My name is Adam Hapsfeld, and I am a freshman at Lewis & Clark. I do not know if my message will be heard, not only because I am being censored, but due to turbulent school wifi. Whoever sees this, I need help.
Last Wednesday, on my usual nightly run, I switched my route to go through the Rose Garden. The Office of Student Rongs and Reactivity had suggested it after I wrote about a series of strange encounters, and I was sure I could trust them.
I was running down the gravel path from the cobblestone circle when I saw something in the middle of the path and skidded to a stop. It was the unmistakable pink of a Voodoo Donuts box. I should have kept running. I was on a gluten-free, lactose-free, sugar-free diet, and it was going to be a bowel nightmare that would test the strength of the ancient Copeland plumbing. But the urge was strong.
I cautiously picked up the box. Just as I began to open it, I heard running from my right coming from the woods. Something knocked the breath out of me and the world went black as my head struck the ground.
The pounding in my head awoke me. I shifted uncomfortably in the chair I was sitting in and blinked hazily, trying to adjust to the darkness. A light flashed in my eyes and I winced. “Its pupils are dilating correctly,” said a blurry figure. “Follow my finger, please.”
“W-who are you?” I stuttered.
“My name is Coach Moe,” he said. “Welcome to the team.”
My eyes raced around the room trying to take all the information in. I was in a locker room of some kind. The stench of the room was almost unbearable. Two burly college athletes, clad in orange robes emblazoned with team numbers, stood guarding the exit.
“This is Mumps and Brayedon,” Coach Moe said, noticing me eyeing them. “They would never hurt a fly, but they do give a mean concussion. Mumps gave you a hell of a tackle!”
“Why am I here?” I said, trying not to let my voice tremble.
Coach Moe chuckled. “The team has had quite the ‘explosive recruitment season.’ How did you think we did it?”
“As if! School spirit,” bellowed Coach Moe. “Watch this: Roll Pios!”
Mumps and Brayedon, in booming voices, repeated the cheer and thumped their chests.
“A hell of a pair, huh?” said Coach Moe. “And we have so many more like them. Soon, we will be unstoppable.”
Mumps and Brayedon suddenly flanked me, holding me in place. More figures in orange robes filed into the room, their football helmets doing nothing to obscure their faces, as Coach Moe rolled over a screen from out of sight, turned off the lights, and hit play.
The horrors were unlike anything I could have imagined. Players missing tackles, fumbling throws, and getting nutmegged. Scoreboards showed us losing game after game. “Roll Pios!” echoed from the speakers, and the players hypnotically chanted them back. A Newfoundland flashed intermittently on screen.
I tried to look away, but Mumps held my eyes open.
“All this, Adam,” Coach Moe said as he gestured to the screen where a player was tripping comically head-over-heels on a banana peel placed by the other team. “It can all go away. You can be the difference. We will make our offering, and then the process will be complete.”
“BRING IN THE NARP!” hollered the players, “SACRIFICE! SACRIFICE! TOUCHDOWN!”
I could hear a commotion down the hall, the futile struggle of a significantly weaker student against linebackers.
“Wait!” I screamed. “Look over on your right! Your team is beating that local high school!”
Mumps and Brayedon turned and I broke free of their grip. Coach Moe leapt after me as I ran towards the exit. I burst through the doors, out of the athletics building into the sweet sunlight, and kept running. I collapsed in the woods by the gazebo.
I thought I had escaped. Knowing that many football players keep to themselves on this campus, I thought I would be safe if I just kept my head down. I stopped running, now, I just stay in my room. But I feel myself changing. I chant “Roll Pios!” every time I see orange. I have nervous sweats about being late to practice. My student email is full of notifications from something called Hudl. I have been thinking about switching my major to RHMS. I keep seeing visions of that cursed Newfoundland every time I try to sleep. I still hear the chanting and nerdish screams of the sacrifices. I do not want to be a D3 athlete the rest of my life!
Someone just slid an orange and black letter under my door telling me to come out of my dorm. I cannot stop myself, I have to do it. If it is not too late before you are reading this… please, help.