Caesar sat up, gasping, his shoulder hitting Calpurnia in the chin. The semi-familiar setting of his wife’s room made it more difficult to gain his bearings. And he still had a phantom pain in his chest and back from the nightmare.
“My love?” Calpurnia called as he stumbled out of bed.
He ignored her for the moment and went to the balcony. The night was a rough one, but the high winds cleared his thoughts. Specifically, one he could only admit to himself. Caesar was afraid, and he had been since the soothsayer accosted him in the street with prophecies.
Living as he had, Caesar had dodged more knives, arrows, and other forms of death than any man had a right to. It would end sometime. And the image of Pompey’s dead, jelly-like eyes haunted him.
And what of his family when Caesar did die? There was little Caesarion, a reward from the gods if there ever was one, to think of. And now, surely, after all the rituals and sacrifices (not to mention a few hours ago), there must be something within Calpurnia now.
Quickly, he turned around to see his wife still in bed, but sitting up, watching him cautiously.
“You’re bleeding,” he observed, guiltily. “Your lip.”
“It’s nothing,” she said.
Caesar shook his head. “Come here.”
Calpurnia crossed the room and embraced him, trembling slightly, as another gust of wind burst in from the balcony.
“It’s unhealthy, winds like these,” she said.
“Only bad dreams,” Caesar explained. “I am well.”
“When we are both disturbed, it is not well.” Calpurnia looked up at her husband with wide eyes. “I think it best you stay at home tomorrow—today.”
He opened his mouth to argue, but instead kissed a fresh drop of blood off her lip. “We shall see what the augurs say when it’s light. All will look better then.”
They returned to bed, but neither slept. Caesar could feel his wife’s alertness from her tense posture. And he was no better.
Why couldn’t it be more barbarians, or an obvious enemy like Pompey, or even Spartacus? It was, in his estimation, natural and permissible to fear such enemies. But this nebulous, creeping phantom disturbing his sleep was different.
It was only a shadow, and Caesar did not jump at shadows like a coward.
Still, he mused, finally beginning to relax. Shadows would vanish in the light. Ides or no, he had no reason to fear the day.
Kathy Sherwood is a writer from Virginia. She grew up hearing stories about goblins, the Trojan war, and how Boris Karloff got the role of the Frankenstein Monster. It all adds up to the strange person she is today. She has published three ebooks, and her short stories can be found on Every Day Fiction and HauntedMTL. She now lives and writes in Stevens Point, WI.