The clone of a lover who eventually became a real lover
(It’s there even if you pretend not to see it)

A black sweater over a white tee, a pair of glasses with rounded frames that sat on the bridge of her nose and hair that was neatly tied to the back of her head. With her bangs parted into two in the front, it is hard to tell if they were natural or had been curled with a styling iron prior to this due to the fringes conveniently curling at the right places, yet not being too symmetrical that it may seem unnaturally perfect. She didn’t wear any necklaces, earrings or bracelets, only a white wristwatch that was draped over her slender wrist.

When she looked up, her head seemed petite, giving her a slender silhouette. With both arms on the table, she gave off a serious look, but not one the kind that would make her seem lazy.

Ah, looking down at my pastel trousers and black leather boots with one of my legs crossed on top of the other. I was right, we were indeed wearing the same kind of style.

Taking a closer look at her top again, the sweater was more like a coat with a heavy black down that was deliberately purchased in a bigger size, in order to accentuate her petite self.

She had been sitting across from me, as I was supposedly looking at a copy of “The Tenant”. Hey, I guess I’d prefer to observe others rather than read the novel I had at hand.

Suddenly, I felt another’s gaze upon myself. Turns out there was a girl behind the one sporting the cute top that had turned her head to look at me. I glared at her directly.

Whatever do you think you’re looking at? I thought to myself. Although I played it cool on the outside, I was actually, in fact, annoyed by her staring.

Currently, I was seated in the quiet study room on the third floor of the library. The book I have on hand is the one and only suspenseful novel by Roland. Looking at her book, it was currently turned to page 112.

When I reached page 67 in my book, she came to sit across from me (not directly), which made me feel curious when I thought about the reason as to why she might have done this.

Then, when the other girl had reached page 112, she turned her head to look towards me.

After she flipped to page 221, she left her seat and promptly returned soon after.

When she finished reading page 396, she packed up her laptop and printouts before leaving. But before she left, she made sure to pass by the girl who kept turning her head to look towards me, placing her hand on the other person’s shoulder. She seemed to have exchanged a few words softly as the other’s face lit up warmly.

At this point in time, I slowly began to realize that the two of them were actually acquainted with one another. This made me strangely embarrassed and I hoped that I didn’t seem too strange or lunatical when I glared at the two of them.

The library is an excellent place, well, it’s not really the best. My point being that I’ve never had the bad luck of seeing couples hugging and kissing in the more secluded corners of last row bookshelves or seen anyone doing something inappropriate. Everyone here is quiet, but I think this has more to do with the security cameras that have full view of what’s going on behind every bookshelf.

I think the library is a little weird. Sometimes, I can’t tell how much time has passed at all after staying here for a long time, especially after I accidentally doze off, just like today.

I had been focused on reading the book when a sudden drowsiness came from the back of my mind. It had been so strong that I couldn’t resist it at all and quickly fell asleep with my head laying on my arm. When I woke up, she was still sitting from across the other woman, busily tapping away on her keyboard. Of course I didn’t know what she was typing about. After all, the screen had been facing away from me.

I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but every time I wake up, I feel that my memory will somehow become a little convoluted or jumbled up, but it’s not too important. For instance, I can’t seem to remember whether I had fallen asleep before or after I caught her friend staring at me. I don’t remember what day of the week it was either… (Well, maybe everyone has got this same question in their mind).

I mean, it puzzles me sometimes, but it’s not that big of a deal right? I don’t suppose it would affect my everyday life. Every. One. Has. Got. Some. Bzz. Problems… Bzz. “Beep—:

“Warning! Warning! Abnormal readings detected, researcher No. 0245. Please refresh the data, please refresh the data, please-”

The sound alarm was abruptly turned off by the host, causing only silence to reverberate throughout the room.

A man with a haggard face in a lab coat took off his glasses that flashed with a faint blue light. Leaning against the device, he muttered to himself, “… how long more will it take…”

There was an ID card pinned on the man’s coat which read “Researcher No. 0245” that came with a photo of a soulful young man.

 


T/L notes: The book that the author made a reference to is indeed a bona-fide one by a French writer by the name of Roland Topor. I believe it was translated into English and adapted into a psychological-thriller and horror film. If you look up some of his other works, jeez are they disturbing… sure gave me a scare at 4 am in the morning. His novel explores the idea of alienation and identity, which this short story often alludes to as Tan Yunxiao, our main character finds out more about his origins.

Not gonna lie, chapter zero feels a little out-of-place, but the story picks up and starts to make more sense in the next. As always, thanks for reading ^^

Btw, if you like show-biz and 1 flirty seme, do check out my friend’s translation of Perfection here <3

Consider liking the writer’s work or buying a kofi for me <3
https://ko-fi.com/hoenibean