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The Volcano

The Volcano

4 mins 213 4 mins 213

The galleries of the Amphitheater were packed with the brimming crowd. All were eagerly anticipating the gladiator fight to begin. Fabricius entered the arena holding the mighty Rudius(sword). The whole crowd cheered him with a roar of applause.


The sudden tremor shook the floor and Fabricius from his prodigious warrior dream. He realized that all he could hold was the butcher’s knife. There had been frequent incidents of mild tremors in Pompeii since few months.


The young and handsome man was a butcher who sold fish and meat at a stall in the forum of the Pompeii city. Pompeii was known for its extensive trade and commerce. The city wildly boasted for its colossal forum that had shops selling exquisite wines, olive oil, earthen vessels and a host of other things. Pompeii had the finest community baths, theatres, luxurious villas and famous temples of Rome.


He was in a rush not to open his kiosk, but to meet his beloved lady love, Amelia who was a slave in a rich tradesman’s house.


Amidst the bustling crowd of people in the marketplace, Fabricius could spot Amelia walking down the stony roads. Draped in a fawn robe, with her curly golden tresses, lips as pink as rose and skin like the glowing moon, she was a goddess in disguise.


“Mackerels”, she said with a merry smile.


“Here you are, lady? ” said Fabricius. She pressed the bronze coins on his rough palm and rolled her olive-green eyes signaling him to meet her. He understood the unspoken conversation.


Fabricius was waiting in the plush, bountiful orange orchard along the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius, where the couple usually met. Amelia met him at the same time of the noon every day when her mistress went down for her siesta. That day she looked very perturbed.


“My master is planning to sell me as a concubine to a merchant in Misenum”, she wept.


“Do not worry me beloved, the day after the Vulcanalia festival, we will leave Pompeii and flee to Naples and start a new life there. The noon of August 24 will be our last day at Pompeii”, he said.


The day of August 24, 79 A.D started like any other day in Pompeii. Amelia escaped through the back door of the villa that opened to a street leading to the Temple of Jupiter. Everyone in the town seemed to notice the thin cloud of smoke emanating from Mt.Vesuvius but ignored as it did not look alarming.


Fabricius arrived with a horse cart at the temple. Both now proceeded to the port from where they had planned to take a boat to Naples. As Fabricius cantered the horse, Amelia held his shoulder from behind and softly sang hymns into his ears. They were in the paradise of romantic reveries.


After a few hours, the town of Pompeii witnessed the ghastly eruption of Mt.Vesuvius... Volcanic ash and pumice spewed violently from the mountain. People could now sense the real danger approaching them. They ran helter-skelter helplessly trying to flee the city before they could be burnt down by volcanic emissions. Among the chaos and commotion, Fabricius rode as quickly as he could to reach the port and escape from the clutches of the disaster. The horses whined uncontrollably for they could foresee the danger ahead. The eruption started getting fiercer and clouds of ashes engulfed the city.


The tremors became more violent causing the wheels of the cart to rip apart and left both Fabricius and Amelia crashing on the ground.


They ran as fast as their legs could carry them. Soon they were tired and took shelter in a deserted house a few yards away from the port. The whole city had become dark, covered with smoke and ashes. Fabricius was peeping through the window, while Amelia crouched on the floor with fear. There was no visible streak of light anywhere. They now knew that destiny was going to unite them through death.


As the walls shook vigorously and roof above them collided with a deafening sound, they sealed a kiss for one last time before they were asphyxiated by the volcanic gases and the molten rocks covered them completely freezing their bodies for eternity.


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