羊毛战记 Part 5 The Stranded 78
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  • Silo 18 •
  A group of kids thundered down the staircase as Lukas was escorted to his death. One of themsquealed in delighted horror as if being chased. They spiraled closer, coming into view, and Lukasand Peter had to squeeze to one side to let them pass.
  Peter played the sheriff role and yelled at the kids to slow down, to be careful. They giggled1 andcontinued their mad descent. School was out for the day; no more listening to adults.
  While Lukas was pressed against the outer railing, he took a moment to consider the temptation.
  Freedom was just a jump away. A death of his own choosing, one he had considered in the past whenmoods turned dark.
  Peter pulled him along, hand on his elbow, before Lukas could act. He was left admiring thatgraceful bar of steel, watching the way it curved and curved, always spinning the same amount, neverending. He pictured it corkscrewing through the earth, could sense its vibrations2 like some cosmicstring, like a single strand3 of DNA4 at the silo’s core with all of life clinging to it.
  Thoughts like these swirled5 as they gained another level on his death. He watched the welds goby, some of them neater than others. A few were puckered6 up like scars; several had been polished sosmoothly he almost missed them. Each was a signature by its creator: a work of pride here, a rushedjob at the end of a long day there, a shadow learning for the first time, a seasoned pro7 with decades ofpractice making it look all too easy.
  He brushed his shackled8 hands over the rough paint, the bumps and wrinkles, the missing chipsthat revealed centuries of layers, of colors that changed with the times or with the supply of dyes orcost of paint. The layers reminded him of the wooden desk he’d stared down at for almost a month.
  Each little groove9 marked the passage of time, just as each name scratched into its surface marked aman’s mad desire to have more of it, to not let that time whisk his poor soul away.
  For a long while they marched in silence, a porter passing with a bulky load, a young couplelooking guilty. Exiting the server vault10 had not been the stroll to freedom Lukas had longed for thepast weeks. It had been an ambush11, a march of shame, faces in doorways12, faces on landings, faces onthe stairway. Blank, unblinking faces. Faces of friends wondering if he was their enemy.
  And maybe he was.
  They would say he had broken down and uttered the fateful taboo13, but Lukas now knew whypeople were put out. He was the virus. If he sneezed the wrong words, it would kill everyone heknew. This was the path Juliette had walked, and for the same absence of reason. He believed her,always had, always knew she’d done nothing wrong, but now he really understood. She was like himin so many ways. Except he would not survive; he knew that. Bernard had told him so.
  They were ten levels up from IT when Peter’s radio buzzed with chatter14. He took his hand offLukas’s elbow to turn up the volume, see if it was for him.
  “This is Juliette. Who is this?”
  That voice.
  Lukas’s heart leapt up a little before plummeting15 a very long way. He fixed16 his gaze on the railingand listened.
  Bernard responded, asked for silence. Peter reached for his radio, turned it down but not off. Thevoices climbed with them, back and forth17. Each step and each word ground down on Lukas, chippedaway at him. He studied the railing and again considered true freedom.
  A grab and a short leap up; a long flight.
  He could feel himself going through the motions, bending his knees, throwing his feet over.
  The voices in the radio argued. They said forbidden things. They were sloppy18 with secrets,thinking other ears couldn’t hear.
  Lukas watched his death play out over and over. His fate awaited him over that rail. The visualwas so powerful, it wrecked19 his climbing pace, it affected20 his legs.
  He slowed, Peter slowing with him. Each of them began to falter21, to waver in the conviction oftheir climb as they listened to Juliette and Bernard argue. The strength in Lukas drained away, and hedecided not to jump.
  Both men were having second thoughts.


1 giggled 72ecd6e6dbf913b285d28ec3ba1edb12     
v.咯咯地笑( giggle的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The girls giggled at the joke. 女孩子们让这笑话逗得咯咯笑。
  • The children giggled hysterically. 孩子们歇斯底里地傻笑。 来自《简明英汉词典》
2 vibrations d94a4ca3e6fa6302ae79121ffdf03b40     
n.摆动( vibration的名词复数 );震动;感受;(偏离平衡位置的)一次性往复振动
  • We could feel the vibrations from the trucks passing outside. 我们可以感到外面卡车经过时的颤动。
  • I am drawn to that girl; I get good vibrations from her. 我被那女孩吸引住了,她使我产生良好的感觉。 来自《简明英汉词典》
3 strand 7GAzH     
  • She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ears.她把一缕散发夹到了耳后。
  • The climbers had been stranded by a storm.登山者被暴风雨困住了。
4 DNA 4u3z1l     
(缩)deoxyribonucleic acid 脱氧核糖核酸
  • DNA is stored in the nucleus of a cell.脱氧核糖核酸储存于细胞的细胞核里。
  • Gene mutations are alterations in the DNA code.基因突变是指DNA密码的改变。
5 swirled eb40fca2632f9acaecc78417fd6adc53     
v.旋转,打旋( swirl的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The waves swirled and eddied around the rocks. 波浪翻滚着在岩石周围打旋。
  • The water swirled down the drain. 水打着旋流进了下水道。
6 puckered 919dc557997e8559eff50805cb11f46e     
v.(使某物)起褶子或皱纹( pucker的过去式和过去分词 )
  • His face puckered , and he was ready to cry. 他的脸一皱,像要哭了。
  • His face puckered, the tears leapt from his eyes. 他皱着脸,眼泪夺眶而出。 来自《简明英汉词典》
7 pro tk3zvX     
  • The two debating teams argued the question pro and con.辩论的两组从赞成与反对两方面辩这一问题。
  • Are you pro or con nuclear disarmament?你是赞成还是反对核裁军?
8 shackled 915a38eca61d93140d07ef091110dab6     
给(某人)带上手铐或脚镣( shackle的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The hostage had been shackled to a radiator. 当时人质被铐在暖气片上。
  • He was shackled and in darkness of torment. 他被困在黑暗中备受煎熬。
9 groove JeqzD     
  • They're happy to stay in the same old groove.他们乐于墨守成规。
  • The cupboard door slides open along the groove.食橱门沿槽移开。
10 vault 3K3zW     
  • The vault of this cathedral is very high.这座天主教堂的拱顶非常高。
  • The old patrician was buried in the family vault.这位老贵族埋在家族的墓地里。
11 ambush DNPzg     
  • Our soldiers lay in ambush in the jungle for the enemy.我方战士埋伏在丛林中等待敌人。
  • Four men led by a sergeant lay in ambush at the crossroads.由一名中士率领的四名士兵埋伏在十字路口。
12 doorways 9f2a4f4f89bff2d72720b05d20d8f3d6     
n.门口,门道( doorway的名词复数 )
  • The houses belched people; the doorways spewed out children. 从各家茅屋里涌出一堆一堆的人群,从门口蹦出一群一群小孩。 来自辞典例句
  • He rambled under the walls and doorways. 他就顺着墙根和门楼遛跶。 来自辞典例句
13 taboo aqBwg     
  • The rude words are taboo in ordinary conversation.这些粗野的字眼在日常谈话中是禁忌的。
  • Is there a taboo against sex before marriage in your society?在你们的社会里,婚前的性行为犯禁吗?
14 chatter BUfyN     
  • Her continuous chatter vexes me.她的喋喋不休使我烦透了。
  • I've had enough of their continual chatter.我已厌烦了他们喋喋不休的闲谈。
15 plummeting a560b06f9b99975167411b72966f5588     
v.垂直落下,骤然跌落( plummet的现在分词 )
  • Prices are rising, falling, going up, going down, shooting up, plummeting, etc. 物价在上涨、下跌、上升、下落、猛然上涨、骤然下跌等。 来自辞典例句
  • The enemy plane went plummeting into the sea. 敌机直直掉进海里。 来自辞典例句
16 fixed JsKzzj     
  • Have you two fixed on a date for the wedding yet?你们俩选定婚期了吗?
  • Once the aim is fixed,we should not change it arbitrarily.目标一旦确定,我们就不应该随意改变。
17 forth Hzdz2     
  • The wind moved the trees gently back and forth.风吹得树轻轻地来回摇晃。
  • He gave forth a series of works in rapid succession.他很快连续发表了一系列的作品。
18 sloppy 1E3zO     
  • If you do such sloppy work again,I promise I'll fail you.要是下次作业你再马马虎虎,我话说在头里,可要给你打不及格了。
  • Mother constantly picked at him for being sloppy.母亲不断地批评他懒散。
19 wrecked ze0zKI     
  • the hulk of a wrecked ship 遇难轮船的残骸
  • the salvage of the wrecked tanker 对失事油轮的打捞
20 affected TzUzg0     
  • She showed an affected interest in our subject.她假装对我们的课题感到兴趣。
  • His manners are affected.他的态度不自然。
21 falter qhlzP     
  • His voice began to falter.他的声音开始发颤。
  • As he neared the house his steps faltered.当他走近房子时,脚步迟疑了起来。