Closed Collab With Shally16, Qaract and MaMoYa about Pompeii.
Also posted on my wattpad as a short story.
As the sun rose above Pompeii, the street sellers and merchants woke, ready to begin their work at the busy forum. The boats had come in from Egypt and England with sick and tired slaves chained to each other and sore from the whipping. Many were old and weak and very few were strong enough to last more than a few months under the roofs of selfish masters or cruel mistresses. One or two Egyptian women were in hysterics seeing their small children, brittle boned and malnourished. After a few minutes they were both slapped into silence by Maenus Pertira, the fat and greedy slave seller.
A man not too far away, of medium build and with short black curls around his ears looked sharply over his shoulder. He had been haggling with the bashful tabernarius for some expensive jewels as a present to his wife when he heard the second woman’s shrieks. He was shocked that Pertira had slapped a female especially in such a public place until he realised they were only slaves.
“Apollo, do you wish to buy these ravishing jewels for the bargain I am offering or do you want to stare at the worthless slaves?” the shopkeeper reminded him.
“Yes, umm,” he murmured, still distracted, “One moment...”
Apollo, the man not too far away, walked away in a trance. This beautiful woman chained to Pertira’s boat must be his. It would please his wife more than any jewellery to have an ancilla around the house. Let alone using her for his own needs. At this thought a small smile flew over his face as he strode toward Maenus.
“Maenus, my good amicus, how is business going?” exclaimed Apollo.
“Would improve if you got to the point and asked for a slave.” snapped Pertira, cutting Apollo’s chances to charm Maenus very slim.
“OK, I can see that won’t work with you Pertira. How much for the gorgeous young woman there?” he said ignorantly wafting his hand in her direction.
“150 denari” Maenus replied flatly.
“What?!” Apollo spluttered “For one ancilla?”
“She won’t go without her family, if she struggled one more time I told her I’d kill her. I’d rather profit than no sales if I’m honest.”
“You look funny!” giggled a tiny girl hiding behind her mother’s legs.
“So do you!” an equally small boy sneered back.
“How can we use a weak 6 year old boy? Answer me that, Stephen? I wanted a new necklace! Not a whole family for the coquus to waste our food on!” A loud and screeching female voice came from high above the two children. The tall woman looked terrifying to the new boy and the small girl’s face crumpled.
“See? Now I’ve shouted and Amelia is upset. She doesn’t like the little boy.”
“Yes I do!” suddenly no tears and all sass from the girl.
“Be quiet and go show the servi et ancilla their quarters while I discuss their long term placement with Daddy.”
For a child, Amelia was chatty and funny and knew exactly how to act, unlike her rude mother. Her big green shining eyes were honest and you could see the innocence and purity of her soul from a mile off. The growing brown hair fell around her face, making her look sweetly like a cherub, her olive skin flawless and no running nose or weeping eye like the boy.
“Thank you, you are a very sweet little girl.” whispered the mother curtly bowing her head and smiling to herself.
“You are a very pretty lady. My mummy used to be pretty until the man came -”
“AMELIA! Where are you, come to the market with me. I need to find some food for the cook. Get the new slave girl too!”
“Bye!” she said playfully pecking the boy on the lips, but with such force that she knocked him down. “Oops,” she chirped while running to her mother.
“Get up, Quintus,” snapped his father, looking into the garden, thinking about what he could do with the bedraggled mess. “What do you think son? What could we do with this?!”
Quintus got up looked up kindly to his father and just said “Flowers.”
His father nodded and laughed, hugging the boy, “Of course...”