An Inaudible Chorus of Howls

Anxiety (1894) by Edvard Munch

Anxiety (1894) by Edvard Munch

Robin woke up from a five-year slumber in the body normally occupied by its host personality, a cold and strait-laced company director who swore that he would have killed him had they not been one and the same person. As an alter that formed part of their dissociative identity disorder though, he was a bubbly and free-spirited webtoon artist who went to great lengths to rescue people the host personality abandoned or would have abandoned. Exhilarated at his reawakening, he took a deep breath of the air for the first time in years, revisited the spaces and memories he left behind, and learnt that his webtoon was picked up for a drama adaptation during his absence. Then, he saw his (and the host personality’s) kindly mother and quickened his steps towards her in delight, but she, having caught news about his re-emergence, shuddered at the sight of him and took a step backwards half-apologetically instead, such that he could only stop in his tracks and greet her silently with a resigned bow. His father, whom he met next, was blunter, stating that he was not his son, his son’s twin or even the “Robin” he called himself but a mere parasite and illusion created by his true son. Throwing a bottle of pills at Robin, he ordered him to lie down as if he were dead and sleep it off.

For several nights to come, Robin strung together a blithe but tenuous life from post-evening hours begrudgingly allocated to him by the host personality, not seeing the daylight, not having a real name or identification, not being able to share his personal background freely, not comprehending the psychological threat looming ahead of him and not knowing whether he would ever wake up as himself again when he lay down to sleep. In this mirage-like existence, the one thing that kept him feeling real and alive was his palpable love for a girl.

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