“When you feel my heat, look into my eyes – it’s where my demons hide, it’s where my demons hide. Don’t get too close, it’s dark inside – it’s where my demons hide, it’ where my demons hide.” – Imagine Dragons
There are the good days, full of happiness and content, and then there are the “dark days,” as Rayna calls them. Days where nothing is right on the inside. She can pull herself together for her friends, laugh at there not-so-funny jokes, and give them all her smiles. She can come home to her family, love them and enjoy their company. But it is all a mask; a clever trick of the light that she has been able to pull off since she was a little child.
Rayna has walked the earth for eighteen years with that same happy glow on the outside, but with a blackness on the inside. No one sees it, no one knows. Her dark days come when she’s least expecting them, making her mask ever stronger for the coming attacks. She wants help; she wants someone to see through her shell and into her being, but no one can and she’s afraid to look for the help she so desperately needs. She doesn’t want to be “that girl” who needs medication to be happy, or be shamed for her harmful thoughts of prematurely calling on death.
It’s Monday, and another dark day for her. They seem to be coming more often as of late. She gets up, pulls on the mask, and prepares for another long day of school and struggles no one will ever see. She walks down the crowded halls, smiling at every passer-by until she reaches her locker. That’s when she sees him, a boy with pale skin and knowing eyes. She’s sure she has never seen him around before. Suddenly she hears her best friend Chelsea’s harsh voice in her ear,
“What do you mean?” she answers, a little startled at Chelsea’s silent approach.
“The new kid you were just staring at. I’ve heard his name is Ronan. Just moved here from Ireland – I think. I thought he would be cool, but I’ve talked to him and he’s a total jerk! Totally a waste of breath! Oh well, what can you do? Anyway, better get to class. See you at lunch!” and with that, Chelsea makes her way into the science lab.
Chelsea was always bursting with energy and told it how she saw it. She could be a bit overpowering at times, but that’s just what Rayna needed. She felt like she could hide behind Chelsea’s huge presence if her mask was ever to waver.
Rayna realized the bell was about to ring and the only way to get to her English class was to pass by the new kid who was still staring. She collected her books from her locker, and clutching them tightly to her, made her way to class, trying desperately not to make eye contact with the new guy – Ronan. There was something about his eyes that she didn’t quite like…a knowing gaze she had never had to face before.
She was almost to him. She could make it, no big deal. That’s when his arm reached out and caught hers. The books in her grasp went tumbling to the floor after her hold was loosened in her shock. The bell had rung and the halls were clear; there was no one to save her if she should need them. She searched herself and found the courage to look into his face. Once her pale blue eyes meet his fierce green ones, he started speaking to her. Rayna had expected his voice to be as fierce and demanding as his eyes. Instead she was surprised to find it calm and controlled, laden with that becoming Irish accent.
Then she realized what he was saying.
“I see what it is like on the inside. You don’t need to hide it from me. I’m Ronan. Sorry for freaking you out with my staring…that’s one of my habits I can’t seem to break because I can’t seem to realize when it’s happnin’. I can help you. I know what’s really going on inside.”