THE DARKNESS OF DOOM / by Joseph Castorino

 

Act I

There was midnight madness

in the heart of darkness,

where lustful lovers caroused

and burned with wild passion,

and although they were

warned by pilgrims who

were on their way to Rome,

they lived the philosophy

of carpe diem:

they could always repent

tomorrow;

but early in the morning

on the very next day,

an event took place

that forever changed

the world of Pompeii:

it was August 24, 79 AD, and

proud Pompeii was bathed

in warm peaceful sunshine

when the earth began to quake

to the awakening heartbeat

that began to stir deep inside of

the voluptuous Vesuvius,

and here and there the roof tiles

of the stately city of Pompeii

undulated in a rhythmic motion,

up and down, and up and down,

before resting quietly

and slumbering again,

as Vesuvius silently and stealthily

yawned a slow stream of

thin white smoke into the

clear blue sky.

 

Act II

By the afternoon,

there was a light veil

of white smoke that now

draped Vesuvius’ verdant body,

but when she suddenly and

violently erupted in anger,

belching coal-colored smoke

from her crater’s trembling lips

and spewing it high into

the pale blue sky,

it was only a matter of seconds

before flaming black rocks,

like Mephistophelian meteorites,

revengefully rained down

from the swiftly darkening sky,

smashing the roof tiles and

crushing the marble statues

above the villas’ courtyards;

meanwhile, the stunned citizens

scrambled and stumbled around

as the vigorous heartbeat

of the vain Vesuvius

pounded powerfully,

and a cataclysmic earthquake

ripped through Pompeii:

the sleeping giant

was now fully awake;

as the terrified men and women

raised their wild eyes

to the sullen sky,

they screamed like savages

and cursed their pagan gods

for punishing them,

and they spat in the air

at their pathetic gods.

 

Act III

Several hours later,

above the hellish rubble

of this humbled city,

the black sun approached the

black horizon and ominous clouds

suffocated the helpless sky:

Pompeii wailed in pain

and writhed woefully

as the victorious Vesuvius,

bathed in the seductive

red glow of liquid lava,

relentlessly embraced the

city in her hot wrath,

and electric bolts of

volcanic lightning danced

like convulsive demons

and lit up the murky sky

as ashen rain fell feebly

to the flaming ruins below;

maimed dogs howled in horror

at the shockingly surreal and

apocalyptic spectacle,

while the lonely human survivors,

their psyches severely shattered,

huddled together for cover

under the crumbling columns

that were sinking in a sea of

charcoal-gray ashes.

 

Act IV

As the sun slowly rose

the next morning,

the new day dawned with

a deep deafening silence,

and the sickly sun shuddered

as it peered through the

broken black clouds,

lamenting the loss of the

once grand city of Pompeii;

as the scattered survivors

clutched ever so tightly to

their shredded sliver of hope,

it appeared that perhaps the

volcanic storm had finally

exhausted itself,

and the remaining citizens,

with empty expressions

on their blank faces,

slowly and weakly

began the process of

putting the splintered pieces

of their lives back together again;

but in the distance

they suddenly heard a

thunderous roar that

rapidly and frighteningly

crescendoed as it drew nearer,

sounding very much like

a stampede of the gods;

with great trepidation,

the people lifted their

bloodshot eyes and they saw a

massive wall of

whirling gray clouds --

as tall as Vesuvius herself --

rushing madly along the

surface of the ground and

coming right towards them;

it paused momentarily,

as if trying to catch its breath,

before making one last

diabolical attack upon its enemy;

then in a twinkle of time,

the voracious cloud of hot ash

charged through and hungrily devoured

the crumpled carcass

of pitiful Pompeii.

 

Act V

As Time drearily dragged the

morning into afternoon,

the poor Pompeians

were forever frozen

and cemented into history,

buried alive in a twelve-foot

blizzard of blazing ashes;

the solitary sun looked down

sadly upon the waveless

gray ocean of volcanic ash,

and Pompeii was nothing more

than a desolate wasteland --

even the powerful Vesuvius

was left seriously crippled,

with her cone blown off

by the explosiveness of her fury;

when the news of this event finally

reached the imperial city of Rome,

Pope Cletus gathered for mass

with his flock and, together,

they fervently prayed for

the souls of the victims who perished

in the very dark tragedy of

the doomed city of Pompeii.