Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Shen Si was trapped in time.
It may sound fantastical, but it was true, not a dream, but reality.
It all started when he and Jian Nian got back together. Jian Nian stayed in his home here, and slept in his room at night. Xi Luo, who was staying with him, had already left to report to school, but Jian Nian didn’t want to sleep in the guest room and insisted that they squeeze into one bed.
That night, Shen Si worked late, and when he got home after dinner, it was after ten o’clock. He was so tired that he couldn’t open his eyes, Jian Nian greeted him then went back to sleep.
He didn’t sleep comfortably, as if he was intermittently having a nightmare, the content of the nightmare was a blur, he couldn’t see it clearly. The only thing that could be determined was that he stood in the nightmare side and seemed to be doing something, before Shen Si in the dream could do something, he felt a gust of wind.
Was the window left open?
Shen Si opened his eyes from sleep and glanced at the window, where the night wind blowing curtains scraping rustling, next to him, Jian Nian was sleeping peacefully. There was a blur of lights, Shen Si got up to close the window, then went to the living room to pour a glass of water.
He felt his throat was so dry that it smoked.
After drinking the water, Shen Si glanced at the clock, which showed that it was 2:00 a.m. The second hand was doing its job, and it didn’t look any different, so Shen Si didn’t feel anything at that time.
Putting the glass of water on the table, Shen Si sat on the sofa and dozed off in a daze.
His mind was repeatedly showing the dream content, a mess of horror film-like images, screaming crowds, and the red flowers blooming on the entire land. Shen Si frowned slightly, and a few moments later, he opened his eyes and pressed his temples, feeling a little tired.
So busy with work and sleep all night was filled with nightmares, it was really awful.
With a heavy yawn, Shen Si took the glass of water to the kitchen, and as he just put the glass on the table, he saw an envelope on the shelf.
The envelope looked brand new, but it didn’t look like an ordinary person’s letter, because there was no sender or receiver on it. Shen Si found it in his jacket pocket, and after finding it, Shen Si turned it over and over, and finally found only a small ‘Gu’ character in one corner.
Shen Si didn’t open it because he thought that since he didn’t remember the letter, it wasn’t sent to him, so he would go to the post office and ask about it when he had time.
As a result, it was left here because he was busy with work and then never cared for again.
“In the end, whose letter is it?” Shen Si picked up the letter. To the touch, Shen Si could feel that the envelope did have a letter, so he looked at the envelope under the incandescent light. Just when he intended to tear the envelope he stopped his hand, but finally put the letter back in place honestly.
He didn’t read it.
Shen Si yawned and returned to the bedroom, and as he left the living room he glanced at his clock. It was less than ten minutes after two o’clock. He turned off the living room light, then climbed into bed, the moment he went up to the person next to him, he opened his eyes and Jian Nian looked up at him, “Shen Si?”
“The window was open, so I went to close it.” Shen Si explained, then he reached out and pressed out the light, “Good night.”
Jian Nian answered in a whisper, closed his eyes, and soon his breathing slowed down. He didn’t wake up and was just subconsciously calling Shen Si’s name.
The person next to him was breathing, Shen Si tried to fall asleep, after ten minutes he opened his eyes. He didn’t know why, obviously he was sleepy, but now, lying in bed, his mind was messy, and he just simply couldn’t sleep.
Shen Si reached for his phone from the side, and glanced at the time in the dark, 2:23, a time when most people were asleep.
Shen Si opened the memo, and then intermittently typed the contents of his dream in the memo, including those vague fragmented memories, or his own suffering in the dream. Although he didn’t know why, he felt that there may be a need to record things.
Dreams were something that could easily pass, and he guessed he would forget this dream completely when he woke up the next day.
At the end of writing, Shen Si finally felt unbearably sleepy. He confusedly glanced at the time on the phone, a few minutes short of three o’clock, turned the phone screen off. Shen Si pushed the phone next to him, then closed his eyes and began to sleep, this time, he instantly fell into sleep.
The dream that he had for a long time still found its way up.
The content of the dream was still very vague, and he couldn’t see clearly what had happened, didn’t know what he had done, but could feel that the people around him were decreasing one by one. A very lonely feeling haunted him, and that feeling made Shen Si feel as if his throat was being strangled even in his sleep.
It was a bit hoarse and painful.
Coughing in his sleep, Shen Si had to be awakened again by his own coughing, and he looked around blankly, his dry throat making him feel like he had swallowed a razor blade.
“What’s going on?” Shen Si murmured.
He didn’t have a cold or a fever, and he hadn’t been uncomfortable other than tired before he went to bed last night, so how did he wake up with a dry and thirsty throat in the middle of the night?
Shen Si sat up from the bed, then reached out to turn on the light. At that moment, a light-colored fabric was blown into the room by the wind. Shen Si turned his head to look at the piece of fabric, it was the loose curtain fluttering up and down with the wind.
Shen Si got out of bed and walked barefoot over to the curtain, then reached out and grabbed it, and saw the window hadn’t been closed.
“Didn’t I close the window earlier?” Shen Si frowned slightly, as he closed the window and locked it with his hand. He then turned around and walked into the living room, where, like before, Shen Si poured a glass of water into his dry and sore throat.
After drinking the water Shen Si raised his head slightly, put the glass of water on the table, and then looked at the clock in the living room.
The next moment, his hand stiffened slightly, because the clock in the living room showed the time just after two o’clock in the morning.
“Three minutes past two?” Shen Si let out a small voice of doubt, “Really?”
The last time he woke up, it was 2:00 a.m. He drank water and went back to the bedroom, and wrote on the memo because he couldn’t sleep, and then went back to sleep, so it couldn’t have been 2:03 a.m.? Could it be that he remembered wrongly before? Actually not two o’clock but one o’clock?
But it was clear that this speculation didn’t have a conclusion, and he wanted to clarify his questions by seeing evidence. Shen Si picked up his phone from the table, opened the memo and tried to see the time he had recorded in the memo, but just as he opened it his hand faltered slightly.
The memo had only a few unimportant messages, the earliest one was recorded a week ago, so… he simply didn’t add anything to the memo today.
But… how? He clearly remembered that he had recorded a thing before going to bed.
Could it be he misremembered? Was it a dream that he recorded something in the memo?
Before he left Shen Si took another look at the envelope on the shelf, then he shook his head slightly and turned around and went back to the bedroom again, this time with the glass of water and a full glass of water.
Next time he saw it, he would open the envelope and take a look.
When he put the glass of water on the table, there was a clear sound of porcelain collision, and Jian Nian, who was still asleep, opened his eyes, and looked at Shen Si next to him, but because he wasn’t awake, his eyes were still a bit confused.
“I went to pour a glass of water.” Shen Si opened his mouth to answer him, “Go to sleep, good night.”
Jian Nian closed his eyes and fell asleep again as he remembered before, even in the exact same position.
He went to the window and looked at the window to make sure it was securely closed and then he went back again, followed by a glance at the time on his phone, 2:32. Shen Si opened the memo and then left a message in the memo.
Turning off his phone, Shen Si lay down on the bed, because his brain was carrying a bit of chaos, he was lying for a long time before he could fall asleep.
The dream was still the same, but the scene in the dream seemed clearer, he was able to see the picture in the dream clearly, the shape of red flowers all over the ground, and could see the people standing around him. Those he knew or didn’t know were walking forward one by one, finally being swallowed by the flower vines.
Shen Si saw himself shouting their names in the dream, although most of them were a name he had never heard of.
But this wasn’t the point, the point was Shen Si obviously felt a tearing pain in his voice because of shouting too much, his yell sounding extraordinarily unpleasant.
Throat, very painful.
Shen Si opened his eyes in the darkness, looked at the ceiling, and reached out to touch the glass of water placed next to him, but he didn’t even feel the glass of water placed next to him, let alone water.
“Hmm?” Shen Si slowly sat up from the bed, but before he could turn on the light to look for the water cup, a gust of wind blew to his body, and Shen Si’s hand slightly paused. He looked towards the side, the curtains were blowing by the wind in the moonlight, the wind outside the window just burrowed in, carrying a coolness in the summer night.
The window wasn’t closed.
Shen Si reached out to turn on the house light, then he sat up from the bed, and there was no water cup on the table next to the bed, and the window wasn’t closed. Jian Nian was asleep very peacefully, and when Shen Si opened the phone to look at the time, it was two o’clock in the morning, and the memo record was still the week ago.
Time was advancing one minute at a time, only leaving Shen Si sitting here.
At this moment, Shen Si suddenly realized that perhaps his memory wasn’t wrong, the error was only the time.
Shen Si very much wanted to explore the windows that have been closed and the constant cycle of time, but he was very thirsty, as if the water he drank before were sucked away by the air. He was exposed to the desert for three days and three nights without a sip of water, so he rolled off the bed, went to the living room and filled himself with two full glasses of water to be a little relieved.
After drinking the water Shen Si looked at the living room clock. The time on the clock was advancing, but undoubtedly it was only two o’clock in the morning.
Not knowing what was going on, not knowing what to do, Shen Si walked helplessly into the kitchen, then reached out and took the envelope from the shelf and put it on the table, looking at the surface of the envelope under the incandescent light.
To be honest it was just an ordinary envelope, white, with no stamps on it, the sides were sealed tightly, only the word ‘Gu’ next to it indicated that it was really a letter sent.
Shen Si got scissors from the drawer, then used them to cut open the envelope, and the envelope and had white paper with black handwriting on it. Shen Si pulled out the paper, but didn’t unfold it. To be honest, although the envelope opened, he still had hesitation about whether to look at the text.
This letter, was it really for him?
Unfolding that white paper, Shen Si saw the handwriting on it, the content on it was very strange, not like a letter, not like a person’s confession, and looked more like a record. The record was of a person’s embarrassment, or something that only one person would know.
Before he could see the content Shen Si quickly closed the letter, and blinked, completely unsure of what to react to.
This was definitely not the letter that should have been sent to him!
Putting the white paper back into the envelope, Shen Si put the letter on the corner of the table, and then laid his whole body on the sofa.
He wasn’t going to sleep, every time he fell asleep he went back to two o’clock, but this time he was going to keep his eyes open until the time reversal, maybe… if he was awake then the time reversal wouldn’t happen.
As Shen Si was thinking about this, he didn’t even know when he fell asleep.
Realizing that he fell asleep again because he was seeing the same dream, the scene in the dream was clearer than last time. At least this time he saw everyone’s face clearly, noticing Jian Nian, Xi Luo and even Bai JunYi, his next-door neighbor, standing with him in a world covered with flowers.
But even though the figures had become clear, the voices were still muffled, jarred, like shouting in a water tank, and it was completely impossible to understand what was being said.
Shen Si tried to hear their words clearly, so he made an effort to listen, turning his head to the side, but unfortunately this wasn’t just about not hearing the sound. He felt that his whole body was uncomfortable, it was a familiar sense, the tearing pain of having a dry throat because of lack of water.
This pain wasn’t like an inflammation of the throat after a cold, but it was raw like the throat was split with a knife, and then exposed to the sun, the flesh and blood was drying up and rotting.
Suddenly opening his eyes, Shen Si saw the dark living room. He was lying on the living room sofa, and almost fell straight to the floor.
Touching the phone beside him, Shen Si turned it on to illuminate, and then turned on the living room light.
Shen Si thought to himself, didn’t he go back to the bedroom, two o’clock should have passed, right?
But when Shen Si looked at the clock in the living room, he understood that he had taken it for granted, the clock still pointed at two o’clock, because Shen Si turned on the light regardless. The clock didn’t even turn one revolution, Shen Si glanced at the phone in his hand, which showed exactly two o’clock, not a minute more and not a minute less.
“What the hell is going on?” Shen Si murmured while drinking water, “This time I didn’t go back to the bedroom, but the time still went back to two o’clock.”
After finishing his water, Shen Si put the water glass on the table, and the next moment he saw the envelope sitting on the table.
“Hmm?” Shen Si frowned slightly.
He reached out and took the letter. The envelope was cut open, the white paper on the face was folded, it wasn’t flattened when he read it and stuffed it in. Shen Si took the envelope and walked out, pushing open the bedroom door. The bedroom window was still not closed, the wind blew in along the windowsill, the curtains were constantly blown up by the wind.
Jian Nian was still asleep, seemingly not aware of what was happening, sleeping quietly and peacefully.
Carefully closing the door, Shen Si sat back on the sofa.
Only this envelope didn’t return to its original place, nor did it return to the state he was in at two o’clock; it remained the same.
The letter was unfolded and he looked at the handwriting on it, just as he did in high school when he studied the language. Reading each word carefully and looking at it, like doing reading comprehension to read each sentence several times, and finally he saw the name labeled at the end of the envelope.
This was a letter written by a person named Shi Gu.
But the letter didn’t have much of a message, and it wasn’t clear exactly why the time had stopped at two o’clock.
Clutching the letter in his hand, Shen Si returned to the bedroom, and nudged Jian Nian. Jian Nian opened his eyes in a daze, his sleep was shallow, probably because only Shen Si was beside him. He wasn’t directly awakened, but after being pushed like that he had woken up from the dream nonetheless.
Jian Nian sat up from the bed, still not awake.
“Shen Si?” Jian Nian looked at Shen Si, “What’s wrong?”
“Did you have any problem while sleeping?” Shen Si looked at Jian Nian, “Like sleeping too much or something like that.”
“Too much sleep?” Jian Nian couldn’t quite figure out what Shen Si meant, so he looked at the time. 2:00 a.m., in other words, just three hours after they fell asleep. Did that count as a lot of sleep?
Shen Si sat down on the bed, “To be honest, I seem to find myself in a time loop, every time I fall asleep I go back to two o’clock. Doesn’t that sound like a dream?”
“A time loop?” Jian Nian leaned back on the bed, he smiled like a child who heard something interesting, “So Shen Si, are you trying to find a way to get out of this time loop? That’s why you woke me up? Am I an NPC or something?”
“Not an NPC, just simply didn’t know who to ask.” Shen Si spoke in a small voice, “I just feel strange, strange not so much about the time loop, but about myself.”
Jian Nian looked at him, “Why?”
“Because, I don’t feel scared…”
Whether it was a good nightmare, or feeling a dry and sore throat after sleeping, or even a time loop at two o’clock, Shen Si found himself not the least bit frightened. He watched time rewind again and again as if he was used to it, not even breathing a fraction faster.
It was as if he had walked around in such time so often that the mere cycle of time was no longer enough to get his attention.
Shen Si knew this seemed a bit abnormal, but he just couldn’t raise the slightest bit of alarm.
“Don’t you feel scared?” Jian Nian closed his eyes, his voice was low as his head was bobbing a little bit, and looked like he would immediately fall asleep, “Since even Shen Si doesn’t feel afraid of something, it shouldn’t be anything much scary, so… it’s fine either way.”
Jian Nian’s voice was getting lower and lower, and finally even inaudible, so when Shen Si turned his head to look at him he found that he had fallen asleep, so he let out a helpless sigh. Shen Si sat down on the bed, after which he looked at the time, it was 2.43 a.m.
“Then let’s sleep again.” Shen Si put the envelope on the table, “Let’s see if this envelope will appear the next time I wake up.”
The dream was the same as always, except this time he finally heard a voice and Shen Si saw himself, sitting in a closed room with a kind middle-aged man standing in front of him.
He said a lot of words, as if to Shen Si, like to the world, and finally he shoved the envelope in his hand to him, as if he was entrusting the whole world to him. Shen Si clutched the letter, and finally he smiled and shoved the letter into his pocket, and left that room with it.
…Right ah, the letter was handed to him at this time.
Shen Si opened his eyes. He didn’t care about the time that rewound to two in the morning again, and didn’t care about the door that wasn’t closed, as he turned on the light and picked up the envelope that was sitting on the table, then walked to the kitchen with the envelope, placing it next to the kitchen with a little warm smile in his eyes.
He didn’t expect to bring this over.
This letter was the last thing in his hand when the unlimited flow world existed, because it followed him with the ability to be affected by time, so it still existed in the new timeline. Because it was just an item, whether or not it existed didn’t affect time, so this small flaw was ignored.
But this was ultimately something that existed in that world, its existence remained a time refutation that had been a micro-impact until now.
The way to deal with this short time loop was simple, just eliminate the trigger point of this time barge.
“There is no Special Unit in this timeline, so Mr. Gu probably doesn’t know that his one private matter would be written in the letter.” Shen Si took out the lighter from the drawer, he clicked it and the fire came out. Shen Si set the letter on fire and watched the memory of the thing being burned.
“The past is something not to care about, only the future can be looked forward to.” Shen Si warmly looked at the letter paper that was burned to ashes, “I have always thought and done so… But it seems nice to remember the past once in a while.”
Jian Nian got up when it was already seven in the morning, next to Shen Si who had long since gotten up and left. Jian Nian sat up from the bed and had a confused glance at the time.
Last night, it seemed that Shen Si had woken him up to say something, but because he was too sleepy, Jian Nian couldn’t really remember what he had said.
Finally, he gave up thinking about it as he walked to the living room, and there was a piece of paper on the table that said there was breakfast in the kitchen, so Jian Nian went to the kitchen and smelled the aroma of rice and the faint smell of something burnt.
As he passed the trash can, Jian Nian’s footsteps paused for a moment.
The trash can had black ash, very little but very obvious, as if someone had burned a few sheets of paper here, which wasn’t there last night before he went to bed.
Shen Si would burn paper for fun in the middle of the night?
Jian Nian shook his head as he returned to the living room with his food and started the day with breakfast.
Let’s go to his workplace for lunch at noon. He wanted to have that chicken soup again.