I Exist

in The Ink Well2 months ago (edited)

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Gladys smiled as she looked at her boyfriend, Andrew. They were opposites. She was the typical popular girl on campus known for her beauty and kindness. Her naturally long and curly lashes protected her expressive round eyes. Her button nose matched her diamond-shaped face.

Andrew was the silent geek no one paid attention to. His chinky eyes were always hidden under a pair of thick eyeglasses. He was a typical introvert who would only share his personal space with special people, like his girlfriend, and their dog, Pauli, a Pomeranian.

She was sitting on the table munching on her favorite sugar-coated peanuts while he was working on his project.

"Stop staring at me," Andrew said. "You're making me feel uncomfortable."

She chuckled. "Why? I'm just thinking how lucky I am to be your girl." She cuddled Pauli when the dog jumped on her lap. "Right, Pauli? Let's just hope my words won't get into your papa's head."

The dog barked as if she understood the question and agreed to what she said.

He was an austere person who wasn't into fancy clothes and material things. Hanging out in a club or any expensive place wasn't his cup of tea. He was independent and very dependable which gave off the aura of being responsible and capable; intelligent and street-smart.

"I'm sure those words won't contaminate my ego. Now, off you go. It's already late. I bet you have something to study for tomorrow," he said.

"Fine. Can I bring Pauli to my unit?"

Andrew gave her an approving look and nodded without saying anything.

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Andrew and Gladys had been in a relationship for three years. Their meeting could be one of those coincidences in most romance novels because they already liked each other before finding out that they were living on the same floor of a condominium. Their units were next to each other.

That was why they could visit each other whenever they wanted.

Some of their common friends would say that they were a match made of heaven and that they were destined for each other. And so, they bought a pet to see if they would make good fur-parents. Doing such, they believed, would prepare them for real parenthood.

But, their relationship was just like any other relationship... full of surprises. And Gladys wasn't prepared for it.

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It was a Saturday morning when she knocked on Andrew's unit. They were to have a movie marathon, as they planned the night before since they didn't have classes.

The door creaked open, revealing a tattoed arm, and the room reeked with the stench of alcohol and vomit.

"Oh! Hi, Gladys!" the man said. He yawned, dropping the unlit cigarette on the floor.

"Who are you?!"

She scanned the man's face. He looked exactly like Andrew, but he was his opposite.

The man standing in front of her was messy. His hair was unkempt; he smelled like he hadn't washed the night before. What surprised her more was the number of tattoos on his neck, shoulder, and chest which were made visible because he was topless.

"I'm Andrei. Andrew's twin. By the way, he isn't here. He went out for a walk."

"He did? I didn't know Andrew had a twin." Gladys was confused. She knew that Andrew no longer had parents. And he didn't have a sibling, what was more surprising, a twin!

Upon saying that, Pauli wriggled to free herself from Gladys and sniffed the man.

"Of course, you won't because he didn't tell you. Pauli! Come here, baby."

The dog barked excitedly while waggling her tail. But just as Andrei was about to hug the dog, Gladys snatched her back.

"Nope! Don't touch our dog!"

"I'm cool with it, dude. Just go back to when Andrew arrives."

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When in her unit, Gladys called her boyfriend to check on him. His phone was ringing, but he wasn't picking up.

After some time, she received a call from Andrew.

"Where are you, love?" he asked. "I thought we'd have a movie marathon?"

"I dropped by earlier, but your twin brother said you went out."

"Twin brother?" Andrew laughed. "Is this a prank?"

"Shouldn't I be asking you that? What has gotten in your head, wearing tattoos?"

"I don't have those. I hate them. Now, can you come over so we can talk?"
**

When Gladys went back to Andrew's unit, the smell of alcohol was gone. Everything was back to normal as if nothing weird had happened.

"Is this a joke? Because if it is, it's not funny," Gladys told herself. "Or is Andrew ashamed to have a twin like Andrei? I can't blame him if it's his reason."

**
The incident of Andrei's appearance had been a bit frequent, but Andrew would always deny having a twin. Because of this, Gladys grew anxious about what was happening.

"Your boyfriend might be experiencing split personality," the psychiatrist said.

Gladys decided to consult professional help to prevent worse things from happening.

"It happens that the host, which in this case, your boyfriend, may not be aware of the existence of his alter. You have to know the past events that might've triggered his brain to produce another persona."

"That would be difficult because his parents passed away a long time ago."

"I suggest you convince your boyfriend to undergo therapy, so we can start the amalgamation of his split personalities. Remember, Andrei is still Andrew. He is a fraction of your boyfriend's entire being."
**
Gladys was relieved. At least there was a solution to Dissociative Identity Disorder.

With confidence, she executed her plan. The next time she visited Andrew, another weird thing happened. It is a good thing she had her phone with her. She already knew the signs that Andrei would come out anytime that day.

"I need to check something in my room," Andrew said.

Gladys observed him walk. Normally, Andrew was swift and gliding on his slippers. But when Andrei was coming out, his steps were rigid, as if he was frozen.

"I'm coming, Gladys!"

That was her signal. Andrew NEVER called her by her name.

She clicked the video record button on and waited for Andrei to approach her.
**

The next day, she showed the video to Andrew.

"Oh, no! I'm sorry, love. I didn't know I was like this. That there are times I'm like this."

"Hush." Gladys hugged him and rubbed his back. "There's a solution to this. You just need to trust me."

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Andrew and Doctor Mendez discussed the process of merging his two personalities as one.

"You have to accept Andrei's existence because he and you are one," the doctor said. "In this process, either of you can be the dominant personality. If you want to be dominant, you have to be strong. You need to show him that you're in control of your body and that he is just a tenant. But you have to accept him as a part of you."

The medication began with hopes for the couple. But the night after their first consultation, a horrifying event happened.

"Love? I bought us Hawaiian pizza. Where are you?" Gladys called as she walked into the unit.

"And who told you that I like Hawaiian pizza?"

Gladys dropped the box when a man's calm but mad voice startled her.

"Andrei?"

"How am I not surprised that you would encourage that boring Andrew to eliminate me?"

"It's not what you think," Gladys reasoned as she attempted to take a step out. But Andrei was quick to grab her arm and pull her back in.

"Is it not?! Really?!" His grip tightened, making Gladys twitch in pain. "I don't understand why you chose Andrew over me. I'm way cooler and more adventurous than him! But you want to get rid of me! How could you?! All I want is to exist. I exist! And you can't stop my existence!"

That was the last time Gladys had seen Andrei's face-- Andrei's furious face.

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Weeks turned into months, and they graduated. Both of them landed a stable job without seeing Andrei's hair. They were happy, thinking that the dilemma had been resolved.

And so, one day, while they were on a vacation...

"Love? Pauli?"

Gladys frantically searched around the small villa they rented. It was already seven in the evening, but she hadn't seen any of the two since morning when she got up.

She walked to the dark corner of the orchid garden and broke down when she saw Pauli's unmoving body in a wheelbarrow covered in flowers.

"Gosh! Pauli!" She rushed to the poor pet. She bellowed when she carried the dog in her arms as it released a sharp but short cry.
"Andrew! Where the hell are you?! What did you do to Pauli?"

"Nothing." Andrew's voice came from behind her.

Gladys cried even more when she saw Andrew kneeling, holding a ring.

"Pauli, you can stop acting now." The dog jumped down from Gladys' arms and wagged its tail to Andrew, who turned his attention to his girlfriend again. "Love, you've been with me through thick and thin. You didn't leave me despite having this word condition. Will you marry me?"

Speechless, Gladys nodded. "Yes!"

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After a couple of months, Gladys and Andrew got married and lived in the villa where the latter proposed.

Happy ending? No!

Life was full of surprises.

Just as they thought Andrei would no longer appear, they were wrong.

"Ah!" Gladys yelled when she saw Andrew by the bedside, and Andrei standing a few inches away from her husband.

"You see him, too?"

She nodded. "How is this happening?"

Andrew shook his head. They both stared at Andrei who was staring back at them but not saying anything. Sorrow was reflected in his eyes.

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"But, Doc. Is it even possible for us to see Andrei? I thought he was already gone. I mean, we already merged," Andrew asked, not giving the doctor the chance to answer the question one at a time.

She looked at Andrew. "Seeing your alter after a treatment is just a coping mechanism. It's like you're seeing things because he is in your mind."

"If that is the case, how come my wife is seeing him too?"

"It's what we call shared psychosis. Since you are both connected to Andrei and you are living together, there's a chance that she will also see what you see."
**

After their consultation, they went home straight because Andrew's aunt was visiting them.

"Who would've thought that you would be the surviving baby in your mother's womb," Aunt Lucy said which stunned the couple.

"What do you mean?"

"Your parents didn't tell you? The first time we went to the doctor, two heartbeats were detected. We were over the moon that after waiting for how many years, your parents were going to have twins. Unfortunately, during the next few visits, only one heartbeat remained."

"I have a twin?"

"Supposedly, yes. But you absorb your twin. We call it vanishing twin syndrome. It is when the healthy fetus thrives while the weak one dies."

The couple exchanged an enigmatic look at each other.

All this time Andrei was telling the truth. They were indeed twins!

Because of that conversation, the couple understood that they were not seeing a mirage or a shared psychosis. They realized that they were seeing Andrei's ghost.

They went back to the psychiatrist the next day to tell her about their discovery, so she referred them to a paranormal expert.
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"I can't see him, but I can feel his strong presence. He is harmless," Ricardo, the paranormal expert, said. "You mentioned that you undergo amalgamation with Doctor Mendez?"

"Yes. I thought it would stop him from overtaking my body."

"And you said that he has been here since you got married?"

"Yes. We see him around the house like he also lives here."

"The treatment had blocked his passage through you, that's why you only see him because he can't communicate with you. Do you want me to channel him?"

Moments later Andrei possessed Ricardo only to say, "I want to exist with my twin. I just want to be with them, so I could watch over them."

The couple agreed not to get rid of Andrei's ghost because they realized that he wanted to be acknowledged.

"I feel sorry for my twin because he wasn't given the chance to live his life. I will not banish him on the condition that he won't bother us when we are outside the house. I don't want people to think that we are crazy."

They looked at Andrei and saw him mouth the words ' thank you.'

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For some time Andrei abided by the condition, but one day he didn't.

The couple together with Pauli were in the car going to the grocery when they saw Andrei in the back seat.

"What are you doing here? Didn't we tell you to stay home?" Andrew panicked while driving.

His twin didn't pay attention; instead, he even moved closer to them. He held the arms of the couple. His icy grip caught them by surprise until he disappeared. Then the frequency of the car radio became static, and a voice came out from it.

It was Andrei's voice. "Pull over, Andrew. Don't continue driving."

Andrew stopped, and they didn't hear Andrei's voice anymore. As they started to process what just happened, a ten-wheeler truck not far from them plowed the vehicles in front of it.

If they didn't stop, they could've been piled under the truck, along with the unfortunate cars.

Andrei saved them! They had proven that he loved them and that he even used up his ghost energy just to transmit his message.

That event strengthened their bond. Despite Andrei being a ghost, he was treated as if he wasn't dead. He had been a part of the couple's life. He even had his place to stay. He sat and laughed with them on the dining table; he also played with Pauli.

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NOTE:
All photos are created and edited using AI and Canva.

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Impressive! Your story is compelling and kept me on the edge of my seat. I didn't expect Andrei to be real. I love what you did with his character. Beautifully written! !LADY 🙂

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Thank you for allotting time to read my story. Thank you for the token 😊

Wow, @idlemind! This story is so fascinating, and has so many twists and turns. Just when we thought we had seen all of the surprises the story had to offer, there were more! The last scene is amazing and pulls the whole story together. Nicely done!

Thank you for your wonderful words :)

You kept me wanting to read more. I was glued to my screen in anticipation of what's to come. A very beautiful story you've written. I actually thought Andrei was a very violent person but it turned out he wasn't. A very touching story. I'm glad I read this
#dreemerforlife

I grateful for your time and wonderful words.

What a great story, the chemistry between Gladys, Andrew and Andrei is touching. The element of romance and suspense made your story very engaging. Well-done @idlemind .

Thank you for reading and making an extra effort by commenting. :)

Wow. I love this story. It makes me learn some words to look up online for more explanation; dissociative personality disorder and varnishing twin syndrome. Interesting plot.
I love that Andrei didn't mean any harm to them but was around to protect them from being hurt. Nice one 👍

I popped in here through #dreemport

Thank you for your time and words of appreciation.

Wow
This is indeed full of surprises and a lot.

I love how your fantasy story look realistic.

Amazing write dear.

Thank you :)

You are welcome

At the beginning, I was doubting veracity of the storyline. I need to read more about dissociative personality disorder. However, the concluding part of the story is really heartwarming. I have heard many things about ghost of people who weren't able to live roaming about. I enjoyed this story.

I popped in from #dreemport.
#dreemerforlife

I'm glad you enjoyed reading my story.

As long as this read .. I didn't want it to end lol. You are a great writer, well done. #dreemerforlife

Thank you :)

You are welcome ☺️

What a beautiful twist here with many surprises... you got me wanting more
Nice story

Thank you for dropping by :)

You are an amazing writer :) This story has me wanting more 🙌

#dreemerforlife