Once Upon a Tale — The Imposter Son

Silas had a very unhappy start to his life. Conceived out of wedlock, his biological father refused to take responsibility and abandoned them. Scared of what society would say, his mother, unwilling to abort, left her baby at the doorstep of an orphanage. The people there took him in and named him ‘Silas’ and so he was raised. As a child, Silas enjoyed his life a lot, playing with his brothers and sisters at the orphanage.  He grew up happy and carefree, unacquainted with how harsh the future would be to him.

After Silas turned 18, he left the orphanage to forge his own destiny and earn his bread. He started working in a local grocery market that didn’t pay well but was an easy job and Silas got to meet hundreds of new people every day. However, his joy was short lived. The owner of the supermarket owed a great sum of money to a landlord and had to sell to recoup his losses and just like that, Silas lost his job. He then tried many other jobs giving up when they became too hard, such as a waiter, a janitor and finally a barber. 

“Do you know there are seven people on this planet that share a resemblance?” his customer said. Silas kept quiet and ran his scissors through the customer’s hair hoping to finish quickly and be done soon. He hated chatty customers. 

“Imagine how much of your look you can change just by a haircut and a new pair of frames”, the customer exclaimed, uncaring of Silas’ silence.

“You’re done”, Silas muttered.

“I look a lot like Pierce Brosnan, don’t you think”, the customer said, ruffling his freshly chopped hair.

“Yes sir”, Silas smiled, “that will be 25 dollars.”

The guy slid 30 dollars and asked him to keep the change. Silas thanked him and quickly kept his scissors for sterilizing.

“You look like someone I’ve met before”, the customer took a glance at Silas’ face.

“Sir, I don’t think so”, Silas replied.

“I don’t know, maybe if you grew your hair a little you would look like Brad Pitt”, the customer joked and left.

It was a long and tiring day for Silas, he had many more customers than usual. As the sky turned dark, Silas finally left for his tiny home. Enjoying the evening, he decided to take a quick detour and enjoy a drink at the bar.

“My regular”, he shouted to the bartender.

“Long night?” the bartender questioned while opening a bottle of draft beer.

“And a lot of gossipy clients”, Silas took a sip.

“Tell me about it”, the bartender smiled.

The rock music playing in the background dominated the atmosphere of the bar. There was a stagnant stench of tobacco, and neon lights blinded Silas’ face. The ambience added to his intoxication. He gazed speculatively at the crowd, composed mostly of college students enjoying their youth. Silas took a big sip and wondered what he wouldn’t give to change his life.

“Do you have a lighter?” Silas’ train of thought screeched to a halt by a tender voice.

“Yeah, sure”, Silas removed a lighter from his pocket and handed it to the girl.

“Maverick?” the girl’s eyes widened in shock.

“I’m sorry?”

“Maverick, we’ve been trying to find you for 6 years now. I—” the girl broke down crying. Silas was left feeling stuck in an awkward situation.

“I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else, I am Silas, not Maverick.” He tried explaining. 

“I knew you weren’t dead. They never found your body. You always liked pranking us. I hate you so much. Where were you all this time?” The girl kept crying and rambling incoherently.

“I don’t understand what you’re saying. But I can tell you that I am not Maverick.” Silas made another futile attempt. 

“Do you really not remember anything? Remember how we used to fight for the last slice of pizza. You once put toilet cleaner in my shampoo bottle. We hid in the storeroom for hours to scare mom.”

“I am not Maverick.” Silas exclaimed, frustrated.

The girl wiped her tears and removed her phone from her expensive red leather jacket. She slid through her photos and showed him a photo of a guy that looked just like him.

“You are Maverick, and you’re coming home with me.” She resolutely asserted. 

Before Silas could say anything, the girl had grabbed him and dragged him right out of the bar.

The car ride was quiet and tense, broken by the girl’s hiccups. 

When the car stopped in front of a huge iron gate, a white mansion gleamed in the darkness behind it. Silas asked in confusion, “This is where we live?” 

“Do you really not remember anything?” the girl asked, searching his face, “I am Michelle, your younger sister.”

Silas thought this was all an elaborate prank, but then he didn’t know much about his biological family. 

The girl dragged Silas quickly through the house, searching for her parents in all the rooms. Silas kept gawking. The house was huge, it looked like it could easily accommodate 30 rooms. Huge chandeliers hung from every ceiling. There was a swimming pool inside the house. Silas felt like he was in a movie.

“Mom, Dad, guess who’s here?” Michelle screamed.

An old lady rubbing sleep out of her  eyes walked down the marble stairs. “Maverick?” she stopped in her path shocked. 

“I don’t know what’s happening”, Silas whimpered, looking scared.

The lady ran up to him and engulfed him in a tight hug. “I missed you so much”, she said and began kissing him on his forehead.

Michelle separated Silas and the lady, “mom, he doesn’t remember anything. I think the accident may have stolen his memories.”

“Maverick?” a man in his mid-50s wearing an expensive blazer exclaimed as he stepped out of a room.

“Dad, he doesn’t remember anything”, Michelle had a sad smile.

The old man went to touch Silas’ cheek but then took a step back. 

“This is not our Maverick. He died. He died in that plane crash.”

“Dad, no! he survived. They just never found his body. He’s alive and he’s finally here with us. Back to where he belongs.”

In the midst of all this drama, Silas was analysing the situation. A rich family had lost their only son. A son who happened to look like him.

Do you know there are seven people on this planet that share a resemblance ?” His customer’s voice rang in his ears.

No matter what Silas had tried, he could never be happy. His petty jobs could never make him rich, even if he’d work for 50 years. He wanted to be happy. He wanted to live a king-sized life. There are no shortcuts to this life. You’re either born rich or you climb your way up. He was being offered a chance, a chance to reset. To live a life he had only ever only dreamt about. A life with a family, and exorbitant wealth. 

A face. It’s on one’s college ID and on passports. It’s how people recognize you when you run into each other during the movies. Smartphones unlock after analysing your face. It is the how people describe you, blue eyes and black hair or brown eyes and dimples. Silas knew he would have be a fool to let this opportunity go.

“I am so sorry I don’t remember anything. I just remember waking up one day in the hospital and unable to even remember my name.” 

“Oh, Maverick”, his mother cried.

The family quickly accepted Silas as their long lost son. Silas easily managed to pretend to be an amnesiac Maverick. He had nothing that could trace him back to his real life or real parentage. Silas got used to living this colossal life. When the word got out to the media, he was on the front page of every tabloid. “The lost son returns” was the headline everywhere. Silas had playtime with the Press. Luckily for him, nobody seemed to doubt any foul-play. 

Silas enjoyed the amenities, he had once only dreamt of. His “father” was a powerful oil tycoon. With his son back, he wanted to retire and hand over the reins to his prodigal heir. Silas didn’t know a thing about business but his father reassured him that he’d soon learn and in the meantime a group of consultants would always be with him. 

Silas liked the idea of being an oil tycoon, wearing expensive suits, and attending board meetings. Signing contracts worth millions, living a posh life, partying, and drinking expensive wine.

“Are you nervous about tomorrow?” His father sat with him on the opposite cushion.

“No, I know I can do this. You have trained me well.  I don’t have any need to be nervous”, Silas smiled.

“We are very proud of you”, his dad patted Sila’s hand. 

The next day, Silas signed his first deal. In three months his industry had a huge turnover of 33%. Silas was fast becoming  the public favourite. A dashing bachelor running an industry worth millions, everything about him screamed desirable. A lot of young girls swooned in his presence. He was always being invited to operas, fashion weeks, gala events and so much more. Silas definitely enjoyed being Maverick.

“Good morning sir, this is our new project. I have kept all the documentation in the conference room. I really think this will skyrocket our net worth”, one of his subordinates said while handing him a file.

“Thanks, I will look into it”, Silas smiled.

“We have a meeting in about 30 minutes about this.”

“I will be there”, Silas looked at his watch.

He jumped out of his skin as he read the file he just just been handed. 

‘San Antonio Orphanage’  the same orphanage he was raised in. The project was to demolish a few places to rig up oil. One such was the orphanage, his previous home. The negotiations would surely involve some employees who’d raised him. His jaw clenched, sweat trickled down his cheek and he anxiously tapped his foot. Everything he worked so hard for would be blown away.

“Sir, the meeting is about to start”, the subordinate knocked.

“I don’t feel well”, Silas feigned a headache.

“Uhhh, do you want me to call a doctor?”

“No, I’ll do it myself. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to the meeting, I want you to take over on this deal.”

“Alright, sir.”

Silas quickly called his driver and left for the mansion .

“Are you okay, Mav?” Michelle asked as she saw an ashen-faced Silas entering.

“Not feeling well, I’m going to go take a quick nap”, Maverick tried a tired smile.

“I’ll prepare some soup for you.”

“No need for that, I don’t want to be a nuisance.”

Silas ran to his room. He started pacing back and forth nervously. His vision blurred. 

Just then his dad entered, “Michelle told me you aren’t feeling well?” 

“Just a headache”, Silas tried to faked a smile.

“Take a nap, you can’t afford to be absent during important projects. They need their leader”.

“I know, I just…”, Silas did not know what to say.

“Maverick, someone is here to see you”, Michelle said, entering with some soup for Silas.

“Who is it?”

“I don’t know, some young man asking for you.”

“I’ll be right down there”, Silas smiled.

Silas took one look at his visitor and his blood ran cold.

“Silas?”It was one of his old friends from the orphanage standing there. 

“I think you have the wrong guy”, Silas stuttered. The entire family was gathered there. 

“Silas, don’t you remember me?. It’s me, Matthew!  We used to swim in the river in summers and you always steal my slice of cake.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t know who you’re talking about.”

“Silas, come now, don’t lie to me. We’re brothers.”

“What’s going on?” His dad interrupted.

“I don’t know, I don’t know this guy”, Silas couldn’t meet anyone’s eyes. 

“You’re Silas, not Maverick. Don’t lie! You’ve become so greedy, trying to fool them and now you’re even trying to demolish the orphanage?” 

“Leave before I call the security”, Silas roared.

“Did you actually think I came here with no proof?” Matthew smiled and suddenly the big room seemed to shrink and trap Silas.

Matthew removed an envelope from his coat pocket and handed it to Michelle. “He’s not who you think he is, these are his orphanage papers. He’s been with us since he was a baby. Abandoned on our doorstep.” 

“He’s lying,”  Silas stuttered. 

“I have evidence”, Matthew smirked.

Michelle’s eyes widened in surprise and her dad took the papers from her hand. He read it thoroughly. Matthew wasn’t lying, the guy who he had accepted as his son was really an imposter.

“You liar”, he slapped Silas.

“This is not true”, Silas cried, holding his face.

“Call the police”, he ordered one of his servants.

“Don’t, I’m sorry, I’ll go. Please don’t ruin my life”, Silas begged.

“Ruin your life? Do you have any idea what you’ve done to us? We thought we got our dearest son back and you were lying to us. You deserve nothing, you deserve no one.”

Within minutes, The police entered the mansion and cuffed Silas. 

Silas was sentenced to prison for two years for identity theft. 

Maverick’s family began to mourn for their son once again, and eventually came to terms with his death. 

The media once again had Silas on the front page, but now for a different reason. Silas knew he was ruined now, his greed had proven to be too costly. 

Written by Aakanksha Mantri for MTTN

Edited by Kriti Gopal for MTTN

Featured Image by Chirag Bansal for MTTN

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