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Sure, it was big. It looked like a mansion compared to our old house. It was a tall redbrick house with a sloping black roof and rows of windows framed by black shutters.




Sure, it was big. It looked like a mansion compared to our old house. It was a tall redbrick house with a sloping black roof and rows of windows framed by black shutters.

 

房子太暗了,我这么想。从街上看,整座房子笼罩在黑暗之中,仿佛隐藏在那些盘根  错节的老树的树荫下面。虽然还是七月中旬,门前的院子里已经铺满了枯黄的落叶。砾石车道很不好走,鞋底下的树叶嘎吱嘎吱作响。  

It’s so dark, I thought, studying it from the street. The whole house was covered in darkness, as if it were hiding in the shadows of the gnarled, old trees that bent over it. It was the middle of July, but dead brown leaves blanketed the front yard. Our sneakers crunched over them as we trudged up the gravel driveway.  

 

落叶之间野草窜得老高,前门廊旁边的一块花圃也早已杂草丛生。

Tall weeds poked up everywhere through the dead leaves. Thick clumps of weeds had completely overgrown an old flower bed beside the front porch.

 

这房子真是令人毛骨悚然,我有一种不祥之感. 看来乔西也有同感。抬头看着房子,我们俩都开始大声抱怨起来. 这时,道斯先生来了。他是当地房产经纪人,一个友善的小伙子。他在房子前的人行道上停了下来,转身朝我们走过来。  

This house is creepy, I thought unhappily. Josh must have been thinking the same thing. Looking up at the old house, we both groaned loudly. Mr. Dawes, the friendly young man from the local real estate office, stopped near the front walk and turned around.

 

“怎么样?”他问,用皱巴巴的蓝眼睛先看了看乔西,然后转向我。  

 “Everything okay?” he asked, staring first at Josh, then at me, with his crinkly blue eyes.

 

 

“乔西和阿曼达不想搬,”爸爸解释道,边说边把衬衣下摆往裤子里塞。爸爸稍稍有点胖,所以衬衣下摆老是从裤子里窜出来。  

“Josh and Amanda aren’t happy about moving,” Dad explained, tucking his shirttail in. Dad is a little overweight, and his shirts always seem to be coming untucked.  

 

“也难为孩子,”妈妈对道斯先生笑着补充道,她两手插在牛仔裤口袋里,继续往前门走去。“朋友都没了,搬到一个陌生的地方。”  

“It’s hard for kids,” my mother added, smiling at Mr. Dawes, her hands shoved into her jeans pockets as she continued up to the front door. “You know. Leaving all of their friends behind. Moving to a strange new place.”  

 

“应该说是怪异,”乔西摇了摇头。“这房子太恶心了。”  

 道斯先生轻声笑了。“房子是旧了点,”他拍着乔西的肩膀说。  

“Strange is right,” Josh said, shaking his head. “This house is gross.” Mr. Dawes chuckled. “It’s an old house, that’s for sure,” he said, patting Josh on the shoulder.

 

“只要稍稍收拾一下,乔西,”爸爸说,对道斯先生笑了笑。“这里好长时间没人住了,收拾一下总是要的。”  

“It just needs some work, Josh,” Dad said, smiling at Mr. Dawes. “No one has lived in it for a while, so it’ll take some fixing up.”  

 

“看这房子多大,”妈妈在一旁帮腔,她把黑发往后一掠,笑着对乔西说:“这样我们就可以多出一间屋,或许还可以有一间娱乐室。你会喜欢的——是不是,阿曼达?”

“Look how big it is,” Mom added, smoothing back her straight black hair and smiling at Josh. “Wооe’ll have room for a den and maybe a rec room, too. You’d like that—wouldn’t you, Amanda?” 

 

我耸了耸肩。一阵寒风袭来,我不禁打了个冷颤。那本来是一个阳光明媚的炎热夏日,但是,越靠近房子,我觉得越冷。我穿着白色网球短裤和无袖的兰色T恤衫,在车上我一直觉得热,但是现在却冷得发抖。房子里面会暖和些吧,我想。  

I shrugged. A cold breeze made me shiver. It was actually a beautiful, hot summer day. But the closer we got to the house, the colder I felt. I guessed it was because of all the tall, old trees. I was wearing white tennis shorts and a sleeveless blue T-shirt. It had been hot in the car. But now I was freezing. Maybe it’ll be warmer in the house, I thought.  

 

“他们多大了?”道斯先生问妈妈,一边朝前门廊走去。   

“阿曼达十二,”妈妈说,“乔西上个月刚满十一。”  

“他们俩长得很像,”道斯先生对妈妈说。  

“How old are they?” Mr. Dawes asked Mom, stepping onto the front porch.

 “Amanda is twelve,” Mom answered. “And Josh turned eleven last month.”

 “They look so much alike,” Mr. Dawes told Mom.

 

我不知道道斯先生是不是在说恭维话,我猜他说的没错。我和乔西都又高又瘦,跟爸爸一样的棕色卷发和深棕色眼睛。别人都说我们长着一张“严肃”的脸。  

I couldn’t decide if that was a compliment or not. I guess it’s true. Josh and I are both tall and thin and have curly brown hair like Dad’s, and dark brown eyes. Everyone says we have “serious” faces  

 

“我真的想回家,”乔西说,声音有些嘶哑,“我讨厌这个地方。”  

我弟弟是天底下最没耐性的了,一旦决定做什么,就非达到目的不可。他是有点惯坏了,至少我是这么看的。有什么事经他一闹,往往便能得逞。  

“I really want to go home,” Josh said, his voice cracking. “I hate this place.” My brother is the most impatient kid in the world. And when he makes up his mind about something, that’s it. He’s a little spoiled. At least, I think so. Whenever he makes a big fuss about something, he usually gets his way.

 

我们外表或许很相像,但是实际上并不一样。我比乔西要耐心得多,也更明白事理,也许是因为我比他大,还是个女孩的缘故吧。  

乔西抓住爸爸的手,要把他拉回车上去。“我们走吧,爸爸,我们走吧。”  

 

We may look alike, but we’re really not that similar. I’m a lot more patient than Josh is. A lot more sensible. Probably because I’m older and because I’m a girl. Josh had hold of Dad’s hand and was trying to pull him back to the car. “Let’s go. Come on, Dad. Let’s go.”  

 

我知道这次乔西不可能得逞。我们要搬到这儿来,是铁定的了。况且,这座房子不用花一分钱。爸爸的一位曾伯父死后在遗嘱里把房子留给了爸爸,这个曾伯父是谁,我们都不知道。  

I knew this was one time Josh wouldn’t get his way. We were moving to this house. No doubt about it. After all, the house was absolutely free. A great-uncle of Dad’s, a man we didn’t even know, had died and left the house to Dad in his will.

 

爸爸收到律师信时的表情现在还历历在目:他高兴得“哇”地一声大叫起来,在客厅里到处乱跳。我和乔西还以为他疯了还是怎么的。  

I’ll never forget the look on Dad’s face when he got the letter from the lawyer. He let out a loud whoop and began dancing around the living room. Josh and I thought he’d flipped or something.

 

“我的曾伯父查尔斯在遗嘱里把一座房子留给了我们,”爸爸把信看了一遍又一遍,解释道。“房子在一个名叫黑瀑布的镇子。”  

啊?”我和乔西叫了起来,“黑瀑布在哪里?”  

爸爸耸了耸肩。  

“My Great-Uncle Charles has left us a house in his will,” Dad explained, reading and rereading the letter. “It’s in a town called Dark Falls.”

 “Huh?” Josh and I cried. “Where’s Dark Falls?”

Dad shrugged.  

 

“我都不记得你有这么一个曾伯父,”妈妈说着走到爸爸身边看他手里的信。  

“我也不记得了,”爸爸承认道,“但是他肯定是个大好人,哇!一座房子,真是太不可思议了。”说完,他抓起妈妈的手,在客厅里高兴地跳起舞来。  

“I don’t remember your Uncle Charles,” Mom said, moving behind Dad to read the letter over his shoulder. “Neither do I,” admitted Dad. “But he must’ve been a great guy! Wow! This sounds like an incredible house!” He grabbed Mom’s hands and began dancing happily with her across the living room.  

 

爸爸当然高兴了。他一直在找借口,要把他现在枯燥乏味的办公室工作给辞了,专心搞写作。这座房子——白送的房子——不正是一个好借口吗?  

His mind was made up. He wasn’t going to give my parents a break, even though we’d both promised to be open-minded about this move. I don’t know what Josh thought he had to gain by being such a pain. I mean, Dad already had plenty to worry about. For one thing, he hadn’t been able to sell our old house yet.

 

我也不喜欢搬家,但是,我知道,继承这座大房子对我们一家来说是一个大好的机会。我们现在住的地方拥挤不堪,一旦爸爸把它卖掉,我们就再也不必为钱操心了。  

我认为,乔西至少应该试一下。  

突然,从停在车道的汽车上传来了皮皮的狂吠吵闹声。  

 

I didn’t like the idea of moving. But I knew that inheriting this big house was a great opportunity for us. We were so cramped in our little house. And once Dad managed to sell the old place, we wouldn’t have to worry at all about money anymore. Josh should at least give it a chance. That’s what I thought. Suddenly, from our car at the foot of the driveway, we heard Petey barking and howling and making a fuss.

 

皮皮是我们的狗,一只白色的卷毛小猎犬,长得小巧玲珑,平时也很听话。通常,把它留在车上都没什么事。但是,现在它又叫又嚎,不停地抓车窗,拼命要出来。  

“皮皮,别叫!别叫!”我大声喊。皮皮平时都很听我的。  

 但是,这次它不听。  

“我去把它放出来,”乔西说着就朝车跑去。  

“别,等等……”爸爸喊。  

Petey is our dog, a white, curly-haired terrier, cute as a button, and usually wellbehaved. He never minded being left in the car. But now he was yowling and yapping at full volume and scratching at the car window, desperate to get out.

 “Petey—quiet! Quiet!” I shouted. Petey usually listened to me.

 But not this time.

 “I’m going to let him out!” Josh declared, and took off down the driveway toward the car.

“No. Wait—” Dad called.

 

不过,我想皮皮叫得那么大声,乔西肯定没听见爸爸的话。  

“不妨让狗也来看看房子,”道斯先生说。“毕竟这以后也是它的家。”  

 But I don’t think Josh could hear him over Petey’s wails.

“Might as well let the dog explore,” Mr. Dawes said. “It’s going to be his house, too.”

不一会儿,皮皮从草坪那边朝我们奔了过来,兴奋得汪汪直叫,只见它所经过之处,落叶飞扬。来到跟前,它在每个人脚下扑来扑去,仿佛跟我们分开了几个星期。让我们不解的是,它冲着道斯先生发出威胁的嚎叫。  

A few seconds later, Petey came charging across the lawn, kicking up brown leaves, yipping excitedly as he ran up to us. He jumped on all of us as if he hadn’t seen us in weeks and then, to our surprise, he started growling menacingly and barking at Mr. Dawes.  

 

“皮皮,别叫!”妈妈呵斥道。  

“以前它从来不会这样,”爸爸抱歉地说,“真的,它平时都很友善的。”  

“也许它在我身上嗅到了什么,以为我也是只狗吧,”道斯先生说着,松了松条纹领带,小心翼翼地看着皮皮。  

“Petey—stop!” Mom yelled.

 “He’s never done this,” Dad said apologetically. “Really. He’s usually very friendly.”

“He probably smells something on me. Another dog, maybe,” Mr. Dawes said, loosening his striped tie, looking warily at our growling dog.

 

这时,乔西过来,一把抓住皮皮,把它从道斯先生那儿拿开。

“别叫了,皮皮,”乔西一边骂一边把狗凑近自己的脸,鼻子对着鼻子,“道斯先生是我们的朋友。”  

Petey whimpered and licked Josh’s face. After a short while, Josh set him back down on the ground. Petey looked up at Mr. Dawes, then at me, then decided to go sniffing around the yard, letting his nose lead the way. “Let’s go inside,” Mr. Dawes urged, moving a hand through his short blond hair. He unlocked the front door and pushed it open. Mr. Dawes held the screen door open for us. I started to follow my parents into the house. “I’ll stay out here with Petey,” Josh insisted from the walk.

 

爸爸刚要发作,但随即改变了主意。“好,好,”他叹了一口气,摇头说,

“我现在不跟你理论。你就别进来,要是你愿意,干脆就住在外面好了。”听起来,爸爸真的恼火了。  

He took us on a tour of every room in the house. I was beginning to get excited. The house was really kind of neat. There were so many rooms and so many closets. And my room was huge and had its own bathroom and an old-fashioned window seat where I could sit at the window and look down at the street. I wished Josh had come inside with us. If he could see how great the house was inside, I knew he’d start to cheer up.

 

 

房间真多!甚至还有一间装修过的阁楼,里面堆满了旧家具和一堆陈旧、神秘的纸箱。我和乔西可有得翻了. 我们在房子里呆了至少有半个小时,不过我当时没注意时间。我们三个都转忧为喜了。  

I couldn’t believe how many rooms there were. Even a finished attic filled with old furniture and stacks of old, mysterious cartons we could explore. We must have been inside for at least half an hour. I didn’t really keep track of the time. I think all three of us were feeling cheered up.

 

 

“好了,我想我们看完了,“道斯先生扫了一眼手表,然后领着我们朝前门走去。  

 “等一下,我想再看看我的房间,”我激动地说,然后一步两级地冲上楼梯。“我马上就下来。”

“快一点,亲爱的,道斯先生肯定还有别的约会,”妈妈朝我喊道。

“Well, I think I’ve shown you everything,” Mr. Dawes said, glancing at his watch. He led the way to the front door.

 “Wait—I want to take one more look at my room,” I told them excitedly. I started up the stairs, taking them two at a time. “I’ll be down in a second.”

“Hurry, dear. I’m sure Mr. Dawes has other appointments,” Mom called after me.   

 

我到了二楼平台,穿过狭窄的过道,来到我的房间。“哇!”我大声地赞叹,声音在空荡荡的房间里悠悠回响。  

好大的房间!我好喜欢那带窗座的凸窗。走到窗前,往外望,我看到树的后面,我们的车停在车道上,再远处,街的对面,有一座跟我们相似的房子。  

I reached the second-floor landing and hurried down the narrow hallway and into my new room. “Wow!” I said aloud, and the word echoed faintly against the empty walls.

It was so big. And I loved the bay window with the window seat. I walked over to it and peered out. Through the trees, I could see our car in the driveway and, beyond it, a house that looked a lot like ours across the street.  

 

我要把床放在正对着窗的墙那边,我高兴地盘算着。书桌摆在那里,这回我可有地方放电脑了。  

 再看看壁橱,又宽又大,能走进去的那种,顶部有一盏灯,靠墙的一面是宽大的架子。  

I’m going to put my bed against that wall across from the window, I thought happily. And my desk can go over there. I’ll have room for a computer now!

I took one more look at my closet, a long, walk-in closet with a light in the ceiling, and wide shelves against the back wall.  

 

我朝门走去,心里想着要把哪些画带过来。这时,我看到了一个男孩。  

他在门口只站了一瞬间,然后转身消失在楼道里。  

I was heading to the door, thinking about which of my posters I wanted to bring with me, when I saw the boy. He stood in the doorway for just a second. And then he turned and disappeared down the hall.  

 

“乔西?”我喊道。“嘿,你来看看呐。”  

 我心里一惊,意识到那不是乔西。  

 那男孩长着一头金发。  

“喂!”我喊了一声,朝楼道外跑去。我在房门外停下来,左右看了看,“谁呀?”

“Josh?” I cried. “Hey—come look!” With a shock, I realized it wasn’t Josh. For one thing, the boy had blond hair.

“Hey!” I called and ran to the hallway, stopping just outside my bedroom door, looking both ways. “Who’s here?”

 

但是,长长的过道空无一人,所有的房门都是关着的。  

 “天哪,阿曼达,”我大声说道。  

 我出幻觉了吗?  

Sure, it was big. It looked like a mansion compared to our old house. It was a tall redbrick house with a sloping black roof and rows of windows framed by black shutters.

 

房子太暗了,我这么想。从街上看,整座房子笼罩在黑暗之中,仿佛隐藏在那些盘根  错节的老树的树荫下面。虽然还是七月中旬,门前的院子里已经铺满了枯黄的落叶。砾石车道很不好走,鞋底下的树叶嘎吱嘎吱作响。  

It’s so dark, I thought, studying it from the street. The whole house was covered in darkness, as if it were hiding in the shadows of the gnarled, old trees that bent over it. It was the middle of July, but dead brown leaves blanketed the front yard. Our sneakers crunched over them as we trudged up the gravel driveway.  

 

落叶之间野草窜得老高,前门廊旁边的一块花圃也早已杂草丛生。





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