On the Bridge

It was past midnight, and London was as quiet as she ever was: the sound of carriages never stopped completely, nor the cries and calls of the dwellers in the city, or the lively chatter of the mudlarks at the side of the river, picking through the detritus the Thames coughed up for any items of value. Will Herondale and James Carstairs sat on the edge of the Victoria Embankment, their legs dangling down over the side. To the left of them, they could see Cleopatra’s Needle, piercing the sky, to their right, HungerfordBridge.

Will yawned and stretched his arms back. A short-sword, unsheathed, gleamed in his lap. “You know, James, I’ve started to believe this Leviathan demon doesn’t exist. Or if it does, it’s long swum out to sea by now.

Well, it won’t be the first time we’ve sat up all night for nothing, nor the last, I’d wager,” said Jem agreeable. His dragon-headed cane was balanced across his shoulders, his arms draped over either end. His bright hair shone as the moon dodged in and out between clouds. “Are you still pursuing that investigation? The dead girls in the East End?”

It has led me to some quite interesting places,” said Will. “I won sixty pounds off Ragnor Fell at faro the other night. When you join me again

I do not much like those clubs. Fleecing mundanes, setting them at games they cannot possible win, mocking and drugging even Downworlders, it all leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. And you know what Charlotte would say if she caught you gambling.”

Charlotte worries too much. She is not —” Will broke off, and looked up at the stars, or what could be seen of them at least between smoke and cloud. They lit his eyes, so you could see the blue of them even in the dimness, ameliorated only by the Embankment’s characteristic dolphin lamps.

My mother, Jem knew he had been about to say. It was a way of Will’s, to cut himself off carefully before he ever revealed too much.

You told you your father used to gamble,” he said with deliberate casualness, tapping his fingers on the head of his cane.

For a moment, Will looked as far away as the stars he was gazing at. “Just the occasional flutter at cards.My mother discouraged anything else. She did not like gambling. And he was never one of those madmen who used to bet on anything — when the sun would go down that day, or whether old Henderson could climb Minith Mawr drunk.”

Jem did not know what Minith Mawr was, and did not ask. Instead he said, “Your father must have loved your mother very much, to give up being a Shadowhunter for her.”

Will winced, almost imperceptibly, but his tone was surprisingly calm as he said, “He did. I asked him once if he was ever sorry, but he said he never was. He said there are thousands of Shadowhunters, but great love comes once in a lifetime if one is lucky, and one would be a fool to let it go.”

And do you believe that?” Jem spoke with enormous care; talking to Will about anything personal was like trying not to startle away a wild animal.

I suppose I do,” said Will, after a pause. “Not that it matters for me, but —” He shrugged. “If love is great, then it is worth fighting for.”

What if it is immoral somehow? Forbidden?”

Or a married vampire.”

Well, nevertheless,” Will said, with a grin. “One should fight on. Love conquers all.”

I shall warn the vampire husbands of the neighborhood,” said Jem dryly.

And you, Carstairs? You’ve been very quiet with your views.”

Jem unhitched his arms from his cane and sighed. “You know I believe we are reborn,” he said quietly. “I think if two souls are meant to be together, they will remain together on the Wheel and be together again in the life after this one, whatever happens to us now.”

Is that an official teaching or something you invented yourself?” Will asked.

Jem laughed. “Does it matter?”

Will looked at him curiously. “Do you think you will see me again?” At the change in Jem’s expression, he added, “I mean, is there a chance for me? To have another life after this, a better one?”

As Jem opened his mouth to answer, a rustling came from beneath their feet. Just as they both looked down, a tentacle shot from the surface of the river, wrapped itself around Jem’s ankle, and yanked him beneath the surface of the water. Will bolted to his feet with his blade in hand; the water was still boiling where the creature’s tentacles were thrashing wildly, indicating that Jem was getting some good blows in. Will’s heart pounded, firing blood and the call of battle through his veins.

Hell,” he said. “Just when it was getting interesting, too,” and he leaped into the water after his friend.

在橋上

過了午夜,倫敦一如往常的保持安靜:馬車發出的聲音從來沒有真正停過,或著城裡那些居民的的叫賣聲與喊叫聲,還有河邊那些流浪漢喋喋不休的閒聊,從泰晤士河咳出的碎屑中找出任何值錢的東西。威爾.海隆戴爾和杰穆士.柯士達坐在維多利亞堤岸的邊緣,他們倆的雙腿在側邊懸蕩。在他們的左邊,他們可以看到克麗歐佩特拉方尖碑1刺向天空,在他們的右邊,亨格福德橋2

威爾打了個哈欠並向後伸展雙臂。一把短劍,出鞘的,在他的大腿上發出微光。「你知道的,杰穆士,我已經開始相信這個利維坦惡魔不存在。如果他真正存在,他現在早就遊過大海了。」

「這個嘛,我們已經不是第一次整晚無所事事的坐著,至少,我敢打賭,」杰同意的說。他的龍頭柺杖橫掛於他的肩膀,他的手臂撘在兩端。他銀白色的頭髮隨著月亮躲在雲後然後又出現的時候發亮。「你還在進行那個調查?在倫敦東區死去的那些女生?」

「這件事帶我找到了一些蠻有趣的地方,」威爾說,「我在某一個晚上玩法羅牌戲的時候從拉格諾.費爾那裡贏了六十英磅。當你再次加入我的時候—」

「我不是很喜歡那些俱樂部。俱樂部會詐欺蒙迪,讓他們加入他們幾乎不可能贏得遊戲,即便是吸血鬼、狼人與巫師也被嘲笑與下藥,這都在我的嘴裡留下了苦味。你也知道如果夏蘿發現你賭博的時候會說什麼。」

「夏蘿是過度擔心。她不是」威爾不再繼續說下去,抬頭看著星星,或是至少可以從煙與雲之間看到的星星。星星照亮他的眼睛,所以即便在光線暗淡的狀況下你還是能夠看到他藍色的眼睛,光線因為河堤特有的海豚造型油燈而改善。

我的母親,杰知道這是他原本想說的。這就是威爾,總是在他洩漏出太多之前警惕的停下來。

「你說過你父親會賭博,」他故意漫不經心的說,用手指輕敲他的拐杖的頭。

有一陣子,威爾看起來就像他正在凝視的星星一樣遙遠。「只是偶爾打打牌。我的母親阻止所有其他的事。 她不喜歡賭博。而他永遠不是會打賭所有事的瘋子其之一,當太陽落下的時候,看喝醉老韓德森是否能爬上Minith Mawr。」

杰不知道什麼是Minith Mawr,他也沒問。他反而說:「你父親一定很愛你母親,為了她而放棄當一個闇影獵人。」

威爾退縮,幾乎無法察覺,但他講話的時候音調出人意料的冷靜,「他是的。我有一次問他會不會感到遺憾,但他說他從來不曾感到遺憾。她說有成千上萬的闇影獵人,如果一個人是幸運的,那麼偉大的愛情一生只來一次,傻瓜才會讓它走。

「你相信他說的?」杰帶著無限的關心說道;跟威爾談論到私人的事情就像盡量不驚嚇到一隻野生動物。

「我認為我相信,」威爾說,停頓了一下。「這對我來說沒差,但是—」他聳肩。「如果愛情是偉大的,那麼為愛奮鬥是值得的。」

「如果是不貞的要怎麼辦?被禁止的?

「被禁止的?但我父親對我母親的愛是被禁止的,至少是違法的。還是說她如果結婚了,或是一個吸血鬼?」

「或是一個已婚的吸血鬼。」

「這個嘛,不過,」威爾帶著笑容說。「每個人都應該奮鬥。愛會征服一切。」

「我會警告附近的吸血鬼丈夫們。」杰冷冰冰地說。

「那你呢,柯士達?你一直都不提出看法,總是保持安靜。

杰方開自己放在拐杖上的手然後嘆了口氣。「你知道我相信我們是重生的。」他安靜的說。「我想如果兩個靈魂註定要再一起的話,他們會然後在下一世重逢,不管現在發生了什麼事。」

「這是個正式的教學還是某個你發明的理論?威爾問。

杰笑了。「有差嗎?

威爾好奇的看著他。「你覺得你會再見到我嗎?」在杰的表情變了的時候,他又說,「我的意思是,我還有機會嗎?可以再有另一段人生,一段更好的。」

當杰正要張開嘴回答時, 他們腳下傳來一陣沙沙聲。當他們往下看時,一隻觸手從河面升出來,纏住杰的腳踝,用力的把他拉到水面之下。威爾鎮起身時手中拿著天使刃;水面攪動的地方正是那個生物的觸手劇烈鞭打的地方,這表示杰正被用力的鞭打。威爾的心臟砰砰跳,燃燒的血和戰鬥的呼叫在他的血管裡流動。

「該死的,」他說。「正當事情開始變得無可否認的有趣」然後他跳入水中去找他朋友。

註解:

1.Cleopatra’s Needle:克麗歐佩特拉方尖碑。

是三個古埃及方尖碑的名稱,它們在19世紀分別重新豎立在倫敦巴黎紐約市

2.HungerfordBridge:亨格福德橋

 

亨格福德橋Hungerford Bridge是一座位於英國倫敦中心區泰晤士河上的鐵路橋,位於滑鐵盧橋西敏橋之間。

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