• The wind whipped my hair around my face in wild tendrils. I was shaking from the fear, blinded from the dark and my teeth were chattering from the cold. The tears had been falling freely from my face ever since I’d left, but I couldn’t go back, I couldn’t go back to my death.
    I let out a sob. Why was life so hard? Why couldn’t it go back, back to a happier time? What did I do wrong?
    I wanted to give up. To crumple and just let the pain take over, but I thought back to that other time, back to them. Our last bittersweet moments together…

    I gave another strangled sob. They could keep me going on this run for my life. They were the force driving me. So though I was tired, scared, freezing and I just wanted to give up, I kept running.
    I felt hatred toward Nero welling up inside of me. What right did he have to take away a person’s life because of what they believe? Who was he to play God?


    I realized I’d stop running. My legs felt like they were on fire and each breath ripped a pain through my chest. I fell to the ground and just sat there crying, my tears falling from my face and soaking into the ground. I curled up and shuddered from the pain, the cold and the heartache.


    I slowly opened my eyes, but snapped them shut after the blinding sunlight scorched them. I brought my hand up as a shield and blinked them open again. I took a look around for the first time, now that I could see, and realized I was in a small field – and had no idea where I was. There where a sparse amount of trees scattered around the area with bright green leaves. The grass was glistening with dew and a very lush green. Everything was green.
    Where am I?
    I figured that regardless of where I was I should probably keep going so I started walking.

    All of a sudden the sky filled with dark clouds, there was a flash of lightning accompanied shortly after by a loud thunderclap and a huge downpour of rain. I was filled with a strange happy sensation as the rain soaked me. A giddy laugh escaped my lips as the happiness grew. It made no sense. I was soaked, I was cold, I was lost, and yet I was happy. I felt… safe, I felt home.
    That’s when I saw them, the two most wonderful people in the whole world. My two little joys in this dark life.
    I ran towards them crying out for them but no sound escaped my lips, they were laughing. I approached them to see them dancing in the rain. I laughed along with them.
    I reached out to them but they could not feel me. They ignored me as if I weren’t there, dancing and laughing.
    I fell to my knees and called out again, this time in defeat. They were right there and I could not hold them, tell them how much they mean to me.


    My eyes flashed open and I bolted upright. I was breathing in short gasps and drenched in sweat. I felt a tear roll down my cheek.
    Angrily, I wiped it away and pushed myself up.
    It was dawn, and the sun was casting a deep orange glow over the field I was in. The same one from my dream.
    Ugh. Creepy.
    I jumped up and down a bit, shaking off the dream.

    I was able to think clearer now that I had slept. I thought about how all this had started. I thought about becoming a Christian, and learning about God the Holy Father and Jesus, Son of God. Learning about heaven and hell. Having Christianity open new windows in my life. Meeting him. Then having it all taken away because of Nero. I remembered praying that the day would come when we could again come together and learn about the many wonderful works of God. I remembered the secret meetings and the little fish sign that brought us together once again. I remembered the pure horror I felt when Nero’s guards walked through the doors of our make shift chapel.

    A violent shudder raked through my body, shaking me from head to toe. Again tears started falling.
    So many had died, I was unbelievably lucky to be alive right now. I had ran from the chapel with a few others, but I don’t know how many of us survived.
    I was only glad that Nero still didn’t know about them.
    They were still safe.
    I closed my eyes to cut the tear flow.


    It was getting to the point where I didn’t know which one was worse, life or death. Running for hours on end, clinging on to life by the fingertips, constantly in pain and with no food or water, life was becoming a suffering and I was endlessly battling with myself whether or not to just give in to the ever-growing pain and desolation.
    Death would be peaceful.
    No more hurt. No more suffering. No more fear.
    But why submit to Nero? Could I bring my self to that level? Was it worth earning my freedom to just throw it away? How many people had died at the hands of this, monster, for me to just go willingly?
    I couldn’t.

    Three days.
    Threes days of torturous running.
    Occasionally I would stumble upon a stream or lake and stop to drink but that was the only nourishment I had. I would only stop when I felt I would collapse from exhaustion. I couldn’t take it any more.
    There is only so far you can push yourself and I had reached my limit.
    I fell to the ground and everything started going black.
    He can’t kill me now...

    I awoke to a forceful jostling. I was completely in the dark and being thrown from side to side.
    I threw my arms out to the side and they encountered wooden walls. I held them there to stop the movement but it didn’t do much.
    I was thrown around and around until finally whatever I was in came to a halt.
    The only things I could hear were footsteps and my heart pounding loudly in my chest.
    Finally the wood behind my head was dropped and yanked from my position and onto the ground.
    Standing above me was the one person I had been trying to avoid.
    “You thought you could escape? Rome is not restricted to this city!” He sneered.
    “I- I…” The tears started falling.
    “While you were away I found out some very useful information. That beloved family of yours are all filthy Christians. Just. Like. You!” He lunged a finger at me.
    “NO! N-no. You can’t, they can’t be de-”
    A crazed laugh cut me off. “Dead? No. No, no, no, no, no. Of course they’re not dead! But I do have a special job for you.”
    “What?! What is it?” I would do anything to keep them safe.
    “Kill them.”
    My jaw dropped. He didn’t honestly believe that I would kill my family, did he?
    The look on his face said he did.
    “Please, please no! An-anything but this! Please, I can’t! I-” I was begging.
    “You can! And you will.” He said with finality.
    “But this is my fam-”
    “AND THIS IS MY EMPIRE!!!” He roared. “Take her away.” He motioned with his hands to a member of his guard standing behind me and walked away.
    The guard grabbed my arm and pulled me through A high arch and into a sinister-looking forest, I assumed I was being banished from the castle to carry out my ‘job.’
    There was a harsh chill in the air to match the one in my bones. The whole place had a malicious air to it. The deformed trees with their slender limbs. The occasional drip of dark liquid. The sinister howling coming at me from what seemed like every angle. It curdled me to my very core.
    That’s when I was thrust a sword.
    I walked forward slowly, trembling with silent sobs.
    My two daughters, my two beautiful daughters, bound together on the floor. Their eyes darting were around the room in terror.
    I felt a sharp jab in my back as I was thrust forward by one of Nero’s guards.
    I stumbled onward until I was only a few feet away, I couldn’t even have one last goodbye.
    They stared straight at me, questioning me with their wide, brown eyes. I could only stare back with pain in mine.
    My hands were shaking violently as I slowly raised the sword, but I daren’t let go.
    The fear grew in their eyes as they saw what I was going to do, but I would never kill them. I would kill myself.
    I plunged the sword downwards, towards my stomach, when a hand caught my arm.
    I turned my head to find my wonderful husband. I dropped the sword and sobbed into his arms.
    “I love you.” He whispered.
    Then he went limp.
    I felt the warm liquid on hand and fell to the ground with him.
    My daughters had also gone limp and I noticed a small pool of red around them.

    Nero stood overhead, brandishing a blood-covered sword

    I had nothing left. As I lay there with my family, I said a small prayer and wished I would join them soon.