Chapter 3

“...Amelia? Come now, Amelia. It’s time to go. The vendors will have all fallen asleep before we get there if you take much longer.”

The house of Stephen Apollo was a large one, with its families of slaves, and it ate well. Amelia usually went on trips to the market with her mother once a day or so, but some sights will always astound. It was a short walk to the forum, and from there to each of the markets. Every step plunged her deeper into the heady atmosphere of the great port, that excited bustle of an empire still new and expanding. Pompeii was the heart of the Southern Campanian, fairly close to Rome itself, and even in hard times the markets were strong. Goods changed hands for currency, but news and opinions were considered free. Every wall and voice broadcasted the state of the Empire’s borders and why this supported the herald or writer’s political opinions. As went on everyday, beneath the fiery red roofs of the Roman Republic.

Amelia now strolled with mother and slave girl with pride down the thoroughfare, head lolling as eyes wandered. She liked to walk down the forum, it was hard not to, but her mind started to drift as her legs moved with dutiful autonomy. Her mind drifted to her slave, Quintus. The two shared a special bond beyond time and space, she knew that he was hiding something from her just as surely as she would know were she hiding from herself. But she could not know exactly what it was, however she pondered and strained her temples.

She was determined to find out; two as close as they could hold no secret from one another, and she would prove it.

“Mummy,” she began.

“You mustn’t use such childish words, dear. It is unbecoming.” she interrupted.

“Have you heard anything about Quintus of late?”

“You should not have anything to do with that slave. He is a poor influence on you and our house and”

She thought fast, “no, mother, you see. We must know what our slaves do.”

“Oh. Well, yes, I suppose, dear. Your father has procured a very good deal for him.”

“He’s being sold, mother?” Amelia could barely keep her voice from breaking.

“Yes. To the Colosseum. For quite a high price, aswell. Apparently these young men are in high demand. I expect they are very short lived, don’t you think, dear? I mean, have you heard of what goes on in that Colosseum? I heard it’s very exciting.”

Her mother continued to drone and walk, but Amelia stopped walking and started to become nauseous under the fiery red roofs of the Pompeiian markets.

The End

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