I don’t know when Gaius and I fell asleep last night. Or did we sleep long or hardly any time at all. All I know is that we both woke up, in the darkness, when there was a massive crash, and the whole ground shook. Not like in earth tremor, but like when a house collapses. We ran from our room and looked around, it wasn’t our domus! Even though the whole courtyard and walkways were now filled with the black stones up to our naked waists! The topmost layer felt almost hot to touch!
We then ran to the door and pulled it open a little before Gaius stopped me! There was a ton of the black stone behind the door! If we opened it, we would not be able to close it again! In other words, we were trapped unless we wanted to try to escape.
My heart sank. I looked at Gaius in the weak light of the only working lamp, and his eyes fixed on mine. He told me that together we could manage anything, and we had two options. We could either still flee the city by foot or stay inside the domus. I pondered on this a moment, and told him that we should flee. Maybe it was a divine inspiration, or maybe it was the feeling of hopelessness that made me say that. We hugged, and coughed a bit because of the ever falling ash, and then scurried to the kitchen to find any food that we could take with us. Then the whole domus shook as there was rumbling noise from outside. Another house had collapsed!
And then, maybe because it had been a neighbouring house that collapsed, or maybe the gods were working against us, the worst happened: the rumbling continued and the hallway to our courtyard collapsed. Thank Jupiter and all the other gods, we were no longer in the hallway as it was completely gone. And now we were completely trapped inside as it was clear that Gaius wasn’t well enough to climb over all the rubble between us and the street. I wasn’t so sure if I could have done it in the darkness either.
When the shock abated, I just sat down on the dusty, ashy floor and cried. I didn’t want to die, for surely that was about to happen. I didn’t want to die because I was happy with my life here in Pompeii, working for my family, and then I met Gaius, who made me feel safe and happy. And I didn’t want Gaius to die because I would sacrifice myself for the gods before letting that happen. In my sorrow, I didn’t understand that Gaius’ breathing had become more and more laboured, especially after the hallway collapsed. Coughing, he took me to our bed, where we are now laying down. He drifts in and out of the sleep, and when he is awake, he manages to squeeze my hand or leg so I know when he is with me.
I am so glad that the stone rain seems to have stopped. I just wish that it had done so earlier, before it made our escape route collapse. If only the sunlight would return and the life would return to normal.
In this new silence, I can hear the wind picking up speed, as it makes a loud wailing sound in the distance. I will now put these pages into a jar, seal it, and lay down next to Gaius, whom I feel is nearing the gates of Elysium. I just want to hold him tightly, and wait for my death, or the sunrise, which ever comes first. Pray for us.
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