Swept up in a swirling world, Xie Min’s eyes fluttered open, only to be met with the surreal sight of a monstrously disproportionate coffee table and sofa.
A nanny, who seemed like a giant, tightly held a cloth and stooped to clean the shiny tabletop.
Xie Min hadn’t seen her before and had no idea where he was. His last memory before losing consciousness was on Monday evening, when he had worked all day and tiredly left the company to go to the squash court.
He had driven halfway when he received a call from his father. His father asked about the progress of his new project and inquired about the conflict between him and his brother. Xie Min didn’t feel like explaining, so he gave some vague answers. As soon as he hung up, a heavy truck rushed out of the intersection uncontrollably.
In that instant, his heart tightened. He forcefully slammed the brakes and desperately turned the steering wheel to the left, but couldn’t avoid the truck. The collision’s tremendous impact almost shattered his internal organs, and the white airbag forcefully hit his face and body.
Afterward, he lost consciousness and vaguely felt his soul drifting during a period of time before stumbling and dazedly appearing in this unbelievably large room.
Impressionist paintings, brown leather sofas, white wool carpets, herringbone parquet floors—all of these were familiar home decor aesthetics to Xie Min, but he was certain he had never been here before.
In his confusion and contemplation, the nanny in the room swiftly finished wiping the coffee table.
She got up and approached Xie Min. Stretching out her large hand, she easily picked up his body, covered his head with a damp cloth, wiped him briefly, and put him back on the table. She placed Xie Min next to the electronic clock, whose screen could reflect light.
Xie Min leaned closer, took a look, and at first didn’t realize what was wrong. After two seconds, he became aware that something seemed amiss in the screen. He looked at it again and suddenly stood still on the spot.
Alarm bells rang in his mind as his body was rendered paralyzed. He closed his eyes, opened them again, looked again, and then looked countless times. The image in front of him didn’t change: in the reflection, he saw a pink toy bunny.
The bunny wasn’t a realistic plush toy.
It was assembled from smooth LEGO plastic pieces, about half the size of the electronic clock. It had big uplifted eyes, long eyelashes, and a red nose. Its short front legs were tucked against its round and upright chest, and its hind legs were close to the ground, giving it a confident yet delicate appearance.
The toy design was quite intricate—all four legs and the head could move. When Xie Min shook his head, the bunny also shook its head. When he lightly moved his toes, the bunny’s toes also moved.
Xie Min felt somewhat absurd as he observed the bunny’s animated movements. For a moment, he couldn’t determine whether he was dreaming or awake. If it was a dream, it seemed too real, but if it was reality, it was truly illogical.
After finishing tidying up the living room, the nanny left the house.
Xie Min pondered for a while but couldn’t reach any conclusions. He wasn’t the type to wait idly. After watching the screen for a while and gradually adapting to his new bunny body, he no longer satisfied himself with the limited space on the coffee table. He decided to explore the room.
Looking around, Xie Min swung his hind legs and moved to the edge of the table. He closed his eyes and leaped downward, landing on the carpet.
The wool carpet was soft, but falling from over one meter high, Xie Min’s left bunny leg became a bit loose. He struggled to drag his leg through the dense white wool and reached the wooden floor.
As a tiny LEGO bunny, this house was too vast for him, like an endless sea. He moved forward for a while and found himself at the entrance of the house, with no way to proceed.
With a light leap, Xie Min tried to turn towards another room, but as he landed, his previously loose bunny leg suddenly made a “click” sound and detached from his body. Losing his balance, he only had time to curse, “Damn,” before he fell to the ground, transforming into a helpless, immobile little bunny.
The evening sunlight cast its remaining rays on Xie Min’s body as he helplessly kicked his leg. Suddenly, the room’s door swung open in both directions, and a well-dressed figure emerged from the elevator. It was Sui Yang, someone Xie Min hadn’t seen in a long time.
Xie Min was completely unprepared. His heart skipped a beat, causing even his remaining bunny leg to twitch involuntarily.
Sui Yang, just as before, paid no attention to anyone else and didn’t notice Xie Min on the floor. He walked straight into the room. After a few steps, he accidentally stepped on the detached bunny leg. He lowered his head, moved his foot aside, and discovered the disabled little bunny on the ground. Frowning, he bent down, picked up Xie Min, and examined him carefully, using his slender fingers to hold Xie Min’s belly.
His actions towards the bunny lacked courtesy, but it provided Xie Min with an opportunity to openly observe him as well.
Sui Yang had matured and become more steady compared to before, but he hadn’t aged. He still looked handsome, and his appearance could easily deceive people. His face conveyed honesty, reliability, although Xie Min knew it was all superficial and false. Nonetheless, Xie Min couldn’t help but take a few more glances.
Xie Min had a good memory, so he remembered clearly: the last time they met was three years ago, when they passed by each other at an auction venue.
Xie Min and Sui Yang didn’t have a high overlap in their social circles. They lived and worked in different regions, with little interaction among their new friends. Their old acquaintances knew that their personalities clashed. Social events either had Sui Yang without Xie Min or Xie Min without Sui Yang.
The encounter at that auction was purely accidental. Their seats weren’t far apart, but it felt like they were in different universes. They didn’t make eye contact or speak to each other.
Xie Min didn’t know if Sui Yang genuinely didn’t notice him, but he pretended that was the case.
Because if he admitted running into Sui Yang, he would have to greet him, and that would require even more pretense.
Pretending to be surprised, pretending to be polite, pretending they hadn’t seen each other for a long time, pretending to be generous. Xie Min was straightforward and didn’t excel at putting on an act like Sui Yang did.
Even the expression on his face as he looked at the LEGO toy bunny in his hand seemed to carry a hint of insincerity.
Sui Yang’s eyelashes drooped slightly, probably because he didn’t understand why this LEGO bunny appeared in such a pose on the entrance floor. His eyes showed a hint of confusion.
Xie Min found it difficult to explain the reasons behind his actions—perhaps it was driven by a desire for revenge and intimidation, or maybe it was due to encountering Sui Yang in extreme circumstances, causing his emotions to spiral out of control. He impulsively cleared his throat and lowered his voice as he spoke “Sui Yang.”
The voice of the bunny came from its belly.
To Xie Min’s ears, his tone and demeanor hadn’t changed.
Sui Yang’s handsome face turned pale almost instantly, his pupils dilating. Although it lasted only a few seconds, Xie Min felt a sense of satisfaction, as if he had finally righted a monumental injustice. Then, with a sinister tone, he tried to frighten Sui Yang. “Do you know who I am?”
Sui Yang was taken aback again, staring at Xie Min for a while. Then he began to look around, searching for something, and asked in a deep voice, “Xie Min? Where are you?”
Xie Min didn’t expect Sui Yang to immediately recognize his voice, halting the prank.
“Xie Min?” Sui Yang grabbed hold of Xie Min and walked towards the room.
Firmly held by Sui Yang, Xie Min felt like his parts were about to be scattered. His detached limbs were getting farther away from him. He felt uncomfortable as he was dragged along. So, he called out Sui Yang’s name again, “I’m in your hands! Stop moving! Sui Yang.”
Upon hearing this, Sui Yang stopped in his tracks, turned his head, and made sure there was no one in the living room. He couldn’t accept it, lowered his head, opened his palm, and observed the twisted posture of the LEGO bunny he had been squeezing.
“Xie Min?” Sui Yang looked perplexed and puzzled, as if he doubted his own sanity.
“Well, long time no see, Sui Yang,” Xie Min said. “Um, my leg just fell onto the floor earlier, and you stepped on it. Could you pick it up and reattach it for me?”
Sui Yang looked at Xie Min for a while, with an extremely subtle expression, then slowly walked back, searching and finally picking up the bunny leg from the floor. He reattached it for Xie Min.
Xie Min politely thanked Sui Yang, but Sui Yang acted as if he hadn’t heard. He put Xie Min on the coffee table and quickly left the living room as if escaping.
Xie Min called out to him from behind, but he ignored it.
The living room returned to silence. Xie Min felt bored. He walked around on the coffee table, which felt as vast as the sea.
Sui Yang had secured Xie Min’s leg firmly. Xie Min hopped and bounced, his plastic paws tapping on the glass of the coffee table, producing crisp “thud thud” sounds.
After a few jumps, Xie Min suddenly heard a sound coming from the hallway and turned to look.
Sui Yang had taken a shower and was wearing a bathrobe. Water dripped from his hair as he hurriedly walked back to the side of the coffee table and picked up Xie Min again.
His hands were wet, and his face was slightly damp. The living room was not lit, with only the fading orange light of the setting sun outside the French windows, casting deep shadows on Sui Yang’s silhouette.
Xie Min quietly stayed in Sui Yang’s hands for a while. Feeling insecure hanging in the air, he moved his short front legs and lightly scratched Sui Yang’s fingers.
Sui Yang slightly trembled, his lips parting. With a tone that even he found ridiculous, he cautiously asked in a low voice, “Xie Min? Are you inside the bunny?”
His inner struggle made Xie Min unable to hold back his laughter. “Yep, that’s right. Can’t you tell?”
If you enjoy this novel, support the Translator ginevre on her ko-fi account :))