连载 科幻小说北京折叠(七)完结

大连期货大厦图书馆 2018-06-20 16:19:56

FOLDING BEIJNG

BY HAO JINGFANG

TRANSLATED BY KEN LIU

连载 | 科幻小说北京折叠(一)

连载 | 科幻小说北京折叠(二)

连载 | 科幻小说北京折叠(三)

连载 | 科幻小说北京折叠(四)

连载 | 科幻小说北京折叠(五)

连载 | 科幻小说北京折叠(六)


The silver–haired speaker returned to his office after the banquet to deal with some paperwork, and then got on a video call with Europe. At midnight, he felt tired. He took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. It was finally time to go home. He worked till midnight on most days.

白发演讲人在晚宴之后回到自己的办公室,处理了一些文件,又和欧洲进行了视频通话。十二点感觉疲劳,摘下眼镜揉了揉鼻梁两侧,准备回家。他经常工作到午夜。


The phone rang. He picked up. It was his secretary.

电话突然响了,他按下耳机。是秘书。


The research group for the conference had reported something troubling. Someone had discovered an error with one of the figures used in the pre–printed conference declaration, and the research group wanted to know if they should re–print the declaration. The old man immediately approved the request. This was very important, and they had to get it right. He asked who was responsible for this, and the secretary told him that it was Director Wu Wen.

大会研究组出了状况。之前印好的大会宣言中有一个数据之前计算结果有误,白天突然有人发现。宣言在会议第二天要向世界宣读,因而会议组请示要不要把宣言重新印刷。白发老人当即批准。这是大事,不能有误。他问是谁负责此事,秘书说,是吴闻主任。


The old man sat down on his sofa and took a nap. Around four in the morning, the phone rang again. The printing was going a bit slower than expected, and they estimated it would take another hour.

他靠在沙发上小睡。清晨四点,电话又响了。印刷有点慢,预计还要一个小时。


He got up and looked outside the window. All was silent. He could see Orion’s bright stars twinkling against the dark sky.

他起身望向窗外。夜深人静,漆黑的夜空能看到静谧的猎户座亮星。


The stars of Orion were reflected in the mirror–like surface of the lake. Lao Dao was sitting on the shore of the lake, waiting for the Change.

猎户座亮星映在镜面般的湖水中。老刀坐在湖水边上,等待转换来临。


He gazed at the park at night, realizing that this was perhaps the last time he would see a sight such as this. He wasn’t sad or nostalgic. This was a beautiful, peaceful place, but it had nothing to do with him. He wasn’t envious or resentful. He just wanted to remember this experience. There were few lights at night here, nothing like the flashing neon that turned the streets of Third Space bright as day. The buildings of the city seemed to be asleep, breathing evenly and calmly.

他看着夜色中的园林,猜想这可能是自己最后一次看这片风景。他并不忧伤留恋,这里虽然静美,可是和他没关系,他并不钦羡嫉妒。他只是很想记住这段经历。夜里灯光很少,比第三空间遍布的霓虹灯少很多,建筑散发着沉睡的呼吸,幽静安宁。


At five in the morning, the secretary called again to say that the declaration had been re–printed and bound, but the documents were still in the print shop, and they wanted to know if they should delay the scheduled Change.

清晨五点,秘书打电话说,材料印好了,还没出车间,问是否人为推迟转换的时间。


The old man made the decision right away. Of course they had to delay it.

白发老人斩钉截铁地说,废话,当然推迟。


At forty minutes past the hour, the printed declarations were brought to the conference site, but they still had to be stuffed into about three thousand individual folders.

清晨五点四十分,印刷品抵达会场,但还需要分装在三千个会议夹子中。


Lao Dao saw the faint light of dawn. At this time during the year, the sun wouldn’t have risen by six, but it was possible to see the sky brightening near the horizon.

老刀看到了依稀的晨光,这个季节六点还没有天亮,但已经能看到蒙蒙曙光。


He was prepared. He looked at his phone: only a couple more minutes until six. But strangely, there were no signs of the Change. Maybe in First Space, even the Change happens more smoothly and steadily.

他做好了一切准备,反复看手机上的时间。有一点奇怪,已经只有一两分钟到六点了,还是没有任何动静。他猜想也许第一空间的转换更平稳顺滑。


At ten after six, the last copy of the declaration was stuffed into its folder.

清晨六点十分,分装结束。


The old man let out a held breath. He gave the order to initiate the Change.

白发老人松了一口气,下令转换开始。


Lao Dao noticed that the earth was finally moving. He stood up and shook the numbness out of his limbs. Carefully, he stepped up to the edge of the widening fissure. As the earth on both sides of the crack lifted up, he clambered over the edge, tested for purchase with his feet, and climbed down. The ground began to turn.

老刀发现地面终于动了,他站起身,活动了一下有点麻木的手脚,小心翼翼来到边缘。土地的缝隙开始拉大,缝隙两边同时向上掀起。他沿着其中一边往截面上移动,背身挪移,先用脚试探着,手扶住地面退行。大地开始翻转。


At twenty after six, the secretary called again with an emergency. Director Wu Wen had carelessly left a data key with important documents behind at the banquet hall. He was worried that the cleaning robots might remove it, and he had to go retrieve it right away.

六点二十分,秘书打来紧急电话,说吴闻主任不小心将存着重要文件的数据key遗忘在会场,担心会被机器人清理,需要立即取回。


The old man was annoyed, but he gave the order to stop the Change and reverse course.

白发老人有点恼怒,但也只好令转换停止,恢复原状。


Lao Dao was climbing slowly over the cross section of the earth when everything stopped with a jolt. After a moment, the earth started moving again, but now in reverse. The fissure was closing up. Terrified, he climbed up as fast as he dared. Scrabbling over the soil with hands and feet, he had to be careful with his movements.

老刀在截面上正慢慢挪移,忽然感觉土地的移动停止了,接着开始调转方向,已错开的土地开始合拢。他吓了一跳,连忙向回攀爬。他害怕滚落,手脚并用,异常小心。


The seam closed faster than he had expected. Just as he reached the top, the two sides of the crack came together. One of his lower legs was caught. Although the soil gave enough to not crush his leg or break his bones, it held him fast and he couldn’t extricate himself despite several attempts. Sweat beaded on his forehead from terror and pain. Has he been discovered?

土地回归的速度比他想象的快,就在他爬到地表的时候,土地合拢了,他的一条小腿被两块土地夹在中间,尽管是泥土,不足以切筋断骨,但力量十足,他试了几次也无法脱出。他心里大叫糟糕,头顶因为焦急和疼痛渗出汗水。他不知道是否被人发现了。



Lao Dao lay prostrate on the ground, listening. He seemed to hear steps hurrying toward him. He imagined that soon the police would arrive and catch him. They might cut off his leg and toss him in jail with the stump. He couldn’t tell when his identity had been revealed. As he lay on the grass, he felt the chill of morning dew. The damp air seeped through collar and cuffs, keeping him alert and making him shiver. 

老刀趴在地上,静听着周围的声音。他似乎听到匆匆接近的脚步声。他想象着很快就有警察过来,将他抓起来,夹住的小腿会被砍断,带着疮口扔到监牢里。他不知道自己是什么时候暴露了身份。他伏在青草覆盖的泥土上,感觉到晨露的冰凉。湿气从领口和袖口透入他的身体,让他觉得清醒,却又忍不住战栗。


He silently counted the seconds, hoping against hope that this was but a technical malfunction. He tried to plan for what to say if he was caught. Maybe he should mention how honestly and diligently he had toiled for twenty–eight years and try to buy a bit of sympathy. He didn’t know if he would be prosecuted in court. Fate loomed before his eyes.

他默数着时间,期盼这只是技术故障。他设想着自己如果被抓住了该说些什么。也许他该交待自己二十八年工作的勤恳诚实,赚一点同情分。他不知道自己会不会被审判。命运在前方逼人不已。


Fate now pressed into his chest. Of everything he had experienced during the last forty–eight hours, the episode that had made the deepest impression was the conversation with Lao Ge at dinner. He felt that he had approached some aspect of truth, and perhaps that was why he could catch a glimpse of the outline of fate. But the outline was too distant, too cold, too out of reach. He didn’t know what was the point of knowing the truth. If he could see some things clearly but was still powerless to change them, what good did that do? In his case, he couldn’t even see clearly. Fate was like a cloud that momentarily took on some recognizable shape, and by the time he tried to get a closer look, the shape was gone. 

命运直抵胸膛。回想这四十八小时的全部经历,最让他印象深刻的是最后一晚老葛说过的话。他觉得自己似乎接近了些许真相,因而见到命运的轮廓。可是那轮廓太远,太冷静,太遥不可及。他不知道了解一切有什么意义,如果只是看清楚一些事情,却不能改变,又有什么意义。他连看都还无法看清,命运对他就像偶尔显出形状的云朵,倏忽之间又看不到了。


He knew that he was nothing more than a figure. He was but an ordinary person, one out of 51,280,000 others just like him. And if they didn’t need that much precision and spoke of only 50 million, he was but a rounding error, the same as if he had never existed. He wasn’t even as significant as dust. He grabbed onto the grass.

他知道自己仍然是数字。在5128万这个数字中,他只是最普通的一个。如果偏生是那128万中的一个,还会被四舍五入,就像从来没存在过,连尘土都不算。他抓住地上的草。


At six thirty, Wu Wen retrieved his data key. At six forty, Wu Wen was back in his home.

六点三十分,吴闻取回数据key。六点四十分,吴闻回到房间。


At six forty–five, the white-haired old man finally lay down on the small bed in his office, exhausted. The order had been issued, and the wheels of the world began to turn slowly. Transparent covers extended over the coffee table and the desk, securing everything in place. The bed released a cloud of soporific gas and extended rails on all sides; then it rose into the air. As the ground and everything on the ground turned, the bed would remain level, like a floating cradle.

六点四十五分,白发老人终于疲倦地倒在办公室的小床上。指令已经按下,世界的齿轮开始缓缓运转。书桌和茶几表面伸出透明的塑料盖子,将一切物品罩住并固定。小床散发出催眠气体,四周立起围栏,然后从地面脱离,地面翻转,床像一只篮子始终保持水平。


The Change had started again.

转换重新启动了。


After thirty minutes spent in despair, Lao Dao saw a trace of hope again. The ground was moving. He pulled his leg out as soon as the fissure opened, and then returned to the arduous climb over the cross-section as soon as the opening was wide enough. He moved with even more care than before. As circulation returned to his numb leg, his calf itched and ached as though he was being bitten by thousands of ants. Several times, he almost fell. The pain was intolerable, and he had to bite his fist to stop from screaming. He fell; he got up; he fell again; he got up again. He struggled with all his strength and skill to maintain his footing over the rotating earth.

老刀在三十分钟的绝望之后突然看到生机。大地又动了起来。他在第一时间拼尽力气将小腿抽离出来,在土地掀起足够高度的时候重新回到截面上。他更小心地撤退。血液复苏的小腿开始刺痒疼痛,如百爪挠心,几次让他摔倒,疼得无法忍受,只好用牙齿咬住拳头。他摔倒爬起,又摔倒又爬起,在角度飞速变化的土地截面上维持艰难地平衡。


He couldn’t even remember how he had climbed up the stairs. He only remembered fainting as soon as Qin Tian opened the door to his apartment.

他不记得自己怎么拖着腿上楼,只记得秦天开门时,他昏了过去。


Lao Dao slept for ten hours in Second Space. Qin Tian found a classmate in medical school to help dress his wound. He suffered massive damage to his muscles and soft tissue, but luckily, no bones were broken. However, he was going to have some difficulty walking for a while. After waking up, Lao Dao handed Yi Yan’s letter to Qin Tian. He watched as Qin Tian read the letter, his face filling up with happiness as well as loss. He said nothing. He knew that Qin Tian would be immersed in this remote hope for a long time.

在第二空间,老刀睡了十个小时。秦天找同学来帮他处理了腿伤。肌肉和软组织大面积受损,很长一段时间会妨碍走路,但所幸骨头没断。他醒来后将依言的信交给秦天,看秦天幸福而又失落的样子,什么话也没有说。他知道,秦天会沉浸距离的期冀中很长时间。


Returning to Third Space, Lao Dao felt as though he had been traveling for a month. The city was waking up slowly. Most of the residents had slept soundly, and now they picked up their lives from where they had left off the previous cycle. No one would notice that Lao Dao had been away.

再回到第三空间,他感觉像是已经走了一个月。城市仍然在缓慢苏醒,城市居民只过了平常的一场睡眠,和前一天连续。不会有人发现老刀的离开。


As soon as the vendors along the pedestrian lane opened shop, he sat down at a plastic table and ordered a bowl of chow mein. For the first time in his life, Lao Dao asked for shredded pork to be added to the noodles. Just one time, he thought. A reward.

他在步行街营业的第一时间坐到塑料桌旁,要了一盘炒面,生平第一次加了一份肉丝。只是一次而已,他想,可以犒劳一下自己。


Then he went to Lao Ge’s home and delivered the two boxes of medicine Lao Ge had bought for his parents. The two elders were no longer mobile, and a young woman with a dull demeanor lived with them as a caretaker.

然后他去了老葛家,将老葛给父母的两盒药带给他们。两位老人都已经不大能走动了,一个木讷的小姑娘住在家里看护他们。


Limping, he slowly returned to his own rental unit. The hallway was noisy and chaotic, filled with the commotion of a typical morning: brushing teeth, flushing toilets, arguing families. All around him were disheveled hair and half–dressed bodies.

他拖着伤腿缓缓踱回自己租的房子。楼道里喧扰嘈杂,充满刚睡醒时洗漱冲厕所和吵闹的声音,蓬乱的头发和乱敞的睡衣在门里门外穿梭。


He had to wait a while for the elevator. As soon as he got off at his floor he heard loud arguing noises. It was the two girls who lived next door, Lan Lan and Ah Bei, arguing with the old lady who collected rent. All the units in the building were public housing, but the residential district had an agent who collected rent, and each building, even each floor, had a subagent. The old lady was a long–term resident. She was thin, shriveled, and lived by herself—her son had left and nobody knew where he was. She always kept her door shut and didn’t interact much with the other residents. Lan Lan and Ah Bei had moved in recently, and they worked at a clothing store. Ah Bei was shouting while Lan Lan was trying to hold her back. Ah Bei turned and shouted at Lan Lan; Lan Lan began to cry.

他等了很久电梯,刚上楼就听见争吵。他仔细一看,是隔壁的女孩阑阑和阿贝在和收租的老太太争吵。整栋楼是公租房,但是社区有统一收租的代理人,每栋楼又有分包,甚至每层有单独的收租人。老太太也是老住户了,儿子不知道跑到哪里去了,她长得瘦又干,单独一个人住着,房门总是关闭,不和人来往。阑阑和阿贝在这一层算是新人,两个卖衣服的女孩子。阿贝的声音很高,阑阑拉着她,阿贝抢白了阑阑几句,阑阑倒哭了。


“We all have to follow the lease, don’t we?” The old lady pointed at the scrolling text on the screen mounted on the wall. “Don’t you dare accuse me of lying! Do you understand what a lease is? It’s right here in black and white: In autumn and winter, there’s a ten percent surcharge for heat.”

“咱们都是按合同来的哦。”老太太用手戳着墙壁上屏幕里滚动的条文,“我这个人从不撒谎唉。你们知不知道什么是合同咧?秋冬加收10%取暖费,合同里写得清清楚楚唉。”


“Ha!” Ah Bei lifted her chin at the old lady while combing her hair forcefully. “Do you think we are going to be fooled by such a basic trick? When we’re at work, you turn off the heat. Then you charge us for the electricity we haven’t been using so you can keep the extra for yourself. Do you think we were born yesterday? Every day, when we get home after work, the place is cold as an ice cellar. Just because we’re new, you think you can take advantage of us?”

“凭什么啊?凭什么?”阿贝扬着下巴,一边狠狠地梳着头发,“你以为你那点小猫腻我们不知道?我们上班时你全把空调关了,最后你这按电费交钱,我们这给你白交供暖费。你蒙谁啊你!每天下班回来这屋里冷得跟冰一样。你以为我们新来的好欺负吗?”


Ah Bei’s voice was sharp and brittle, and it cut through the air like a knife. Lao Dao looked at Ah Bei, at her young, determined, angry face, and thought she was very beautiful. Ah Bei and Lan Lan often helped him by taking care of Tangtang when he wasn’t home, and sometimes even made porridge for him. He wanted Ah Bei to stop shouting, to forget these trivial things and stop arguing. He wanted to tell her that a girl should sit elegantly and quietly, cover her knees with her skirt, and smile so that her pretty teeth showed. That was how you got others to love you. But he knew that that was not what Ah Bei and Lan Lan needed.

阿贝的声音尖而脆,划得空气道道裂痕。老刀看着阿贝的脸,年轻、饱满而意气的脸,很漂亮。她和阑阑帮他很多,他不在家的时候,她们经常帮他照看糖糖,也会给他熬点粥。他忽然想让阿贝不要吵了,忘了这些细节,只是不要吵了。他想告诉她女孩子应该安安静静坐着,让裙子盖住膝盖,微微一笑露出好看的牙齿,轻声说话,那样才有人爱。可是他知道她们需要的不是这些。


He took out a 10,000–yuan bill from his inner pocket and handed it to the old lady. His hand trembled from weakness. The old lady was stunned, and so were Ah Bei and Lan Lan. He didn’t want to explain. He waved at them and returned to his home.

他从衣服的内衬掏出一张一万块的钞票,虚弱地递给老太太。老太太目瞪口呆,阿贝、阑阑看得傻了。他不想解释,摆摆手回到自己的房间。


Tangtang was just waking up in her crib, and she rubbed her sleepy eyes. He gazed into Tangtang’s face, and his exhausted heart softened. He remembered how he had found Tangtang at first in front of the waste processing station, and her dirty, tear–stained face. He had never regretted picking her up that day. She laughed, and smacked her lips. He thought that he was fortunate. Although he was injured, he hadn’t been caught and managed to bring back money. He didn’t know how long it would take Tangtang to learn to dance and sing, and become an elegant young lady.

摇篮里,糖糖刚刚睡醒,正迷糊着揉眼睛。他看着糖糖的脸,疲倦了一天的心软下来。他想起最初在垃圾站门口抱起糖糖时,她那张脏兮兮的哭累了的小脸。他从没后悔将她抱来。她笑了,吧唧了一下小嘴。他觉得自己还是幸运的。尽管伤了腿,但毕竟没被抓住,还带了钱回来。他不知道糖糖什么时候才能学会唱歌跳舞,成为一个淑女。


He checked the time. It was time to go to work.

他看看时间,该去上班了。


(完)

- THE END -

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