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Gladiator Short

with 12 comments

Tarentius sat up slowly.

It was still dark and he was hungry. So hungry. When was the last time he ate? Must have been before the last bout. The lanista had given them all a good solid meal of pork, bread and vegetables to help build both strength and courage for the fight. And the fight finished hours and hours ago. Sometime in the early afternoon. It must have been half a day ago; no wonder he was so ravenous.

Throwing off his scant cloth cover, he climbed off the pallet and stumbled in the darkness. He knew the layout of the ludus intimately and could easily find his way to the kitchens with his eyes shut. This late into the night, all the others would be asleep in their cots and the only lights burning would be the torches and lamps in the lanista’s apartments and office. Perhaps in the kitchens too if it was more ‘early’ than late, the slaves preparing the gladiators’ morning meal.

Shuffling with a tired gait out into the hall, he could hear the rumbling snored of Braxus the Thracian, a sound like a collapsing insula. Beyond was the familiar wheezing, whistling snore of Paris and then the strange whimpering, dog-like night noises of the two young Numidians retiarii. Even with bad direction sense, and old hand here could navigate just by the sounds.

He must have been absolutely exhausted after that last bout, to have fallen asleep early and missed the evening meal. He couldn’t remember falling asleep or being shouted, but then the bastards who ran the place would hardly fall over themselves to make sure he got his meal. Even with five successful fights under his belt, he was still a slave, and any meal they didn’t have to cook was money saved.

Tarentius growled as he pondered on the unfairness of the situation. One day he might emulate Spartacus and give the lanista a taste of his own lash.

After supper, though.

Grinning, he saw the flickering torchlight from the kitchen doorway as he turned the corner. Someone was busy doing food for the morning. He wondered if they had something tasty to spare?

Rounding the corner, Tarentius entered the kitchen, fixing his gaze on the young Gaulish cook.

“Mmmm… braaaaaiiiinssssss….”

The cook fainted.


Written by SJAT

September 23, 2011 at 1:15 pm

12 Responses

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  1. A short what from what? That was such an evocative and tantalising piece to hook us all. More please!


    prue batten

    September 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    • Heh heh. Having a day off the scheduled writing to read some competition entries and I just had the urge to write something quick and fun.



      September 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm

  2. Hmmmmm….brains! Now you scared me!



    September 23, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    • My brains scared you? They scare me too at times!



      September 28, 2011 at 9:40 am

  3. mmmmmh, me likes this!


    Terri T.

    September 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm

  4. What’s wrong with brains? My ancestors were Eastern European Jews, and they often ate “organ meats” [I guess because that was all they could get], so as a child I sometimes was served liver (and told it was good for us), and heart, and even on a few occasions, brains. Though these were cow brains. Not human brains.

    As far as I know we never ate human brains. Wikipedia says:

    “In 2003 a publication in Science received a large amount of press attention when it suggested that early humans may have practiced extensive cannibalism. According to this research, genetic markers commonly found in modern humans worldwide suggest that today many people carry a gene that evolved as protection against the brain diseases that can be spread by consuming human brain tissue.”

    So don’t eat human brains. Especially if they were not organically grown.



    September 23, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    • Ah yes. Time to listen to the 1982 track “I Eat Cannibals” by Toto Coelo again!



      September 28, 2011 at 9:41 am

  5. Si, You never cease to amaze and amuse. Now it’s gladiators, is it? Cool. This little story is quite entertaining… So when will you finish the rest of the book? Jules


    Red Sonja

    September 28, 2011 at 3:44 am

    • Heh heh. Am deeply busy, mired in inter-legion feuds in the Nile Delta at the mo. Think this new one’s going to be a doozy! Also about half as long again as an MM book!



      September 28, 2011 at 9:43 am

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