Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Prologue: Arising

Junior Owen Hoffman presents the prologue of his novel, Arising. Chapters coming soon.
Photo via Commons Wikimedia

A true master, an honorable warrior who persists through the pain, will always cast aside his company for the greater pursuit of grandeur. That… is the reason why I am here.

Those squeamish apes could never understand.


My head bounces on the helicopter’s window, dragging me to the world of the woken. Greeted by the underlying deep blue sea, I stare down at my foe, awaiting the moment it gobbles me up and spits me out. But that moment never comes.

The glaring, half-set sun stings my eyes, making the monochromatic metal inside the helicopter’s hull swell with headache-inducing lighting, as the single rotor swimming through the winds overhead like a whirlpool casts schizophrenic shadows all around. All I wish for is to slumber away, in the realm where nothing could harm me, but my circumstances have stolen me from that fate.

“Feeling a little airsick, Marcus?” asks the man sitting across from me, the unpleasant green uniform and metal armaments on his belt also damaging my mood.

“No, you guys stole all the air,” I throw a hand in front of my face, but the light still seeps through the slits between my fingers. I just can’t escape, can I? They’re holding me prisoner, even if I asked for an airlift across the northeastern Pacific. “When’s land? An hour or two? Less?”

“You fell asleep a little after an hour post take-off. That was a half-hour ago. We should arrive after another two.” I groan, hoping to swap minds with one of the other two sleeping men sitting across from me. I had no issue sleeping on a cargo boat. How is sleeping on a helicopter different? “So you’ve never been on a helicopter before?”

“Just because I dislike being suspended ten-thousand feet in the air doesn’t mean I haven’t done it before.” I yawn, as though the last thirty minutes of sleep weren’t spent hovering above a dark, gloomy ocean, where I could plunge into oblivion upon a single engine failure. “I’m only grouchy because the musty sea air’s getting in my beard.”

“You said you worked on a cargo ship.”

“It means I need to shave.” I sit up, airing my green blazer before resting my head on the jittering metal behind me. “You got a razor by any chance?”

“I have a pocket knife.”

“Should’ve guessed,” I say, the yawns sown into every word I speak. For a moment, the yawns disappear, leaving only the slick rotors and shaking walls to fill my ears. Better than the sound of college-aged kids yapping. 

“Man, it’s crazy to think that there are meteors down there.” So much for peace and quiet. “If you worked on a cargo boat, you must’ve gotten a pretty sweet view of the light show?”

“Yeah, the ‘light show’ was alright. I’m sure everyone in Seattle or Shanghai got a real lovely view too.” The soldier looks down into the ocean, grimacing over his ignorance. “And the meteors burning up in the atmosphere were pretty. But I didn’t watch the meteors to get a dopamine kick. I wanted to ensure my workplace didn’t get pummeled into the ocean floor.”

“I don’t think that’s how meteors work. And besides, most of the meteors fell in the ocean. The only deaths were from the resulting tsunamis or aftershocks. The majority of meteors only killed some stray fishes and whales.”

“Yes, let’s gloat over all the dead sea food. Come on, eat your hearts out! There’s plenty of cooked whale meat to swallow your sadness with.”

“Dude!” The man shouts, hitting the side of his seat with his fist. “Stop whining. People lost people; don’t laugh about it. It’s not nice. There’s nothing to joke about.”

“Oh, but you could never understand what the real joke is.” I snicker, now poised with a toothy smile. “You see, it’s the monsters that are gonna screw us all over.”

“What’s this now?”

“Oh yes, you haven’t gotten the chance to hear the real reason why I asked for an airlift. Why I asked to be kept far away from the waves, as opposed to sped across them in a boat.”

“Because it’s faster?”

“No, because the monsters lurking down there would eat ya, if you got too close!” I clap my hands at the soldier, startling him. But all I can do is chuckle, the sound shielding myself from the thought of one of those things breaching the water like a humpback whale and swallowing me whole. “You didn’t hear the story of how two of those big bastards attacked my boat? Oh yeah, because I didn’t tell you, since you’d piss your pants if I did.”

“What’s the hysteria for?” The two other soldiers riding in the helicopter awake to my sneers, with the other soldier’s expression continuing to sour. 

“He’s rambling about how some monsters destroyed his boat. Don’t ask for details, we’ll get him a therapist once we reach the city”

“Oh, but the city may already be gone, because those monsters are lurking in the oceans. And they will roam, killing whomever they see, sinking whatever boat crosses their path, trampling whatever city they find. So, sing your jolly farewells,” I gleam with a light smile, “because all your good ol’ friends may already be dead!”

My beaming smile enlightens the arid aroma of the helicopter, finally stirring in some good spirit in another soul as well. The soldier diagonal to me smirks, with a quick laugh arriving in the one sitting to my left. As those two start laughing, the soldier across from me starts laughing as well, and before long, the entire helicopter has plunged into a full on cackle, like hyenas over a lion’s rotting corpse.

Before the joy drains from my face again. “Actually, I’m being completely serious. Call your friends, before they die.”

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