The Secret of Mt Vesuvius by Ava

I ran through the long wavy grass, my heart pounding. I had been running for half an hour and I was exhausted. I suddenly tripped and fell face first into the grass.

I got up wondering what made me fall. I dug through the grass and my hand bumped into something hard. I pulled it out and looked at it.

It was silver and about 10cm wide and 5cm tall. It had cables coming out of it and I wondered what it was. I picked it up and a note fell down, onto the grass. I put the silver thing down and opened the note.

Hi,

Our names are Wood Zebena and September Tom. We are part of The Pride and Freedom Agency of Alchemists. We discover how things happen in the past. We have a pretty good idea that Mt Vesuvius didn’t erupt because tectonic plates crashed together. We think someone caused it and it is your job to find out. Use this cable thingy to travel back in time. Make sure you use the right cable.

P.S. Take some friends with you. You will need help.

I got up holding the letter and I picked up the cable thing. I couldn’t finish my run because I wanted to find out what this meant.

I opened my door to my house and then I changed my mind. Maybe it would be best if I kept this a secret. I was about to climb up the tree that leads to my room, when my two best friends came jumping out of the bushes.

“Got you,” Victoria said. She had short blonde hair and dark black eyes.

“Did you know we were here?” asked Clover. She has dark eyes as well and short red hair.

“No,” I said. “Come to my room quick.” I was not in the mood for games. All I wanted to do was find out what this device did.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Victoria and Clover look at each other in amazement. I always want to play. But not now. I don’t know why this means so much to me. I think I am interested and I want to do something to help in the world. They turned back to me just in time to see my long brown hair flick through the window.

They appeared at the window 5 seconds later and sat on my bed, waiting to hear what I had to say.

“Look at this!” I said, placing the cable thing into Victoria’s hands.

“I saw this before when you told us to come up,” Victoria said and Clover nodded.

“What is it?” Clover asked.

“Well, I think it is a travelling back in time device,” I said truthfully.

Victoria snorts. “What, that cable thing?”

“Really?” said Clover doubtfully.

I put the note in their hands and they poured over it.

“Do you really think it is true?” Victoria asked.

“I mean, come on Kayla.”

“I think it could be true,” Clover said, and I nodded.

“Well, there is only one way to find out,” Victoria said, and walked over to the device. “Here is the one marked Mt Vesuvius.”

“No Victoria! Don’t. If it is a time machine then we will go back in time!”

I started to sneeze one after the other. I sneeze when I am scared so sometimes when I am hiding and I am scared I give things away.

“Actually, it might be cool.” Clover changes her mind all the time.

Victoria pulled the machine cable and I had one last sneeze and suddenly there was a big whoosh and a blinding light came through the window. I felt Clover’s hand hold onto mine and even Victoria, who was so confident. Suddenly we were standing in another place on a rocky ledge. I could see the city of Pompeii below us. I knew that it was Pompeii because I could see Mt Vesuvius in the background and Mt Vesuvius is in Pompeii.

“Where are we?” Clover asked looking around.

“I would say that we are in Italy in the year 79,” Victoria said. She wasn’t scared anymore. She just looked exited. “We are wearing different clothes. The clothes they wore back then.” Even I was excited. I was wearing a white robe with a gold belt and red sandals. Victoria and Clover were both wearing red cloaks and black belts but Victoria had black sandals and Clover’s were red like mine.

“What are we meant to do here,” Clover asked.

“We need to find out how Mt Vesuvius really erupted,” I said. “First off, we need to ask some of the people what date it is so we know how long we have to find out.”

“Well, it erupts on the 27th of October. And I know how to speak Latin,” Victoria said.

“Of course you do. You are the smartest in our whole school,” Clover said.

“Let’s go.”

“Wait. What happens if we don’t escape the volcano or can’t get back home?” I said, suddenly overcome with fear.

“Well, we die like the rest of them,” Victoria said. “Come on. We are doing this for the Society, The Pride and Freedom Agency of Alchemists. I am sure that won’t happen.”

We walked down the slope and suddenly we were in the city.

There were a few tables with stalls and salesmen yelling things out in Latin.

“Excuse me,” Victoria asked in Latin to a man selling pumpkins.

“Pumpkins?” he asked, also in Latin. His huge red face stood out under his black hair. He also had a moustache. Clover giggled quietly.

“No, I…” Victoria said, but was cut off by him yelling “pumpkins” again. He clearly wasn’t interested. Victoria turned her back on him and turned to a woman who was walking by holding two clay pots.

“Excuse me,” Victoria started. “Do you know what the date is?”

“26th of October. Why don’t you know?” the woman asked. She had a long grey dress with a red belt. She had grey hair and looked old and frail because she was covered in wrinkles.

“Um, well,” Victoria glanced back at us for support. Were we allowed to tell them the volcano will erupt? Surely it wouldn’t matter if just one person found out about the volcano. Wait! Make that two.

A small kid walked up to her holding another little clay pot. It was red with the shape of a fish carved onto it.

“Mum. I have the pot!” the kid said.

“Thanks, Jake,” the Mum said. “My name’s Lucy.”

“Well, the thing is, Mt. Vesuvius is going to erupt tomorrow and it’s not just going to erupt because of tectonic plates. Someone is going to make it erupt themselves,” Clover said. Lucy looked at us with a confused look on her face. Maybe she didn’t know what tectonic plates are. “The volcano will explode,” I made hand movements of a volcano erupting.

“Ah,” Lucy shot her hand to her mouth. She still looked a bit confused. “The mountain will explode,” I added.

“We need you to help us get to the volcano,” Victoria said.

“You…you want to die?” she asked. “Are you mad?” Victoria shook her head. “Just help us get there.”

Lucy took us around the corner where a horse cart was parked. She put Jake, her child, in and motioned for us to sit down. We got in and she followed; suddenly the cart started moving.

After about fifteen minutes of squished riding, we arrived at a big mountain. We were at Mt. Vesuvius. We jumped out and started walking towards it. I looked back to see the cart move into the distance. “Are you not coming too?” I asked.

“No! Too dangerous,” Lucy turned around and shouted.

I looked at Clover and Victoria. They shrugged.

“It is dangerous!” Clover said. “Suddenly I don’t feel like going in. Can we go back?”

“No Clover. We are doing this for the Society!” Victoria said and we walked forward. Clover still looked unsure and I started to sneeze. Victoria shook her head. “Come on,” she said with excitement.

We started walking around the volcano and then we saw shadows.

“Shhhh. You don’t want anyone to hear us,” a voice said.

“Who will be here? Come on, through here,” a different voice said.

Clover, Victoria and I looked at each other and Clover clutched my shoulder. Victoria stepped forward and we followed. We saw two men step into a part of the mountain that had opened up.

We made a sprint for the door, so as to get in before it closed back up. We arrived in and luckily the men disappeared before they could see us. Clover had a few deep breaths because she wasn’t used to running.

“Shhh,” Victoria said. “Don’t give us away!”

We started down the passage. Victoria stopped us at every corner so as not to bump into the two men. Soon we arrived at an opening and Victoria shot an arm out, pulling Clover and me into the wall.

“Oww,” we said. I whispered it but Clover was loud.

“Shhh,” Victoria said for a second time. I poked my head around the corner to see if they heard. But they hadn’t. They were too busy talking. The big opening was huge with another passage at the end. There was a big machine that had lots of different parts. The men seemed to be walking towards the machine.

“What if that is the machine that blows the volcano up?” Victoria asked, suddenly a bit nervous.

We looked at the machine. It was black and blue with a red actual fire at the bottom. You could hear the crackling of the fire and a repeated voice that was recorded saying, “You will die.”

“I’m sure they wouldn’t do that,” I said, but I wasn’t so sure. I could feel Clover grab my shoulder tighter.

“So we will explode Mt. Vesuvius tonight?” one of the men asked.

“Yes, but Karl, I am not so sure we should do this! Just because we stole from the Chief why should we kill everyone in Pompeii?”

“Because Jeff, we will be killed for doing something that bad. We need to kill the witnesses and the Chief and it is easier to just kill everyone because they could still catch us!” Karl said.

“But how will we survive?” Jeff asked.

“The rocky ledge that we passed won’t be blown up so we won’t die!”

Meanwhile Clover, Victoria and me were staring at each other, taking this all in. We could hardly see who they were but as one turned around I saw one of the men was in fact the man who was selling pumpkins and wouldn’t tell us the time.

“Let’s go back!” Jeff said.

“Soon, soon,” Karl answered.

Suddenly something hit me. “Guys, they have got to go back before us because we can’t get the door to go back out without them!”

“Oh no!” Victoria said.

“We need to start walking into this big opening and hide so they can’t see us and they go before us!” Clover said. We crept into the opening. Suddenly Karl looked over to where we were and I pushed Victoria to the ground. Because she was holding on to me, Clover fell. Luckily she only whispered in pain. Poor Clover. She was going to have one big bruise.

The men didn’t see us so we got back up and kept going.

“So, how does this machine work?” Jeff asked.

“Well, you press this button and select the time you want it to blow up,” Karl said showing him. “What time should we select?” “How about 5:30pm,” Jeff suggested.

“Sure!” Karl pressed the button.

I looked at the watch as we reached the machine and hid.

“Cripes! That gives us an hour!” I said. Clover and Victoria put their hands over their mouths.

“Come on, Karl,” Jeff said and started to walk down the passage with Karl following. I started to follow but Victoria pulled me back. “We have to wait otherwise they will see us,” she said.

Me and Clover nodded. So we waited a minute and then followed. We checked at each corner and then we saw the opening where we came in.

“Wait!” Clover shouted as the secret opening started to close.

“Stop!” I shouted, but it didn’t listen. Victoria pushed up against the wall, because it had now all closed up.

“Don’t worry,” Victoria said confidently. “We’ll find a way out!”

“Our family,” I sobbed. “They will be wondering where we are! And we might die!”

“It’s true, Victoria,” Clover said. “How will we get out?”

“They managed it, didn’t they?” Victoria answered.

“We only have an hour! Remember that big machine? That will definitely kill us,” I was sobbing uncontrollably now and I could just make out Clover’s arm around me and Victoria patting my back.

“Clover, don’t cry too!” I heard Victoria say. I looked over and saw Clover was sniffing.

“Look, of course we will die if we keep crying. We might not if we think of a plan!”

Clover stopped crying when Victoria said that and I followed soon after.

“Look,” Clover said. “There’s a piece of paper. Maybe that will give us some clues!” I crawled over to the corner of the wall and picked the paper up.

It said:

    1 brick five

    3 brick two

    2 brick four

I looked up and saw in the stone there was one section made of bricks. Only 25 bricks. All in a square.

“It’s a riddle!” Clover said. “I love riddles!”

She did and it was the one thing she was really good at. Even better than Victoria!

“It’s probably these bricks!” I said. I was feeling more confident and happy now.

“Yes,” Clover agreed. “It might be this:”

She tapped the brick on the first line and then the fifth, followed by third, second, second again and then the fourth.

“Now we wait,” Victoria said.

“No, it should happen quickly,” I said.

We waited for five minutes but nothing happened.

“I must have gotten it wrong!” Clover shook her head. “How much more time have we got?”

I looked at my watch and panic swept through me again. “Only 40 minutes now. What if we don’t escape Mt. Vesuvius? Even if we do, how will we get back?”

“Don’t worry now!” Victoria said. “Just concentrate on this code.”

So I tried to stop panicking but I couldn’t help still feeling a bit worried.

“Maybe it is this,” Victoria said and she tapped another combination. But again nothing happened.

“I know! I think it is this,” Clover typed on the bricks on the first row five bricks across then on the third row two bricks across and on the second row four bricks across.

Finally the wall started to open up!

“Yes! We did it!” Clover said as we walked out.

“You mean you did it,” I said relieved.

“Now let’s get out of here!”

“No! We have to stop the volcano from erupting and save everyone!” Clover said.

“No! We can’t do that,” Victoria complained.

“Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii is part of history. We can’t just change it!”

“But we must!” Clover said desperately. “Think of how many people will die!”

“We can’t. We have figured out the conspiracy that it was just a normal volcano. That was our job,” I said. “Come on!”

So we started up the hill towards where we came when we arrived.

“How long till it erupts now?” Victoria asked. I looked at my watch.

“10 minutes now!” I say.

We stopped and looked back at the volcano. Now we could see smoke and steam coming out of it. A minute later lava started dribbling down. But we could tell it wasn’t really lava. It was just melted clay pouring out. Then we started hearing the screams of people. Just because the lava wasn’t actual lava and just melted clay, it was still hot.

“The people of Pompeii didn’t even know what volcanoes were,” Victoria said. “They had never had one before.”

I heard Clover sniffing and sobbing and then suddenly out of nowhere Lucy, the mother we had met with her son Jake and had been really nice to us, appeared. “Help,” Victoria translated to us. “Please help,” she said.

She had blood pouring out of her leg, arm and cheek. Jake had blood coming out of his mouth! I guessed that the volcano had made that happen. They looked a horrible sight.

I looked at Victoria and she looked at me.

“Alright,” I said, and Victoria translated for Lucy.

Clover cheered and we put our hands on the cable and so did Jake and Lucy. I pulled the cable out and another flash of light blinded me and I squeezed my eyes tight shut.

Please, I thought, take us home, not to another ancient time. I opened my eyes and found that, sure enough, I was standing in my backyard. There was a note in my pocket and I took it out. There was just one single word on it.

“Thanks.”

I looked up and my eyes widened in shock. I saw Victoria and Clover but in Jake and Lucy’s place there was Jess and Spencer from school. “Did we save Lucy and Jake, or were they Jess and Spencer from the 7th century all along?” asked Victoria.

Weird, I thought.

But then, life was weird.