Fresco – well it definitely looks like one, although I am tempted to call it Al, and do something a little more off the wall 🙂 It’s today’s #writephoto prompt from KL Caley at New2Writing.com, anyway. I hope you enjoy my take on it.
I was intending to do a little more than the final 630 words, and you may complain it is left hanging. I leave what happened next to your imagination. Who knows, there may even be a sequel.
Fresco… Al or otherwise
“This is nice.” She looked around the inside of the roofless, windowless room. There had probably been a flood at some time, since the floor was a wreck and the bottom feet of plaster had come away from the walls, leaving the bare brick and foundation.
“Hmm,” he paused by the arched entrance, examining the painting of the curves, and then the device of flowers wrapped round a pillar—or was it a staff?—that provided the filler for many small panels. “This could be Roman, you know, although paint didn’t change much between then and Leonardo; earth colours, mixed into the plaster…” He wandered off around the room while she studied the main panel.
“I’ve seen these people before,” she said, then corrected herself. “The images of similar ones, anyway. Classical style—her headdress resembles something for Diana, or Minerva.”
“The seated chap doesn’t look classical, more like Lucifer, if anything.”
She nodded. “And the chap at the back could fit into any fresco of the first thousand years.”
“Fifteen hundred,” he corrected her, the Renaissance being somewhat later.
“What do you think this room was used for?”
He gazed around, noting the openings on the opposite side which could once have looked out on a garden, or even a water feature. “Bit small for a dining room. Although, if that part of the garden was for large eating parties, this could have been for a more family affair, or even for preparations.”
“Let’s take a view from the potential party spot, maybe that’ll help.”
They stepped through the door space leading out to the garden.
Whether it was just a change in the light, or a cloud that disappeared, she didn’t know, but everything seemed brighter, fresher, and… only tastefully, artfully, ruined.
“May I fill your cups, my lady, sir?” A young man dressed in a robe looped over one shoulder, leaving very little to the imagination, proffered a large ewer, and in response to their denial of having cups, produced two from somewhere about his person with a deftness of long experience.
They thanked him, he moved on, and they sipped their wine. “Mmm, good, if on the acidic side,” he commented.
“Mine is quite flowery,” she responded, giving it another sniff. “And where have all these people come from?”
It was possible that the dull day they had started with had brightened up enough to get all the locals out to revel in the gardens, but somehow it seemed unlikely.
“And how come they are all in traditional costume?”
“Togas are no longer traditional costume, you know. These are dressed for a classic re-enactment. I don’t remember seeing anything about it, not even as we came in.”
A maitre d’ clapped his hands and called the gathering to order. “Take your places for our little dinner.”
A lot of giggling responded to that description, and they guessed that ‘little dinner’ was not what the rest of the guests expected.
“Do you think we should leave? It’s hardly dinner time.”
He swigged back his wine, and made a decision. “I think we should go with the flow. Whatever the locals are up to, it looks like we’re about to dine al fresco in a place we’ve never heard of, and possibly with a local bigwig we’ve never heard of either. And as long as he doesn’t hear of us… well, why not enjoy his hospitality?”
Another partly-robed young man showed them to a long bench each. They copied their neighbours, and lay on their tummies, leaning on the cushions to give themselves a bit of a lounging effect.
“I always wondered how the Romans managed to eat in this position.”
“Slowly, I expect. At least it’s good for digestion.”
And so their frescoed meal began.
© J M Pett 2023
6 thoughts on “Fresco | #writephoto Flash Fiction”
Well, that could go a couple of ways! Intriguing story… I’ve been kind of collecting the last few WritePhoto pictures in my head and trying to come up with the next installment in my story but so far no great sparks.
Could go different ways but I’m thinking time travel? Cool take!
Hmm – Roman banquets could get very out of hand!
This is brilliant Jemima, you are right up my street here… I’d love to hear more… Morgarna could get her teeth into this one ! 💜😎
An interesting take! I’d love to see where this story goes.
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