It’s hard living as a supernatural freak among normals. The light of a person, letting me know if they are dangerous or not, assaulting my eyes, giving me migraines. No one around me was dangerous. Everyone was a 1 at most, unless they held a could-be weapon, then maybe a four. Who cares if the nerd who spends all his time in the lab is a solid 2? Or Elena, my best friend and co-cheer-captain, sometimes makes it past a 1? This useless ability I’ve had as long as I can remember is infuriating.
When I look at someone, there’s this glow, this color that outlines them, and the stronger it is, the more dangerous they are. It doesn’t do anything, just revels that they are or aren’t dangerous. It’s white in color usually, but if it’s super strong, like with Bonnie’s grandma, it takes on a yellowish hue. And because of it, I live with a constant headache. A one, which is most people, barely jumps away from their skin, like its hugging them. It’s not enough to kill me or inflict true pain, but it was annoying and always caused a headache to rest in my temples, especially when I spend my weeks in classes and the halls with my peers roaming around, constant pings of light bouncing off people, something only I can see.
I close my eyes and lean my head against the locker next to Elena’s. Elena and Bonnie both know about the glow, as does my mom. To me, Elena was a special friend because her danger level was a zero. She had no light, except when she was cheerleading, then maybe she would hit a one. She was as peaceful as they come, brought up with loving parents and a care-free brother who flocked to the emo crowd. “Here comes Bonnie,” Elena says, closing her locker softly and a smile plays on my lips as I think of Bonnie. Our cute friend, who reminds me of a puppy, always running back to us with news, like a dog with a bone. I hear her feet before her voice.
“Guys!!” Bonnie comes running up to us, heading out from the office of the school where she works as an office aid for one period instead taking a math-based class. Bonnie’s glow is not like everyone else’s, as she is from a witch family, so she is a strong three. Her glows is also different. It stands out a bit more and it’s like a small back light is behind her.
“What’s up?” Bonnie's excitement returns as Elena pushes her for answers on the latest gossip that has her smiling. I push myself of the locker wall and stand straight, joining in the conversation.
“They hired a new art teacher,” she says, excitement all over her face. “He’s British and completely hot.” Elena laughs, the future nurse doesn’t do art. She’s more likely to dabble in writing and plus, she has a boyfriend: quarterback and future president material, Stefan Salvatore. She doesn’t care about any eye candy wandering through these halls. But Bonnie’s single status since Jeremy broke up with her last year and the travesty the happened with Tyler a few months ago…
“Some eye candy could be nice,” I laugh, meeting Bonnie’s eyes, forcing myself to look past the glow. It wasn’t that it was super strong, it was just annoying because it always go in my vision, always trying to distract with every movement she made, because it was all over people, not just the outline, but like, if Bonnie moved, the glow followed her, like itty-bitty glitter pieces embedded in the skin that only my eyes could pick up—like Edward from Twilight, though not as cringey.
“Isn’t there some way to dim it?” She asks me, her voice concerned and her eyes worried, noticing the crinkle in my brow. Maybe all the glows in the hallways were starting to wear me down for the day. I was tired, more so than usual after yesterday’s practice and honestly, I hadn’t slept very well, so my defense was down.
I shake my head and massage my temples, looking away from my best friend. “So where is Mr. Eye-candy?” I ask Bonnie, looking up and down the hallway, letting my hands fall to my side, changing the subject. There was no point in dwelling on something I can't fix.
Bonnie latches onto my arm as Elena just watches us in amusement, “He should be headed this way! He was finishing up his paperwork when I left the office.” We lean against the lockers while people mill around us. Elena and I will be late to practice at this point but still we wait, hoping to get a peek at who this new teacher that has Bonnie on the edge of her seat could be.
I feel like a stalker almost and it reminds me of our freshman year when Stefan came to town and we all lined up to try to get a peek at him. I laugh at the memory as it was Elena who succeeded in winning his heart and not me, but I got over it with the help of Matt and then when that fizzled out because he had to focus on his family, aka: his addict sister who almost got Jeremy into a lot of trouble, my eyes found Tyler and then Hayley happened… but the memory of that moment in freshman year, and now here we are senior year, it the same spots almost.
The door to the office was glass and I kept having to blink because of the light in there. It wasn’t even close to sun set, but maybe the sun was just shining in a weird way. My eyes kept adjusting over and over, the brightness not fading. Why was the sun that bright? Was it bouncing off all the glass surfaces? And the color was off- it was too light a shade of yellow, but there was no other explanation. Ow… The light kept moving and I shielded my eyes, blocking out everything as I pressed my fingers against closed lids. “Caroline?” Elena’s voice drifted to me.
“The sun’s too bright, I can’t see anything.” I say, my head feeling like a drum solo was going on inside.
I feel Elena’s hand on my back, “Caroline, the sun isn’t shining in the office.” I open my eyes and peak out of the gap in my fingers, where the office was engulfed in light.
“Elena, I can’t even see inside of it, it’s so bright.” I close my eyes again knowing Elena was looking at me with her worried mother look.
“He coming this way!” Bonnie whispers excitedly and against the will of my body and mind, I drop my hands a bit and open my eyes. I first see him—chiseled jawline with a bit of scruff, white t-shirt, loosely hanging, and jeans with a simple belt but that’s it before my head assaults me, blaring like sirens of a ship. I grasp the sides of my head as pinpricks show in my vision, tiny black dots everywhere, until I’m positive I’ve gone blind but my head keeps banging, like 80 children are screaming for their mom. My legs buckle as I fall, my right hand catching me from face planting. I hear a ringing in my ears, sharp and shrill. My throat feels like someone rubbed it with sandpaper and I feel the stickiness of tear down my cheeks, my eyes burning as they sit in my lashes, waiting to fall. My head feels like it is being ripped apart.
I try to open my eyes again, to see what going on but I can’t do it, they won’t open—it’s like my body knows better than I do. I can’t handle this banging, the shrill noise. My arm buckles below me and I expect to crash on the tiles, hoping that my head breaks like an egg and all the pain goes away, but I feel hands catch my shoulders as my body slumps into them. Elena… must be. I think to myself as I drift out of consciousness.