Hori went on,” You know that in all tombs there is always a false door?”
Renisenb stared. “Yes, of course.”
“Well, people are like that to. They create a false door to deceive. If they are conscious of a weakness, of inefficiency, they make an imposing door of self-assertion, of bluster, of overwhelming authority – and, after a time, they get to believe in it themselves. They think, and everybody thinks, that they are like that. But behind that door, Renisenb, is bare rock …”
Extract from Death Comes As the End, Agatha Christie
He stared at his cold reflection; brazen, obdurate, unyielding.
Nothing was remotely soft about his remarkably waxen face. His mouth curved in an arrogant sneer, was dipped with a chilling menace. A definite glint of denial gleamed from the corner of his eyes; the curves of his face, firm and taut in a strange malevolence were disconcerting to watch – his entire demeanor enwrapped in shrouds of dark misery.
But there was something amiss: something out of place in the carefully-crafted masquerade.
He cast a nervous glance around; afraid that people might see him in his greatest moment of vulnerability – the moment when he laid bare all the sheaths of rage and defiance with which he had so deftly covered himself.
There was no one here. No one but him. Accompanied by no one but the stubborn reflection that refused to look away. There was no need of a facade anymore. The cocoon in whose depths he ensconced safely, whenever he stepped outside, was of little use now.
Assured that nobody lurked in the womb of the insidious shadows, he ripped apart the foremost sheath of cruelty; revealing his genteel frame.
Then came the turn of the sheath of arrogance; slashing it apart, the sneer transformed into a genuine smile.
Sheath of malevolence came next; and was torn apart into wisps, unveiling a quivering jawline.
With adrenaline gushing through his blood, he kept tearing apart the sheaths, until he reached the last and the most profound: the sheath of denial, the one sheath most deeply placed in the nadirs of his soul – and that too was cleaved apart, leaving behind a pleasant murkiness in the eyes that had till then gleamed only in defiance.
The mask had been shredded into a mass of meaningless lacerated sheaths. The facade was gone; and he stood there, in front of his reflection – the nakedness of his soul more evident than ever. Susceptible and hunted, as he felt that moment, however could not alleviate the bliss of identity that had jolted his veins. This was him; the real him.
Minutes ticked away; but his gaze never wavered from the reflection, hungrily feasting on his true identity.
The cell phone rang.
He flinched; as the charm of the moment was broken.
He picked up the phone and glancing perfunctorily at the caller ID, which read “Just Another Hypocrite from the Outside World,” – said, “Hello” in a dead voice.
After listening for a few minutes, he muttered blankly,” Yes, I’ll be there,” and ended the call. He had just been pitched back into the brutal nothingness of the world outside; to once again don a mask and join that mammoth masquerade ball, affectionately called as world. Numb, he stared dumbly at his true identity – flimsy it seemed; shaky, trembling, one that could easily be browbeaten.
It was a choice; a choice with no difficult answer – either to go with his true identity and get hurled around or to resume the facade and hurl other people around.
He did not hesitate.
And, crouching on the cold floor, he painfully began to collect the shards of the mask that he had broken apart so joyously in that rare moment of rebellion – and now, that the tempting moment had been brought to an end, he chose to blotch his identity once again and start to put back together the farce with which he had deceived many.
Pictures are shots taken from the anime, Requiem for the Phantom.