Prompt group – a tree and inspiration from a trip to Italy…

18 Nov

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Why would this place seem familiar? I looked around, puzzled, and then realised the wind was rustling the leaves high up in the trees. Except here there were no flat plains only a great big city of ruins. The toga was a real pain but required dress for tour guides, so was a smattering of Latin which I had managed to retain. My last group had been particularly difficult, they had refused to even crack a smile at some of my better jokes and a tall American guy with glasses and ten pens in his top pocket had challenged some of my dates, so what if Ostia Antica was deserted in the fourth century or the fifth, did it really matter all that much. I took a deep breath, perspective! Fortunately I wasn’t here for the tour guiding!

Victor approached me looking nonchalant, sexy too in that tunic, sandals, and vest kind of thing, but white was such a stupid colour, his clothes had already turned a faint shade of brown. He was very tanned as he had been surveying the scene for the entire summer. Early November and it was still warm and slightly dusty. He offered me a cigarette. A relief, I took it while he lit it for me, a cover for us to talk as I inhaled deeply. He took a step closer to me and I had to catch my breath and stand my ground, firmly.
‘The package is down by the baths, you have to fetch it now, I have a group coming in.’

I nodded and started down the large Roman road. The baths were at the other end of the site. The theatre was in good nick and many mosaics were intact, but not fenced off and people would calmly walk over them again and again as if making a point! In the distance some sites had roofs and were closed to the public. It seemed like a veritable maze and after working here for two weeks I was only starting to find my way around the cobbled streets, closed off passages and numerous ruins.

The baths were easily accessible from the road, so a good place to drop a package, there was fence and a night guard who slept most of the time so it would be easy to deposit. There were a couple of people about, too few and too many for comfort. My toga dragged along the massive paving blocks of the Decumanus Maximus and I could almost imagine life here 2000 years ago, almost but not quite, would this have been the hustle and bustle of the market place. I strolled past the Inn at the city gates trying to look as if I was sightseeing but keeping a weary lookout, I noticed two men walking in my direction. They were on their way to the baths too. I approached the steps and suddenly the baths seemed quite deserted, the two guys had disappeared and I still had to find the package. I nervously looked back among the ruins but there was no-one in sight.

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Posted by on November 18, 2011 in Uncategorized


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