Based loosely in Ancient Rome/Greece. Very graphic. Based of real events. Please leave comments!
The cries of the baby that clung to her neck mingled with the sounds of the battle – drawing closer and closer.
The darkened room held the terror that Lorelai felt deep in her bones. Cassia squirmed in her arms – whether from the fear of the loud noises and yells from the dying men what seemed only a few steps from their hiding place – or if the child could sense how terribly afraid she was.
"Mama!" Lander, his four-year-old hands wrapped around her leg, cried, "Where is father?"
The clanging of metal drew closer and closer – and all Lorelai could keep repeating in her mind – was the last words she'd heard from her husband – days ago – as he'd lead the army out – the last words she'd heard before she'd kissed him for what could have been the last time.
The words haunted her as she watched her daughter – only 6 – huddled in the corner – terrified, her hands covering her face as she cried. "Why isn't father here to save us?"
The words tore at her soul as she looked down into the hopeful eyes of her son, as he comforted his older sister, "Zoe, father will come. He promised he would."
The words clung to her every breath as she stared down into the eyes of her six month old baby girl, who couldn't stop crying.
"You know what they'll do, Lorelai. The Romans have no honor in war."
But she just couldn't.
She couldn't take the poison on the shelf and give her children drops of it.
"It will be worse for the children if they live – Lorelai, the gods have given us ways to escape this."
But as she held the bottle in her hand – and gazed at each of her present children – the breath stuck in her chest as she imagined lying next to them – their cold bodies – and drinking the poison herself – waiting for death to come instead of living.
Zoe whispered, "Mama, where is Rory? Is she with father?"
That child hadn't listened. Had been determined to get water for them instead of staying hidden like Lorelai had told her.
But what horror would it be when Rory crawled into the hiding place only to find all of her family poisoned.
And Rory the only one to live. Forever bearing the sadness of that.
Instead, Lorelai gestured the children into the corner as she walked to the small window. Pulling the curtain back only a little, she held the baby against her chest as she scanned the street. Looking for her daughter – her blue dress – her sliver scarf covering her head – looking for anything.
Instead – she saw the streets littered.
With fallen Athenian soldiers – their white and blue uniforms covered in blood.
And down the hill – she could see them.
The Romans –
Their red flags flying in the air as their cavalry rode victorious down the streets of Athens.
She could see no general uniforms through the blood – but that didn't mean that he wasn't there.
And Lorelai turned around to see Zoe pointing toward the door – the door she'd barricaded.
And heard Latin chants that matched the cries from the streets.
The devil was here.
The door began to shake.
As something strong was hurled up against it. Over and over.
And she knew this was it.
Could she do this?
She only had a few seconds – her heart hammered against her chest – over and over again as she broke the lid off of the bottle and protectively herded them to the corner.
"They're coming, Mama! They're coming!" Atticus cried.
"Papa!" Zoe cried. "I want…"
"Zoe!" Lorelai brushed her fingers through her child's hair as she held the bottle up. This was the best way.
"It will be hell if they live through this, Lorelai" She heard Luke's voice in her head. She had been left in charge of her children. She had to do this.
He had trusted her with their children's lives. He went to keep the Romans away. If he failed – she was meant to o her job and protect their lives as well.
And as she tilted the bottle up in front of Zoe – the sounds of pounding behind her fading away – she whispered, "Here, little one, this will…" Her hands shook… she'd brought this child into the world – how could she be the one…
Until the screams from the house next to them began.
"Please! No! My CHILDREN!" And screams of children and pain and horror began.
She couldn't leave her children to this. Her husband must have given his life to save what he could – and now it was her turn.
"This will help…"
The tiny drop met the tongue.
"Mama loves you…" She whispered as she poisoned her own child.
And, hands shaking, she turned to Lander, "Just a little, son."
But the children no longer looked at her.
Instead the crash of the door behind her drew their attention away.
She drew her child tight against her and pushed her older children behind.
And she heard and understood the Roman standing before her.
Armor completely covering his body – and his hands dripping with blood.
"The spoils of war…" He said, motioning to the men behind him. "We chose the right house. For here we have a wealthy home – all of the belongings are ours."
Four other men walked in – their face and body covered in sweat and blood from the battle.
"What treasure!" One man said, carrying in some of Lorelai's golden jewelry from her bedroom upstairs. "We will be rich."
Another, "My wife in Rome will be the talk of society in these Greek clothing." Her white dress – the one Luke gave her for their anniversary.
But the leader. He hadn't taken his eyes off of her.
"The real treasure is right here." He said, his sandals echoing off of the stone floor as he stepped slowly to her. "A royal woman."
Luke. She wanted her husband. Now.
But her children.
Clung to her.
And somehow – she found a voice.
"There's more jewelry hidden." She had to keep them away from her children. "Let me live, and I'll show you."
Now he was standing, towering above her as she huddled around her children. His grin. With a face splattered with blood – possibly from her friends and relatives. She cowered as he stretched out his hand. "So you speak Latin."
And she cried out in pain as his large hand gripped down into her hair and raised her to her feet – "Oh…" And she stared into his dark eyes as he slurred, "You'll live."
All she wanted was her husband. And to be safe in bed with him, snuggled up under his arm as he ran his fingers through her hair. The feeling that someone else was taking care of her – but instead.
Instead she found herself in a dark room – her children cowering in the corner – the baby screaming in her arms – staring into what she only could imagine to be her ultimate demise.
And at that moment – she understood why Luke had given her the poison.
She had to do something. The three men now began to tire of looking around at the wealth of the house. And began to turn their attention to her.
And she began to bargain.
Sought for her inner confidence – something she didn't know if she had any left – and looked her captor straight in the eye as she straightened her back out and found her footing. "I am a noblewoman of Athens." She desperately hoped they would see some value. "My husband will pay a great ransom for me and my children."
The guard's eyebrows raised – and Lorelai thought maybe he was listening. And she added, gathering herself together as she held the baby closer to her and set her stance. "But only if you return me and my children unharmed."
Then she realized as the smirk on his face broke out – and he laughed.
Then the men behind him laughed.
And she felt her confidence wane as his bloody hand grabbed her chin and made her look at him.
And his smirk remained as he mocked her, "The great noblewoman is about to find out just how much we value her…"
"She thinks her husband is alive to pay a ransom for her?" Another man called out, walking closer to her, grabbing her arm.
The captain snarled, "I personally watched all of the Athenian captains executed."
"Mama!" She heard Lander call out behind her. "Papa!"
Her world began to spin as she heard him mock her, "So unless your husband's head that hangs on a stake can care enough for you to pay ransom for you…"
No. Not Luke.
She shook her head – "No…" She whispered.
"Mama! Zoe!" Lander called out again.
Her husband. Dead.
She just stared ahead.
He'd given his life. He'd protected the city with all of the honor he had.
And she'd left all but one of their children to the mercy of the Romans.
"And now, you'll pay, as the rest of the citizens of this town, for their treason against the roman empire."
All she could do was clench little Cassia close to her chest. And shake her head. She'd failed. She'd…
"Now… how about my great reward for a warrior's job well done."
And the baby screamed. Loud.
She shook her head, "Please…"
It all went so fast.
Lander screaming, "Let me go! Mama! Mama, help!"
And she felt the captain's hand slide in between her and the baby.
Her eyes widened, and she squeezed the child tighter against her, "No! No!" She wouldn't let them take her baby. "No!" And she snapped out of her reverie – she had to protect her children. And she looked the man in the eye and turned her body so she could keep hold. "You are not going to take my children."
His voice. Mocking.
"She still can't get it through her noble head that she is at our mercy."
She turned her head, to find him fighting against two soldiers – who had one of his arms in their hands – and began to drag him out of the room.
"Lander!" She cried out.
"Help me!" His blue eyes pierced hers – tears and terror spilling out. "Mama!"
She tried to lunge at him – to help – but the captain stood in the way – reaching for the baby in her arms.
Desperation. Helplessness. As she gutturally screamed, "Please… my CHILDREN!" And she looked up through the curls that now fell from her hair, and begged – both the heathen captain standing above her – and the gods – she begged. "Please…"
He just turned to the two men with her son. "Take him to the group going to the mines. He's little. He'll do well in the tunnels."
No. "No…" She reached up and grabbed the hem of the man's tunic, her fingers of the free hand not holding her baby begging him – "He's just a boy. Please. The mines are…" Roman mines were the biggest death sentence. Tears streamed down her face – she would do anything. These were her children.
"Better an Athenian child down there for a few weeks before he dies than a valuable Roman."
And she collapsed. Her head fell down against Cassia's warm head – all the air seemed to leave her as she listened to her child screaming for her.
"Mama! Mama!" Quieter and quieter until she couldn't hear him anymore.
A hard kick to her stomach, sent her curling up into a ball. And again.
As the insults and horrific slurs came at her.
"You greek whore."
"All of those children came from different men?
"Teach you Greek woman what a Roman feels like."
Still she clung. To her baby – raspy cries.
Until another hand reached down around her arm and pulled her up – standing again – her ribs aching from the kicking.
"Take the child."
Lorelai clung. With all her might. The only child she had left in this room. The only one she could protect.
But one hand pushed her back against the wall, using her chest as a place to press her while using the other hand to circle around her child's torso – the six-month old child still so small.
And the painful screams from the baby mingled with her own desperate cries. Until she felt the baby ripped away from her.
"No." She cried. "No. She's… shes.." Her hands reached out – but still his hand pressed her – held her – at arm's length. "Please…"
Through the tears – she could see the baby – screaming in terror as the man held her with his free hand.
"Shall we teach the noblewoman a lesson?"
No. "No" She shook her head, "I'll do whatever you want me to do." She pleaded – watching him hold her baby in the air. "I'll do anything. Please…"
But the captain smiled – and before Lorelai knew it – two men were holding her against the wall – while she watched the captain draw his sword with his free hand.
No. No. She shook her head. Please. Every fiber screamed – her entire body shaking as she founght – hair sticking to her wet face. But they held her back. Holding her there.
"This is what we think of the next generation of Athenian rebels."
Her last scream. The last reserve of energy and pain – as she watched him hold her child – her little girl – the child that Luke had held only six months ago – held in his arms after she gave birth – that had just that morning suckled on her breast – the child that curled her hand around Lorelai's finger and giggle and squealed as Lorelai would tickle her.
She watched the sword – dripping with the blood of so many others – she watched him drive the metal through her baby.
Listened as the screams stopped.
And Lorelai's eyes fell.
And she wondered if she ever stopped screaming.
Or if everything just went silent.
If everything faded away as they threw Lorelai onto the ground.
All she wanted was her Luke. The man who never would let any of this happen to her.
But instead she laid there – wondering if the blood that stained her tunic was that of someone off the battlefield or from her child.
She heard the insults.
Heard the tearing of her dress.
Bloody fists slapping her face over and over. One man held her hands – the other straddled her legs. All she could do was turn her head back and forth – whimpering. Over and over. Man after man.
"And the Romans victorious yet again."
One of them grabbed her face – made her look him in the eye – just before he spit in her face.
Every fiber of her body ached. Every touch on her breasts sent her heart aching for her baby. Every pain as it went on and on.
And as she began to black out – as she wished it would just stop – she glanced at the small body in the corner – the child she'd poisoned – the child who now escaped this horror.
The last of her dignity stripped away from her as she felt the final shreds of her dress fall away – and she wished she'd never wake up again.