My Olympian (I)
I never knew my future. My future lied in my father. He'd bought me to be his daughter, I was but nine then. He taught me those precious ways, of reading, of writing. He said that it was the colors of my eyes--yellow and hazel, my strong build, my hard gaze. I was a thin, homely little girl, waiting, waiting behind that stall of putrid meat; flies swarming, swarming, consuming the rotting the goat flesh. Chains, I remember clearly, made of thick welds, loop after loop of rough iron. I was the luckiest of the prisoners. I was a juvenile thief, mixing and stirring pots of boiling schemes. No one caught me, I came and went unexpectedly, always with a valuable item in my hand at departure. My plots could never be guessed by those dumb, idle merchants and "noblemen", not until I met that woman. Her name was Gorgophone, and it suited her well. She WAS a murderer, a slayer, just as her name indicated. I remember her round, beautiful face, her motherly nature, her rich, dark curls tumbling in long, chocolate waves; a silk waterfall. And then, after I told her of my past, my living, she turned me in, as though I were less than her chicken stool caked shoes.
Then came my father, a large, chubby man, strands of his snowy beard cascading down the front of his long tunic. "I'll buy her!" his vibrant voice bouncing off the walls of the meat stall in front of my prison cell. I glared at him then, but couldn't keep a smile off my face, he was like a big fat kid, happy to have someone to teach, to love. And then my father taught me to read, to write in Greek, and do the same in Latin. Day after day, he fed me baklava, grapes, cantaloupe, figs, salads, and olives--the large, juicy plum olive. And each day he trained me, running, running until my lungs burned blue. It was all from love, and then that day, that day when I became a Herald, a Hellandikis, at age 15. I sat through the Olympics, a judge itching to run. A hard judge from the very beginning. In the end, I was glad for the whole thing to stop, but I had to place the olive crowns on the sweaty heads of the winners. It was quite disgusting. Those four years blurred swiftly by, the moment I've been dreading only seconds away. The committee didn't want to let me go, and besides, I get to help my father, being a Herald.
The obnoxiously loud horns blasted through the columned resting area. I pinned my piece of horrid linen cloth on my right and left shoulders, the committee "doesn't allow girls wearing mens' tunics" to judge. I started toward the raised stone platforms and planted myself uncomfortably above a row holding two slender-limbed men. They obviously were new.
"Why is there a woman here?" they asked a my best friend and whip carrier, Yanni.
"Fro, or Sophronia, is one of the bosses here." replied Yanni, smiling his laughable, fat smile.
"Call me Fro." I smiled.
"Oh," the two said in unison. Under closer speculation, I noticed they were twins. The blasted horns sounded once more, the naked contestants filed out to the soft running track sand. "ON YOUR MARK. GET SET. GO!" the contestants leapt and sprinted, but the sight of a little Spartan boy shooting out in front of all the others caught my eye, but the the race was over just a moment later. I cocked my head to one side, wondering. 'Must be bull's blood', I thought. I sent a few tasters to test the Spartan boy. After they had tasted samples of his urine, they nodded at me, indeed, it was bull's blood--a highly effective stimulant. The race was finished, but there were two more long distance races--tomorrow and the day after. I decided to give the boy a punishment.
"Give me the whip, Yanni." Yanni frowned, his lips curving into the position that never suited his plump face. He unwillingly handed over the smooth leather string.
"Thanks." I marched up to an already tied-up Spartan man. He was not a boy, he was a tall man, but he looked tiny on the track.
"Off," I said to the guards holding him, and gestured toward his tunic which he had already put on. They hastily untied the rope and lifted his tunic. I was not surprised when I saw long scar-slashes across his back. The Spartans always did that to their children, or students. I gripped the olive wood handle and brought the whip down as hard as I could on his already scarred back.
And then he escaped.