inside. I felt uneasy about this and wanted to take a look at this cloud for myself, but I didn't want to scare Lucia. She was continuing spinning what looked like a fair amount of yarn. She seemed to have gotten the hang of it. Her forehead was wrinkled in concentration, eyes fixed at the spindle, giving her an almost cross-eyed look, and her mouth lay open.

'Lucia,' I patted her shoulder gently, thinking up a quick excuse, 'You're doing really well with that yarn! I just remembered Aurelia wanted something off me, I'll just go to her. Is that alright?'

'But she's coming by for dinner isn't she?' She looked questioningly at me. Aurelia was our neighbour and good friend. Along with her clan, she joined us at our dinner banquet. Her daughter Camilla is 9, close in age to my Lucia, so naturally they're very close.

'Yes, of course dear. I just wanted to give her something. Won't be long. You carry on, you're doing so well!' Lucia put her head back down and carried on, addicted. I hurriedly left the room and went out into the courtyard. Usually, on a plain summer's day such as this one, I could see the tip of Mount Vesuvius. This had been the case, the past couple of days but now, it lay hidden amidst a thick dark grey cloud. I felt my insides fill with a sense of impending doom. The pine tree shaped cloud was large, and beginning to edge over some of Pompeii.

'Cecilia,' I turned around, my husband was walking out into the courtyard.

'Marcus, we have to get the boys. Just look at that cloud!' I couldn't help but let out a hint of panic in my voice. The grounds beneath us gave a sinister tremble. Marcus held me and looked down at me authoritatively.

'It's been like this since the start of August,' he began. He looked puzzled, as if unsure of what to do next. I felt I couldn't override his decisions, but a little hint may be easier on his ego.

'Have you spoken to Gauis?' I asked. Gauis was Aurelia's husband, he was in the business of building and maintaining the temples in the area. If anyone knew how the gods were feeling, it would be him.

'No, not since the other day. I should speak to him.' He decided, 'I'll go now.'

'And Lucia and I will stay here? Should we not take the boys out of school?' I asked.

'Cecilia,' Marcus gave me a stern look, full of disapproval of my exhibiting a mother's instinct, almost as if it were petty and unnecessary. 'I will speak to Gauis, if he felt it necessary to take Atticus out of school, I'll reconsider.' And he walked out, his toga billowing out behind him. I returned to Lucia, she was still spinning.

I tried to continue our spinning as well, but neither of us could concentrate. My boys—were they frightened at the cloud? Were they looking at the mountain with their classmates? I felt a surge of frustration with Marcus as panic rushed through my veins. I settled myself down enough to smile reassuringly at Lucia, but inside, a dark cloud loomed large and heavy. It enveloped every thought and feeling, suffocating and thick. I knew I could not simply sit here and do nothing. Even moments of terror have a way of changing the course of our lives. This was one of those moments.


It had already been four hours. The tremors had grown more intense, and my heart was crushed by panic. Lucia had gone to fetch us more water, but hadn't come back for a long while. _Such is the way of children,_ I said to myself, and assured myself that she met a friend on the way and had stopped to chat, even though my legs screamed at me for standing still. I wanted to speed out of the house and search for her immediately. I wanted to go and get my boys out of school. I wanted to take my family and flee far from this place. I wanted the tremors and the clouds and the terror to stop.

I peaked my head outside and saw the cloud had grown thicker, blacker. It was closer to the city, stretching itself out farther and farther by the minute, yet never growing thinner. This was too much. I felt it in the fires of my dreams, I heard it in the wind. Even if Gauis says that this is nothing to worry about and the gods aren't angry, I know they are. I know that if I don't move now, if I don't find my children and escape now, something will take hold of us. I don't have to be a mystic to see the danger here. _I need to find them. I need to save them._

As my mind became consumed by my mission, I called out to a slave to continue with the dinner preparations. My legs lifted and fell faster. My eyes frantically searched for Lucia among the throngs of crowded people. I finally made my way to the fountain. She was not there.

"Lucia! Lucia!" My voice resounded through the streets. Other mothers were scattered through the crowd, also calling out for their children with hoarse voices. Some of the men were scowling at us, some mocking us, some looking just as terrified as we. Somewhere, I heard a child crying, but the voice was not Lucia's. "Lucia! LUCIA!"


I turned my head towards the direction of her exclamation, searching the faces to my left.

"Mother! Over here!"

A small hand stuck itself out through an opening in the crowd, followed a little head of black hair and a body in street clothes. "Lucia!" I run over to her and pick her up in my arms, sighing with relief.

"Mother, what's wrong?"

# Vignette 11

**Vignette 11: Write from the perspective of a widow who lives alone in Pompeii without family or many friends. Perhaps she feels differently about the eruption than other citizens do, or is more accepting of it since life has already ‘passed her by.’ Or, maybe the chaos is a wake-up call to start living in the moment instead of reliving the past. This vignette should take place before and during the eruption.**

I wake too early yet again. Peeking through the dark auburn curtains I see nothing but the dark, I mutter a curse and turn to sleep again -- but there is the faintest streak of gray across the sky beyond my window. I might as well get up.

I don’t hear any birds chirping yet from the plain tree in the courtyard. It’s going to be a long day indeed, and I’m not looking forward to it. Well, it’s probably for the best . The Feast of Vulcan is only two days hence, and already people are trickling into the city: some to sell, some to buy, some to entertain, some to be entertained. The sooner I can get to the market to buy stores, the better, and I need to buy for a week so I won’t have to fight the crowds later. A woman on her own should plan ahead. Being on my own for so long has changed me.

I break my fast with the scraps from last night’s dinner, and carefully don my second-best robes. I’m far from reaching my dotage but my joints are starting to stiffen a bit in the earliest mornings.

‘Hercules! Hercules, you naughty boy, where are you? Hercules!’

My neighbor’s little girl is apparently up too early as well, still hollering for her lost puppy. My dream with my husband had always been to have a little girl of our own. After his death, that dream of course shattered. I wouldn’t think the stupid mutt would have the wherewithal to toddle off somewhere on his own, never mind disappear for -- what? Three days now?

‘Hercules!’ the little girl cried out

What a ridiculous name for such a tiny dog. Really?

I step outside. ‘Hush, girl! There are still decent folks abed!’

She sticks her tongue out at me. ‘Must be why you’re awake.’

I have a sneaking suspicion she’s one of the children who take pot-shots at me sometimes from around corners. As long as their parents all know that I’m a good woman who makes an honest living, I don’t much mind. She sometimes reminds why I truly almost appreciate that i don't have a child. The Whining, the crying, the obnoxious banter. I enjoy my peace, but at the same time dread it.

I squint up at the mountain, still barely lit by the growing dawn. I detest that hill, squatting over the town like a fire-breathing demon. I came here so long ago, as a very young woman not much more than a girl, but I have never gotten used to living in the shadow of such a great beast. Even living on the outskirts of town as I do, the mountain is unavoidable.

My faint memories of home are of wide blue skies and flat, open plains. I remember lying on my back, staring up at the heavens which reached from edge to edge of my entire vision. Unfortunately I also remember the wars, and the deaths of my closest family, friends, and the slave ship which brought me here.

In the end, I should be grateful. While my ugly face kept me from the life of ease I might have had if I could have lured my master into my bed, the man treated me well and had me trained as a midwife. He found me a good husband amongst the slaves of his household. While my husband may not have given me children to care for me when I am old, he was kind enough.

And when he died too young, I found his last gift: a small horde of coin, gotten somehow or another, so within two years I was able to buy my freedom and work for my own gain. Now the bread is running out and the material for cloth is scarce. I wonder sometimes if maybe i should have died in the eruption. I have prayed to my God about how thankful i am for each beautiful day. Is it really such a blessing anymore for him to leave me dreading every morning? I still want a child, but out of Wedlock it could not occur and i cannot see myself marrying another man. Arranged marriage at first with my beloved Timothy, but i grew to love him. I am now too old to be arranged for marriage so i truly must accept my ongoing never-ending loneliness.

I cast my glance back at the mountain, wondering why I’m feeling so maudlin today. Despite my best efforts I cannot feel affection for its glowering face.

* * *

The Forum market is a fair walk from my small room, but the morning is blessedly cool and quiet. Few people are stirring yet, and for some strange reason there doesn’t even seem to be many animals, either. Lost in my own thoughts, my mood continues to worsen, making my head ache. All through my life i have bottled away my happy memories, for my only memories that have kept me alive is fear, and loneliness.

Fortunately there are a few shops already open for business -- including, I am glad to see, my particularly favorite stall, run by Felix. Poor Felix has not been fortunate as his name might suggest; his face is even uglier than mine and he walks with a jerking limp. His wife is a horrible shrew whom I’ve fortunately only run into a handful of times, and only once did Felix summon me to help birth a small stillborn daughter. My skill in handling not only the difficult birth and unfortunate result, but also my ability to handle his quarrelsome yet heartbroken wife, earned his respect; his recommendations to friends and family have earned me a good reputation and improved my business. For a woman with few friends, his friendly face is always a welcome sight.

‘Valeria!’ Felix’s misshapen face breaks into a large grin. ‘You’re certainly up early this morning.’

‘The mountain growled at me. Then that brat next door started hollering for her missing dog, and after that I decided I might as well beat the rush this morning.’

Felix laughs at that, and I finally have to crack a reluctant smile myself.

‘Well, good thing you’re early, because I set a few things aside for you in the hopes that you would be.’


‘Yes, indeed! I have that fresh birthwort you were asking for, and….’ He holds out a small cloth pouch, his excitement palpable.

Carefully I take the bag, and peer inside. Poppy seeds! How did Felix know my small stash was running low? I look up at him, and this time I smile in earnest.

‘Thank you so much, Felix. Truly.’

He gives a small bow, like a magician who had just performed a baffling trick, and adds a large wink. I have to laugh at his theatricality, and he beams at the success of his efforts.

‘You are a wonder and a blessing, Felix.’ I grin at him.

‘I do try.’ He packs up my herbs and medicines into my basket for me as I hand over a few coins. I can ill afford the extra expense but I have a sneaking suspicion that Felix habitually undercharges me, so I certainly don’t begrudge him the silver. Besides, at least two women I had birthed successfully a year or two ago are nearing their time again, so I know funds won’t be short for long.

By the time I leave Felix’s stall more shopkeepers open up the doors for business. I spend a pleasant hour or two haggling over dried fish and cheese and fruit and bread, and eying wistfully some lovely fabric too rich for my blood. Maybe if the next lady I birth pays me well I can afford a new robe.

As the day becomes warmer I finally start to head home. I stop by a caupona on the way for a quick lunch of sausage and libum, but I don’t linger. By the time I reach my door my early morning start and the growing heat are making my head ache, and I gratefully lay down on my cool bed for a hour’s respite.

I awake and the afternoon is late and the day is warm, I have slept much longer than intended. I am thirsty and my head still aches, unusual, and I hope I am not becoming ill. I arise, rinse my face and drink a horn of cool water and make an offering at my simple lararia, nothing more than a niche in the wall really, nothing like the elaborate shrine in the home of my master, where I dwelt before the passing of my husband.

I do not dwell in the past as my mind is strangely unsettled. I think a bath will restore some peace to my mind and some vigour to my weary bones, I look to my pocket, I can spare the coins. I gather my basket and make for the Forum Baths.

There are no demands on my time this day so I stroll at my leisure, preparation for the Feast is well underway and everywhere there is activity. I look to the fire-breathing dragon and feel no more at ease than I had this morning.

I enter the baths through the women’s entrance on the far side of the building. As I emerge into the apodyterium I look for a trustworthy slave to tend my belongings. I see Amica, a slight, pretty girl who has tended me in the past, I wave her over and greet her with a smile “Good afternoon Amica”, she bows her head in acknowledgment and helps me disrobe, the marble is cool beneath my feet and immediately soothing. I make my way into the tepidarium, and as the warm water rises to meet me I feel my body relax, I sit back, close my eyes and submerge my body deeper into the soothing waters. The chatter among the women is of the forthcoming Feast, of new robes and jewels. Of parties and play.

Chatter I have no concern with. The Feast is for the wealthy and those with little regard for their own dignity. No doubt the revelling will degenerate into little more than an excuse for debauchery and debasement, as is the habit of those who come to Pompeii. I well remember many a pretty slave girl returning to the quarters her clothes and pride a tatter. And those with virginity for the taking were most desired. I am at once thankful for my fortune.

Before too long a quiet but anguished moan escapes the women seated beside me. I had not noticed her when I entered, she is a small, petite young woman her hair twisted into the fashionable, low chignon at the base of her neck, her face beautifully made - a wealthy woman and pregnant. The look on her face tells me she is in some discomfort.
I turn to face her, and instinctively take her hand “My name is Valeria, maybe I can be of assistance. I am a midwife”. A small gasp escapes her lips and she grips my hand tightly. “It is not yet my time” her voice is shaky and her eyes fearful. “Your first child” I inquire and am answered with a vigorous nod of her head. “Well let’s get you out of this bath”, I smile reassuringly and signal to Amica for assistance. We raise her up and she leans on me as we emerge from the bath, I notice her baby appears to sit quite high, yet she is experiencing contractions. I fear the worst, that the baby is breach.

Amica informs me her name is Primilla and she is newly arrived in Pompeii. “Take some deep breaths and try to straighten” I gently prompt, again the look of fear but she breathes deeply and steadies herself. As Amica assists her to dry and dress I quickly retrieve my robe and dress also.

Primilla has a large bundle with her and I carry this to the portico as she continues to grip my arm for support. “I shall accompany you to your home” .

She looks at me in earnest , “I am newly arrived in Pompeii, my husband is not yet arrived. He is traveling from Naples and I have not yet secured accommodation”. I look at her somewhat astonished, a woman traveling alone, while not unheard of is nary common. But a pregnant woman traveling alone, without husband or mother or attendant is uncommon. I am suspicious, and this must show on my face.

“Please”, she begs “do not abandon me in this strange city, I have money I can pay for your services”.
I am in a quandary as to what I should do. I clearly cannot leave her alone, but to where shall I take her. My home? And I fear she will not be able to walk the distance. I feel her body contract against mine and she again leans heavily against me. “We shall go to my home, can you walk?”. She nods.

As we pass through the Forum and past the market the sun is setting over the city and the stall holders are packing away their wares. I see Felix as he is leaving the square, “Felix!” he turns and as recognition dawns on his face he rushes over, raising Primilla’s arm across his shoulder and bearing most of her weight I am relieved.

Felix looks at me enquiringly “Valeria?”.

“Felix, this is Primilla, I am conveying her to my home, where she must rest”, I looked across the girls head and gave Felix, what I hoped was a look to still his questions further. We continued in silence, carefully making our way through the now crowded streets, everyone was out enjoying the cool of the evening. As we approached I heard the children again calling for that damnable Hercules!

“Let’s take her through to my bed”

She is panting heavily as we lay her down. I dampen a cloth and wipe her brow. And leave her to rest, and so that I may make a tincture of the poppy I had only than morning bought from Felix.

Felix looks concerned, “It is not usual for you to bring your charges into your home. What of the woman’s family?”

“I am uncertain. I encountered her at the baths, and in her condition could not leave her. I fear the baby is breach. She is in great pain and the contractions have begun. I do not foresee an easy birthing”

“But what of her husband” Felix entreats, “She is a citizen is she not”.

“I know not her story. Thank you for your help Felix. I must tend her needs now”.

As Felix leaves he promises to call tomorrow on his way to market. And I make the necessary preparations.

When all of a sudden, there was a boom outside. Looking out of the deep dark gray sky I saw before me the clouds roll in. The heat outside started to rise, I didn't know what to do, as I saw the woman before me in pain. In a panic the floors underneath me started to shake, pots from the shelfs started to shatter. I opened the windows seeing the city skyline and the volcano shaking. Then everything around here seemed to slow down, she remembered that this happened to her before in a dream she once had when she was younger with her husband. Then all of a sudden she hear a scream snapping out vision to reality. Looking behind the woman was screaming, and hollering gripping on the chair in pain. She thought to herself, knowing that if they were both to live to escape Pompii and help the woman deliver the baby.

I left the house to see what was happening, it was dead silent outside all the animals around gone, people gone, the life of nature gone. Before my eyes I saw the red heat coming slowly from afar. I ran back in where the woman laid, more calmly than before looking at me with tears.

"You should go, save yourself, you have a life to live." she took a deep breath going on,"Why should I live if my husband could not come to me, he is probably dead, or left me for his own life."

I looked at her confused, grumply as I snapped back at her,"I am the one who should die, this world is a place of disgrace, why should you die when you would have a life to live on with your child.

She looked at me smiling, as the tears rolled down she screamed one last time, as her last breath as she whispered in the wind. "Take care of Luna" her hand that was gripping the chair loosened as it dangled.

An hour later passed, and she held in her hand the little girl. I looked at her, imaging around me my husband looking down at the little girl. The vision fading, as i repeated "Luna"


It is silent. There is not a sound of feet on the ground, there is no sound of people rushing, of breathing as they carry all they can manage away from this home to a new home. How far will they have to go? As I tune into the larger space around me, I can feel the rumbling. It does not reach me as a sound just a steady vibration that greets my toes as I walk slowly down the side of the mountain, away from my village. I am not leaving, just descending into the valley so I can watch. Someone has to be able to tell what happened here. Maybe it will be nothing. Perhaps the legends we have heard are not true. Maybe the watchers of the past did not tell the true story of what happened. Did the Mountain spirit chase them, make them run as fast as they could, dodging around rocks and trees just as nimbly as they were, a dance of a runner leading and an evil spirit trying to attach to them and thus be dragged along, until the runner was dragged down. The ones far in the lead left to tell the story. Perhaps that was not true at all. We can never know unless someone stays here and watches and waits. I will not be a runner. What would I run to? Who would be there? With my husband gone to speak to the mountain, I would have no one. He may return. I will watch for him until the mountain spirit reaches out for me. The air is still and warm. It feels like nothing will ever come down from that mountain. The rumbling sounds come back to my attention, they are fainter now, but still distinct. I feel the motion as I walk slowly down the mountain. I am bringing one thing with me. It is a bowl, made from wood that my husband brought to me when we got married. I think I have used this bowl everyday of our marriage. Today, I will crack the nuts I have gathered for when my husband comes down the mountain. I know he is not coming, but a faint hope keeps me alive and in a state of readiness for his return. Some dust is falling. Should I run? Should I watch?
# Vignette 12

**Vignette 12: Write from the perspective of a slave or very poor citizen of Pompeii. Perhaps he or she views the eruption as a chance to start over, a clean slate. Perhaps he or she is driven by duty or obligation to put their life on the line for a master or employer. This vignette should take place during and possibly after the eruption.**

The rumbling in the distance was omnipresent and never really a cause for concern to Ada Nor did the subtle movement of the earth underfoot give her pause, as she hurried through the narrow lanes. She had a task to complete and was in a hurry. If she did not return quickly with vegetables from the market, there would be hell to pay. She had just emerged from the winding streets into the open areas surrounding the farmer's lands when she sensed a sharper buckle in the ground. Almost enough to make her lose her balance, but she was used to these tremors and adjusted her balance without breaking stride.

Her mind was on Master's mood. He was short-tempered today. Quick to anger. These were days she dreaded, for it was impossible to tell what trangression might set him off. If she could get back with the vegetables, she might yet avoid the lash. He could be jovial and generous with praise. Those were the days she lived for. It was only when she was on these solo errands, her mind free to wander, that could she admit to herself that she loved her mercurial Master. Even when he was angry, she did her best to please and appease him. If only he could see the love in her eyes. But he saw her only as chattel. A beast of burden. No better than his favorite hunting dog, sent to retrieve his catch.

It was while she was lamenting her station in life, her place in society that kept Master from seeing her as someone worthy of his affections, that the largest tremor she'd ever experienced knocked her to her knees. As she stood again, she became aware of new sounds. The noise rose slowly at first. Alarmed voiced cried out behind her, as people in the narrow lanes streamed out of the low buildings. The noise quickly crescendoed as those same buildings began to shift and crumble. Stones fell and people screamed and ran, pushing each other. And over it all, another sound like thunder and waves crashing combined. She'd never heard it before, but she recalled her grandmother describing it from the days when the volcano was active.

But it couldn't be that. The volcano had been quiet these many years. Nothing more than the occassional belch of sour-smelling smoke or tumble of rocks had been seen in ages. As she turned toward the mountain, the cloud of ash streaming skyward was mesmerizing. She became aware of people running toward her, away from the small town she'd just left behind. It seemed her haste to get to the farmer's stall had saved her life. If she's still been in between those small, crowded buildings she would surely have been crushed or trampled.

As she stood, rooted in placed by fear and amazement, the noise grew and the ash plume began to drift toward her. Only remembering Grandmother's stories made her feet finally move. She remembered nightmares about suffocating in the ash after one night of listening to those stories. That nightmare had stayed with her, giving rise to her greatest fear; not being able to breathe.

Having a bit of a head start over the villagers now running toward her, she knew she had to get out of their way. With a quick glance at the ash again, she ran off the path, away from the direction the cloud was drifting. She stopped some minutes later, with a stitch in her side, to rest against a tree and look behind her. The side of the volcano was alive with flames. A river of fire was racing downhill toward the only home she knew. Her Master...her love...was there and she wanted to race back to save him. As she gathered her strength and nerve to turn back, she heard anguished screams from the people. Maybe Master had fled? Would she be able to find him? Was it worth risking her life?

As these thoughts raced through her mind, new thoughts came from some deep, secret place in her mind. If she continued on, away from the crowds, might she find a new life for herself? She had the money Master had given her to make his purchases. She could make her way to a new town. Give herself a new start. Maybe a new name, someplace where no one knew her as a servant. Maybe then, somone could see her as worthy of love. She'd have a chance for a family.

Chasing on the heels of these unbiddden thoughts were thoughts of her disloyalty.

The fires raged in the village, lit aflame by the volcano’s sudden eruption. The impact threw her down onto her hands and knees. She rose with tears in her eyes and ran onwards, bare feet pounding against the dirty ground.

Ada’s solitary tears became gasping sobs as the smoke filled her lungs. Despite her masters inability to love her she felt it impossible to leave him.

Against her own judgment, Ada turned back towards the crumbling world behind her and paused for a moment. Her wide eyes looked out on the city, which stood tumored with frantic citizens that piled over the ground and spilled onto the beaten streets.

Overhead, a thick layer of falling ash shrouded the sky in darkness; feeding on the heavy smoke that spiraled through the air. Miles away from her, rows of buildings crumbled and fell creating a skeleton of a city that had been alive only moments before. Faint ghosts of light shone down from the flames that lined the city casting shadows into the streets.

She took a deep breath, managing only to pull the contaminated air into her lungs. Staring out at the wreckage, her eyes seemed empty, and the smoke allowed each deep breath to fill the void inside her, burning as it passed her throat.

Ana sprinted down the street. She moved rhythmically in order to avoid the licking flames that scoured the ground beneath her feet. Her small figure became a phantom amongst the shadows of the empty streets, slinking past the crumbling buildings.

Her chest heaved, sucking in the heated atmosphere that seemed to cut through her lungs like sharpened knives. Step after step the road ahead seemed to elongate. The distance between her and her master seemed to multiply as the flames increased.

As she became increasingly wary, her steps slowed, though her heartbeat quickened and each movement became an intricate dance played between the thin border of danger and the struggling steps of safety. She trembled as the fire grew, ending just inches from the tip of her bare toes.

Ada slowed as her head began to feel faint from the heat. As her feet lost their footing, Ada stepped back into the inferno, which licked the toes on her left foot. This pain woke up the instinct to keep running to water, where she thought she could be safe. She took another look over her shoulder to see if anything had made it through the volcanos wrath, but everywhere, the clouds of ash and smoke blocked her vision.
# Vignette 13

**Vignette 13: Write from the perspective of a wealthy citizen of Pompeii, who perhaps has many material possessions that are threatened by the eruption. What does he or she do? What does he or she try to save? This vignette should take place before and during the eruption.**

Today, even surveying my vineyards does not bring me comfort. I have recently closed a very lucrative deal to ship my barley all over the province, and I should rejoice. A large shipment left a on a barge down the Sarnus just this morning. I try to distract myself with thoughts of expanding our villia, of journeying with my wife to the great imperial city, or of the fine feasts we will be able to host. Depsite all of these happy prospects, a cloud of foreboding rests over my heart this day.

A plume of dark smoke rises over the mountain to the north. I feel the same foreboding I did that day some seventeen years ago when the gods shook the earth, causing so much destruction. My storehouses still undergo repairs as a result of the catastrophic day. The earth trembles often as of late, and I fear another day of wrath. What have we done to anger the gods so? Have we not built them fine temples and sanctuaries? Do we not pay tribute? I can only suspect there are others who are less pious than I, and fear that I must share in their fate should the gods ire rise against us.
grapes and wine all over the province, and I should rejoice. A large shipment left a on a barge down the Sarnus just this morning. I try to distract myself with thoughts of expanding our villa, of journeying with my wife to the great imperial city, or of the fine feasts we will be able to host. Depsite all of these happy prospects, a cloud of foreboding rests over my heart this day.

A plume of dark smoke rises over the mountain to the north. I feel the same foreboding I did that day some seventeen years ago when the gods shook the earth, causing so much destruction. My storehouses underwent repairs for many years as a result of the catastrophic day. The earth trembles often as of late, and I fear another day of wrath. What have we done to anger the gods so? Have we not built them fine temples and sanctuaries? Do we not pay tribute? I can only suspect there are others who are less pious than I, and fear that I must share in their fate should the gods ire rise against us.

I cannot help but think back, and I look across the way I see my wife walking the grounds without a care in the world. What I would do to see the world as she does, such a sweet simplicity. It has taken us much to get here and yet at times it feels like all I’ve done was blink my eyes. For a moment this sense of unease disapates as for when I close my eyes it's as if I am able to go back to the day Lucretia and I met, I was walking home for a midday break. I enjoyed strolling down the beach which was not far from Don Marcelo’s vineyard where I was working at the time. The stroll home for lunch allowed me to soar away in a daydream and take in beautiful vista along the way. Little did I know that on that day mine eyes would see the most beautiful sight of all, Lucretia, bronzing her porcelain skin along the shore. I thought I was stuck in a trance as she lounged there with her long flowing hair and her bright brown eyes stopped me right in my tracks.

The joy when her eyes met mine, and to have her glance turn into a smile-filled gaze, I fell in love. It took a bit before I could get myself to walk over to her, but I knew I had to approach her. She, who made the world disappear, I had to know who she was and have her fall in love with me. I remember how my heart leapt when she allowed me to draw near and welcomed my ‘Buon giorno bellissima’ only to have it fall to the ground when she shared that she was in town visiting her uncle and would only be in town a few weeks. In the weeks that followed I spent every free moment I could with her. We shared our dreams and strolled along the shore for hours on end.

Our differences didn’t seem to bother either of us, it didn’t matter in the least. She knew my dream to run if not own my own vineyard and I vowed I would work to live that dream and give her the life she deserved. She smiled endearingly and whispered “solo baciami” and I of course would oblige.

“Faustus, where are you? You seem lost in your thoughts” said Lucretia, as she gently caressed his shoulder.

_My husband Faustus - such a good man, who showed so much promise early in our marriage. I remember those heady days of falling in love. The way he greeted me that first day. ‘Buon giorno bellissima,’ His dreams of owning his vineyard. This is what happens when dreams come true_, Lucretia thought. _They change us, and then - are they still our dreams? or are they traps that prevent us from dreaming anew?_ She gazed over the vineyards, her eyes resting on the mountain to the north. The one that threatened to visit the wrath of the gods upon them all, Faustus said. Lucretia wondered if a life of privilege was in its own way an expression of the gods’ ire, for she and Faustus had never been so happy as when they were young, poor, and madly in love.

From far off came a low rumble. The sound grew as it neared and it seemed as if the entire earth were trying to throw off its shackles, trying to wake itself, not from a beautiful dream but from an unholy nightmare. The smell of sulphur chased the sound, adding terror upon terror. Lucretia could not look away as the mountain spewed steam, smoke, and the orange-red lava - an evil color, she thought - began to flow.

_My diamond. My beautiful, rare diamond. The one treasure I never told Faustus I had. The diamond I would use to fund my life without him, if it ever came to that._ Lucretia turned to run inside the villa and secure it. In the chaos of the eruption, she would never find it.

# 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 wipe the sweat away from my eyes, the sun beat down on my head. How can the sun be so inconsiderate? I've been climbing for probably close to three hours and that stupid star just kept burning, heating my hair so much that I wish 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 (kind of) 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 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.
# Vignette 16

**Vignette 16: 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?**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!](

Look at real Pompeii jail cells [here]( and [here](

Read more about the volcanic eruption [here]( and [by watching this really cool video](

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 typ eof 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 quaking. 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 only my surname. With a name that meant "luck", I sure didn't have any.

"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 binds 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. Moans came around from the different cells in the prison. I reached out for Vispania but I couldn't find her.

"Lucilla!" she screamed. I didn't even know she knew my 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 hours again. We sat on the floor, she crying out of pain, me crying out of fear. We had seen and gone through so much, yet the waiting was 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, 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.

# Vignette 17

**Vignette 17: Write from the perspective of a citizen or group of citizens who are emerging from the ruins of Pompeii after the eruption. How do they feel about their ruined city? What steps do they take to move on?**
As she ascended from the ruins, tears descended her once rosy cheeks. Aeliana fearfully gazed around and took in her ruined surroundings with puffy, dusty eyes; everything was shattered, nothing seemed to remain in one piece. As she gazed into the distance with not even a flinch of hope, Aeliana heard what resembled a weak cry for help in the distance. As if being shocked back to life, she turned frantically, trying to discern the origins of the sound. The sound was shadowed by a grey hand struggling under some rumble. Aeliana hurried to the assistance of what turned out to be a body of a slender female covered in grey dust. She immediately embraced the figure tightly. Amidst the dust she had recognized the unmistakably black curls of Camilla,; she would know her sister even if she was a pile of ashes. Camilla returned the embrace in gratitude of seeing her elder sister. Tears flowed down the faces of both girls out of happiness upon reuniting with each other and grief for the dreadful fate of their poor city. What was once a lively and prosperous place was now impoverished in every possible way.

The girls held onto each other tightly as they made their way through the rubble in search of some hope.

While walking cautiously, they were searching through the rummages with the hope of finding some life. Aeliana gave the news to her sister about the demise of their parents, and thatwhich was followed by silence from the duo. Until, something cracked, they were quick to look in thatis caused them to stir and look quickly in its direction, to find. There, something erupted from the ashes, and their mood immediately altered; just the fact to find another life bud from a disaster, made them smile amidst the tears. They started walking in that direction, while shouting out, "Hello W, who is it?", since that person could not be identified.
A faint voice made them twitch their eyebrows and nod their heads since they could not believe that fate would allow such a thing after all that this individual had put the city through. There was a pause in their steps, but out of humanity’s sake, they walked towards him to help him get up by removing thate wreckage over him. He appreciated the help, and for once, he wore a smile, and said, "thank you!"
The girls could not believe their ears. They raised their eyebrows and looked at him with a sneer as if he had just used an insulting language.

Thise individual, after dusting off the powdery residue off himself, looked at them and got agitated upon seeing their reaction,. "What! hHave you never heard someone say thank you to you, before?" he said out loud with a flustered look pasted on his face.

Camillia held onto her sister's hand, but then broke loose after seeing death face to face. She thought , ‘what could be worse than this?’, thus said bluntly, "We never really liked you, Mr. Levii."

Felix grunted as he put his hand over his bald head and rubbed it around to check for any bumps. He used to love his clean-shaven head, and in the better days would make sure to oil it well, and keep it clean and sparklypolished. Today, with so many precious lives lost, he was just happy to be alive.

"I realize what I did to you and this neighborhood was not appropriate, but someone had to be the bad guy," he admitted while kicking the debris around him. "I have lost all that I had earned, and looking at my age, I don't have many more years to get back to earn a lifestyle that I enjoyed living," he said with remorse.

"You two" he pointed towards them,"on the other hand, have a whole life ahead of you." he said sarcastically.

"Oh!, for God's sake.! Let's have some harmony," Aeliana said loudly while holding her dirty partially bleeding hands to her ears.

"Look at those corpses.," she said pointing towards them, "they are not yet cold, and we are talking about a lifestyle" she mocked at Felix, and walked right into his nose, and while staring at him, "You have to straighten your ways or else" she paused while continuing to look into his eyes.

Camilla started sweating because she knew her sister had no plan after "or else" so to continue the gruesome scenario; she locked her lips and put her hands on her hips as if showing authority.

Seeing both the sisters in such a control, this 60 plus old man bowed down, and apologized.
Both were alarmed to see him in tears, and crying profusely by ranting off his life and various incidents which were actually a shock to them. They had always thought of him as a horrible man, but never knew his past until now.
The sisters looked at each other and patted his shoulder lightly as if consoling him.
"We all need each other at this hour of the time, Mr. Levii" Aeliana gently stroked his hand, "let's unite, and not curse each other.," she said with tears in her eyes.
Seeing her elder sister's eyes moist, Camilla came and hugged her from behind, "I agree. Let's get out of here, and try to find help." she said while looking around with the hope to find someone, anyone, any living creature.

Just then, a whirling sound was heard. Mt Vesuvius still had some fury to send across, as dark clouds of ashes were racing towards them. The trio got scared and fled towards a partially fallen roof. As they took cover, they found slain bodies, and Camilla eewed at the sight of it. She made an effort to run away, but her sister was quick to hold her, she tried to resist. Surprisingly, Felix jumped in, "Shut your eyes" he ordered while seizing her other arm.

The clouds went past them and left them huffing and puffing for air as they coughed hard that was coarse and stark in order to remove the arsenic from their lungs. Their clothes were covered with the ashes, and they could not find a clear patch on their body to clean the powdery residue over their closed eyes.

"I can't see a thing" lamented Camilla while blowing air from her mouth towards her eyes in an effort to clear off that debris over her lids.
heard. Mt Vesuvius still had some fury to send across, as dark clouds of ashes were racing towards them. The trio got scared and fled towards a partially-fallen roof. As they took cover, they found slain bodies and Camilla shriveled and shrieked at the sight of it. She made an effort to run away, but her sister was quick to hold her, she tried to resist. Surprisingly, Felix jumped in, "Shut your eyes" he ordered while seizing her other arm.

The clouds went past them and left them huffing and puffing for air as they coughed firmly in a coarse and stark manner in order to remove the arsenic from their lungs. Their clothes were covered with the ashes, and they could not find a clear patch on their body to clean the powdery residue over their closed eyes.

"I can't see a thing" lamented Camilla while blowing air from her mouth towards her eyes in an effort to clear off the debris over her lids.

During her moment of temporary blindness, she could have sworn she felt things that were unwelcome, all over her body. She felt a tingling sensation in her toes which seemed to run up her legs and transferred into a crawling creature, or was it a grasp of her own kind of creature? Ants, spider or human, Camilla did not care to find out at this moment as all she desired was her ability to see. The endless compliments she received about her big brown eyes came to her mind as if taunting her if she were not to ever regain her eyesight or was it encouraging her to work harder at ensuring she did? She would take the latter option; she needed her eyesight back but also, she needed her big brown beautiful eyes. Her compliments were nothing compared to the "eternal luminous projection" of her sister's. She had secretly envied better quality compliments received by her sister on her eyes but at this moment, all she wanted were her own eyes, low quality or no compliment, did not matter at the moment.

Camilla brushed her lid frantically with strength and determination, for what seemed like a dreadful eternity, before she saw a glimpse of light amidst her ash-covered surroundings. In no time, she had her full eyesight back although the place looked a little bit fuzzy to her.

To her left, Aeliana, who seemed to be in a similar plight, was squinting as if to distinguish her sister's figure from that of Mr. Levii. As if to assist her, He asked; "are you girls ok?" Aeliana nodded affirmatively in his direction and waited from a verbal response from her sibling. As if sensing her sister's expectations, Camilla answered, "I think we escaped this second bout of death's rage."

At this point, after each regained their full ability to see, they only looked around themselves, felt hopeless and sighed indication of such. "What next?" the question was more directed at herself than to her sister or new-found friend. For the first time in her life, Aeliana did not have the answer. Or as it so, because could this even be called "life"? Would life continue to be or did it already cease before these creatures rose from total ruins? Were they living, or were they just dying slowly.

# Vignette 18
(this is where you write your contribution to vignette 18.. welcome vignette 18 writers!) ------- your moderator is Beth aka 'sigh-.-Ptobeornottobe9'

**this is the assignment for vignette 18:
""Write from the perspective of a newcomer to Pompeii in the days before the eruption. What do they think of this city built at the base of a volcano? Do they want to stay?""

kudos to those who found their way here. *(here's a link back to 'discussions' of vignette 18)

Hi Beth! I found my way here :)
-Ann at Grammarly sure & save what you write: the save button is the 'disk button' to your right.

******start story HERE:

He wiped the sweat from his brow as he reached the ridge. He had originally planned to enter Pompeii through the port gate, but he had been worried that there would be someone who would recognize him still up, or just getting up. His former master had sent him to the port often enough that many of the fisherman would recognize him. Many of them knew that he had been sold to a nobleman in Stabiae. That had been where he’d started his journey.

Normally the journey from Stabiae was a short one, but as it was well after dark when he’d started the journey, he’d actually gotten lost. Once he’d found his way back to the road, there had been a few other people also on the road. Not wanting to be seen, he’d stayed away from the road. Once he’d decided that the port gate wasn’t going to work, he’d had to think about which gate might actually be a good place to enter the city. He’d decided that even if there were people out, they would be less likely to know him at the gate closest to the mountain. He’d rarely been in that area of Pompeii.

Tertius estimated that he was close enough to the city. He would wait to slip in at first light. There would be many people coming into Pompeii tomorrow for the Venfestival of Ludi Consualia, no one would notice him amongst the crowds. Tertius settled down on the grassy slope, it was far more comfortable than many of the stone floors he had slept upon. He pulled his cloak tighter around him.

As a matter of habit, he went through his plan again. There was no need really, he had thought about nothing else for months. And now finally it was a reality. He could actually taste the anticipation in his mouth. By sundown tomorrow it would be done, either that or he would be dead.

Tertius felt the ground beneath him reverberating; hoof beats! Were they already after him? He pulled himself into a sitting position and scanned the horizon. Although there was no visible moon, the sky was illuminated by a red glow.

The riderless horses thundered past him, so close that Tertius had to roll out of their path. They didn’t even notice him, they appeared to be in a state of panic. They galloped past, nostrils flaring and whinnying. Some of them had saddles on; these were not wild horses. In a few seconds they were gone. Tertius blinked and shook his head.

Tertius lay down again, and closed his eyes. He pushed the mystery of the horses out of his mind as he went over his plan again. There was a deep cavernous rumbling from the ground, and this time it wasn’t from horses.

Tertius awoke in the morning. and ate some figs. he thought about his entry to the city. he knew about an opening into the city, that was not a gate. it was a small opening near, the dye and weavers booth on the mountain edge of the city. he decided to head that direction, and while on the mountain side, grab a few grapes from the vineyard.

he awoke to a clear normal day. the rumblings of last night almost a forgotten dream. time to get a move on. if he hurried he could get to his entrance to the city at a time when no one would probably notice him emerge through the small hole by the weavers stall.

grapes. ah, grapes. that one looked ripe enough. he managed to gleen a handful of grapes. and not much futher on he found the entrance he was looking for. a bit over grown. a good sign. no one else was bothering to use the entrance. he slipped through, pausing and listening, and carefully peering through before he stepped out into the open, and sure enough he was by the weavers stall, and the dyemaker's booth. he noted a few grey smudges on some cloth and wool drying in the wind. it was curious to him. freshly made cloth and newly dyed wool, with grey smudges here and there. he new it wasn't dust. he had just dusted himself off, after emerging from the small hole he had crawled through. . he did not mention it to the workers at the stall. who were busy chatting about laying bets as to what the oracle would say about last night's rumbling. (they laughed: would it be a good omen or a bad omen? they had suspicions that the oracle made statements to merely favor the next on coming feast day)

*later the merchants would of course notice the greying of their cloth, who could miss ash falling from the sky at 6 inches an hour, (but this is not part of our story) let's follow Tertius as he makes his way through this day, his first at the city.

Tertrius chose the cobbled path closest to him. It would take him on a longer route to his destination, but was easiest to slip into without being noticed by anyone in the stalls. He could simply slide behind the stalls and casually saunter into the path. He had but put one step forward when someone called out.

"Hey you."

He froze. He dared not look behind. His head was covered under the cloak and was certain he was well covered. He took one small step, trying to ignore the caller.

"You there. Can you help me with this bundle? I need it loaded on my cart. I'll pay ."

Some money was always a plus. Tertrius turned around slowly, trying to catch a glimpse of his caller before the caller saw him. The caller's accent was different. He didn't seem to belong around here. To his relief it wasn't someone he knew. And he was anyway busy bending over the bundle.

Tertrius walked briskly and bent over, keeping his face as hidden as possible. The bundle loaded, he grabbed the coins off the merchant's palm and hurried back on his way. That was close. Had it been someone he knew, everything would have gone awry. He ambled up the steep path that led uphill before going down again. As expected it was deserted except for a couple of urchins he passed by. This alley was mostly taken by slaves. The affluent citizens avoided it. Yet, he stayed close to the backs of the houses, in the shadows. The houses were mostly in shambles on this side of the city. And the rooftops were covered in a thick layer of gray. A sudden gust of wind blew some of the dust from the street onto his face. He screwed his face in disgust as his tried to cover himself with his palms. When the gust had settled, he dusted himself again. He brushed his lush hair that was terribly matted by now, trapping that dust close to his skull. He didn't recall so much dust here from his last sojourn. He picked up a little dust from his shoes and felt it. It wasn't just a fine poweder. It felt more like ... like...

"Tertrius... focus," his mind rebuked him, "You're not here to analyze the cleanliness of the city. Remember your purpose."

Shaking himself, he stood straight for a moment, then resumed his walk along the alley. Few steps ahead the alley approached a bend and began its journey downhill. He stood there looking down at the city. Streets lined with large villas. One of which was his destination today. Beyond the villas were orchards and meadows. Flowers and fruits. Strangely no animals were grazing in the meadows that day. They were usually always crowded with sheep and horses. Anyway, that wasn't his concern. Beyond the city limits was the azure blue sea. Wisps of clouds dotted the skyline that met the sea at eternity. How he had imagined his life sailing those seas, living his adventure. But everything had gone wrong. And all because of that one man living conmfortably in that villa. Tetrius clenched his teeth and balled his palms into a fist. He felt the dagger hidden securely under his cloak.

The ground trembled beneath his feet, but Tertius was becoming used to the movements--they gave him comfort. It felt as if the gods were walking with him. A warmth filled his chest, urging him forward. Tertius grinned. If the gods wanted him to complete this mission, how could he possibly refuse? He stepped into the path leading downhill. He still had to figure out which of those villas to enter. That was a daunting task. Especially with the celebrations going on, there was a lot of movement. He needed a day atleast to stake out the area and make his final plans. There could be guards he would need to avoid. There would be fences. There could even be dogs. He didn't want to enter the wrong house and then get caught without his task accomplished. Once he was done, he didn't mind anything - not the flogging, not the gallows. Not even being flung to the lions.

Another minor tremble shook the pebbles free from the path below him and they rolled off downwards. Some came under his feet, making him slip. He fell down and skidded few feet before managing to stop himself. Scraped and bruised, he brushed off more dust from his body. What was all this? He turned around and gaped at the mountain rising above everything else. Smoke seemed to be rising through its top. He wasn't entirely sure what that was. A fire in the woods? The towering mountain cast a huge shadow over the town below. He had seen it even from afar when out in the sea. That time it had mesmerized him. It looked like a protective father and the citizens its children. This time however, he Ignored it, and turned forward. The trembling had stopped. It was easier to walk now, though the loose pebbles were still causing his leather sandals to skid.

.... In Pompeii, ash blocked the sun by 1 p.m. and the people tried to clear heavy ash from rooftops as it fell at a rate of about 6 inches (15 centimeters) an hour.

*As the earthquakes become more violent, perhaps Tertius questions whether the gods are with or against him

who else was traveling on the road to pompeii? was anyone arriving for the next festival?
where merchants coming and going? between Naples & pompeii? the port & pompeii?

# 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 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 and squeals 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 from back when she ran a shop in the Macellum. 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 and was near broke, but he would get her food from the nearby Thermopolium.

"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 weeks 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."

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.

The faint scent of melting wax reached Sarni's nose, signaling the beginning of the Vulcanalia fFestivities. Sarni began feel 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." stated 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, bu 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 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"? Cacaullus 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".

They both walked in silence to the temple each preoccupied in their own thoughts. Cacaullus couldn't help but wonder what was worrying Sarni. He has known her long enough to know when she was lying. He thought 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 Cacaullus, she realized that they had reached the temple. she will just tell him later.

She never liked the sacrifice because she prefers the original one where humans were sacrified. It made more sense. Today, she didn't even notice the sheep that was sacrified nor did she complain to Cacaullus about it. She was just lost in the lingering danger. She didn't even realize when the ritual was over. By then, Cacaullus 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."

"What do you mean?", asked Cacaullus.

"I just feel it, the smell, the air, everything. Don't you feel it?"

"No sorry, I don't feel anything different. Maybe you are just imaginig 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. Before losing her sight, she used to swim and fish. These were a few of the many things that she could no longer do. The earthquake took everything from her;her family, her friends and her house. 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 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."

They were walking along the river bank enjoying the peaceful sound of the running water when suddenly they heard a lound sound. It was a bit hard to describe. It was a bit like thunder but not exactly.

# Vignette 4

**Vignette 4: Paint a literary portrait of the scene after the eruption: What does it look like? What does it smell like? What sounds does one hear? How is the natural world responding to the effects of the eruption? What are the animals doing? How is the plant life responding to the change? Think of this vignette as a bird’s-eye view of Pompeii after the eruption.**

The sun rises as it does every morning, but the long shadows it casts take different shapes today. Gone are the tall buildings that created perfect squares and hallways of light on the hard, packed earth. Gone are the fences, which created criss-cross patterns of dark and light on the grass. Gone are the feet running to and fro, casting the elongated shadows of their owners as they went about a busy morning.
The sun rises today to stillness, flatness, nothingness.
_Still more....not finished!!! ********

The sun rises as it does every morning, but the shadow it casts takes on a very different shape today. Gone are the tall buildings that had created the perfect squares and hallways of light. Gone are the walls and the fences, which had once created patterns of dark and light on the lush green grass. Gone are the feet bustling to and fro, casting the elongated shadows of their owners as they busily start a new morning.

The sun rises today to a stillness, a flatness, a grey nothingness.

In the aftermath, Vesaevus; its summit considerably changed and its slopes completely denuded of vegetation, looms silently over the desolated land. Tendrils of smoke can still be seen rising from its gaping maw. For miles around, only a thick, dusty greyness peppered with chunks of rock can be seen.

Apart from the few people who sift through the ashes looking to recover lost possesions, not a single speck of colour or movement remains to be seen. I am sure that some few of these searchers will be looters looking for things of value, anything that will turn a profit. Always there are people like this who seek to profit from the devastation of others. It turns my stomach to think of such an enormous loss of life, all life - animal, vegetetable, mineral.

To think of all those lying dead beneath the rocks and ash, surrounded by the everyday accoutrements of their lives, never more to partake of earthly delights, fills me with such a melancholia that I believe will reside in me for the remainder of my days.

As I stand here on the highest point of Pompeii, Castellum Aquae, I can see that the upheaval has also changed the course of the Sarnus River so that Pompeii is no more on the river or the coast.

[Info... The writer Statius was about 34 years old when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD and may have witnessed the eruption. The landscape was already unrecognisable when he wrote, ‘Will future generations believe, when crops and these now deserted places once more thrive again, that cities and peoples are buried below and that ancestral lands have disappeared, having shared in the same fate? Not yet does the mountain-top cease to threaten death.’ (Silvae 4.4.78–85)

During the 79 AD eruption the mouth of the Sarnus River and the shallow bay to the south were filled in by volcanic deposits, which pushed the coastline of Pompeii outwards by more than one kilometre.

Similar to the Egyptians, the Pompeiians life was devoted solely to the practices of their religious beliefs, aiming to appease their many gods through offerings, rituals and sacrifices to maintain a civil and plentiful society. Vulcan, god of forge, fire and blacksmiths , was one such god whom the people of Pompeii and Herculaneum sought to appease him with the celebration of Volcanalia through the sacrifice of small fish on the 23rd of August .
Jupiter, Juno and Minerva.

Vesuvius has a long historic and literary tradition. It was considered a divinity of the genius type at the time of the eruption of 79 AD: it appears under the inscribed name Vesuvius as a serpent in the decorative frescos of many lararia, or household shrines, surviving from Pompeii. An inscription from Capua to IOVI VESVVIO indicates that he was worshipped as a power of Jupiter; that is, Jupiter Vesuvius]


# Vignette 5

**Vignette 5: Write from the perspective of a temple priest before the eruption. He’s trying to connect the volcanic activity with a god, or maybe even experiencing a vision related to the eruption. Make this vignette as mystical as you like.**
Agrippina stood up from the bed and wrapped a fine satin shawl around her statuesque body.
"I cannot do this, Marcus. The gods have not spoken to me yet."
Marcus Sempronius also stood up from the bed and pulled his toga around his body.
"Agrippina, Caesar orders it! The festivities are in less than a month, we need to keep the people quiet and in a proper festive spirit."
He laced his sandals and stood up.
Gripping her chin in his large hand, he spoke slowly, "This is not a request; this is an order, Agrippina. Do not disregard it."
"But we do not dare to ignore the gods, Marcus. They will exact a terrible punishment."
"Caesar is our ruler. Do it."
He planted a kiss on her mouth and left.
It was quiet in the temple. The smell of incense was soothing, transporting Agrippina to a higher plane. Her spirit was raised up there, but the gods were still silent. They would not speak to her and tell what the white smoke rising from the mountain top meant. She became upset due to the fact that she did not know what the smoke meant. She was also upset since the gods stayed silent.
She knew that they would never speak to her again, not since she had given in the sin of flesh with Marcus. But it had been impossible to resist his will and his charms. Mostly, she could not resist his power. He was the closest man to Caesar himself....the captain of his guards. Having Caesar's protection had its advantages; there were unsuspected luxuries in her house. She was favored by the most important and richest patrician families to bless their houses.
But there were also the orders. And now, just half an hour before she should speak to the people and give them the message of the gods, she was standing there, in the perfect silence, and her spirit heard no messages.
The gods were silent to her forever, but Caesar was not. He had given an order... an order she would have to follow.
"Oh, powerful and immortal gods, speak to me! Tell me your meaning. Tell me, why you are sending the white smoke. Is this your sign of contentment? Or of displeasure? Are you favorable to the festivities? Oh, immortal gods, speak to me!"
There was a waft of wind, and one of the bowls of incense started to spread scented smoke around Agrippina. She inhaled it slowly. Was this the message? Was this the answer?
It was the closest communion to the higher power she had experienced, so it had to be true.

She turned around and opened the doors. The crowd was there, waiting in silence, their eyes affixed on her.
"Joy to the people of Pompeii, for the gods have spoken! They are sending their joy and blessing upon each and every one of us. They wish peace and prosperity on each and every one of you. Receive Caesar's festivities with joy in your hearts. All is good upon the blessed land of Pompeii!"
She walked quickly back into the temple, not able to stand there and face the cheers of the crowd.
She had lied. In her heart she knew that she had lied. The incense was now all burned out, sending only black smoke in the air.
"Black smoke...the gods are angry! Oh, Marcus, my beloved Marcus....what did you do? What did you make me do?"
That night, Agrippina could not sleep. She felt hot, as if the sun was burning her. She threw away the light sheet covering her, but rivulets of sweat still broke across her spine. The heat seemed to increase, almost to an unbearable point.
Agrippina stood right up and walked to the window, letting the cool night air soothe her. The white smoke still came out of the Vesuvius.
"Gods, speak to me now! I beg you to speak to me now! There is still time...I can still make things right...But speak to me!"
Only silence reigned supreme and her spirit was not touched by any higher being. Perhaps all was lost. Agrippina walked back to bed and decided to take a few drops of valerian in a cup of wine. Valerian was the favored plant of the gods, bringing sweet dreams to the troubled spirits. Sometimes, they would favor her with visions. Agrippina hoped it would work this time.
She lieday down in bed and closed her eyes, waiting for that special feeling. The feeling of between waking and sleeping, when the spirits of the departed could be seen in with the mind's eye and the gods took human form.
It was a soft sensation of floating....until she felt the horrible choking feeling. The air was a wave of heat, burning down her nostrils and chest. She sat up in bed, coughing and heaving. Little by little, the horrible feeling of breathing pure fire was gone...but her peace was shattered. Was this the gods' punishment for lying? Or was it something worse...a sign of things to come?

She tried to get some sleep but the images of fire and the fear remained, making any attempts futile. She wanted to speak to Marcus about the vision. At first sign of light she went to him.
"What is the matter Agrippina?" he asked stirring. Her dishevelled appearance aroused him in a way he knew was not appropriate for this meeting.
"I had a vision, oh Marcus it was horrific" he motioned for her to sit on the bed with him.
She sat down and launched into the explanation. He absently caressed her arm as her worried words washed over him.
"I am sure it was nothing to worry about. Maybe it is just you worrying about your sin. You have no idea what this vision is referring to." she shook her head. He was right, she didn't but she had a feeling it had something to do with the white smoke.
"It was a warning I know it. Maybe we should leave?" he just laughed at her. She thought he'd be more understanding. She didn't know what else to say so left without another word.

During the sunlight hours men, women and children all came to her asking after the wishes of the gods. Agrippina told them the white smoke was a blessing or the preparations for the Vulcanalia festival were being well received by the god Vulcan and the white smoke was his contentment; like a wise and weathered old man smokes his pipe. She didn't disobey the orders she was given. She placated the people of the city with soothing words that slipped from her lips; words that were lying, ugly, black and choking. For Agripinna knew that if she spoke to them of her fears about angered gods and black smoke that they would be the last words she would ever speak.
Each night; since the first vision of breathing fire, burning and of the suffocating feeling she’d awoken with; Agrippina was tormented by similar visions. Some of her visions and dreams were clearer than others; where the fires burned hotter, the cloying fear made her sick, black smoke stole air and smothered daylight, the screams were louder, and she was surrounded by pain. She awoke from each vision screaming, lungs gasping for air and long limbs struggling in her sheets.

Agrippina tried to tell Marcus again that what she saw was a warning. Eventually she stopped trying to tell him because each time he laughed her off and told her she had nothing to worry about, what she saw was nothing and if it was something it was just the guilt and worry that came with her sin, of sleeping with him.

Agrippina spent most of her days in the temple, her statuesque form bowed and praying to the gods and to Vulcan in particular. Her words not just a prayer for answers but an appeal and a plea for her visions to not come true or to be a lie and for life and peace.

The time she didn’t spend praying or tortured by nightmares in her sleep she spent amongst the people. Despite her visions she remained dignified as she walked through the cobbled streets letting the sounds of laughter and preparations for the coming festival wash over her. Agrippina was a striking woman who stood out from the dirty clothes of the citizens who spoke to her and asked for advice. She was tall and held herself in a way that welcoming, it was her duty to her people to help them when she could even if she lied about the smoke. Her long hair of mahogany ringlets was twisted and pinned and hanging loose all at once. Intelligent slate eyes observed everything and everyone, trying to imprint it all on the walls of her mind.

Days passed and she glided from temple to city to Marcus to sleep to nightmarish visions. She prayed. She listened. She placated. She lied. And a hollow feeling began to seep slowly through her as with each day the realisation that she couldn’t do anything, with her fears or her god given visions, crashed over her violently again and again.


She barely slept instead watching the moonlight dance around the room. A naked Marcus passes out in exhaustion beside her. She just lay there unmoving as the moonlight dance faded, candles flickered and were extinguished as the dance of a new sun dawned. Agrippina knew that outside night transitioned into day the townspeople and villagers would be preparing for the day ahead. Hanging out cloths, lighting fires in their ovens, catching small animals or on the shore and in boasts fishing for small fish, both to be engulfed in the bonfire flames as sacrificial offerings to Vulcan.
The day of the Vulcanalia festival was finally here.


# 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 dilligently 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.


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.