A Latin Metaphor

Not entirely sure where this came from…


Rhuari heard it in their voices. He daren’t speak for it might reveal his own fears, might unman him.

‘Dugus, get a grip man. If this Roman God is angry with us, he’ll do his worst whether we like it or no.’ They sat in the shadow of the Herculaneum Gate. Shadow? That was a laugh, he thought. The whole world was in growing darkness. The gloom of night when the sun stood tallest. The mountain swept upwards from below their feet. He could still make out the farms and vineyards in the middle distance, under the foot of the tall spout of grey, black smoke.

‘This is their fault. Too many bloody foreigners.’ The pointing arm swung around the massive shoulder of an oarsman. They all wore plain white tunics, short sleeves trimmed in scarlet. The sailor had the attention of his bench-mates; a wild-drunk philosopher with a prejudice to fuel. ‘There are ghosts to be seen up on Vesuvius. Lambs born with two heads; and now the water has run out.’

‘Kentigern. Leave it.’ Rhuari pushed the big red-haired Caledonian back onto the bench. ‘They’re sailors, and they’re drunk.’ It was a long way from Dun Feorma Linn.

© franciman 2023
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