“Is anyone here?” shouted Chauvin in his silent dream. He stood in the middle of a desert. There was nothing except sand. He opened his eyes and returned to reality; he heard the breathing of fronds and the wind outside his house. The forest was sleeping. Time had stopped. There was no one else here.
Chauvin sighed. He had been sleeping in the Sea of Trees for hundreds of years to train himself through his dreams. At last, he had managed to acquire the skill to access the dreamland freely. However, he had nothing outside of the dreams.
‘Is anyone here?’ shouted Chauvin again. His voice resounded throughout the forest. As disappointment filled his heart, a whistle came from somewhere near. He looked up and perked his sharp, long ears to trace the sound. Listening carefully, he heard a few voices approaching the forest.
Chauvin’s heart raced frantically. He had become accustomed to solitariness after living alone for hundreds of years, and he had never heard any sounds other than those from nature. Following the voices, he sprinted out of the forest quickly. Upon arriving at the exit of the woods, he saw a dozen tents and a bonfire.
The scene shocked Chauvin’s. He hid behind a tree, thinking it might be an illusion until he heard the villagers babbling. As he struggled to calm down, he heard the whistle getting closer and closer; he turned around and saw a girl gawking at him curiously.
Chauvin covered his face without thinking. The girl’s head tilted as she asked, ‘Do you live here too?’ Chauvin answered anxiously, ‘No...I’m just passing by...alone…’ The girl opened her eyes wide in surprise and said, ‘Just like me! I’m Marilyn, what about you?’
The warm feeling that emerged in his head made Chauvin speechless. It comforted him. Marilyn was human, and he had to conceal his identity, so he lied, ‘I’m Chauvin, an ordinary...traveller.’ Marilyn held his hand through the tents, and they met with the villagers. Chauvin received warm hospitality from the villagers when they heard that he had been travelling homelessly. Chauvin struggled to respond spontaneously, but he enjoyed the atmosphere. Since then, he resided in this tribe and never returned to the forest.
‘Marilyn, are you awake?' Chauvin stroked Marilyn’s forehead on a peaceful evening. Chauvin and Marilyn had split up to collect firewood in the forest. When he returned to their meeting point, he saw her snoozing in the shade of a tree. With a drowsy voice, she whispered to herself, 'Father...Mother…’ Chauvin stared at Marilyn and asked, ‘You see your parents...in your dream?’ Chauvin’s heart tightened because he knew her parents had died in the war, leaving Marilyn alone. At this moment, he hoped to soothe her grief; he hoped that he could become her spiritual pillar to help her overcome her parents’ deaths. That night, he cast a spell to sneak into Marilyn’s dream…
“Father, Mother, stay and play with me for a bit longer...Don’t go…!’
Marilyn jolted awake at midnight. She remembered that her parents had turned to dust while they were playing together in her dream. Looking around in shock, she found Chauvin scattering some shiny sand onto her.
‘Chauvin?’ Marilyn straightened up in fear and asked, ‘What are you doing?’
‘W-well…’ Chauvin froze immediately. Marilyn stared at his face covered in cold sweat and his long trembling ears. The sand in his hands looked the same as the sand that her parents had turned into in her dream.
‘What is this sand?’ asked Marilyn weakly, ‘It’s the sand that appeared in my dream...Why did my parents turn into sand…?’ Chauyin remained silent. Moments later, he murmured, ‘...Marilyn, it’s our secret.’
Since that night, Marilyn and Chauvin were not as close as before She even estranged him intentionally. One day, Chauvin could not take it anymore. He thought that they needed to talk. As he was about to look for Marilyn, the villagers knocked on his door, yelling, ‘You’re Sandman. You live by ruining others’ sleep! Fortunately, Marilyn revealed your true identity to us; otherwise, we’d never know!’ They raised their weapons furiously.
“I mustn’t fight back...Killing them would make me alone again…’ Chauvin floundered, and then he scattered grains of sand at the villagers. They charged at him immediately but fell asleep one by one before they could reach him. At last, silence drowned the whole tribe completely.
Chauvin found Marilyn in the sleeping crowd. He moved her under a tree and entered her dream…
Marilyn was crying in the middle of a desert.
“Let me out...I’m sorry...Chauvin...Let me out…”
“Marilyn, I told you it was a secret between you and me, didn’t I?” Chauvin unveiled her face and kissed her tears, saying, “Dreamland and reality are not so different.’
Chauvin left the desert fraught with Marilyn’s crying. He moved every villager to a different spot with a different pose. Some seemed to be having tea at the tables; some sat behind booths; some held rakes standing on the farm...until the end of time...
‘Marilyn, be it in the village or in the desert, I’ll stay with you forever.’ Under a tree, Chauvin held Marilyn’s cold body in the endless silence...