Working Title: Chapter 0

“Who are you?” I asked the man in front of me.

He was sleeping a while ago on my bed in my hotel room. The strange thing is, I was the first one lying there. I just went to the bathroom and got out within seconds. At first I was surprised. The only source of light that was open at that time would be the lamp on top of the table next to the bed. I thought he was a ghost, thief, or a serial killer or something. but as I approached him, he was just sleeping soundly. I thought he was just another guest and we have the same room key. Damn, why would the concierge do something so reckless? Come on, I just wanted a break from my usual studies. I mean, the semestral break is a really short one and I don’t want a minute wasted on these predicaments. Anyway, I have to wake him up so I did.

“What the hell?! What are you doing here?!” He exclaimed. “This is my room! Are you part of the housekeeping? I just put on my doorknob that I do not want to be disturbed!”

“Hey! You’re the intruder here! Look! Here’s my room key!” I blurted out as I wave out my key.

“What the…The concierge said that this room is vacant! Here’s my key!” He said as he is showing his key which is the same as mine.

Then it is the fault of the staff. We have the same hotel room.

It looks as well that he’s not lying. His reaction is rather genuine. Well, seeing him in pajamas is rather unsettling for me to think of him as a thief. Well, I never thought I would see a person, if I would estimate, at the age of 30 would even wear one. But because of this dim lighting, I still cannot see clearly the face of this intruder. Although it’s a good thing we didn’t end up in a brawl of some sort. Well, not yet.

Wait, I noticed something. He has this weird mark on his right pinky. It looks like a small gash that healed. That’s kinda funny since I have almost the same mark as well but a birthmark. What are the odds?

“Did you cut yourself?” I segued.

“What are you…oh this?” He asked as he showed me his right pinky. “No, I didn’t. It’s a birthmark.”

We have the same birthmark? Intriguing. I was beginning to ponder on this when he was about to take my watch on top of the table.

“Hey! That’s my watch! You are a thief!” I exclaimed.

“Impossible! This is mine! My father gave this to me!” He answered.

That watch is a wristwatch that my father gave me as a gift. It is sentimental to me because it’s the last thing that he gave me. I hated myself because it has a crack on its glass on the side for I didn’t took care of it too much until the incident happened. Thus, I still wear it even if it has a crack. Even if it doesn’t tell time for a long time.

Wait, did he just said that his father gave that watch to him?

“This watch doesn’t tell time anymore. It even has a crack. But it is still of great value to me. So I think you’re gravely mistaken if you think that this is your watch. I should turn on the lights for you to see clearly.” He explained as he walks towards the switch near the door.

Without thinking of any further notions. I rushed myself ahead of him to the switch and turned it on myself.

I looked back at this man. And there I cannot believe my eyes.

“Who…who are you?!” I cried out.

The man in front of me is shocked as well with his jaws dropping. If this would be a cliché movie, one of us would faint by now. I mean I cannot blame him. He looks like me but about 10 years older! The same face.
His nose
His eyes.
His hair. Well, if this is what I think it is, then it’s a good thing I’m still not bald on my 30s.
We even have the same hairy mole on the top part of our left cheek aligned to my left ear.

I still cannot believe this. And I think he is as well. I mean, he’s still staring at me with his mouth open.

I thought of something that might still prove me wrong. I rushed on his back side and strike his lower back with my hand.

“Argh! What the hell?! I have a back problem, you idiot!” He angrily said as he was massaging his back to somewhat alleviate the pain.

“I didn’t know.” I said as I was phishing for something.

“I got this when I was a kid when I was on my neighbor’s backyard and there was this…” He explained and I cut in,

“…hammock that you decided to swing on it and then it snapped which made you fall on your back. You were scared for a minute there because your brain didn’t know how to breathe. Eventually you were okay, but your back aches ever since when you stress it too much.”

I finished his sentence without pause. And there he goes again with his dumbfounded face. I cannot blame him. But I still want to believe that this is just mere coincidence. That we have the same birthmark, same mole, same back problem, and same…sentimental watch.

Who am I kidding?

“WHO ARE YOU?!” I shouted at him as I grabbed his collar. I didn’t care if he’s older than me. If this is just a sick joke then I will not forgive him.

He brushed me off easily and told me, “I’m Maxwell!”

“THIS ISN’T FUNNY!” I shouted once more.

“Look. Shouting won’t solve anything. And I cannot believe this as well. So I would suggest that we keep calm and think this through.” He calmly answered.

“Okay. Where should we start?” I asked.

“Might as well go to the receptionist.” He answered.

“Okay…Ow! What gives?!” I cried out as I was leading towards the exit when I felt his palm hit my lower back.

“That’s for payback! No one must be ahead of Maxwell, the anthropologist!” He proudly exclaims as he went out of the room in a triumphant manner.

I don’t know what’s funnier:

The fact that this is actually happening, as cliché-ish as it may be, but the two of us are still handling this fine.


The fact that a couple of years ago, I wanted to shift courses to Anthropology but I didn’t.

As I headed towards the door, I heard a flushing sound coming from the bathroom. This, I am sure of, cannot happen since no one came inside this room during the confrontation of the two of us.

Following it was the opening of the bathroom door.

And there he was.

“Now this…is unsettlingly interesting.” I told myself.


Repair Shop

We are back again I see.

Yeah. It’s getting worse and worse.

No worries. Let me do that for you…Oh my. This is worse.

My apologies my friend. It has been harder for me to take care of it.


What is it? You cannot repair it?

Not exactly…but you do realize repairing these reopened cracks and hinges again and again can do so little as time goes by.

I don’t mind paying you every single time my friend…or are you getting tired?

No. Not at all. It’s my job after all.

Then what’s with this seemingly possible look of hesitation from you?

You don’t have to wear this thing all the time! You can freely be yo…

WE ALREADY HAVE DISCUSSED THIS! You already know I cannot do that! They must not know!

You only think that they do not want to know! They are actually tryi…

I don’t want them to. They…must not know. They think of great things of me wearing THAT thing.

Well. Okay then. I’ll repair this again. But I’m telling you, you need to at least show them what’s behind THAT thing.

We’ve been through this my dear friend. They must not know. I mean, why would they waste their time knowing about me?

Because they want to. And if you’re not seeing that they really want to. Then i should make these two holes right here wider. Haha.

You’re such a joker. You don’t have to do that to me. I’ll always be your number one customer. Haha.

There. All done.

Good! Now let me get my wallet…Here. Thanks again my friend!

With pleasure. Say…

What is it?

Have you ever thought about it though?

What is?

That someone might actually strive to completely remove and destroy that thing?

I’m pretty sure everyone is curious about me.

It’s not that they are curious. They think they might already know who you really are. And they want that thing to be removed.

Why would they?

I think it is because they look at that thing as a cage of some sort.

Enough with your jests, my friend. You and your metaphors…

Do you think that you’re trapped?

Excuse me?

Do you think that you are locking yourself away from your own ideals? Are you trapped and hoping that someone sets you free?

It isn’t a cage. That’s why I always come here for repair every time it’s worn out.

You know. Eventually, I might not be here for your repairing needs.

Then I’ll do it myself.

We both know you can’t and don’t want to! That’s why you’re coming here for me to do it!

Goodbye, my friend.

You forgot something.


Your repaired mask.