Prota 18
Prota 18

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Prota 18
The Lottery Winner

Tikeros was a young man who worked at the olive tree gardens in the city of Draka. He was incredibly personable and left a tremendous impression on anyone he met. The young man adored himself and indulged in great amounts of pleasure in sex, food, and wine. He always regarded the sun to be a gift from the gods and loved feeling its radiant energy sink through his pores. Although the young man was grateful for his life, he grew a heavy appetite for wanting more. He believed that currency served as a tool in society to propel the individual to a greater likelihood of achieving happiness through the purchasing of experiences and pleasures. His youthful ambition became greatly fueled with greed over his desire for money.

The lottery happened once a season to which thousands of citizens participated. A parchment with their name cost one coin and was put inside a large ceramic vase. Once the vase became three quarters full, a public ceremony took place where thousands of hopefuls would line the streets and watch if their names were drawn. The vase was sealed with a cloth and rotated vertically while standing upright. They would then untie the cloth, set it on fire, and throw it inside the vase. When a thread of black smoke steadily rose in the air, it signaled for the youngest of the elders to stick their hand in the blaze of fire and pull out a parchment. They would keep drawing until one was fully legible. That person would receive every coin collected from the thousands of parchments purchased. Some of the wealthiest and poorest families in Draka were winners of this old tradition.

One summer, an early hot spell overcame the city, causing a massive drought throughout all of Draka and the surrounding regions. It weakened many industries, and citizens became more cautious with their spending as prices of agriculture soared. One of the only goods that benefited greatly from the drought was olive production. It became the perfect climate after their mild winter to produce an abundance of the most plump olives they had ever seen. Tikeros and the rest worked tirelessly to pick, press, and package olives. As everyone left for the night, Tikeros stayed behind and continued working, as he knew this opportunity seldom came. When the drought ended, he had amassed hundreds of containers of olives and jars of oil to sell. The commodity sold like gold and he made a fortune. Although he was proud of himself, he continued to hunger for more wealth.

The lottery draw was coming up and became rumored to be one of the largest pots ever. The drought had left many households empty, and tens of thousands became desperate to reclaim their financial positions. Tikeros looked at this as another opportunity. He took half of his money earned from the olives and purchased hundreds of parchments with his name on it. He knew the risk and emotional hardship of losing, but greed blinded him and overtook his reason.

On the day of the draw, Tikeros decided to tame his anticipation by hiking to his favorite spot and watch the sunrise. He cherished nature and enjoyed being alone with his thoughts. As he ran on the path, there was a group of older women walking ahead. It was difficult to pass as the path rested between thick thorn bushes that edged along the steep cliff. The young man did not have patience to walk as slowly behind them, so he looked up to the side and climbed the rocky cliff upwards—a feat he had never tried before. It was incredibly steep, but Tikeros was feeling confident that morning. With each step, rubble and stones rolled down to the ground bellow. A few of the older women stopped to watch the young man climb the shortcut. He was not able to see that another group of people were jogging downwards from the top which caused stones to gradually fall.

A few moments into the climb, a sudden landslide of dirt and giant boulders spilled over and tumbled towards Tikeros. He saw them plundering down and quickly jumped to the side, skidding to the bottom in a race beside the avalanching rocks. His back slammed into the ground and laid inches away from the pile of debris and sharpened stones that almost crushed him. Smaller rocks and dirt continued to trickle down until it became a breeze of dust and pebbles. An older woman who stayed back had watched the entire incident and rushed over to his side to console Tikeros, who was shaking off his dirty garments. He was in a state of shock and kept telling the old woman he was fine while thinking about how he had escaped death by a few inches, walking away with mere cuts and bruises. As Tikeros started back on the path, the old woman told him he was a lucky man and to play the lottery that day. Tikeros smiled and thanked the old woman for her consolation before continuing on his hike.

Tikeros ran to the top of the mountain while passing the other groups and sat on the edge with a stiffening grin. The sun peaked over the horizon and began to warm his shocked face. It continued to rise, flooding the mountains with light and life. The city below illuminated as boats blissfully drifted to and from the port on the glistening turquoise water. A family of birds flew overhead and chirped to wake up the rest to start their new day. Celestial bliss flooded Tikeros, as he had never felt more grateful than in that moment, and he began weeping. After a few moments of collapsing himself to the present moment, he realized that he had won the lottery.