The Last Day ~ Rhea & Milo

The Last Day ~ Rhea & Milo

A Story by Wolfie

A day in the life of a woman from Pompeii in the Ancient Roman Empire. This story may not be completely historically accurate. Hence the "historical fiction" part.

     Not many people roamed the streets of Pompeii so late at night. There were many bandits, thieves, murderers and the like that stalked the night. However, Rhea would risk almost anything to see her love. That was why she sat on the rim of the ram head fountain. She had been waiting on him since the moon began to climb Mount Vesuvius and beyond. She glanced down the road that he would be traveling down. Nothing. Not even dust blowing in the wind. As Rhea began to leave she noticed movement in the shadows.
     "Milo?" she called hoping for her lover to appear out of those shadows.
     A pair of muscular arms wrapped around her waist from behind. "I"m here," came the deep husky voice that Rhea loved. She turned in his arms to look up at his face. "I'm sorry I'm late." he said.
     "Don't be. I'm glad you're here at last," she said gazing up at him. Milo's eyes however weren't gazing at her as she'd hoped. They were trained on something behind her. Rhea turned her head to follow his gaze to the shadows she'd glanced at before. Out of them crawled a mischievous cat. She laughed and turned back to Milo who chuckled. He bent down to gently kiss her.
     "Let us retire." Milo said as he swept her up in his arms. Rhea giggled and wrapped her arms around him.
     The cat ran between Milo's legs and rubbed against them. He moved the cat away and continued walking. The cat meowed at him then turned to look at Mount Vesuvius basking in the glow of the full moon. It meowed mournfully at the mountain then turned toward the couple again.


     The rumbles began just before dawn. No one heard or felt them but they were there. Omens of what was to come. The seers gathered discussing dreams of smoke and flame, trying to discern the messages sent to them by the gods. Towns people bustled about their day oblivious to what went on underneath their feet.
     In a flat above a small humble bakery Rhea lay in her bed watching as Milo pulled on his tunic and wrapped himself in his toga. He then handed her her stola. Without a word she dressed. In turn Milo watched her dress. When she finished he approached her and planted gentle kisses on her forehead, both cheeks and finally her lips.
     "I must go now," he said pulling away from her.
     Rhea only nodded and solemnly looked toward the door.
     "I'll see you again. Soon." He said hopefully.
     She smiled at him, "I can't wait."
     Milo smiled back wishing that he could stay. Stay here with her forever. he gave her one last kiss before he walked out the door.
     Rhea looked after him longingly.

     Through the streets and alleys of Pompeii ran a cat. He meowed at every passerby trying to tell them. He could feel it deep in his paws. The rumbling, the shaking. He couldn't understand why no one listened to him or the earth beneath their feet.

     Hour by  hour the intensity of the rumbling grew. And hour by hour it was ignored. By mid day the towns people began to notice things. Such as, ripples in still water, and noises which sounded like a hungry stomach rumbling. Rumbling.
     Seers ran through the streets shouting for everyone to look to Mount Vesuvius and pray to the gods. Pray and bring offerings to their temples. The people looked to Mount Vesuvius, which billowed black smoke and caused fire to rain down. Many people panicked and ran for their homes, children, and shelter. And many ran to the temples of the gods.

     Rhea gazed upon Mount Vesuvius with horror in her eyes. She ran and ran, trying to find Milo. As ashes began raining down the crowd she pushed through became thicker and thicker. She yelled his name at the top of her lungs, "Milo! Milo! MILO!"
     At the other end of the crowded street Milo climbed the wall of a building and hung on to a post protruding from it. he scanned the crowd for the head of the woman he loved. Ashes turned the vibrant town into one of gray terror. He still searched as the streets cleared. He called for her over and over, "Rhea! Rhea! RHEA!"
     The cat from the night before meowed up at Milo. He ran down the street a ways then back again, meowing all the time. Milo jumped from the building. Believing the cat to be a messenger from the gods themselves he raced after the cat as it took off down the street.
     The rain of ashes became thicker and fell harder, like a blizzard on the roughest of tundra. Rhea pushed through it, covering her mouth with the cloth of her stola. Finally, she saw a figure also trudging through the ashes. "Milo?!" she called.
     "Rhea?!" came Milo's voice.
     They ran to eachother and embraced. Together they looked towards the now fiery mountain. They were covered in ash, their feet almost trapped in it. They ran to the nearest alley way with the cat running under their feet. Looking into each other's eyes they whispered prayers to the gods and "I love you"s to each other as they huddle against a wall holding onto each other tightly. The cat curled up in the entanglement of their legs, trying to stay out of the way of the falling ash.
     Soon all three were covered and there they remained.

© 2010 Wolfie

Author's Note

There will be more "The Last Days" and hopefully my skill in writing these short stories will improve. This story is subject to change as I will come back later and reread all of it, fine tuning small points here and there. Please read and enjoy!

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Added on June 25, 2010
Last Updated on October 6, 2010
Tags: ancient, rome, typical, day, rhea, italy




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A Story by Wolfie