Tag: 大浪淘沙休闲会所


Other beasts were best left alone, the hunter

2018年12月19日

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Other beasts were best left alone, the hunter had declared. Cats were vain and cruel, always ready to turn on you. Elk and deer were prey; wear their skins too

long, and even the bravest man became a coward. Bears, boars, badgers, weasels … Haggon did not hold with such. “Some skins you never want to wear, boy. You won’t like what you’d become.” Birds

were the worst, to hear him tell it. “Men were not meant to leave the earth. Spend too much time in the clouds and you

never want to come back down again. I know skinchangers who’ve tried hawks, owls, ravens. Even in their own skins, they sit moony, staring up at the bloody blue.”

“Yes.”

“I was sorry, of course. Well, I took the liberty of asking them for your address and communicating with you. I prefer you to one of the men for my pilot; also your little plane rides very comfortably. This morning is wasted, but the

afternoon is still young. I should like to engage you to take me along the coast as usual. Can you meet me in, say, half an hour?”

“Well—” Roberta hesitated.

“You will be well paid. You have not connected, as yet, with another firm, or taken on a passenger?”

“No,” Roberta had to admit. Just then her mother came hurrying in lest the call be53 from her husband. She glanced at her daughter and saw the look of doubt on the young face.

“What is it, dear?” she asked softly. Roberta put the instrument low and spoke softly.

“Mrs. Pollzoff wants me to take her up this afternoon.”

“Perhaps you will feel more comfortable if you are flying,” her mother suggested.

you’d become.” Birds were the worst, to hear him tell it. “Men were not meant to leave the earth. Spend too much time in

the clouds and you never want to come back down again. I know skinchangers who’ve tried hawks, owls, ravens. Even in their own skins, they

 

sit moony,

staring

up at the

bloody blue.”

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Far away, a wolf gave howl.A shiver went through

2018年12月19日

上海千花坊

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Far away, a wolf gave howl.

A shiver went through Varamyr. He knew that howl as well as Lump had once known his mother’s voice. One Eye. He was the oldest of his three, the biggest, the

fiercest. Stalker was leaner, quicker, younger, Sly more cunning, but both went in fear of One Eye. The old wolf was fearless, relentless, savage.

Varamyr had lost control of his other beasts in the agony of the eagle’s death. His shadowcat had raced into the woods, whilst his snow bear turned her claws on those

around her, ripping apart four men before falling to a spear. She would have slain Varamyr had he come within her reach. The bear hated him, had raged each time he wore her skin or climbed upon her back.

His wolves, though …

“That’s what we want,” Mrs. Langwell told him, then turned to her daughter. “That is our telephone, dear.”

“I’ll go and answer it,” Roberta replied, and ran to the house as fast as she could. The bell was still ringing so she knew that the party had not been discouraged over the

delay and given up getting in touch with the family. “Hello,” she spoke into the phone.

“I wish to speak with Miss Langwell,” came the reply, and although the voice sounded familiar, Roberta could not recognize it immediately.

“That’s what we want,” Mrs. Langwell told him, then turned to her daughter. “That is our telephone, dear.”

“I’ll go and answer it,” Roberta replied, and ran to the house as fast as she could. The bell was still ringing so she knew that the party had not been discouraged over the

delay and given up getting in touch with the family. “Hello,” she spoke into the phone.

“I wish to speak with Miss Langwell,” came the reply, and although the voice sounded familiar,

 

Roberta

could not

recognize it

immediately.

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Abomination, he heard Haggon saying. It was

2018年12月18日

爱上海

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Abomination, he heard Haggon saying. It was almost as if he were here, in this very room. “She is just some ugly spearwife,” Varamyr told him. “I am a great man. I am

Varamyr, the warg, the skinchanger, it is not right that she should live and I should die.” No one answered. There was no one there. Thistle was gone. She had abandoned him, the same as all the rest.

His own mother had abandoned him as well. She cried for Bump, but she never cried for me. The morning his father pulled him out of bed to deliver him to Haggon,

she would not even look at him. He had shrieked and kicked as he was dragged into the woods, until his father slapped him and told him to be quiet. “You belong with

your own kind,” was all he said when he flung him down at Haggon’s feet.

He was not wrong, Varamyr thought, shivering. Haggon taught me much and more. He taught me how to hunt and fish, how to butcher a carcass and bone a fish, how to

find my way through the woods. And he taught me the way of the warg and the secrets of the skinchanger, though my gift was stronger than his own.

decided to lighten things up a bit in the vicinity of the beloved airplane and its owner. In spite of the excitement and terror, the girl was so weary that she dropped

off to sleep at once and it was late when she awakened. To her amazement she heard voices in the vicinity of the hangar, but when she hopped out of bed, she saw

it was her Dad

there with

the village

electrician.

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That was when he noticed that his fire had gone

2018年12月18日

上海龙凤

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That was when he noticed that his fire had gone out.

Only a grey-and-black tangle of charred wood remained, with a few embers glowing in the ashes. There’s still smoke, it just needs wood. Gritting his teeth against the

pain, Varamyr crept to the pile of broken branches Thistle had gathered before she went off hunting, and tossed a few sticks onto the ashes. “Catch,” he croaked. “Burn.”

He blew upon the embers and said a wordless prayer to the nameless gods of wood and hill and field.

The gods gave no answer. After a while, the smoke ceased to rise as well. Already the little hut was growing colder. Varamyr had no flint, no tinder, no dry kindling. He

would never get the fire burning again, not by himself. “Thistle,” he called out, his voice hoarse and edged with pain. “Thistle!”

“Thanks. I’ll get home as fast as I can and start things humming on the telephone. Spread this number over the country through the broadcasting stations and find out who owns that car.”

“Ought not to be hard finding the would-be thieves,” the boy grinned.

“Looks as if it

might be easy,

thanks to your

good sense.”

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Its owner had been dead, the back of her head

2018年12月14日

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Its owner had been dead, the back of her head smashed into red pulp flecked with bits of bone, but her cloak looked warm and thick. It was snowing, and Varamyr had

lost his own cloaks at the Wall. His sleeping pelts and woolen smallclothes, his sheepskin boots and fur-lined gloves, his store of mead and hoarded food, the hanks

of hair he took from the women he bedded, even the golden arm rings Mance had given him, all lost and left behind. I burned and I died and then I ran, half-mad with

pain and terror. The memory still shamed him, but he had not been alone. Others had run as well, hundreds of them, thousands. The battle was lost. The knights had

come, invincible in their steel, killing everyone who stayed to fight. It was run or die.

45 “That’s a good lock you have on the building,” the sheriff announced. “Kept them from opening the door right away.”

“Mighty good thing your daughter happened to look out of her window before she turned in to bed,” remarked the neighbor.

“Yes, indeed it is.”

“I call the best part that you had a pop-gun to pepper them with. I heard one cry out, and from my window I saw that the fellow hiding nearest the barn grabbed toward his face.”

“From that window of yours you must have had a pretty good look at them, even if it was dark,” said the sheriff.

“Did, for an instant. The lad that got nipped seemed like a big boy; tall, stout chap I should say, but the way he sprinted after the gun went off, he

Death was not so easily outrun, however. So when Varamyr came upon the dead woman in the wood, he knelt to strip the cloak from her, and never saw the boy

until he burst from hiding to drive the long bone knife into his side and rip the cloak out

of his clutching fingers. “His mother,” Thistle told him later, after the boy had run off. “It were his mother’s cloak, and when he saw you robbing her …”

 

sure is agile.”

“Did you hear them

at the hangar?”

Roberta asked.

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Varamyr might have been amongst them if only

2018年12月14日

上海千花坊

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Varamyr might have been amongst them if only he’d been stronger. The sea was grey and cold and far away, though, and he knew that he would never live to see it. He

 

 

was nine times dead and dying, and this would be his true death. A squirrel-skin cloak, he remembered, he knifed me for a squirrel-skin cloak.

“Don’t go out,” Mrs. Langwell urged as her husband began to don his trousers hastily under his robe.

“It’s quite safe,” he assured her. Before he was ready there came a pounding at the door—alarmed voices shouted, “You people all right, Langwell?”

“That’s Mr. Howard. He’s the sheriff of the county and must have been in the neighborhood.”

“I’ll be right down,” Mrs. Langwell called. Presently the officer of the law was standing in the hall, while she explained what had happened.

“Glad nobody’s hurt, least-wise, none of you folks. I’ll go out and have a look44 around.” There was a business-like gun in his hand and his chin was set firmly.

“I’m coming with you,” Mr. Langwell called from the top of the stairs as he hurried to join the sheriff.

“I’m coming too, Dad.”

“Stay with your mother, please,” he answered, so Roberta obeyed.

“There isn’t a thing you can do out there, Honey,” Mrs. Langwell assured her. “And you might get in the way.”

So the girl had to be content to remain inside, while sounds of people running, sharp questions, brief answers, and the noise of automobiles stopping while the occupants

demanded to know what was the difficulty came to them from outside. Half an hour later Mr. Langwell came back with the sheriff and their nearest neighbor, and

although they were greatly excited, they had discovered nothing more than some footprints of the robbers, and the place where a large car had been parked by the

side of the road, obviously waiting to assist

the thieve

in their

from the scene

of their mischief.

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One day, as they fled, a rider came galloping

2018年12月14日

上海楼凤

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One day, as they fled, a rider came galloping through the woods on a gaunt white horse, shouting that they all should make for the Milkwater, that the Weeper was

gathering warriors to cross the Bridge of Skulls and take the Shadow Tower. Many followed him; more did not. Later, a dour warrior in fur and amber went from

cookfire to cookfire, urging all the survivors to head north and take refuge in the valley of the Thenns. Why he thought they would be safe there when the Thenns

themselves had fled the place Varamyr never learned, but hundreds followed him. Hundreds more went off with the woods witch who’d had a vision of a fleet of ships

coming to carry the free folk south. “We must seek the sea,” cried Mother Mole, and her followers turned east.

Simultaneously with the sound of peppering bullets came a furious string of oaths. A second figure leaped from the corner of the old building and then the gun spoke

again. This time, amid the hail of small bullets came a muffled cry of pain, subdued curses, and a swift scrambling of two pairs of feet taking their owners helter-skelter

from the vicinity. From a distance came the roar of a motor thrown open quickly somewhere down the road, a clutch released as if by frantic hands, then an automobile in motion, but moving slowly.

“Nipped them,” Dad declared with satisfaction.

“Wish you could have done more than that,” Roberta said without any compunction.

43 “At any rate, they are frightened away. Turn on the lights, Mother, please, and we’ll do some investigating.” Mrs. Langwell pressed the switches which immediately

illuminated the whole house, and the sounds of shouts came from the home of the nearest neighbors. This was taken up by other persons, while someone on a motorcycle

seemed to turn

as if giving

chase after

the robbers.

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Leagues away, in a one-room hut of mud and straw

2018年12月13日

上海龙凤

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Leagues away, in a one-room hut of mud and straw with a thatched roof and a smoke hole and a floor of hard-packed earth, Varamyr shivered and coughed

and licked his lips. His eyes were red, his lips cracked, his throat dry and parched, but the taste of blood and fat filled his

mouth, even as his swollen belly cried for nourishment. A child’s flesh, he thought, remembering Bump. Human meat. Had

he sunk so low as to hunger after human meat? He could almost hear Haggon

growling at him. “Men may eat the flesh of beasts and beasts the flesh of men, but the man who eats the flesh of man is an abomination.”

Abomination. That had always been Haggon’s favorite word. Abomination, abomination, abomination. To eat of

human meat was abomination, to mate as wolf with wolf was abomination, and to seize the body of another man was the

worst abomination of all. Haggon was weak, afraid of his own power. He died weeping and alone when I ripped his second life from him. Varamyr had

devoured his heart himself. He taught me much and more, and the last thing I learned from him was the taste of human flesh.

For example, there was the Piscine Deligny, the city’s oldestpool, dating back to 1796, an open-air barge moored to

theQuai d’Orsay and the venue for the swimming events of the1900 Olympics. But none of the times were recognized by theInternational Swimming Federation

because the pool was sixmetres too long. The water in the pool came straight from theSeine, unfiltered and unheated. “It

was cold and dirty,” saidMamaji. “The water, having crossed all of Paris, came in foulenough. Then people at the pool made it utterly disgusting.”

Inconspiratorial whispers, with shocking details to back up hisclaim, he assured us that the French had very low standardsof personal hygiene. “Deligny was bad

enough. Bain Royal,another latrine on the Seine, was worse. At least at

Delignythey scooped out the dead fish.” Nevertheless, an Olympic poolis an Olympic pool, touched by immortal glory. Though it

 

wasa cesspool,

Mamaji spoke of

Deligny with

a fond smile.

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Then the pack was on them.His one-eyed brother

2018年12月13日

上海千花坊

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Then the pack was on them.

His one-eyed brother knocked the tooth-thrower back into a snowdrift and tore his throat out as he struggled. His sister

slipped behind the other male and took him from the rear. That left the female and her pup for him.

She had a tooth too, a little one made of bone, but she dropped it when the warg’s jaws closed around her leg. As she fell,

she wrapped both arms around her noisy pup. Underneath her furs the female was just skin and bones, but her dugs were

full of milk. The sweetest meat was on the pup. The wolf saved the choicest parts for his brother. All around the

carcasses, the frozen snow turned pink and red as the pack filled its bellies.

It was on my own, a guilty pleasure, that I returned to thesea, beckoned by the mighty waves that crashed down

andreached for me in humble tidal ripples, gentle lassos thatcaught their willing Indian boy.

My gift to Mamaji one birthday, I must have been thirteenor so, was two full lengths of credible butterfly. I finished sospent I could hardly wave to him.

Beyond the activity of swimming, there was the talk of it. Itwas the talk that Father loved. The more vigorously he

resistedactually swimming, the more he fancied it. Swim lore was hisvacation talk from the workaday talk of running a zoo.

Waterwithout a hippopotamus was so much more manageable thanwater with one.

Mamaji studied in Paris for two years, thanks to the colonialadministration. He had the time of his life. This was in

theearly 1930s, when the French were still trying to makePondicherry as Gallic as the British were trying to make

therest of India Britannic. I don’t recall exactly what Mamajistudied. Something commercial, I suppose. He was a

greatstoryteller, but forget about his studies or the Eiffel Tower orthe Louvre or the cafés of the Champs-Elysées. All his storieshad to do

 

with swimming

pools and

swimming

competitions.

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A man alone was a feeble thing. Big andstrong,

2018年12月13日

爱上海

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A man alone was a feeble thing. Big and strong, with good sharp eyes, but dull of ear and deaf to smells. Deer and elk and even hares were faster, bears and boars

fiercer in a fight. But men in packs were dangerous. As the wolves closed on the prey, the warg heard the wailing of a pup, the crust of last night’s snow breaking under clumsy man-paws,

the rattle of hardskins and the long grey claws men carried.

Swords, a voice inside him whispered, spears.

The trees had grown icy teeth, snarling down from the bare brown branches. One Eye ripped through the

undergrowth, spraying snow. His packmates followed. Up a hill and down the slope beyond, until the wood opened before them and the men were there.

One was female. The fur-wrapped bundle she clutched was her pup. Leave her for last, the voice whispered, the males are the danger. They were roaring at each

other as men did, but the warg could smell their terror. One had a wooden tooth as tall as he was. He flung it, but his hand was shaking and the tooth sailed high.

I went there with him three times a week throughout mychildhood, a Monday, Wednesday, Friday early morning

ritualwith the clockwork regularity of a good front-crawl stroke. Ihave vivid memories of this dignified old man

stripping down tonakedness next to me, his body slowly emerging as he

neatlydisposed of each item of clothing, decency being salvaged at thevery end by a slight turning away and a magnificent

pair ofimported athletic bathing trunks. He stood straight and he wasready. It had an epic simplicity. Swimming

instruction, which intime became swimming practice, was gruelling, but there wasthe deep pleasure of doing a

stroke with increasing ease andspeed, over and over, till hypnosis practically,

the water

turningfrom

molten lead to

liquid light.

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