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Title: Nero
Word Count: 130 +author's notes
Rating: G

A Just for Fun entry at the online writing competition brigits_flame

                The heat exuded from every corner of the city. The sound of the flames roared in everyone’s ears, bellowing almost louder than their terrified shrieks. People ran in panic, going this way and that, even though there was no escaping the blaze.

                Rome was burning.

                Its citizens fled. Its buildings came crashing down. Its every surface was covered with the vivid red of the fire.  It was falling apart at the seams.

                But somewhere, in the last quiet corner of the city, a lone man watched the chaos. Hardly anyone noticed him in the midst of pandemonium. Certainly, no one saw the charred piece of wood at his feet.

Still, if anyone had listened hard enough, maybe they could’ve picked out the sound of his laughter from the desperate screams.

AN: The setting wasn’t really an important thing for me here, but it was a shout-out to Nero (the emperor who supposedly but didn’t really burn the city of Rome and watched it burn while playing a fiddle). The prompt here was Sanguine which could mean both ‘red’ and ‘blood-thirsty’. I wrote the start of this before realizing in the middle of it that I could submit it for Brigit’s Flame this week. Three (half-hearted) cheers for, Nero!


Whoa...chills there at the end.

You certainly captured Nero well. ;p
Thanks! :D I'm glad it was shudder-worthy

roar he says quietly

You remind me that it is amazing how many insane people ruled the Roman Empire (although as I recall the jury is actually still out on Nero) Makes me wonder if I was born in the wrong time and place sometimes. Thanks for sharing.

Re: roar he says quietly

Ah Caligula and Elagabalus and everyone else...makes me wonder about the criteria for choosing a good Roman Emperor.

No problem! :)

dodos rolling out the edit wagon,he pauses

Here I am back again, this time with my faithful dodos wandering around your story nipping at bits and pieces of it.

A peevish moment first. It is. good form?, to mention who this was written for, the prompt,word count, genre, etc. It does not make your story any better or worse, it just helps the readers keep the stories separate and of course provides free publicity for the community. The idea being that someone might, having read your fine vignette, wish to check out more. Perhaps even join,eh?

Many scholars now seem to think that the burning of Rome was arguably one of the best things to happen to the city. Rome had turned into a death trap. Rickety buildings and horrible overcrowding. Which fact could have made the story more fun.

As for Nero, I really cannot see him being alone. Ever for that matter. And think of his faithful (through fear) followers surrounding him, trying to decide which they feared most. Was it Nero, or the fire?

Not that you have to pay any attention to any of these comments, just things that came to mind while I read the short, and very fun, vignette.

Re: dodos rolling out the edit wagon,he pauses

I always forget to do that! Gosh, I'll put it in straight away. More members equals more fun after all!

I liked both of these ideas! It certainly adds a few more twists and turns to the story. I'll definitely think of ways to incorporate them into this story.

Thank you for the edit! :D

Your Editor!

I like how you use the single-sentence paragraph "Rome was burning." to counterpoint the depth and significance of this point.


Its citizens fled. Its buildings came crashing down. Its every surface was covered with the vivid red of the fire. It was falling apart at the seams.

I see what you're doing here -- trying to go for the dramatic, poignant tone. However, I think this one falls a touch flat, and just feels a bit choppy. Maybe combine these sentences a bit to make the concepts you're expressing a little denser for the reader?


noticed him in the midst of pandemonium

consider: amidst the pandemonium


maybe they could've

consider: they might have


Interesting piece -- it reminds me of the Batman movie, when Arthur says "Some men just want to see the world burn." No matter what is happening, no matter how beautiful or terrible, there is always one who feels counterpoint to the masses. Such is the tragedy and salvation of mankind.

Nicely done! Thanks for sharing your writing this week!

Re: Your Editor!

Thank you for your great advice. It's very helpful. I'll edit accordingly.

True. It makes one wonder if true harmony is ever possible when there are those who just want to go against the rest of the world. Something to think about.

Thank you again :D