Novel Translation

The Greatest Showman – Chapter 96

Chapter 96 – Entering Darkness

Renly closed his eyes and gradually slowed down his breathing. In fact, he was somewhat worried, concerned that the environmental simulation and psychological understanding would not be accurate enough. Without a true sense of crisis, he couldn’t achieve his initial goal. Moreover, if the experience turned out to be too stable and boring, he might just fall asleep, rendering the whole endeavour pointless.

But as the coffin lid closed, the oppressive feeling, so close at hand, invaded him. Even though it was pitch black all around, with no hint of light, he could still distinctly feel the weight of the thick wooden board just above his nose. The entire living space was pressed to the extreme as if even the air was becoming thin. The intangible sense of confinement made him involuntarily anxious.

This was not a soft hotel bed or the narrow bathroom of a Paris apartment. Renly tried to adjust his posture, but before he could spread his arms, he hit the board with a thud, and he felt a vague pain in his elbow through the thick cotton. After that he reflexively lifted his calf, only to have his knee hit the board as well—he didn’t even know why he raised his legs, but the pervasive sense of confinement made itself felt. It seemed that even turning over was impossible.

“Bang, bang, bang,” a steady rhythm came from above. Through the entire coffin, he could sense a slight vibration. Renly knew they were the sounds of them nailing the coffin. He cautiously raised his fist and pounded on the board directly above—his forearms couldn’t extend at all, so he could only exert a small amount of force. “Hehe, don’t nail it too tightly, I still plan on getting out,” he chuckled.

Renly casually made a small joke, but before the sound had a chance to get out, it hit the boards and then came crashing down. It buzzed against his eardrums and catched him off guard, so his brows furrowed, as though it was a bat’s supersonic wave, making the space in which the sound was able to be heard shrink rapidly

Anxiety began to uncontrollably breed inside him.

Renly took a deep breath, swallowed a mouthful of saliva, and silently reassured himself that this indicated his plan was working, and that this was the effect he was looking for. He began trying to focus his mind, ignoring the surrounding disturbances, truly entering the world of Paul Conroy.

He is Paul; he wants to continue living, return to his wife, and be with his children. He doesn’t want to be buried alive like this. The fear of death clenches his heart; he must struggle, resist, and fight for survival. He is Paul Conroy! At this moment, he is abandoned in the middle of the desert, buried alive, and no one even knows he exists—

A thought flashed through his mind; he’s buried alive.

Suddenly, the sound of hammering nails pierced his ears, exploding like thunder next to his eardrums. His thoughts were momentarily interrupted, and a tangible sensation hit him—they were starting to seal the coffin, nailing it shut as he requested, ensuring he couldn’t struggle to escape.

First on the left side of his head, then on the right side, the entire coffin vibrated, causing him a headache. Next was the left side of his feet, followed by the right side.

Finally, it was over. Renly sighed lightly, but immediately, the sound came again, this time on his left palm side. This wasn’t what he asked for; he only requested for the four corners to be nailed. So, why were they continuing? Things seemed to be getting stranger. Then came the right palm side, left forearm side, right forearm side, left shin side, right shin side— it was endless as if they were determined to nail shut every direction.

Is he in a funeral service company or the middle of the desert? Is he in Barcelona or Iraq? Is he Renly or Paul?

With his thoughts consciously pulled in different directions, reality and illusion began to blur, causing Renly to panic a little.

Don’t panic, don’t panic! If this is reality, then Matthew is outside, and everything will be fine; if this is an illusion, as soon as he awakens from this dream, things will return to normal. So, there’s no need for him to worry, right?

“Bang, bang, bang,” the sound of nailing continued endlessly as if there was no end. Now it had even started again, this time in the direction of above his head. Didn’t they already nail there just now?

Involuntarily, Renly lifted his head and looked in the direction of above his head, but… darkness, there was nothing but darkness. He tried to reach out and touch the wall, but his elbow hit the wall again. “F…!” After the first letter of the swear word burst out, it was swallowed back. He gritted his teeth and tried to touch it with his fingertips, but all he felt was the silky cold touch, and nothing else.

Panic spread slowly through him, it was not raging like a volcano, but rather seeping slowly like water through the stone. The tension not only did not diminish but slowly increased. Renly felt that the air seemed to be getting warmer. His forehead and palms began to sweat, a damp feeling that made his mouth dry, and an indescribable tension began to spread its tentacles.

Renly struggled a little. On the one hand, he told himself that he had to immerse himself in the role of Paul; on the other hand, he couldn’t help but let his mind wander – he just asked for them to nail four corners, but why were so many nails being hammered now? It sounded like more than ten already. Had something gone wrong?”

Once again, he raised his hand and knocked on the coffin lid. “Matthew?” Renly shouted, his voice crashing down again without any response. “Matthew?” Renly raised his voice, shouting, “Charles? Charles!” Renly shouted at the top of his lungs, silently waiting for a response, but… he was disappointed. Silence. The whole world was silent. Darkness surrounded him like a tidal wave, and the suffocating feeling of drowning began to choke his throat. “Matthew Charles Dunlop!” Renly gritted his teeth and delivered the final ultimatum.

Complete silence.

Only the sound of his own breathing could be heard, and his hot breath began to quicken. Had something happened? Did the shopkeeper, tempted by wealth, subdue Matthew and try to suffocate him alive? After all, he had already signed a liability waiver, hadn’t he? Or perhaps there was another accident, like a sudden earthquake, or a fire breaking out, and everyone had to leave the scene, so he didn’t get a response at this moment?

Or maybe… maybe he was really trapped in the middle of the desert now. Iraqi militants had kidnapped him, thrown him into a coffin, and buried him in the desert. He was now left on his own, even God couldn’t help him, alone in the vast, endless desert, waiting to die.

The pounding of his heart grew louder as if it could tear through his chest at any moment, directly exploding. Panic surged from the soles of his feet to his head, his scalp beginning to tingle, and his rapid breathing was of no help. Beads of sweat the size of beans continued to slide down, his back already soaked. He wanted to turn, but his shoulder hit the wall. He couldn’t even feel the pain; his tense muscles did not react at all.

No, he didn’t plan to wait for death. He absolutely wouldn’t wait for his death quietly.

He began to fiercely slam his shoulders against the wooden lid above, one after another. However, his entire body was in a lying position, and his hands and feet were bound within a limited space, making it impossible for him to exert enough force. Even when he hit the lid, it seemed like ants shaking a tree, there was simply not much power to speak of.

But he still didn’t give up. Clenching his teeth, he struck again. The entire coffin gently shook, and the slightest glimmer of hope ignited all the motivation within him. Tensing all the muscles in his body, he curled up to the extreme. His knees and tailbone were already against the wall. Then, like a spring, he released all his strength, slamming his shoulders against the wooden lid. However, he exerted too much force, temporarily losing control. The back of his head collided directly, and the piercing pain made him involuntarily grit his teeth.

Uncontrollable anger began to emerge from the depths of his heart. His hands fiercely pounded the wooden lid above his head, and he couldn’t hold back the curses any longer. “Damn! Damn! Damn!” Using both hands and feet, he frantically struck and struggled. “Is anyone there? Come on! I’m trapped inside! Is anyone there? Is anyone there?”

He was like a volcano, constantly erupting, but his struggle was really insignificant. His arms had not had a chance to stretch before hitting the wall. His feet had not had a chance to extend before hitting the wall. His muscles had not had a chance to exert force before hitting the wall. The narrow space almost pressed down all his explosive force like he was under the water’s surface. His entire strength couldn’t find a point of leverage, nor could it find a driving force, forcibly being stuck halfway.

The stifling feeling burned fiercely, uncontrollably bursting open. All reason, all calmness, were burned to ashes. He struggled desperately, forgetting himself. At this moment, even if Jesus himself appeared before him, he would tear him apart with his bare hands.

“Hoo hoo, hoo hoo ……” After his rapid breaths, the exhaustion came, followed by a moment of chest tightness, as his brain faintly ached. In this scorching air, he seemed to capture little oxygen, and without any warning, nausea set in. “Ugh.” The retching sound emptied everything from his stomach, and the strong tea he drank in the morning was vomited out directly.

He turned his head as best he could, trying to let the vomit spill to the side, but he was still a step too slow. Some of the liquid flowed down his chin and onto his neck. The warm, sticky sensation did little to alleviate the churning in his stomach. It felt as if even last night’s dinner might come rolling out.

How utterly pathetic, how utterly embarrassing, how utterly desperate.

He clenched his fist and fiercely slammed it against the wall, just to release the anger within him. One hit after another, as if he couldn’t feel the pain at all. His teeth almost ground to bits. “Aaaahhhh!” he roared endlessly, screaming until his vocal cords began to ache. Drained of the last ounce of his strength, he collapsed, finally giving up all the struggle and anger, lying in there like a lifeless corpse.


T/N – Phew, this chapter was intense. I was planning on releasing 10 chapters at once but it took me more time to translate some of the chapters than I thought, so I will upload seven chapters now and in the span of the next three days the last three chapters will be released.

T/N – If you like this novel, please give a review or rating on Novel Updates🙂

T/N – If you want to support me check out my – KO-FI

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