羊毛战记 Part 5 The Stranded 82
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  Weeks later
  • Silo 18 •
  The three of them sat around the conference table, Juliette adjusting the gauze bandage on her hand tocover the raised lace of scar tissue peeking1 out. The overalls2 they’d given her were loose to minimizethe pain, but the undershirt itched3 everywhere it touched. She sat in one of the plush chairs and rolledback and forth5 with the push of her toes, impatient, ready to get out of there. But Lukas and Peter hadthings to discuss. They had escorted her this close to the exit, this close to the great stairwell, only tosit her down in that room. To get some privacy, they had said. The looks on their faces made hernervous.
  Nobody said anything for a while. Peter used the excuse of sending a tech for some water, butwhen the pitcher6 came and the glasses were filled, nobody reached for a drink. Lukas and Peterexchanged nervous glances. Juliette grew tired of waiting.
  “What is it?” she asked. “Can I go? I feel like you’ve been delaying this for days.” She glanced ather watch, wiggled her arm so it would fall from the bandage on her wrist and she could see the tinyface. She stared across the table at Lukas and had to laugh at the worry on his face. “Are you tryingto keep me here forever? Because I told everyone in the deep that I’d be seeing them tonight.”
  Lukas turned to Peter.
  “C’mon, guys. Spit it out. What’s troubling you? The doc said I was fine for the trip down and Itold you I’d check in with Marsh7 and Hank if I had any problems. I’m gonna be late enough as it is ifI don’t get a move on.”
  “Okay,” Lukas said, letting out a sigh. It was as though he’d given up on Peter being the one. “It’sbeen a few weeks—”
  “And you two’ve made it feel like months.” She twisted the dial on the side of her watch, anancient tic returning like it had never left.
  “It’s just that”—Lukas coughed into his fist, clearing his throat—“we couldn’t give you all thenotes that were sent to you.” He frowned at her, looked guilty.
  Juliette’s heart dropped. She sagged8 forward, waiting for it. More names would be coming tomove from one sad list to another—
  Lukas held up his palms. “Nothing like that,” he said quickly, recognizing the worry on her face.
  “God, sorry, nothing like that—”
  “Good news,” Peter said. “Congratulatory notes.”
  Lukas shot him a look that told Juliette she might think otherwise.
  “Well … it is news.” He looked across the table at her. His hands were folded in front of him,resting on the marred9 wood, just like hers. It felt as though they might both move them several inchesuntil they met, until fingers interlocked. It would be so natural after weeks of practice. But that wassomething worried friends did in hospitals, right? Juliette pondered this while Lukas and Peter wenton about elections.
  “Wait. What?” She blinked and looked up from his hands, the last part coming back to her.
  “It was the timing,” Lukas explained.
  “You were all anyone was talking about,” Peter said.
  “Go back,” she said. “What did you say?”
  Lukas took a deep breath. “Bernard was running unopposed. When we sent him out to cleaning,the election was called off. But then news got around about your miraculous10 return, and peopleshowed up to vote anyway—”
  “A lot of people,” Peter added.
  Lukas nodded. “It was quite a turnout. More than half the silo.”
  “Yeah, but … mayor?” She laughed and looked around the scratched conference table, bareexcept for the untouched glasses of water. “Isn’t there something I need to sign? Some official way toturn this nonsense down?”
  The two men exchanged glances.
  “That’s sorta the thing,” Peter said.
  Lukas shook his head. “I told you—”
  “We were hoping you’d accept.”
  “Me? Mayor?” Juliette crossed her arms and sat back, painfully, against the chair. She laughed.
  “You’ve gotta be kidding. I wouldn’t know the first thing about—”
  “You wouldn’t have to,” Peter said, leaning forward. “You have an office, you shake some hands,sign some things, make people feel better—”
  Lukas tapped him on the arm and shook his head. Juliette felt a flush of heat across her skin,which just made her scars and wounds itch4 more.
  “Here’s the thing,” Lukas said as Peter sat back in his chair. “We need you. There’s a powervacuum at the top. Peter’s been in his post longer than anyone, and you know how long that’s been.”
  She was listening.
  “Remember our conversations all those nights? Remember you telling me what that other silo waslike? Do you understand how close to that we got?”
  She chewed her lip, reached for one of the glasses, and took a long drink of water. Peering overthe lip of the glass, she waited for him to continue.
  “We have a chance, Jules. To hold this place together. To put it back to—”
  She set the glass down and lifted her palm for him to stop.
  “If we were to do this,” she told them coolly, looking from one of their expectant faces to theother. “If we do it, we do it my way.”
  Peter frowned.
  “No more lying,” she said. “We give truth a chance.”
  Lukas laughed nervously11. Peter shook his head.
  “Now, listen to me,” she said. “This isn’t crazy. It’s not the first time I’ve thought this through.
  Hell, I’ve had weeks of nothing but thinking.”
  “The truth?” Peter asked.
  She nodded. “I know what you two are thinking. You think we need lies, fear—”
  Peter nodded.
  “But what could we invent that’s scarier than what’s really out there?” She pointed12 toward theroof and waited for that to sink in. “When these places were built, the idea was that we were all inthis together. Together but separate, ignorant of one another, so we didn’t infect the others if one ofus got sick. But I don’t want to play for that team. I don’t agree with their cause. I refuse.”
  Lukas tilted13 his head. “Yeah, but—”
  “So it’s us against them. And not the people in the silos, not the people working day-to-day whodon’t know, but those at the top who do. Silo eighteen will be different. Full of knowledge, ofpurpose. Think about it. Instead of manipulating people, why not empower them? Let them knowwhat we’re up against. And have that drive our collective will.”
  Lukas raised his eyebrows14. Peter ran his hands up through his hair.
  “You guys should think about it.” She pushed herself away from the table. “Take your time. I’mgoing to go see my family and friends. But either I’m in, or I’ll be working against you. I’ll bespreading the truth one way or the other.”
  She smiled at Lukas. It was a dare, but he would know she wasn’t joking.
  Peter stood and showed her his palms. “Can we at least agree not to do anything rash until wemeet again?”
  Juliette crossed her arms. She dipped her chin.
  “Good,” Peter said, letting out his breath and dropping his arms.
  She turned to Lukas. He was studying her, his lips pursed, and she could tell he knew. There wasonly one way this was going forward, and it scared the hell out of him.
  Peter turned and opened the door. He looked back at Lukas.
  “Can you give us a second?” Lukas asked, standing15 up and walking toward the door.
  Peter nodded. He turned and shook Juliette’s hand as she thanked him for the millionth time. Hechecked his star, which hung askew16 on his chest, and then left the conference room.
  Lukas crossed out of sight of the window, grabbed Juliette’s hand, and pulled her toward the door.
  “Are you kidding me?” she asked. “Did you really think I would just accept that job and—?”
  Lukas pressed his palm against the door and forced it shut. Juliette faced him, confused, then felthis arms slide gently around her waist, mindful of her wounds.
  “You were right,” he whispered. He leaned close, put his head by her shoulder. “I’m stalling. Idon’t want you to go.”
  His breath was warm against her neck. Juliette relaxed. She forgot what she was about to say. Shewrapped an arm around his back, held his neck with her other hand. “It’s okay,” she said, relieved tohear him say it, to finally admit it. And she could feel him trembling, could hear his broken andstuttered exhalations.
  “It’s okay,” she whispered again, pressing her cheek against his, trying to comfort him. “I’m notgoing anywhere for good—”
  Lukas pulled away to look at her. She felt him searching her face, tears welling up in his eyes. Hisbody had started shaking. She could feel it in his arms, his back.
  And then she realized, as he pulled her close and pressed his lips against hers, that it wasn’t fear orpanic she was sensing in him. It was nerves.
  She whimpered into their kiss, the rush to her head better than the doctor’s drugs. It washed awayany pain caused by his hands clutching her back. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt lipsmove against her own. She kissed him back, and it was over too soon. He stepped away and held herhands, glanced nervously at the window.
  “It’s a … uh …”
  “That was nice,” she told him, squeezing his hands.
  “We should probably …” He jerked his chin toward the door.
  Juliette smiled. “Yeah. Probably so.”
  He walked her through the entrance hall of IT and to the landing. A tech was waiting with hershoulder bag. Juliette saw that Lukas had padded the strap17 with rags, worried about her wounds.
  “And you’re sure you don’t need an escort?”
  “I’ll be fine,” she said, tucking her hair behind her ears. She shrugged18 the bag higher up her neck.
  “I’ll see you in a week or so.”
  “You can radio me,” he told her.
  Juliette laughed. “I know.”
  She grabbed his hand and gave it a squeeze, then turned to the great stairwell. Someone in thepassing crowd nodded at her. She was sure she didn’t know him but nodded back. Other chins wereturning to follow her. She walked past them and grabbed that great curved bar of steel that wound itsway through the heart of things, that held those pouting19 and worn treads together as life after life wasground away on them. And Juliette lifted her boot to that first step on a journey far too long incoming—
  Lukas called after her. He ran across the landing, his brows lowered in confusion. “I thought youwere heading down, going to see your friends.”
  Juliette smiled at him. A porter passed by, loaded down with his burdens. Juliette thought of howmany of her own had recently slipped away.
  “Family first,” she told Lukas. She glanced up that great shaft20 in the center of the humming siloand lifted her boot to the next tread. “I’ve got to go see my father first.”


1 peeking 055254fc0b0cbadaccd5778d3ae12b50     
v.很快地看( peek的现在分词 );偷看;窥视;微露出
  • I couldn't resist peeking in the drawer. 我不由得偷看了一下抽屉里面。
  • They caught him peeking in through the keyhole. 他们发现他从钥匙孔里向里窥视。 来自辞典例句
2 overalls 2mCz6w     
  • He is in overalls today.他今天穿的是工作裤。
  • He changed his overalls for a suit.他脱下工装裤,换上了一套西服。
3 itched 40551ab33ea4ba343556be82d399ab87     
v.发痒( itch的过去式和过去分词 )
  • Seeing the children playing ping-pong, he itched to have a go. 他看到孩子们打乒乓,不觉技痒。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • He could hardly sIt'still and itched to have a go. 他再也坐不住了,心里跃跃欲试。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
4 itch 9aczc     
  • Shylock has an itch for money.夏洛克渴望发财。
  • He had an itch on his back.他背部发痒。
5 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。
6 pitcher S2Gz7     
  • He poured the milk out of the pitcher.他从大罐中倒出牛奶。
  • Any pitcher is liable to crack during a tight game.任何投手在紧张的比赛中都可能会失常。
7 marsh Y7Rzo     
  • There are a lot of frogs in the marsh.沼泽里有许多青蛙。
  • I made my way slowly out of the marsh.我缓慢地走出这片沼泽地。
8 sagged 4efd2c4ac7fe572508b0252e448a38d0     
  • The black reticule sagged under the weight of shapeless objects. 黑色的拎包由于装了各种形状的东西而中间下陷。
  • He sagged wearily back in his chair. 他疲倦地瘫坐到椅子上。
9 marred 5fc2896f7cb5af68d251672a8d30b5b5     
adj. 被损毁, 污损的
  • The game was marred by the behaviour of drunken fans. 喝醉了的球迷行为不轨,把比赛给搅了。
  • Bad diction marred the effectiveness of his speech. 措词不当影响了他演说的效果。
10 miraculous DDdxA     
  • The wounded man made a miraculous recovery.伤员奇迹般地痊愈了。
  • They won a miraculous victory over much stronger enemy.他们战胜了远比自己强大的敌人,赢得了非凡的胜利。
11 nervously tn6zFp     
  • He bit his lip nervously,trying not to cry.他紧张地咬着唇,努力忍着不哭出来。
  • He paced nervously up and down on the platform.他在站台上情绪不安地走来走去。
12 pointed Il8zB4     
  • He gave me a very sharp pointed pencil.他给我一支削得非常尖的铅笔。
  • She wished to show Mrs.John Dashwood by this pointed invitation to her brother.她想通过对达茨伍德夫人提出直截了当的邀请向她的哥哥表示出来。
13 tilted 3gtzE5     
v. 倾斜的
  • Suddenly the boat tilted to one side. 小船突然倾向一侧。
  • She tilted her chin at him defiantly. 她向他翘起下巴表示挑衅。
14 eyebrows a0e6fb1330e9cfecfd1c7a4d00030ed5     
眉毛( eyebrow的名词复数 )
  • Eyebrows stop sweat from coming down into the eyes. 眉毛挡住汗水使其不能流进眼睛。
  • His eyebrows project noticeably. 他的眉毛特别突出。
15 standing 2hCzgo     
  • After the earthquake only a few houses were left standing.地震过后只有几幢房屋还立着。
  • They're standing out against any change in the law.他们坚决反对对法律做任何修改。
16 askew rvczG     
  • His glasses had been knocked askew by the blow.他的眼镜一下子被打歪了。
  • Her hat was slightly askew.她的帽子戴得有点斜。
17 strap 5GhzK     
  • She held onto a strap to steady herself.她抓住拉手吊带以便站稳。
  • The nurse will strap up your wound.护士会绑扎你的伤口。
18 shrugged 497904474a48f991a3d1961b0476ebce     
  • Sam shrugged and said nothing. 萨姆耸耸肩膀,什么也没说。
  • She shrugged, feigning nonchalance. 她耸耸肩,装出一副无所谓的样子。 来自《简明英汉词典》
19 pouting f5e25f4f5cb47eec0e279bd7732e444b     
v.撅(嘴)( pout的现在分词 )
  • The child sat there pouting. 那孩子坐在那儿,一副不高兴的样子。 来自辞典例句
  • She was almost pouting at his hesitation. 她几乎要为他这种犹犹豫豫的态度不高兴了。 来自辞典例句
20 shaft YEtzp     
  • He was wounded by a shaft.他被箭击中受伤。
  • This is the shaft of a steam engine.这是一个蒸汽机主轴。
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