Rayan Nicholas Hale
An anthropology professor with keen insight towards the supernatural
Rayan is 5’10" with dark hair and eyes that take after his mother. He often wears outfits very stereotypical with a professor – jeans with jacket and so on. The most noticeable thing about him are the dark glasses he almost always wears. The accident scarred him quite literally – although his eyes were saved, he had moderate scaring in his left eye and severe scaring in his right. If he removes his glasses the damage is obvious. Opaque lines of white cross over a good portion of his right eye. Although the extent of the damage is not easily seen, at least one of these lines partially cover his iris. A single line crosses diagonally on his right eye above the iris and is only noticed with close inspection. Some scarring can also be seen around the base and top of his eye socket, although much of this has largely faded.
See more about Rayan’s Horror HERE
Rayan Hale was born and raised in Seattle. His father an American lawyer and his mother an Egyptian doctor, he had all the privilege one would expect in suburban upper middle-class America. He did well enough in school to be accepted to Washington University where he studied biology and was firmly on the pre-med track.
Despite his success in school, Rayan was frustrated at how difficult it was to make friends. His father seemed to always to say the right things to people – his dad is great at reading people and is a proficient social chameleon, loved by everyone. Rayan was less so. He looked to emulate his father but found people difficult to read in general, with Rayan lost in all of the possibilities of what they could be really thinking or really want.
He did have his share of friends, but was irritated by what he saw as cliques and clubs built off of connections that simply did not come naturally. His attempts to fit in, even when successfully, simply felt fake.
Rayan’s frustrations evolved in to nightmares with a similar theme;
__It’s always the same, more or less. I’m in a bar with booths around the periphery and stools against the circular central front bar. It’s a busy night, and the bar is crowded with people I know, or I knew – friends – family – everyone alongside others I don’t recognize. It’s loud and it’s hard to make out what anyone is saying, no matter how intently I listen. The words are all jumbled.
I approach a friend, tap them on the shoulder. They turn, and the look is not one of recognition – it’s revulsion. shock. I feel hot. The back of my scalp is itchy, and I scratch it. The skin and hair feel weird – warm, wet – pulsing. I stagger backwards, looking around frantically. Most still continue their conversations, oblivious. I look for an exit – but there is none. I find a door to the restroom. It’s something. I retreat through it.
It’s quiet in the bathroom. It’s small, dark. A single bulb hums and flickers aboves – throwing strange shadows across the small room. It’s warm,. There is a single mirror over a sink, it’s completely fogged over. I walk over, wash my hands – the water is cool, but my skin tingles. it doesn’t feel right. I put my hands on the sink, and raise my face to the mirror. I can almost see myself, obscured by the fog. I can sense it – it’s calling me to look. I reach to wipe the moisture away, but instinctively I stop. I don’t want to see. I can’t see.
I retreat from the mirror. I won’t look. I open the door back to bar and step out. The door closes behind me. Everyone is looking at me now. Staring, pointing. laughing. I turn to retreat back to the bathroom, but the door is gone. I feel warm and itchy all over, my skin feels tight. I rub my arms, and it feels like my skin is sloughing right off my arm, like a latex glove coming off. I look down in horror –
And I wake.
Often he woke up sweating, and occasionally he woke on the bathroom floor – sleepwalking in the night.
Despite the nightmares, his grades did not suffer. He was more focused on understanding the human condition and why people acted or said the things they did and that drove him to excel in his classwork. He became a TA and was strongly recommended for the medical program. He was, however, increasingly convinced that the answers he was looking for were not in modern medicine and began to explore religion, history, and mysticism to understand how people related to each other.
All the while, the dreams continued. Ignoring his gut, he was accepted to and attended medical school, but the time would be brief. The nightmares continued – Not only did he awaken to sweats and in new places, but sometimes he woke screaming. His roommates tried to get him help, but there was little that could be done at the university medical center and Rayan slept less and less, the dreams more and more frequent. Normally fairly personable, he became increasingly moody.
He withdrew from medical school, switching his studies to anthropology. He had all but given up on understanding people – he had learned everything he could of how to talk, why to talk, and what to say, but it did not matter. He could ‘fake’ it pretty well, but it did not seem right. It seemed to him as if the whole process was unnatural, no one was who they really were. He flourished on his own, researching obscure anthropological links of humanity and the bizarre, such as mysticism, the occult, witchcraft, and the supernatural.
He excelled at his work and was well recognized, most notably after publishing a thesis on the link between Egyptian religious occultism that linked the decline of their influence and practice to the decline of the civilization as a whole. It was well received in academic circles and he received several job offers after his graduation, accepting a research position at UFT.
His first year has been rocky. Rayan took the position largely to continue study into the unknown, and despite being relatively fluent in how people work and able to carry himself pretty well at social events, teaching was not something he expected for himself! All the same, he’s a reasonably fair teacher, and probably easier than most. He limited his actual teaching to a few mandatory courses of Anthropology 101 and special topic classes that were in his wheelhouse. All the same, he has been responsible for dealing with people much more than he has in the past and much more than he’s comfortable with. He can keep up the façade, but for how long?
Outside of work he keeps to himself with few friends in this new city (although he has been forced in to more than a few friendships with the faculty at work and thus does all obligatory social events) but no one has really gotten that close.
He does spend several hours a week at the burn ward at a major hospital.. To some he converses, and others he just sits, providing quiet companionship. These folks are the forgotten, left behind by a world that cannot handle their hideousness.
Some can never acclimate to their new reality, but Rayan finds that those who do are very refreshing – they are not held back by all the constraints and rules of society.
Often it only takes what he can readily offer – an open ear – to help them move beyond their scars to allow them to heal. He feels more at his element where both he and the people he talks with can talk openly and without judgment. The staff know him all well and by name and appreciates the time he spends there.
All that said, a car crash victim has piqued his interest in a way that is confusing and intoxicating. He is not really sure what is special about this broken, damaged girl – but something draws his interest, and once he is interested, he is not quick to let go. For a long time she was not even conscious, and even now surgeries and medication mean she is often in pain, overly medicated, or asleep. He does his best, often just sitting there as he does with many others – making occasional small talk in her waking hours and becoming fast friends. She is depressed, realizing something is not quite right with her husband but not sure what. She feels abandoned by her friends and destroyed by the severe burns across her body. She has no idea how she will recover. Still Rayan feels oddly liberated when talking to her, and has done his best to maintain her spirits during her recovery, all the while being unusually open about his own life and experiences. He feels at ease with her, and she is the one person that knows the contents of the nightmares.
It was almost by accident that he overheard Stan on the phone with his father – making plans for a lawsuit against his injured wife while she lay in painful sleep just beyond a door. Of course, what could the young professor do about it? Warn her? Would she even listen?
It was that night that the dream came back – worse than ever before.
__The dream is the same. The bar, the people. The bathroom. The room is darker, only illuminated by the occasional flicker of the single bulb dangling from above. I wash my hands, and rest them on the sides of the sink. I can sense my reflection beyond the foggy mirror, within the darkness. I can sense it calling me – daring me. I wipe the fog away, and again I stop. No – I won’t. I can’t look. I step backwards, I retreat for the comfort of the door – the bar – the laughter. It’s different. I stop in the doorway. She’s there, in a booth across the way. I realize now she’s never been here before, never in the bar at all. Never ignoring, never judging. Everyone I’ve known was here… but never her. Partially obstructed, she’s talking to someone, their back is turned to me. she looks vibrant,alive, happy. She looks up. She notices me. She does not laugh, she smiles. It’s a deep smile. A familiar smile. I can see her scars are gone. She flicks her hair back and the smile widens and she mouths something. “Go Ahead”
I feel silly. Why am I so afraid? I step back to the bathroom and she gives a final nod, returning to her conversation. I turn to the mirror… and I finally see.__