Joy to You, We Have Won
They chose me because I’m the fastest among all the hemerodromes; no other messenger is as efficient as I. It was all in my hands because nobody saw the Persians coming that day. We received intelligence but thought they wouldn’t have dared. When we saw the black sails staining the horizon, it was me our generals sent. I didn’t fail us when I arrived in Sparta asking for reinforcements. I didn’t feel the distance I had run in only two days to make it there and back on time.
I was just elated at my success and furious at the Persians who wanted to invade our motherland. I fought them side by side with my compatriots, banging on my shield, shouting like a madman. I didn’t look at the blood from friends and foes running like ruby streams on the battlefield.
So many of us perished yesterday but we won. We threw the few surviving invaders back into the sea so they could take our good news back to their king. Darius and his once mighty empire is no more!
I’m running again on these roads, my lungs fit to burst, the thirst tormenting me like the bite of a million scorpions. I lost my sandals a long time ago, yet I don’t feel the pain of my shredded feet. I’m not far, I can see the whiteness of the Acropolis in the distance, but sweet Hermes, the stitch in my side and the agony in my chest take away the little breath I have left!
I am suddenly there as I fly up the marble staircase and spot the Archons reunited in the immense chamber. They all crane their necks, waiting for me to speak. Now that I’m still, black spots dance in my vision, my chest feels as if the weight of a whole temple is squashing it. I haven’t realised I have fallen but I’m here, I have made it.
“Joy to you, we have won…” I feel as if I’m shouting, while I close my eyes for the last time.