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Author: NeroLotus Editor: DivineDestiny

Clank, clank, clank. 

The train cabin was dark while it went through the long, long tunnel. There was not even a faint light in the space so nothing could be seen. No sign of the end of the terrible darkness that even he could distinguish between himself or any objects so the man closed back his eyes.

When he closed his eyes, all his senses were heightened. Was it because he was leaning back against the chair cushion, or was it because he was putting his head against the window? As a result, the vibrations of the regularly shaking train became more vivid, and the sounds of the train gradually faded to the background. The man slowly exhaled the breath he had been holding. Even the minute sound of his breathing could be heard loudly. The moment he exhaled, the still humming sound suddenly opened up, and the train came out of the tunnel.

His eyes, that were adjusted to the tunnel’s darkness, trembled as they were assaulted by a sudden beam of sunlight when they exited.. The light that broke through the darkness tormented him, and the man couldn’t open his eyes. At that moment, a wind carrying the scent of grass blew in through the open window for ventilation. The scent was fragrant and soft, but it swiftly vanished as a raging wind blew through the room leaving no trace.

Tremble.

As a result, the book pages in the man’s hand quickly turned over, while the clothes he was wearing and the dull red hair loosely tied also became a mess. The man still didn’t open his eyes. The tired-looking eyes clenched and made it look like they were frowning. As the wind blew again, the man reluctantly lifted his eyelids causing the tears that had been accumulating at the corner to drip down his chin. As they departed from his face they left a dark blot on the page of the book on his lap. The man slowly scanned the narrow room without acknowledging the tear. 

At that moment, the man was visibly unsettled. His heart was beating rapidly as if expressing his feelings. Then, he licked the cracked seam of his lips, and the words he uttered were very small.

“Is this a dream…?”

The man could only think of this situation as a dream. The tablet in his hand had been replaced with an old book in the meantime, and his unfamiliar red hair tangled in the wind, obscuring his view. It was an unbelievable situation.

Every time the train shook, his body and his unfamiliar hair shook with him. He carefully lifted his hand to run through his hair whilst obscuring his view in the process.. His loosely tied hair was undone at the gesture. His shoulder length hair was caught like a spider’s web between his fingers. He said it was red, but in fact, it was a bit dull to be red. Yes, it was like a withered rose. Feeling the touch, the man thought it was a terribly vivid dream.

The man who unconsciously combed and brushed his hair with his fingers a few times slowly noticed what had fallen next to him a moment ago; it wasn’t a headband, it was a long black ribbon. The man held the ribbon in his hand. The ribbon, which was not of good quality, was very wrinkled. Pulled strings were popping all over it.

The man was very bewildered by this situation, but soon after thinking that this was a dream, he calmed down. Yes, it must be a dream. If this situation was not a dream, how could one explain it?

“It’s just a strange dream.”

The man blankly defined it that way. The tear trails across his cheeks glistened in the light coming through the window, but it was something he didn’t know. If someone had looked at his face at that moment, it would have been pitiful to see a very shabby man even shed tears on his thin, flat face.

He looked around the narrow room again. He was sitting in a familiar room. No matter how much he looked around, it was still the same room as the train he was originally riding in. He was curious to see the train he was riding in for the first time. If there was something different from before he fell asleep… it was the fact that the auxiliary bag had been changed to a bag with a somewhat old design, and the fact that the suitcase he newly purchased for travel had been replaced with an antique bag. And that the fabric of the bed he was sitting on had changed. Should he say it was a little older than the original one?

Most of all, it seemed that the person he thought of as ‘him’ was not himself. This hair, which looked to be slightly over his shoulder, was not his, and the man originally was not wearing such a suit. The man carefully set the book in his hand aside on the seat and headed towards the wall with the mirror hanging on it.

The man stopped for a moment in surprise, almost forgetting to take his next breath.

“……” 

There in the mirror was a face he had never seen before.

The first thing that caught his eyes was the red hair resembling a withered rose. The man in the mirror, no… the boy who was still young and in his teens was wearing glasses. They were dirty. When he thought that the world looked a little hazy, it must have been because of the glasses. The dark jade color seen through the glasses was dark under the eyes, and he looked exhausted. In addition, his cheeks were slender, and his jawline looked sharper because of that, making him look sensitive. The tear marks that hadn’t dried yet and the red-rimmed waterline made him look even more pitiful and unfortunate.

Even though it’s a dream, I’ve never seen such a person before.’

The man inferred that the body he had now would not be himself, but he was surprised to see him actually wearing someone else’s face and was speechless.

…come to think of it, I had a different voice before.

The man traced his dry, rough lips with his tongue and then opened his mouth. He wasn’t used to talking to himself, so he felt embarrassed even though no one was listening and watching.

“…ah, ah. Real voice… What… it’s actually different?”

The man quickly shut his mouth. An unfamiliar voice came from an unfamiliar face. It was a voice he had never even heard of. Can anyone even explain how one should feel right about now? He thought of a word to define, but every word that came to mind seemed out of place, so the man eventually gave up on naming it in his heart.

“Sigh…”

The more he tried to calmly understand the current situation, the more incomprehensible it became. He wanted to think of it as a dream, but… It suddenly occurred to him that it might not be. So, the man pinched his cheek hard. If it didn’t hurt, this would be a dream but, of course, he felt the pain.

“Aww, it hurt.”

It was a pain beyond imagination as he pinched with his fingertips until they turned red. The pain was so vivid that tears came to his eyes and his cheeks ached. So, was this not a dream? He felt strange. In his heart, he thought maybe it was just an overly vivid lucid dream, but the pain was real. The man rubbed his stinging cheek. The boy in the mirror was copying all his actions.

If this isn’t a dream…

In response, the man unknowingly searched for traces of ‘him’ in this boy. But the more he traced the contours of his face, looked at the clothes he was wearing, took off his glasses and put them back on, and touched his withering rose colored hair, the more he realized that he had no external resemblance to this boy at all.

Unlike the man who was originally in his late 20s, this boy looked like a high school student at most. The clothes that didn’t fit his dwarf physique made him look as if he was preparing for being tall. The man sat down on the bed again.

What really happened? It was the train journey I was really looking forward to, so I can understand why I’m on the train even in my dreams. But I don’t understand why I’m wearing someone else’s face, that’s a little… But what if this isn’t a dream? So what is this? Are you saying I’m in someone else’s body? Who is this?

His confused head seemed to be spinning. The man looked out the window. The outside scenery passed quickly. The vast fields disappeared and a dense forest appeared. The train crossed through the forest. The view put his mind at ease. The sound of the blades of grass and flowers swaying in the wind and hitting each other was like a song. Just when he was about to find peace in his heart, he heard the cry of an animal in the forest.

“Aooooohhh—!”

The sound was loud. It sounded like a huge beast howling when he only thought of the howl that broke through the noise of the train. Fear crept behind his back. The cry of the beast did not move away or get closer. It was so strange that the man instinctively closed the window and locked it. At that moment, his heart pounded as if it wanted to run out of his chest. He sat down on the bed to understand why the sound of the cry was neither moving away nor closer.

Author's Thoughts

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Comments (5)

  1. reading again because i love this novel… (mesmo que eu nunca tenha passado dos 45 capítulo)