Approaching Ten, Melnik also froze in his tracks. The bearded man was pointing into the distance, away from the Kremlin, to where the long-crumbling high-rises along Kalinin Prospekt gave the appearance of grinning, rotten teeth. Carefully drawing near to them, Artyom looked out from behind the stalker‟s broad shoulders and immediately understood the situation.
Right in the middle of the Prospekt, about sixty meters from them, he saw three human silhouettes standing motionless in the gathering dusk. Human? At such a distance, Artyom wouldn’t have bet they were, indeed, people, but they were of medium height and stood on two legs. This was encouraging.
“Who‟s that?” Artyom asked hoarsely, whispering while trying to identify the distant figures through the fogged window of his gas mask. Were they people or some spawn that he had heard spoken of?
Melnik silently shook his head, making it known that he didn’t know any more than Artyom. He shone the beam of his flashlight at the motionless beings and made three circular motions. Then he switched his flashlight off. In answer, a bright spot of light came on in the distance, moved in a circle three times, and went out.
Tension eased immediately and the electrified atmosphere returned to normal. Artyom sensed this even before Melnik gave the all clear. “Stalkers,” explained the guide. “Remember, for next time: three circles with a flashlight is our recognition signal. If you get the same response, you can go forward without fear. You won’t come to harm. If you get no response or some other response, then run. Don‟t wait.”
“But if they have a flashlight, it means they’re human and not some kind of monsters from the surface,” objected Artyom.
“I don‟t know what‟s worse,” said Melnik, cutting off Artyom. Without further explanation, he moved up the stairs to the Library entrance.
节选自全球畅销科幻末日小说《地铁2033(Metro 2033)》，作者是俄罗斯的Dmitry Glukhovsky。目前官方只出版了俄语、英语、芬兰语、土耳其语和波斯语，中文还未出官方译本，为此在这里我率先翻译几页精彩片段，给大家尝鲜，感受末日中的险恶和人性。
The paragraph above is the one I translated from the best-selling and post-apocalyptic science fiction novel, or Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky, which’s only be published for five Official Editions including Russian, English, Finnish, Turkish and Persian one. So my translation’s version presented to you is the first one in Chinese to boost your feelings for the reflection of danger and human nature in this catastrophe.
The novel told us that a nuclear war occurred in 2013, forcing a large amount of Moscow’s surviving population to relocate to underground metro stations in search of refuge. Until 2033, the whole generations are born and raised underground while the human civilization is on the edge of dying. The protagonist of the novel is a 20-year-old man named Artyom who was born before the nuclear holocaust. He was saved from a horde of carnivorous rats that killed his mother and the inhabitants of his metro station as a baby by Sukhoi, a military officer. On an occasional moment, he meets a friend of Sukhoi named Hunter, who’s a stalker that being defended human race. Feeling a dangerous situation for the Dark Ones’ attacks, Hunter goes for gathering intel on the Dark Ones alone while sends Artyom to head to Polis Station to inform his partner Melnik. Artyom begins to journey towards the adventure of an unknown, and the fate of the human race is changing…
Once the book was printed, it became a nationwide and worldwide bestseller, attracting 4A Games’ eyes from Ukraine. Based on Dmitry’s novel of the same name, Metro 2033, a first-person shooter survival horror video game was released by them. Followed by the novel’s original storyline, players control Artyom to save his home station from the dangers lurking within the Metro. Its strong storyline and realistic graphic, as well as the BGM, infuse us with a touching and profound story that be inspired by the novel.
Let’s read some of the original pages from the novel, later there will be a video game demo to draw yourself into the immersive horror experience. The following pages saying that Atryom, our main character goes up surface along with the three soldiers led by a stalker named Melnik. Four of them infiltrate the ruins of the library, searching for a way to archives where there’s a valuable secret would save an entire human race hidden in it.
Along with the first paragraph above, my translations continued. Now, let’s enjoy my second Chinese version below:
Daniel tapped him on the shoulder and directed the flashlight at his boot. A long lace, which the Brahmin wasn’t too good at tying, dragged behind him on the floor.
“While I tie this, you go on ahead and take a look. Maybe you‟ll hear something, after all,‟ he whispered and squatted down.
Artyom nodded and proceeded to move ahead slowly, step by step, looking back at Daniel every second. Daniel was having a difficult time; it wasn’t easy to tie a slippery lace while wearing thick gloves. Moving forward, Artyom first shone a light down the endless row of shelves to his right, then sharply threw his beam to the left, trying to catch sight of crooked grey shadows of librarians in the rows of dusty and age-warped books. Having moved about thirty meters ahead of his partner, Artyom suddenly distinctly heard a rustling two rows ahead of him. His rifle was already at hand, so he pressed his flashlight against the barrel and with one bound was at the corridor where he reckoned someone was hiding.
He saw two rows of shelves, crammed to the top with volumes, receding into the distance. Emptiness. The beam darted to the left; maybe the enemy was hiding there, in the opposite direction. Emptiness.
Artyom held his breath, attempting to attentively distinguish the slightest noise. There was nothing; only the illusory murmuring of pages. He returned to the passageway and threw his beam to where Daniel was struggling with his bootlace. It was empty. Empty?
Not looking where he was going, Artyom rushed back. The spot of light from his flashlight jumped frantically from side to side, illuminating row after row of identical shelves in the darkness. Where had he stopped? Thirty meters. . . About thirty meters, he should be here . . . But there‟s nobody. Where could he have gone without first telling Artyom? If he had been attacked, why hadn’t he resisted? What happened? What could have happened to him?
No, he had already gone back too far. Daniel should have been a lot closer… But he wasn’t anywhere! Artyom felt he was losing control of his actions, and that he was starting to panic. Stopping at the same place where he had left Daniel to tie his bootlace, Artyom leaned his back limply against the end of a shelf. Suddenly, from the depths of the bookshelf row, he heard a quiet inhuman voice that broke off into a eerie squawk: “Artyom…”
Suffocating from fear and almost unable to see anything through his fogged gas mask, Artyom turned abruptly towards the voice, and, attempting to keep the corridor in his rifle‟s unsteady sights, he moved forward.
“Artyom…” The voice was just around the corner! Suddenly, a thin fan of light cut through a shelf, leaking between some loosely shelved books at floor level. The beams moved back and forth as if someone was repeatedly waving a flashlight left and right . . . Artyom heard the jangling of metal.
“Artyom…” It was barely discernible, but this time it was a familiar whisper, and there was no doubt the voice belonged to Daniel. Artyom cheerfully took a broad step forward, hoping to see his partner, whereupon the same eerie guttural squawk he had heard initially split the air not more than two paces away. The flashlight beam continued to pointlessly rove over the floor, back and forth. “Artyom…” The strange voice repeated the call. Artyom took another step, glanced to the right and felt the hair on his head stand on end.
The row of shelves ended here, forming a niche, and Daniel sat on its floor in a pool of blood. His helmet and gas mask had been torn off and were lying on the floor some distance away. Though his face was as pale as that of a corpse, his open eyes were conscious and his lips attempted to form words. Behind him, half merged into the gloom, there hid a humped, grey figure. A long, bony hand, covered with bristly silver fur – and not a paw, but a real hand with powerful, incurved claws – was pensively rolling the flashlight that had dropped to the floor and now lay a half meter from Daniel. The other hand was buried in the ripped-open belly of the Brahmin.
“You’re here,” whispered Daniel.
“You‟re here…,” rasped the voice behind Daniel‟s back, with exactly the same intonation.
“A librarian… Behind me. I‟m dead anyway. Shoot. Kill him,” Daniel said in a weakening voice.
“Shoot. Kill him,” repeated the shadow.
The flashlight once again deliberately rolled on the floor to the left, only to return to its starting point to repeat the cycle yet again. Artyom felt he was losing his mind. Melnik‟s words, about how the sound of gunshots could attract the nightmarish monsters, churned in his head.
“Go away,” he said to the librarian, not expecting, however, that he would be understood.
“Go away,” came the almost-affectionate reply, but the clawed hand continued to search for something in Daniel‟s stomach, causing Daniel to groan quietly, while a drop of blood drew a thick line from the corner of his mouth to his chin.
“Shoot!” said Daniel, louder, having gathered some strength.
“Shoot!” demanded the librarian from behind his back.
A pointed grey ear appeared from behind Daniel‟s tipped-back head, followed by a huge green eye that sparkled in the flashlight‟s bean. The librarian slowly looked out from behind his dying partner, almost shyly, and his eyes sought Artyom‟s. Don‟t turn away. Look right there, right at him, right in his pupils . . . The pupils were vertical; those of an animal. And how strange it was to see vestiges of intelligence in these sinister, impossible eyes!
Now, up close, the librarian in no way resembled a gorilla or even a monkey. His predatory face was overgrown with fur. The mouth was full of long fangs and reached almost from ear to ear, while the eyes were of such a size that they made the monster, unlike any animal Artyom had ever seen, either in real life or in pictures.
It seemed to him that this went on for a very long time. Having plunged into the creature‟s gaze, he could no longer tear himself away from those pupils. Only when Daniel emitted a deep, lingering groan did Artyom snap out of it. He placed the tiny red dot of his sight directly on the unkempt grey fur of the librarian’s low forehead and thumbed the selector of his rifle to semi-automatic fire. Upon hearing the soft metallic click, the monster spluttered angrily and again hid behind Daniel‟s back.
He could, of course, go down to the first floor, knock out the stairwell glass, and jump out into the courtyard . . . He stopped for a second and looked outside.
Exactly in the center of the courtyard, with their faces pointed up, several grey creatures stood motionless, looking at the windows, and – it seemed – directly at him.
Still feeling uneasy? How about watching my Metro 2033’s game demo to stir up all the emotions from deep inside of your hearts. With the first person view, you will experience one of the game levels named Library the same as the chapter I’ve translated from the novel. And a headset is recommended to put on. 😀
To be worth mentioned, the watch in the game is actually running. The best part is that it tells the exact time in real life.
Right now right here, how are your feelings? If the apocalyptic falls in, whose side were you on? How are you gonna survive? Hope this theme song in the game would drive your ears to sink into your deepest thoughts…
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Writings/ Novel Translations by BubbleSwan
Click here to read more: Novel Translation Demo : Metro 2033