by Ally Dickinson, age 11
As his homemade cart sped out of control, Nick became increasingly terrified. He and his brother, Flavius, had built the cart because they lived far from their school and they wanted to get to class faster. Nick’s brother, Flavius, who was a few years older than Nick, had convinced him to take the cart on a test run. Unfortunately, when Flavius had given the cart a push at the top of the aqueduct, he had realized something horrible: the cart didn’t have brakes! So there Nick was, hurtling down the aqueduct, screaming at the top of his lungs, and flailing his arms in the air.
A crowd of Romans quickly gathered beside the aqueduct to see what all the rumbling and yelling was about. “Blasted Huns! They must be invading again!” cried Tiberius, an aged, blind senator. Other people in the crowd corrected him, as they quickly recognized the two brothers. They watched in horror as Flavius chased his little brother down the aqueduct. The cart rumbled. It rattled. It rolled towards Rome. The crowd could only stand silently and watch as the cart streaked past them.
When the creaky cart finally slowed to a stop and Nick was able to open his eyes, he could not believe who was in front of him. It was the emperor! “Oh no, what did I do? Will I be fed to the lions?” thought Nick. The emperor, who had been sound asleep moments earlier, had awakened to the clattering of the cart and had come to see what was going on. Realizing Flavius had been left far behind, Nick bravely explained their invention and the reason behind it.
He was just about to apologize for the lack of brakes when the emperor told him, “Thank you for the alarm. Without it, I would have been late to my meeting in the Senate. Would you be kind enough to roll by each morning?”
Nick let out a sigh of relief as he agreed to help. The emperor waved goodbye while Nick strolled across the street to his school, thinking, “No lions today!”