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失窃的孩子 The stolen Child CHAPTER 11

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"Listen"—Smaolach held his breath—"to this."

“听——”斯茂拉赫屏住呼吸——“听这个。”

At once, the snow changed over to sleet, which ticked against the fallen leaves and rocks and dripping branches, a miniature symphony of the natural world. We walked away from the river and took cover in a grove of evergreens. Ice encased each of the needles in a clear jacket. Luchóg pulled out a leather pouch hanging from a cord around his neck, first producing a tiny paper and then a fat pinch of dried and brown grasslike fibers that looked like tobacco. With deft fingers and a quick lick, he rolled a thin cigarette. From another section of the pouch, he extracted several wooden matches, counted them in his palm, and returned all but one to the waterproof compartment. His thumbnail struck the match, causing it to burst into flame, which Luchóg ap-plied to the end of the cigarette. Smaolach had dug a hole deep enough to reach a layer of dry needles and cones. Carefully taking the burning match from his friends fingertips, he set it in the bowl, and in short order we had a fire to toast our palms and fingertips. Luchóg passed the cigarette to Smaolach, who took a deep drag and held the smoke inside his mouth for a long time. When he exhaled at last, the effect was as sudden and percussive as the punch-line to a joke.

转眼间,雪变成冰雨,滴滴答答地扣在落叶上,石头上,垂枝上,奏出一曲自然界的小小交响乐。我们离开河岸,到一片常绿树林中躲避。针叶上裹着冰晶,像穿着洁净的夹克衫。鲁契克拉出用绳子挂在他脖子上的革袋,先拿出一张小纸片,然后是一大撮干燥的、晒黑了的草叶样纤维,看上去像是烟叶。他手指敏捷,飞快地一舔,就卷好一支细细的香烟。他从革袋的另一处取出几支木制火柴,放在手掌里数了数,留下一支,其余全放回防水袋中。他在大拇指指甲上划燃火柴,让它烧成火苗,点上香烟的一头。斯茂拉赫已经掘了个洞,深度足以到达下层的针叶和球果。他小心地从朋友指尖上拿过燃烧的火柴,在洞里点起来。不久,我们就有了一堆火来烘烤手掌和指尖了。鲁契克把烟递给斯茂拉赫,他深深吸了一口,把烟含了好久,终于呼了出来,这效果就像笑话里的妙语那样一下子打动人心。

"Give the boy a puff," Smaolach suggested.

“让这孩子吸一口。”斯茂拉赫提议说。

"I dont know how to smoke."

“我不知道怎么吸烟。”

"Do what I do," said Luchóg through clenched teeth. "But whatever you do, dont tell Igel about this. Dont tell anyone at all."

“跟我学,”鲁契克的声音从牙缝里透出来,“但不管你做什么,别把这件事告诉伊格尔,也别告诉其他人。”

I took a drag on the glowing cigarette and began coughing and sputter-ing from the smoke. They giggled and kept on laughing well after the last scrap had been inhaled. The air beneath the evergreen boughs was thick with a strange perfume, which made me feel dizzy, light-headed, and slightly nau-seous. Luchóg and Smaolach fell under the same spell, but they merely seemed content, simultaneously alert and peaceful. The sleet began to taper off, and silence returned like a lost friend.

我就着发热的卷烟吸了一口,被烟呛着,咳嗽起来。他们咯咯直笑,一直笑到他们吸尽最后一片烟叶。常绿树下的空气里含着浓重的奇香,我觉得头晕目眩,有点儿恶心。鲁契克和斯茂拉赫也同样受到影响,但他们看似只觉心满意足,既警觉又平静。冰雹开始减弱,寂静像失去的朋友再度归来。

"Did you hear that?"

“你听见了吗?”

"What is it?" I asked.

“什么?”我问。

Luchóg shushed me. "First, listen to see if you hear it." A moment later, the sound came to me, and though familiar, its substance and origin mysti-fied me.

鲁契克朝我嘘了一声,“你先听听看,看你能否听到。”过了一阵子,我听到了一个声音,虽然熟悉,但不知这声音是什么,从哪来的。

Luchóg sprang to his feet and rousted his friend. "Its a car, little treasure. Have you ever chased an automobile?"

鲁契克跳起来,叫起他的朋友,“是辆小汽车,小宝贝。你追赶过汽车吗?”

I shook my head, thinking he must have me confused with a dog. Both of my companions took hold of my hands and off we went, running faster than I had ever imagined possible. The world whirred by, patches and blurs of darkness where trees once stood. Mud and snow kicked up, mottling our trousers as we sped on at an insanely giddy pace. When the brush grew thicker, they let go of my hands and we raced down the trail one behind the other. Branches slapped me in the face, and I stumbled and fell into the muck. Scrambling to my feet, cold and wet and dirty, I realized I was alone for the first time in months. Fear took hold, and I opened my eyes and ears to the world, desperate to find my friends. Fierce pains of concentration shot across my forehead, but I bore down and heard them running through the snow in the distance. I felt a new and powerful magic in my senses, for I could see them clearly, while realizing that they should be too far ahead and out of sight. By visualizing my way, I gave chase, and the trees and branches that had con-fused me before now seemed no obstacle. I whipped through the woods the way a sparrow flies through the openings in a fence, without a thought, fold-ing up its wings at the right moment, gliding through.

我摇摇头,想他肯定把我和狗混淆了。我的两个同伴牵起我的手离开,跑得比我所能想像的速度更快。世界在旋转,树木林立的地方变成一片片模糊不清的黑暗。泥雪被踢飞,溅在我们的裤子上,我们达到了一种令人晕眩的疯狂速度。灌木丛渐渐茂密,他们松开我的手,一个接一个跑上小径。树枝抽打在我脸上,我脚下一绊,跌倒在泥泞里。我挣扎站起,浑身又冷又湿又脏,意识到数月来我首次孤独一人。恐惧攫住了我,我对着世界张开眼睛,竖起耳朵,拼命想找到我的朋友们。集中注意力后,我的前额蹿起一阵剧痛,但我忍住疼痛,听到他们在远处踏雪奔跑。我觉得自己的感官中产生了一种新的强大的魔力,因为我能清晰地看到他们,虽然我知道他们应该是在很远的前方,远在视线之外。我把脚下的路看得一清二楚,于是奋起直追,曾经为难我的树木、枝条如今似乎已不成障碍。我在林中飞驰,仿佛一只麻雀穿越篱笆间的空隙,不假思索就能在合适的时机收拢翅膀,飞翔而过。

When I caught up, I found they were standing behind the rough pines short of the forest edge. Before us lay a road and on that road a car had stopped, its headlights streaking through the misty darkness, broken pieces of the metal grille glistening on the asphalt. Through the open drivers door, a small light shone in the empty cab. The anomaly of the car pulled me toward it, but the strong arms of my friends held me back. A figure emerged from the darkness and stepped into the light, a thin young woman in a bright red coat. She held one hand to her forehead, and bending slowly, she reached out with her free arm, nearly touching a dark mass lying in the road.

当我赶上的时候,我看到他们正站在距离森林边缘不远的粗松树底下。我们面前有条马路,路上停着辆车,前灯在薄雾笼罩的黑暗中打出一道道的亮光,碎裂的金属格栅在柏油路面上闪光。透过敞开的驾驶室的车门,空空的车厢里亮着一盏小灯。车况的异常促使我走上前去,但朋友们有力的胳膊将我拉回。一个人影从暗中出现,走到亮处,是一个穿着鲜红色大衣的年轻纤瘦的女人。她一手捂着额头,慢慢地弯下身子,伸出另一只胳膊,摸向躺在路上的一团黑色的东西。

"She hit a deer," Luchóg said, a note of sadness in his voice. She agonized over its prostrate form, pulling her hair back from her face, her other hand pressed against her lips.

“她撞到了一头鹿。”鲁契克说道,话音中有种悲哀。她为它倒伏的身影烦恼不堪,她掠开面前的头发,另一只手捂着嘴唇。

"Is it dead?" I asked.

"The trick," said Smaolach in a quiet voice, "is to breathe into its mouth. Its not dead at all, but in shock."

Luchóg whispered to me. "Well wait until shes gone, and you can in-spire it."

"Me?"

"Dont you know? Youre a faery now, same as us, and can do anything we can do."

“它死了吗?”我问。

“魔法是,”斯茂拉赫悄声说道,“把气吹进它嘴里。它没死,只是撞昏了。”

鲁契克轻声对我说:“我们会等到她离开,这样你就能给它吹气了。”

“我?”

“你不知道吗?你现在是个仙灵了,和我们一样,我们能干什么,你就能干什么。”

The notion overwhelmed me. A faery? I wanted to know right away if it was true; I wanted to test my own powers. So I broke away from my friends, approaching the deer from the shadows. The woman stood in the middle of that lonesome road, scanning in both directions for another car. She did not notice me until I was already there, crouching over the animal, my hand upon its warm flank, its pulse racing alongside my own. I cupped the deers muzzle in my hand and breathed into its hot mouth. Almost immediately, the beast lifted its head, shouldered me out of the way, and rocked itself up into a stand-ing position. For an instant, it stared at me; then, like a white ensign, its tail shot up a warning, and the deer bounded into the night. To say that we—the animal, the woman, myself—were surprised by this turn of events would be the most severe understatement. She looked bewildered, so I smiled at her. At that moment, my comrades started calling to me in loud whispers.

这个说法使我为之忘形。一个仙灵?我立刻想知道这是否是真的,我想要试验我的能力。于是我挣脱朋友们,从阴影下朝鹿走去。女人站在孤零零的马路中间,左顾右盼看是否有车经过。她没有注意到我,直到我出现在那里,蹲到动物面前,手放在它温暖的体侧,它的脉搏在我脉搏边上跳动。我用手环住鹿的吻部,往它温热的嘴里吹气。几乎是眨眼间,这头野兽抬起头,将我顶开,摇晃着站起来。有片刻它看着我,随即把尾巴像白色军旗似的举起来以示警告,便跳进黑暗中去了。如果说我们——动物、女人和我自己——为事态转变而感到吃惊,实在远远不足形容当时的情形。她看起来给弄糊涂了,于是我朝她微笑。这时,我的同伴开始提高声音呼唤我

"Who are you?" She wrapped herself tighter in that red coat. Or at least I thought those were her words, but her voice sounded alien, as if she were speaking through water. I stared at the ground, realizing that I did not know the true answer. Her face drew close enough for me to detect the beginning of a smile on her lips and the pale bluegreen of her irises behind her glasses. Her eyes were splendid.

“你是谁?”她用红大衣把自己裹得更紧。或者至少,我以为这是她说的话,她的声音听起来很奇怪,仿佛是在水里说的。我看着地面,想到我自己并不知道真正的答案。她的脸靠近得足以让我发现她唇边绽开的微笑,还有眼镜后面浅蓝绿色的虹膜。她的眼睛光彩照人。

"We must go." From the darkness, a hand grasped my shoulder, and Smaolach dragged me away into the bushes, leaving me to wonder if it had all been a dream. We hid in a tangle while she searched for us, and at last she gave up, got in her car and drove off. I did not know it at the time, but she was the last human person I was to encounter for more than a dozen years. The tail-lights zigzagged over the hills and through the trees until there was no more to see.

“我们要走了。”从黑暗中伸出一只手抓住我肩膀,斯茂拉赫将我拖入灌木丛,我想这是否是一场梦。我们躲在乱草丛中,她寻找我们,但终于放弃,钻进汽车开走了。当时我还不知道,在未来十几年间,她是我遇见的最后一个人类。尾灯在山上、树木间蜿蜒而行,最后再也看不见了。

We retreated back to camp in a cross silence. Halfway home, Luchóg advised, "You mustnt tell anyone about what happened tonight. Stay away from people and be content with who you are." On the journey, we created a necessary fiction to explain our long absence, invented a narrative of the wa-ters and the wild, and once told, our story endured. But I never forgot that secret of the redcoated woman, and later, when I began to doubt the world above, the memory of that bright and lonely meeting reminded me that it was no myth.

在郁闷的沉默中,我们打道回府。半路上,鲁契克提出建议:“你不能把今晚发生的事告诉任何人。离人类远远的,要满足于你的身份。”我们在途中编造了必要的故事来解释我们为何离开这么长时间,对水流和野景做了一番描述。我们的故事讲述之后流传开来,但我从未忘记那个红衣女人的秘密。后来,当我开始怀疑地面上的世界,记忆中这次鲜明而又惟一的邂逅就提醒我,这不是一个神话。
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