This is the beginning of something I wrote for a competition, but never finished. It had to be set in Roman times. And yes, it's truly terrible :)
Diana twitched her pale tunic distractedly with her right hand. She looked out into the street where some children were playing. Slaves walked up and down in the heat and the dust. With a sigh, she turned back to her loom and started to weave, but the patterns wouldn’t come. The threads just sat in a meaningless jumble, and she couldn’t focus. The outside was too appealing and it drew her like a lodestone.
“Concentrate, puella,” her mother said at her side. But there was something else to draw her attention too now. He friend Gaius was standing in the street beckoning to her. He looked agitated.
“Sorry, mater, but I have to go. Gaius needs me, look!” And she fled the room, only pausing to grab the cloak that she had to wear out of the house.
“What is it?” she asked as soon as she reached Gaius. Her mother was calling her from the loom but she ignored her.
“It’s my brother!” he gasped out, quite out of breath. She wasn’t surprised. He lived several streets away and had evidently run the whole way. Diana knew his brother only as a small boy who spent most of his time just sitting, silently listening to everything anyone said. She knew that he went to the boys’ school, too, and that he excelled as a student, although he was one of the youngest.
“What about your brother? Has he had an accident?” Diana inquired. She wondered what Gaius expected her to do about it.
“No, he’s gone missing!” Diana stared at her friend. Missing? As far as she knew, ten year olds didn’t just go missing. They were taken or killed, but they knew better than to wander off.
“Have you checked the quay?” she asked and Gaius looked at her indignantly. She knew his look was saying, What do you take me for? A complete caudex? But she knew that he knew she would never call her best friend a blockhead. Not under the circumstances, anyway. They ran together to the large square in the centre of the town. It was bustling with people and Diana was sure that someone would have seen the child.
“Excuse me?” they asked the citizens milling around. “Have you seen a ten-year-old boy wearing a brownish tunic?” But no one had seen him. One friendly matron even went as far to say as “Lost your brother, have you?” and then walked off, leaving the two young people staring after her in dismay. No one would help. It was no use. But then a small beggar boy came up to Gaius and pulled his tunic to get his attention.
“Sir,” he said. “I seen the boy you’s lookin’ for, I think. He was jus’ walkin’ along an’ these men, they grabbed him, they did. Took ’im down that alleyway there, with ’im shoutin’ and that.” Diana looked at him, aghast.
“When?” she said, feverishly hunting in her belt for a coin to give him. “When did you see this?” He looked at her wide-eyed.
“Abou’ noon,” he said. They handed over a bronze denarius. “Ta,” he said, and they hurried off down the alleyway.
It was dark even though outside the sun shone brightly and they took hands for safety.
“While we’re alone,” said Gaius, “there is something I wanted to tell you.” Diana looked at him quizzically.
“What?” she said curiously and then fell over, landing straight into a foul smelling puddle. He helped her up, laughing, because her tunic was drenched in what looked suspiciously like urine. “Urgh!” she said. “Hercle!”
“Don’t swear, Diana,” reproved Gaius. “I was saying that I was just coming down for dinner last night and mater was talking to the people we had over to dinner. They stopped when I came in, but I heard the words ‘betrothed’ and ‘to that girl in the other street, Diana, I think her name is’. So I’ve a feeling we may end up married soon.” He finished just as they came to a doorway. Diana was shocked. He was her friend, but not in that way.