Alessia Grioli, Grade 10
It is just another day. The city is full of people going about their business. My mother and I walk down the marketplace looking for something special we can cook for father. He was just promoted. Yet…something is off. The hounds have been howling since early morning and I haven’t seen any wild cats at all today. The baker usually gives them some of the bad bread, but they are nowhere to be seen. Now that I think about it, the usual buzz that can be felt in the marketplace is missing, the atmosphere sombre. The people whisper to each other nervously, looking behind them as if something is coming. I frown, a horse in a near stable whinnies and bucks. Something is definitely not right. Mother puts a hand on my shoulder, her face worried, she’s noticed as well. A deep rumble sounds, so loud it shakes the earth. An earthquake! We turn to race home where father is waiting and that’s when we see it. It isn’t an earthquake.
Gods… “La Montagna!” someone wails, “The Mountain has awakened!”
The sky which was a bright blue only moments before is now shrouded in a cloud of ash, black as death. My eyes widen as it begins to rain embers. They shoot out of the mountain like comets, destroying everything they land on. Liquid fire is flowing down the mountain and into the city. Horror rises in my stomach as my mind finally comprehends what is happening. “Oh, Dio!” mother cries, terror in her voice. She grabs my wrist, dragging me the other way.
We run down the street as swiftly as we can, screams surrounding us as people flee in fear. The sound of impending doom is deafening, it is the only thing I can hear as we turn onto another street. We all scramble to reach the woods surrounding the city, hoping desperately that it will provide some kind of refuge, but it’s too late. The trees are in flames. I dare not look back but I can feel the lava closing in. I push myself to run faster, my breath is ragged and panicked; I know I can’t run for much longer. Now I’m pulling mother along, we are both tripping over ourselves trying to get away. In a quick decision I grab her and pull her in an alleyway, she lets out an audible sob. I don’t have time to acknowledge that we’re both crying as I pull her into a dead end corner. I’m hoping that here we’ll be safe.
I embrace my mother and pull her onto the ground. She kisses my face a myriad of times, as if she could never kiss me enough. We don’t have enough time, it’s too early to die, but my plan didn’t work; destruction is coming for us. Together, weeping ugly tears and holding each other tight, we embrace death. My mother’s loving eyes are the last thing I see before the wave hits.