The morning sun shone its beams down on the world, warming the ground and driving away the cold that night had brought. The rays slipped through shadows, onto lush grass and lakes of fresh, clear water, painting the world gold.
To Riarl, the sun’s light was her alarm clock.
The light crept into her room from her window and perched itself on her face, causing her to stir from her slumber. Riarl opened her eyes, revealing plain brown irises, and slipped out of the room into the hall. She tiptoed past her mirror, trying desperately to avoid her reflection, but alas, she broke her vow and stared into her own eyes.
She did this every morning.
It didn’t matter how much she told herself not to look, she always did, and what she saw disgusted her.
Never had she hated anyone’s image as much as her own.
All she could see were imperfections: eyes too plain, lips too thin, lashes too short, chest too flat, the list went on.
Riarl would spend a solid hour on just hating herself every morning, and only when she felt properly judged would she dress and groom herself. She trudged downstairs to the kitchen, where she painstakingly made herself a bowl of cereal. She nibbled slowly as her mother and father came in and greeted her.
Riarl’s parents were office workers, so they often left Riarl at home by herself. They did their best to encourage her to interact with other people, and even went so far as to secure her both a boyfriend and a best friend. Little did they know that the boyfriend was snobbish and judged Riarl almost as harshly as she judged herself, and that the best friend was more than eager to ditch her for more active socialites.
After their breakfasts, Riarl’s parents bid her goodbye and offered to call someone to spend the day with her.
Riarl quickly declined.
She continued sitting at the kitchen table with her bowl of half-eaten cereal long after her parents had departed, and only when she was certain that they were gone, did she retreat back into her room. There, she moved quickly to her computer and turned it on. She watched earnestly as the screen flickered to life, initiation codes engaging inside the computer. Once the computer had been turned on, Riarl hesitantly tapped a singular button on her keyboard. An image flickered into being on the screen.
It was a girl with a perfectly symmetrical face and fine features.
Even though she had not seen this person before, Riarl instantly recognized her. She grinned, and the image smiled back at her. Riarl whispered to herself,