7岁的女儿讲了件令我毛骨悚然的事

2020年11月11日
评论
914

I had a disturbing conversation with my 7-year-old daughter.

7岁的女儿讲了件令我毛骨悚然的事

“Dad, dad! I saw a zombie!”

爸爸,爸爸!我看见僵尸了!”

I was in the kitchen making tea when my little girl came rushing in. She ran through the back door so fast she almost tripped up the step. I poured boiling water from the kettle into a mug, hardly looking up.

我的小女儿边喊边一溜烟跑进房子。她跑得很快,差点在台阶上绊一跤。我正在厨房里煮茶,头也不抬地将热水从水壶倒进茶杯里。

“Oh yeah?”

“哦是吗?”

“Yeah, I did! Its face was all pale and messed up! It was gross, dad!”

“真的,我确实看见了!它的脸白白的,一团糟!看起来特别恶心,爸爸!”

I put the kettle back and picked up the milk. Sighed inwardly. I really had to be more careful about what I watched on TV in the evening. Rosie has a habit of sneaking downstairs in the night, and last week she caught me watching The Walking Dead, of all things. She’s had zombies on the brain ever since. I keep telling her they’re not real, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference.

我把水壶放回原位,拿起一盒牛奶,在内心暗自叹了口气。我真该在半夜看电视的时候再留点儿心。罗茜经常晚上偷偷溜出房间,上星期她又这么干了,结果正巧撞见我在看《行尸走肉》剧集。从那之后她满脑子都是僵尸。我一直跟她讲那些都不是真的,但似乎完全没起作用。

“Sweetheart, what did we say about zombies?” I scooped the teabag out of the mug and dumped it in the bin. “You know if you keep talking about them, daddy’s going to get in trouble with mummy again.”

“甜心,我们之前是怎么说的来着?”我用长柄勺捞起茶包,转手丢进垃圾桶。“要是你再继续僵尸长僵尸短,妈咪就又要念叨我了。”

“Yeah, but I saw one.”

“我知道,但是我真的看见了。”

“I know, darling, but I already checked the back garden twice yesterday, and I can promise you it’s a zombie-free zone.”

“好好,亲爱的,但是昨天我已经检查过后花园两次了,那里绝对没有僵尸。”

“No, not in the back garden.”

“不是的,不在后花园。”

“Hm?”

“嗯?”

“I didn’t see it in the back garden.”

“我不是在花园里看到的。”

I had the mug half raised to my lips, but now I put it down again. I turned to look at Rosie. Her hair was wind-swept and her little cheeks were red, as if she’d been running.

我本来将茶杯举到了嘴边,听到这句话,我把杯子放下,转身盯着罗茜。她的头发被风吹得凌乱,双颊泛红,好似刚刚跑完很长一段路。

“Sweetheart.” I put on my best stern, dad’s-not-happy voice. “I’m going to ask you a question, and I want you to be honest with me: Have you been playing along the path out back again?”

“甜心,”我用上自己最严厉、表示“爸爸很不开心”的语气,“我要问你一个问题,你要非常诚实地回答:你刚刚是不是又到花园外面的路上玩了?”

I didn’t really need to ask the question, because I already knew the answer. Rosie is allowed to play in the garden on her own, and sometimes – if she asks us permission first – we let her ride her bike along the path at the back of our house. The one that runs past all the neighbour’s back gardens. But that’s all we allow her to do. This area is pretty safe, but these days you can never be too careful. There was a burglary a couple of roads over a few months back, and last year someone was mugged on the high street. Several years ago, a few towns over, a little boy even went missing. That was quite a long way away from here, of course, but it made national news for a few days until the search fizzled out. And it made a lot of parents more cautious. Rosie’s getting older now, and she’s an adventurous girl, but still – you have to have boundaries. And on a few occasions lately, Rosie’s been crossing those boundaries. Riding her bike further than she should. Not coming in straight away when we call her. Sneaking out the back gate when she’s only meant to be playing in the garden.

其实不用问,我已经知道答案了。平时我们都叫罗茜在自己家的花园玩,偶尔在我们同意的情况下,她可以沿着花园外面的小路骑骑自行车。那条小路连通整个社区房子的后花园。我们不允许罗茜到更远的地方去。这片社区相当安全,但现在这个年头,再怎么小心都不为过。最近几个月,附近发生了好几起入室盗窃,去年还有人在高街遇到抢劫。临近的某个镇子几年前还有一个小男孩失踪了。发生案件的地方离我们这比较远,当时连着好多天都有新闻报道,轰动一时,直到搜查工作一直毫无进展,慢慢没了热度。那件案子叫附近的家长们谨慎了很多。罗茜现在成为大姑娘了,是个充满冒险精神的女孩,但作为父母——你仍然得为她划清能做、不能做的界限。最近罗茜好几次违反我们的约定,例如骑单车跑得太远,我们叫她的时候拖拖拉拉不肯回来,还有不告诉我们一声就悄悄溜到外面的小道上玩。

As I watched Rosie now, I noticed her face growing redder. She looked away from me, down at the kitchen floor, and scuffed her feet.

我望着罗茜,她的脸慢慢变红,双眼游移,转而盯着地板,双脚磨蹭起来。

“Dad, I only went a little way down,” she said. “I promise. I was chatting to Mr Henderson, because I saw him in his back garden. I said hello and made him jump!”

“爸爸,我只往外走了一点点。”她说,“真的,我在和亨德森先生聊天,他正从花园那里路过。我跟他打招呼的时候把他吓了一大跳!”

I sighed. So there it was: Mr Henderson was Rosie’s zombie. Yesterday it was the postman, and the day before that it was a different neighbour. I took a sip of tea and shook my head. Mr Henderson was, in fairness, a better candidate than the others. The guy lives on his own, and he looks about 100 years old. Moles all over his face. Skin like a deflated balloon. Whenever we’d chatted over the garden fence before, though, he’d always seemed nice enough. Just a bit lonely. I couldn’t have Rosie going round calling him a zombie.

我叹息一声。所以事情是这样:亨德森先生就是罗茜口中的僵尸。昨天她的僵尸是邮递员,前天是另一个邻居。我啜了一口茶,摇摇头。客观来说,亨德森先生勉强算是这些人中比较贴近“僵尸”的一个。他一个人住,看上去足有100岁了,满脸老人痣,皮肤就像泄了气、起皱的气球。我们隔着花园栅栏闲聊过几次,他似乎挺友善,我可不能放任罗茜逢人就说亨德森先生是个僵尸。

“Listen to me, sweetheart. I know you didn’t go far or anything, but I don’t want you–”

“听着,甜心,我知道你没有跑远,但是我不希望你——”

“I came right back after too, dad!” Rosie interrupted. She was staring up at me now, blue eyes large and pleading. “I promise! And I even said no when Mr Henderson offered me an ice cream, because I know you don’t like me taking stuff from strangers!”

“我立刻就回来了,爸爸!”罗茜又说,蓝蓝的眼睛仰视着我,充满恳求,“是真的!而且亨德森先生要请我吃冰淇淋的时候我拒绝了,因为你告诉过我不能拿陌生人的东西!”

I opened my mouth to respond, then paused. “He offered you ice cream?”

我张大嘴巴,停顿了一下。“他请你吃冰淇淋?”

“Yeah, but I said no! Mr Henderson really wanted me to come in and have one, but I told him I had to get home! And then I came straight back here to tell you I’d seen a zombie, and I…”

“对,但是我拒绝了!亨德森先生很想叫我到他房子里吃冰淇淋,我告诉他我得回家!然后我直接回来了,接着我给你讲了看到僵尸的事,还有……”

Rosie was babbling now, her voice whirring like a motor. But I’d stopped listening. My mind was still stuck on something she’d said a moment before.

罗茜喋喋不休地说了下去,像个不知疲倦的小马达。我没再听进去,脑子里仍然思索着她刚刚讲的话。

Mr Henderson really wanted me to come in and have one.

亨德森先生很想叫我到他房子里吃冰淇淋。

I took another sip of tea and frowned. That wasn’t good. I didn’t mind the neighbours chatting to my little girl, but I didn’t like the thought of them inviting her in. Not without us there. Not even if they were just kind, lonely old men. I made up my mind to go round and visit Mr Henderson later, and to tell him that myself – kindly, of course, but firmly.

我又喝了一口茶,皱起眉毛。这件事可不怎么好。我并不介意邻居们和我的小女儿聊天,但邻居在我们不在场的情况下邀请她到自己家里是另外一码事,即便那位邻居是个和善又孤独的老人。我决定稍后拜访一趟亨德森先生,亲自告诉他我的想法——以友好的态度,当然,但是要坚决。

In the end, though, I didn’t get a chance. Because a few moments after I’d had the thought, Rosie said something else. Something that pushed everything else from my mind, and ended any idea I might have had about going over to Mr Henderson’s house. She said something that made me feel cold.

然而这天我没能做到这件事。因为在我做出这个决定之后,罗茜又说了一些其他事,一些令我之前所有念头都一扫而空、彻底断绝我上门拜访亨德森先生计划的事。她之后说的话令我毛骨悚然。

“Daddy, please don’t stop me playing in the garden. I promise I won’t sneak out again. I don’t want the zombie to get me.”

“爸比,以后也让我继续在花园里玩好不好?我保证再也不跑出去了,我不想被僵尸抓到。”

“Rosie, I’m not going to stop you playing in the garden. But you have to make me a couple of promises, too. First, promise me you’ll stop going round calling people zombies. Mr Henderson my be old, but he’s not one of the living dead.”

“罗茜,我不会不让你在花园里玩,但是你要跟我约好几件事。第一,不许再说周围的人是僵尸,亨德森先生年纪确实很大,但他绝对是活着的普通人。”

Rosie frowned. “I didn’t.”

罗茜拧起小眉毛:“我没有。”

“What do you mean, you didn’t? You just ran in here a moment ago calling him one.”

“你没有吗?你刚刚边叫他是僵尸边跑进来。”

“No, I didn’t. Mr Henderson’s not a zombie. I saw the zombie in his house, but it wasn’t him.”

“不是的,我说的不是他。亨德森先生不是僵尸。我看到的僵尸在他房子里,但是不是他。”

I frowned. I had the mug raised to my lips to take another sip of tea, but now I put it down again. “What do you mean, sweetheart? You saw someone else in his house?”

我皱起眉,将举到嘴边的茶杯再次放下。“你说的是什么意思,甜心?你在他的房子里看到其他人?”

“Yeah, the zombie, dad! I could see it pressed against his little basement window while I was talking to him.”

“对,我看到僵尸,爸爸!我和亨德森先生说话的时候,它紧贴着地下室露在地面的小窗户。”

Cold fingers ran up my spine. “What?”

一阵寒意爬上我的后背。“什么?”

“Yeah, it was really scary. Its face was all bashed up and bloody, and its mouth was open. Like it was screaming at me. But do you know what confused me most, dad?”

“真的,特别特别吓人。它的脸被砸瘪了,到处都是血,还有它的嘴巴是张着的,好像在冲我尖叫。但你知道最奇怪的是什么吗,爸爸?”

I tried to keep my voice steady. “What?”

我竭力维持平静。“什么?”

“Well, I didn’t realise kids could be zombies, too. I thought it was only grownups. But I guess I must have have been wrong, cuz’ the one in Mr Henderson’s basement looked just like a little boy.”

“最奇怪的是,我从来没想到小孩也可以变成僵尸。我以为只有大人呢。我之前肯定是搞错了,亨德森先生地下室的僵尸看起来就像是个小男孩。”

历史上的今天
11月
11
小e英语