My name is Agatha Apollo and I lived in the city of Pompeii. We were having such a wonderful summer that year until disaster struck. It began as just another beautiful day; the sea was crystal blue and the wind blowing kept us cool. The crowd in the market haggled over prices and we could smell all sorts of delicious food. “What shall we have for lunch? ” I asked Claudia my 13 year old daughter. Just then a slight tremor shook the ground, rattling the plates. We hardly noticed; it was just another of the many rumbles felt recently.
However, little did we know that it was coming from Vesuvius, our beloved mountain that was almost green with olive trees. We had no idea that it was about to wake from a long sleep. Vesuvius had given us signs that it was waking: more tremors than usual, wells mysteriously drying up, fountains with no water at all and the mysterious deaths of the sheep in the country. We didn’t recognise these signs for what they were. We thought we must have displeased the almighty Gods in some way, and they were showing their anger. However, we were wrong and were about to pay for our ignorance.
Just before 1 pm on that summers day, just as Claudia and I were about to eat our lunch, Vesuvius erupted with an ear splitting roar, shooting a column of ash and lava high into the air. We sat there stunned, watching the enormous column hang in the air like a gigantic umbrella pine. Then suddenly the crowd panicked. I grabbed Claudia’s hand and fled from the market. We raced through the narrow streets to our house. My five-year-old, son, Marcus, was sitting in the front room with Grandma, his eyes filled with terror. ‘Let’s go! ‘ I shouted. ‘No,’ said Grandma calmly. We should wait until Apollo gets back.
The Gods will calm Vesuvius again, you’ll see. We’ll be safe here. Wait for Apollo. ‘ Grandma was usually right. I looked at Claudia and Marcus, both staring at me. My husband Apollo, owned a bakery. “Ok lets wait for papa, but get some things together in case we have to leave quickly” We grabbed a few precious items including a bag of coins, jewellery and a statue if the Gods. I then sat there clutching Marcus in my hands. “Please Apollo, please get here soon. ” Outside we could here screaming, but the rumble of Vesuvius drowned out the human voices.
Gradually, the wind blew the column of ash, dust and pumice towards the town, turning day into night. The pumice solidified into a light airy rock. It fell like black hail, thundering on our roof. Marcus screamed. Through the window I saw people fleeing in blind panic, clutching their children to them. I wish we had gone too. We waited and waited, but Apollo didn’t come back. The darkness, the thundering cracks of eruptions, the shaking tremors terrified us as we sheltered inside. Was this the end of the world? Would Jupiter protect us? Suddenly Claudia went white and cried out, ‘Mama! Brutus is still tied up outside. ‘
Brutus was our pet dog. I watched helplessly as Claudia sank to the floor and started to cry. She knew then that there was nothing we could do. Just then we heard a familiar voice. It was that of my husband. He couldn’t get in the house, as it was blocked with rock and pumice. Then I knew that there was a small door to the roof of the house. So one by one we all climbed out, pillows tied to our heads. As soon as we were outside, Apollo said run. He said to run. So we did. We followed the crowd and ran for our lives. Just then Apollo tripped over a body and fell into the warm pumice.
I waited for him to get up, but Apollo never got up. In spite of the devastation of losing my husband, I still ran. We ran together, Me, Claudia and Marcus. I turned around but grandma was no where to be seen. But I still ran for my children. I didn’t turn back once, I just ran, holding Marcus close to my chest and pulling Claudia by the hand. We followed the crowd, and after a long time of running, arrived at what looked like the country. “We will be safe here”, I heard a stranger say. During the night, Pompeii was covered in two metres of pumice and ash. Only two thousand of us remained in the country.