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小说"无处逃生"英文翻译节选 English Translation of an Excerpt from "Nowhere to Escape"

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    Excerpt from "Nowhere to Escape" Many years later, I went back to my hometown. The village was decrepit and deserted. Walking on the streets with aged and hardened tire tracks, I could not see a single soul but fresh foot prints of animals and beasts on the dusty roads, shabby homes with broken walls, grass growing high on the low roofs, deserted patios encroached by ants hills… I suspected that nobody was living in the village any more. “My hometown has been abandoned by the whole world.” I thought to myself sadly. Strolling in the ghost town, I was trying to search other living beings when I saw an old woman walking in front of me. I scurried up to say hello to her. She turned and saw me. As if having seen a monster, she escaped into an old patio surrounded by decrepit walls before I could say anything else. I heard the gate being closed with a thundering sound. I did not understand exactly what had happened but I was happy, at least I had seen a human being. I kept on walking. In front of the gate of another house, I saw a little girl, sitting on the ground playing with dirt. As I was walking toward her, a woman ran out of the house and dragged the girl back inside. Though more perplexed, I kept on walking, until I saw several old men chatting on the street. As I stopped by them, they ceased talking altogether. I tried to strike a conversation with them, but no matter what I said, they acted like they were deaf and mute. Now I was completely out of loop and could not do anything but leaving. As I was walking, I had such a strange feeling of being watched. I turned my head, and saw several pairs of eyes sneaking at me behind an old dirt wall covered with green moss. When they noticed that I saw them, they ducked themselves quickly. Now I realized why I could not see many people in the village. They put themselves out of view because I was an outsider, a stranger. But they kept on watching me with their vigilant and somehow terrified eyes. I kept on walking. This is my hometown after all. No matter how many heartbreaking memories it has left me, this is my hometown. I lost my childhood here. I have come back to find it… When I walked to the center of the village, I saw that on that big shining boulder the monster-like fool was still squatting. He had not changed much. As before, he still bared his big and robust body, his big bald head looked like a funny shaped pumpkin, his small eyes, cold and mysterious, transmitted nothing. He seemed like having existed outside this world. Time had not left any mark on him. He reminded me of Sphinx. When I was standing there puzzled by the timeless and foolish son of the crippled village head, I sensed that something was getting close to me from behind. I turned and saw somebody, followed by a group of dwarfs, limp toward me. Although feeble, he was still wearing a suit and a tie. I immediately recognized him. He was the arrogant and domineering village head. I could not help but giving a glance to that crippled leg of his. It was covered completely, same as in the past, so nobody could see it. As a child I had heard rumors from the adults that that leg of his was not human at all but rather covered with black fur like a donkey’s. Rumors said that his young mother could not control her libido, and had sex with a donkey. One year later he was born with a crippled leg. Rumors were only rumors. Nobody knew for sure what his leg was like. His crippled leg was always covered, like a dirty secret. Then a dwarf got closer to me, and asked me maliciously: “Who are you? What business do you have in our village?” “I am just visiting.” I said. “Why is the village so sad and deserted?” “Nonsense!” another dwarf replied, “Since the Reform and Open Door Policy, the economy has developed at a speed never matched before, the people has been leading a bountiful and prosperous life. Look at the building behind me! It is the symbol of the economic development of our village!” I followed his short and fat index finger and saw a very modern and very beautiful storied building, towering above the surrounding shabby adobe houses. I remembered that the place where the new building was standing had been the site of the village head’s house. “It is indeed more prosperous!” I said with certain irony. “Who is the head of the village now?” The dwarf lifted his head and pointed proudly at the old cripple with his thumb, “This is our beloved, noble, and virtuous head!” I looked at the village head. He was standing in front of me, his walking stick in his hand, watching me with certain reserved arrogance and shrewd satisfaction. “What?! Is he still the head of the village?!” I was surprised. “Now we are also doing democratic election. Our beloved head has decided sensibly to abdicate so that the young generation can participate in the government.” “Who has been elected as the new head?” The dwarf proudly pointed his thumb again, this time, at the fool sitting on the big boulder. “That is our new head, unanimously elected by all the villagers.” I was more surprised. “Him…?!” The old cripple village head smirked, and nodded at me: “He is the new head by democratic election and my best successor.” Then he turned to the dwarfs, “Now dress our new head! It is time for his inauguration!”

    At this moment, the dwarfs walked toward the big boulder, and after a few minutes of busy maneuver, they managed to put on a suite, a tie, and a pair of leather shoes on the fool, who suddenly appeared quite sharp. To my surprise, I found that the fool no longer seemed like a fool. Maybe he had been pretending to be a fool for the past twenty years just to cheat people? Or maybe he was still a fool but the suit made him look like civilized? He lifted his head, tided his tie, cleared his throat, and started his inauguration speech: “The first thing that I am going to do as the new village head is to punish and extirpate those who disagree with me, and to establish a harmonious and stable society.” His remarks were received with cheers and applauses. I did not clap my hands. I felt that he was looking at me through the corners of his eyes. His voice became hard. “What is law? Law is me, I am the law. Those following me will prosper, those against me will die.” His words were received with even more enthusiastic cheers and applauses. I could not help but scoffing at him. “Now there are some maleficent people among us who want to topple our government at any moment. We should stay alert of them.” Suddenly he pointed at me, “There is one dissident there! We should extirpate him right now!” Before I could react, the dwarfs surrounded me, and jumped over me, all the time looking savage and bloodthirsty … Then I felt that I was evaporating like air from the village, my hometown.

    As I turned into vapor and rose onto the blue sky, I heard some beastly laughter, resonating in the air…

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