Skirting the Mind
A glimpse into the mind of Tori Raiden

Tori walked the halls of the school, her strides confident, her face grim, emotionless, and unwavering. It was after hours, and the students had mostly departed, leaving her with only a few others in the locker-lined passages. She listened to the pleasant melody of her jingling bracelets and earrings, imperfectly harmonizing with the click of her black leather ankle boots on the tiled floor and the occasional bang of a shutting locker. It was about half an hour after school had let out for the day, and the teachers and students both had almost all left, but for some reason Tori had no intention of doing the same.
Absentmindedly, she reached for her pocket, but frowned when she realized that she had worn a slim black skirt today--not her jeans. She wondered how she could've even mistaken the two, since the skirt was open at the sides, making it all too obvious with every step exactly what she wore. So instead she reached up, with the same hand, to ruffle the deep jade dragon glittered on and strewn across her black top, and adjusted the long, tight sleeves. She shuddered slightly, unfamiliar with the touch of the fancy blouse and skirt--Tori usually wore jeans and shirts, black, silver, deep greens, other dark colors, always casual but in the same instant looking just slightly sophisticated. She didn't wear dresses or skirts or blouses, she never dressed up like the other girls did--and if it weren't for the fact that all her casual wear was in the laundry, she wouldn't be doing so today, either. She didn't like to do that and, contrary to the effect she expected, it seemed to appeal to the immature high school boys she was so often surrounded by. Tori didn't even give a second thought to a long stare or a quick, sneaky glance anymore. Now it was quite the ordinary, and she was rather embarrassed to admit that she didn't mind very much, though she wondered why it was that they took an interest in the pale, sinister-looking girl in black.
In this way, Tori guessed, she kept them curious, kept them wondering. Purposely? Perhaps. At times she became very subtly flaunty of her unconventional aura of mystery, but overall it was the way she had always been. It wasn't her fault, she couldn't help it, even if she did rather like it. The sly, even sometimes perverted grin of Mister Popular, the curious look of puzzlement and admiration from someone across the room, the soft and shy, but wistfully compelled gaze of the quiet boy in the corner--it was even exciting. She could have anyone she wanted...if it wasn't for the curse, anyway.
Oh, and how she loathed that curse! It was a terrible fate to have a demonic father, one who killed her mother when she was but four years old. Not to be seen again, the evil menace underwent a transformation into a thousand snakes to slither away amongst a chorus of serpentine hissing. On her own ever since, Tori had fared well--too well. She sometimes wondered how she managed to handle getting the right amounts of food and having enough clothes and money to survive, as well as other factors, like educating herself at the same time. And even as all this was a burden on her shoulders, she had the armor.
It made her life so difficult. The armor channeled her powers of lightning, it enabled her to destroy demons of the world her father had emerged from, yes--and it ruined any life she may have otherwise had. The need to fight off Satanic creatures took up all the time she could ever have had for normalcy, and without a family, almost perpetually without friends, and without much formal schooling, Tori was inferior to the world in which she lived. She was a half-breed--a demon and a human in one--with powers that even she did not fully understand, and with nothing that constituted a familiar life that another person could relate to. And as long as she was a demon--her entire life--nothing would get easier, and nothing would change. And still her status was pleasurable. And she did not live in poverty... And she was not ignorant. And that in itself was terrifying.
It was terrifying because she didn't know why. Was it God who was protecting her? or was it the demons? Tori could not know. If it were the demons...then why would they be helping her? She dreaded the thought. It would be better for her to die than for them to help her. What if they finally won her over, what if they at last obtained her armor? What would become of the world?
Tori fought back a shudder, in case someone in this near-deserted hallway happened to see her. Every thought racked her mind, and every emotion tore at her heart--she was so tired of thinking, so tired of wondering about what, when, and why! Yet she could not stop, no matter how she tried, and the burden was heavy. Frustration crowded her from all sides, and Tori suddenly felt claustrophobic in the tight, unrelenting grasp of hopeless confusion. It was all she could do to keep from screaming as all her thoughts rushed back to her mind at once in a tsunami of mortifying pain. She realized once again, as she had found so many times before, that her greatest enemy was herself.
"Excuse me!" Tori heard someone call from the further end of the corridor. She turned around, her eyes narrowed in a glare, and tensed her muscles. She relaxed and let her rigid hands drop to her sides calmly when she realized it was only a school administrator. "Excuse me, but it's Friday--we're closing up early today for the janitors. You'll need to leave shortly." Tori glanced at her watch. It had gotten late, almost to 4:30. Upset due to her own thoughts, Tori did not speak. She only nodded, and turned for the nearest door, swinging it wide open and leaving with a puzzled expression the unknown woman who had bid her depart.

Author's Notes: These are just completely random thoughts set in Tori's point of view. Some of this actually refers to my own life and my own unanswerable questions, but a great deal of it is purely fictional (most of the time those parts are obvious--my father is actually rather nice, and annoyingly so, by the way, lol). In the end, Tori was basically modeled after me, so that makes sense. Ah, well, anyway, this is just another infamous Tori story--review if you like. I hope you enjoyed reading! ~MJ