What defines a hero? Some would say it's the power and what you do with it. I guess they're right. After all, I have power and I'm still not called a hero. At least, not by citizens. The Justice League and other heroes try to remind me every chance they get, but I tell them to shove it. What good is our power if we don't benefit from it? My name is Ryder Young and I'm a Green Lantern. Well, I guess it's not official, yet. You see, my power ring is different from the other Lanterns and nobody knows where it came from. I don't really care. It's mine. It chose me. Before, I was a loner, a nobody. My own family didn't pay me any attention. The day I found the ring, my life changed...
"Where ya going, Ryder? Don't you want to finish what you started?" I've had the same school bully since I was in the second grade and that was ten years ago. He wasn't your classic bully that was going to get held back five times before getting shipped off to military school. Mark was a top student, star receiver on the football team, and a real top-of-the-line asshole. That day I made the mistake of finally standing up to him. He was giving me my weekly reminder of how poor my family was, I never could afford any school functions or class trips. I had enough of it. It was the icing on the shitty cake of a day I was having. I took a swing at him and knocked him flat on his ass. I couldn't stop laughing until I realized what I had done. They chased me for an hour and into the old mill. Apparently, Mark's pride was too important to just let me go.
"Where'd you go, Young? Marco?" I could hear the cackling of his buddies at his terrible joke. They were a couple of other players, but I don't remember their names. I took to hiding. The mill was huge and their voices echoed all around me. It sounded like they were right on top of me. I had no idea just how close they really were. Mark snuck up behind me and grabbed my shoulders. All I could do was scream as he pulled me back and tossed me into a pit. I managed to grab onto a chain before I fell into the blades at the bottom. They hadn't been used in years, but the glint on them let me know just how sharp they still were. It was some kind of grinder for the lumber and I was instantly thankful that there was no power to the mill. I wouldn't have put it past Mark to turn it on.
"Guys, get me out of here. You had your fun, Mark! I'm sorry." I hated pleading to him for help, but I hated the blades beneath my feet even more. Mark's laugh filled the open chamber, but I could still make out his teammates telling him that it was enough. There was a glimmer of hope that I wasn't going to die. I reached my hand out. I hoped one of them would take it and pull me up. I was so na´ve back then. Mark kicked the rubble and wood shavings at the end of the pit and walked away. I covered my eyes and sealed my mouth shut as the debris fell on my head, but then I felt something heavy fall on my finger. Not like bounced off of it, but actually fell around my middle finger. I opened my eyes to find out what it was, but the dust wasn't done falling. My eyes burned and I tried to wipe it out with my hand. The one that was holding the chain.
You know that sensation you get when you dream about falling? This was nothing like that. This was real. I screamed, well I tried to, but sawdust filled up my lungs. My eyes remained shut, still enflamed from the debris. Suddenly, the sensation changed. It started to feel more like the dreams. A few seconds later it stopped and I was on solid ground again. I opened my eyes, straining to see through the tears the filled them. A green light faded from around me and I was back out of the pit. I rubbed my eyes and felt the object was still around my finger. Finally, clear enough to make it out. I saw the ring sitting perfectly around my finger. It was strange, like nothing I ever saw before. It was cast in silver, but the gem was strange. It was green, like an emerald, but I've never seen any stone swirl and move like a liquid or a gas. On top of the emerald was a design also cast in silver. A circle with tangent lines on the top and bottom. It would be a long while until I learned what it really meant. As I stared into the swirling emerald, a green light illuminated the room.
I shielded my eyes from its bright glow and cautiously walked towards it. The light dimmed as I approached until I was standing in front of the faded light. The faint glow now clearly emanated from an odd-looking lantern. It possibly could have been used to light the mill back when it was running, but I had never seen a green one before. I reached up to grab it. The ring and the lantern grew brighter as my hand approached. Then, my arm felt like something grabbed a hold of it. I lost control and couldn't pull it away. Whatever had hold of me forced the ring against the lens of the lantern. I felt a surge of energy rush through my body. The lantern lit up like the sun and I became enthralled by its beauty. I couldn't look away and then words appeared. Not in the light or anything, but in my mind. I'm still not sure how to explain it. I repeated the words.
"In brightest day, in darkest night,
no evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might,
beware my power - Green Lantern's Light!"