Chapter 3: Solon
The salty sea air, with a hint of autumn’s chill, ruffled Solon’s chocolate-colored hair as he raced across the paving stones—his sandaled feet clomping against them much like a trotting horse—past laurel trees, and—pomegranates! Solon changed direction, heading straight for the only pomegranate tree in the atrium and its freshly ripened fruit. Dropping the scrolls that filled his arms, he plucked a firm one from its branch, licking his lips while thinking of the delicious treasure deep inside the fruit’s red barrier, which also happened to be his favorite.
A small sparrow jostled the pomegranates, jerking Solon back to the present, and the fact that he was late. Scrambling, he scooped the fallen scrolls (and the pomegranate) into his arms, his scrawny frame barely able to carry them all, and hurried to the marbled steps of the library.
Unfit for the infantry, Solon’s father had arranged for him to be a scribe. Always a thinker and wonderer, Solon didn’t mind as he detested physical exercise, a fact that now plagued him as he ran up the stone steps. A scroll plopped on the ground. Solon stopped, turned, and picked up the parchment. Rearranging them in his arms, while taking extra care not to drop his pomegranate, he took off again, taking the steps two at a time until he passed the two ionic columns at the top, and made his way to the main chamber where the scribes sat at their desks copying scrolls.
Breathless, Solon paused to slow his breathing and reassured himself that he hadn’t left anything behind in his haste, before facing his master.
“Late again,” said a gruff voice.
“Sorry, master,” said Solon. “I forgot the time.”
“You always forget the time. Daydreaming again, eh?”
Solon shuffled his feet, his guilt evident. Daydreaming was one of his bad habits. He always did it, thinking about the world, about life, about morality, what could be, and what is. He could never stop his wandering thoughts. As a result, he was always late.
“I am sorry, master. I will try better.”
“Solon, the only reason I gave you this position was because of your father. But if you continue to fail reporting here on time, I will be forced to let you go.”
“Now take your seat.”
Solon walked over to his desk, dumping the scrolls onto it, allowing two of them to roll over the edge and plop on the marble floor. He rolled one out and uncorked his bottle of ink, placing his quill pen in it. He scribbled a bit on the parchment before stopping. A tingling sensation struck his skin.
“Solon, why aren’t you writing?” asked his master.
Other eyes turned to look at him.
Solon put his quill to paper again. Once more, the tingling sensation prickled his skin. He stopped. Slowly, an orange and yellow light enveloped him, attracting the attention of everyone in the room. It swirled around him, growing brighter and more insistent.
Solon and the pomegranate were gone. All that remained was an empty seat with an unrolled scroll and a quill in the middle of spilt ink.