Đ TÎM̦ŚĪN: ĆAPTR XI

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“I hv olrdi tld y v ɖ sicnis n cnfyźn ɖt cmz wɖ tîmtraṿlñ. N ɖs tîm I wz nt sītd proprli in ɖ sadl, bt sîdwez n in an unstebl faśn. Fr an indefiṇt tîm I cluñ t ɖ mśīn az it sweid n vîbretd, qt unhīdñ hǎ I wnt, n ẃn I bròt mslf t lc at ɖ dîlz agn I wz amezd t fînd ẃr I hd arîvd. Wn dîl recordz dez, n anɖr ʈǎzndz v dez, anɖr miłnz v dez, n anɖr ʈǎzndz v miłnz. Nǎ, instd v rvrsñ ɖ līvrz, I hd pld ɖm ovr so az t g fwd wɖ ɖm, n ẃn I cem t lc at ɖz indcetrz I faund ɖt ɖ ʈǎzndzhand wz swīpñ rnd az fast az ɖ secndzhand v a woć—intu fyćṛti.

“Az I drouv on, a pkłr ćenj crept ovr ɖ apiṛns v ʈñz. Ɖ palṗtetñ grênis grù darcr; ɖen—ɖo I wz stl traṿlñ wɖ pṛdijs vloṣti—ɖ blincñ ṣxeśn v de n nît, ẃć wz yźli indic̣tiv v a slowr pes, rtrnd, n grù mor n mor marct. Ɖs puzld m vri mć at frst. Ɖ olṭneśnz v nît n de grù slowr n slowr, n so dd ɖ pasij v ɖ sún acrs ɖ scî, untl ɖe sīmd t streć ʈru snć̣riz. At last a stedi twîlît brūdd ovr ɖ ŕʈ, a twîlît onli brocn nǎ n ɖen ẃn a comit glerd acrs ɖ darclñ scî. Ɖ band v lît ɖt hd inḍcetd ɖ sún hd loñ sinz dis’pird; fr ɖ sún hd sīst t set—it simpli rǒz n fél in ɖ wst, n grù evr brōdr n mor red. Ol tres v ɖ mūn hd vaniśt. Ɖ src̣lñ v ɖ starz, growñ slowr n slowr, hd gvn ples t crīpñ pônts v lît. At last, sm tîm bfr I stopt, ɖ sún, red n vri larj, hōltd mośnlis upn ɖ hrîzn, a vast dom glowñ wɖ a dul hīt, n nǎ n ɖen suf̣rñ a momntri xtñśn. At wn tîm it hd fr a litl ẃl gloud mor briłntli agn, bt it spīḍli rvrtd t its suḷn red hīt. I psivd bî ɖs slowñ dǎn v its rîzñ n setñ ɖt ɖ wrc v ɖ tîdl drag wz dn. Ɖ ŕʈ hd cm t rest wɖ wn fes t ɖ sún, īvn az in ǎr ǒn tîm ɖ mūn fesz ɖ ŕʈ. Vri cōśsli, fr I rmembrd mî formr hedloñ fōl, I bgan t rvrs mî mośn. Slowr n slowr wnt ɖ src̣lñ handz untl ɖ ʈǎzndz wn sīmd mośnlis n ɖ delí wn wz no longr a mir mist upn its scel. Stl slowr, untl ɖ dim ǎtlînz v a dezḷt bīć grù vizibl.

“I stopt vri jntli n sat upn ɖ Tîm̦śīn, lcñ rnd. Ɖ scî wz no longr blu. Norʈ-īstẉd it wz ñci blac, n ǎt v ɖ blacnis śon brîtli n steḍli ɖ pel ẃît starz. Oṿhed it wz a dīp Indịn red n starlis, n sǎʈ-īstẉd it grù brîtr t a glowñ scarlit ẃr, cut bî ɖ hrîzn, le ɖ hyj hul v ɖ sún, red n mośnlis. Ɖ rocs abt m wr v a harś rediś culr, n ol ɖ tres v lîf ɖt I cd si at frst wz ɖ intnsli grīn vejteśn ɖt cuvrd evri pṛjctñ pônt on ɖer sǎʈ-īstn fes. It wz ɖ sem rić grīn ɖt wn siz on foristmos or on ɖ laicn in cevz: plants ẃć lîc ɖz gro in a ppećl twîlît.

“Ɖ mśīn wz standñ on a slǒpñ bīć. Ɖ sì strećt awe t ɖ sǎʈ-wst, t rîz intu a śarp brît hrîzn agnst ɖ won scî. Ɖr wr no brecrz n no wevz, fr nt a breʈ v wind wz stŕñ. Onli a slît ôli swel rouz n fél lîc a jntl briɖñ, n śoud ɖt ɖ itrnl sì wz stl muvñ n livñ. N alñ ɖ marjin ẃr ɖ wōtr smtmz brouc wz a ʈic incrusteśn v sōlt—pnc undr ɖ lŭrid scî. Ɖr wz a sns v opreśn in mî hed, n I notist ɖt I wz briɖñ vri fast. Ɖ snseśn rmîndd m v mî onli xpirịns v mǎnṭnirñ, n fṛm ɖt I jujd ɖ er t b mor rerifaid ɖn it z nǎ.

“Far awe p ɖ dezḷt slǒp I hrd a harś scrīm, n sw a ʈñ lîc a hyj ẃît buṭflî g slantñ n flu̇ṭrñ p intu ɖ scî n, src̣lñ, dis’pir ovr sm lo hiḷcs bynd. Ɖ sǎnd v its vôs wz so dizṃl ɖt I śivrd n sītd mslf mor frmli upn ɖ mśīn. Lcñ rnd m agn, I sw ɖt, qt nir, ẃt I hd tecn t b a rediś mas v roc wz muvñ slǒli twdz m. Ɖen I sw ɖ ʈñ wz riyli a monstṛs crablîc crīćr. Cn y imajn a crab az larj az yondr tebl, wɖ its mni legz muvñ slǒli n unsrtnli, its big clwz sweyñ, its loñ antenī, lîc cartrz’ ẃips, wevñ n fīlñ, n its stōct îz glīmñ at y on îɖr sîd v its mtalic frunt? Its bac wz coṛgetd n orṇmntd wɖ ungenli bosz, n a grīniś incrusteśn bloćt it hir n ɖr. I cd si ɖ mni palps v its compḷcetd mǎʈ flic̣rñ n fīlñ az it muvd.

“Az I stérd at ɖs sinistr aṗriśn crōlñ twdz m, I flt a ticlñ on mî ćīc az ɖo a flî hd lîtd ɖr. I traid t bruś it awe wɖ mî hand, bt in a momnt it rtrnd, n olmst imījtli cem anɖr bî mî ir. I struc at ɖs, n còt smʈñ ʈredlîc. It wz drwn swiftli ǎt v mî hand. Wɖ a frîtfl qām, I trnd, n I sw ɖt I hd graspt ɖ antena v anɖr monstrcrab ɖt std jst bhnd m. Its īvl îz wr riġlñ on ɖer stōcz, its mǎʈ wz ol alîv wɖ aṗtît, n its vast ungenli clwz, smird wɖ an algl slîm, wr dsndñ upn m. In a momnt mî hand wz on ɖ līvr, n I hd plest a munʈ btwn mslf n ɖz monstrz. Bt I wz stl on ɖ sem bīć, n I sw ɖm dstñtli nǎ az sn az I stopt. Duznz v ɖm sīmd t b crōlñ hir n ɖr, in ɖ sombr lît, amñ ɖ folietd śīts v intns grīn.

“I canot cnve ɖ sns v abomiṇbl deẓleśn ɖt huñ ovr ɖ wrld. Ɖ red īstn scî, ɖ norʈẉd blacnis, ɖ sōlt Ded Sì, ɖ stoni bīć crōlñ wɖ ɖz fǎl, slo-stŕñ monstrz, ɖ yṇform pôzṇs-lcñ grīn v ɖ laic̣ṇs plants, ɖ ʈin er ɖt hrts wn’z luñz: ol cntribytd t an apōlñ ifct. I muvd on a hundṛd yirz, n ɖr wz ɖ sem red sún—a litl larjr, a litl dulr—ɖ sem dayñ sì, ɖ sem ćil er, n ɖ sem crǎd v rʈi crusteśnz crīpñ in n ǎt amñ ɖ grīn wīd n ɖ red rocs. N in ɖ wstẉd scî, I sw a crvd pel lîn lîc a vast ny mūn.

“So I travld, stopñ evr n agn, in gret strîdz v a ʈǎznd yirz or mor, drwn on bî ɖ misṭri v ɖ ŕʈ’s fet, woćñ wɖ a strenj faṣneśn ɖ sún gro larjr n dulr in ɖ wstẉd scî, n ɖ lîf v ɖ old ŕʈ eb awe. At last, mor ɖn ʈrti miłn yirz hns, ɖ hyj red-hot dom v ɖ sún hd cm t obskr nirli a tenʈ part v ɖ darclñ hevnz. Ɖen I stopt wns mor, fr ɖ crōlñ multtyd v crabz hd dis’pird, n ɖ red bīć, sev fr its livid grīn livrwrts n laicnz, sīmd lîflis. N nǎ it wz fléct wɖ ẃît. A bitr cold aseld m. Rer ẃît flecs evr n agn cem ediyñ dǎn. T ɖ norʈ-īstẉd, ɖ gler v sno le undr ɖ starlît v ɖ sebl scî n I cd si an undyletñ crest v hiḷcs pnciś ẃît. Ɖr wr frinjz v îs alñ ɖ sì marjin, wɖ driftñ masz frɖr ǎt; bt ɖ mn xpans v ɖt sōlt ośn, ol bludi undr ɖ itrnl súnset, wz stl unfrozn.

“I lct abt m t si f eni tresz v animl lîf rmend. A srtn indfîṇbl aprihnśn stl cept m in ɖ sadl v ɖ mśīn. Bt I sw nʈñ muvñ, in ŕʈ or scî or sì. Ɖ grīn slîm on ɖ rocs alon tsṭfaid ɖt lîf wz nt xtñt. A śalo sandbanc hd apird in ɖ sì n ɖ wōtr hd rsidd fṛm ɖ bīć. I fansid I sw sm blac objict flopñ abt upn ɖs banc, bt it bcem mośnlis az I lct at it, n I jujd ɖt mî î hd bn dsivd, n ɖt ɖ blac objict wz mirli a roc. Ɖ starz in ɖ scî wr intnsli brît n sīmd t m t twncl vri litl.

“Sudnli I notist ɖt ɖ srklr wstẉd ǎtlîn v ɖ sún hd ćenjd; ɖt a cncavti, a be, hd apird in ɖ crv. I sw ɖs gro larjr. Fr a minit phps I stérd agast at ɖs blacnis ɖt wz crīpñ ovr ɖ de, n ɖen I riylîzd ɖt an iclips wz bginñ. Îɖr ɖ mūn or ɖ planit Mrkri wz pasñ acrs ɖ sún’z disc. Naćṛli, at frst I tc it t b ɖ mūn, bt ɖr z mć t inclîn m t ḅliv ɖt ẃt I riyli sw wz ɖ tranzit v an inr planit pasñ vri nir t ɖ ŕʈ.

“Ɖ darcnis grù apes; a cold wind bgan t blo in freṣ́nñ gusts fṛm ɖ īst, n ɖ śǎrñ ẃît flecs in ɖ er incrist in numbr. Fṛm ɖ éj v ɖ sì cem a ripl n ẃispr. Bynd ɖz lîflis sǎndz ɖ wrld wz sîḷnt. Sîḷnt? It wd b hard t cnve ɖ stilnis v it. Ol ɖ sǎndz v man, ɖ blītñ v śīp, ɖ crîz v brdz, ɖ hum v insects, ɖ str ɖt mcs ɖ bacgrǎnd v ǎr lîvz—ol ɖt wz ovr. Az ɖ darcnis ʈicnd, ɖ ediyñ flecs grù mor abundnt, dansñ bfr mî îz; n ɖ cold v ɖ er mor intns. At last, wn bî wn, swiftli, wn aftr ɖ uɖr, ɖ ẃît pīcs v ɖ distnt hilz vaniśt intu blacnis. Ɖ brīz rouz t a monñ wind. I sw ɖ blac sntṛl śado v ɖ iclips swīpñ twdz m. In anɖr momnt ɖ pel starz alon wr vizibl. Ol els wz rêlis obskṛti. Ɖ scî wz abṣlutli blac.

“A horr v ɖs gret darcnis cem on m. Ɖ cold, ɖt smout t mî maro, n ɖ pen I flt in briɖñ, oṿcem m. I śivrd, n a dedli nōzia sizd m. Ɖen lîc a red-hot bo in ɖ scî apird ɖ éj v ɖ sún. I got of ɖ mśīn t rcuvr mslf. I flt gidi n inceṗbl v fesñ ɖ rtrn jrni. Az I std sic n cnfyzd I sw agn ɖ muvñ ʈñ upn ɖ śol—ɖr wz no mstec nǎ ɖt it wz a muvñ ʈñ—agnst ɖ red wōtr v ɖ sì. It wz a rǎnd ʈñ, ɖ sîz v a ftbōl phps, or, it me b, bigr, n tnṭclz treld dǎn fṛm it; it sīmd blac agnst ɖ wlṭrñ blud-red wōtr, n it wz hópñ fitf̣li abt. Ɖen I flt I wz fentñ. Bt a teribl dred v layñ hlplis in ɖt rmot n ōfl twîlît sstend m ẃl I clambrd upn ɖ sadl.

 

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