TJCL Torch 2018 Fall Torch - Page 17

Nothing happened. Calpurnius glanced both ways before heading down the street. The moonlight glinted off a dagger’s blade. “Is it silver?” Popillia hissed. Sextus squinted and waited for Calpurnius to walk a little farther before answering. “I think so. Either way, this proves Volusius was wrong. Calpurnius is certainly not a werewolf.” “Still, what’s he doing out so late?” Moonlight glittered in Popillia’s eyes, giving her the same predatory look as Diana on a hunt. Sextus groaned. “Of course you’re interested now!” “I just want to know what he’s up to. Don’t you?” “Well, yes, but-” Popillia let out a high whistle, like the cry of a songbird. Two shadows appeared, one climbing down from the roof of the House of Calpurnius, another slinking away from the house’s back entrance. The two shadows scurried across the street to meet with the siblings. The figures were the former slaves of the siblings’ father, Marcus. Asella was an Egyptian, and Fortis was Jewish, and both were loyal to the bitter end to Popillia and Sextus. The four had saved one another’s lives during the flight from Pompeii’s destruction, and the siblings had granted their slaves their freedom. However, they were still living in the same apartment, and worked as  investigators for anyone willing to pay them. After all, they had not left each other during the desolation; they were not about to leave each other now. Their most recent employer was Quintus Volusius Maecianus, a business partner and close friend of Calpurnius the banker. He claimed to have seen Calpurnius walking the streets of Rome late at night, despite the danger of being hit with emptying chamber pots or running into robbers, gamblers, or regular thugs. Then, when Volusius heard a wolf howling one night, only to see Calpurnius exhausted the next day, he decided something was up. Therefore, he hired the four Pompeiians to investigate. “Follow him,” was all the siblings said to their ex-slaves. The four split up, Popillia and Asella going to one side of the street and Sextus and Fortis to the other. They slipped off their sandals and hurried through the shadows after Calpurnius. They moved noiselessly, bare feet padding quieter than mice. They soon caught up with Calpurnius. They had to be extra careful as they walked past a noisy bar, where gambling and other illicit pastimes of the poor occurred. A chamber pot was emptied above Sextus’s head, and Fortis had to pull him back in a flash to prevent it from hitting him. The sound of the pot’s contents hitting the ground caused Calpurnius to look back, but they ducked into doorways, and he