novel (BARTIMAEUS6)

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Feb 24, 2012 20:33
When I landed on the top of a lamppost in the London dusk it was peeing with rain. This was just my luck. I had taken the form of blackbird, a sprightly fellow with a bright yellow beak
and jet-black plumage. Within seconds I was as bedraggled a fowl as ever hunched its wings in Hampstead. Flicking my head from side to side, I spied a large beech tree. Leaves moldered at its foot --it had already been stripped clean by the November winds--but the thick sprouting of its branches offered some protection from the wet. I flew over to it, passing above a lone car that purred its way along the wide suburban street. Behind high walls and the evergreen foliage of their gardens, the ugly white facades of several sizable villas shone through the dark like the facts of the dead.
Well, perhaps it was my mood that made it seem like that. Five thing were bothering me. For
a start the dull ache that comes with every physical manifestation was already begining.
I could feel it in my feathers. Changing form would keep the pain at bay for a time, but might also draw attention to me at a critical stage of the operation. Until I was sure of my surrounding, a bird to remain. The second things was the weather. Enough said.
Third, I'd forgotten the limitations of material bodies. I had an itch just above my beak, and kept futilely trying to scratch it wing. Fourth that kid. I had a lot of question about him. Who was he? Why did he have a death wish? How would I get even with him before he died for subjecting me to this assignment? News travels fast, and I was bound to take some abuse for scurrying around on behalf of
a scrap like him.

私は、夕暮れのロンドンの街灯の先端にとまった。雨が降っている。ちょつとついていない。私はクロウタドリの形をとっていた。鮮やかな黄色いくちばしと漆黒の羽を持つ陽気な仲間だ。少しの間に、ハムステッドの街で羽を丸めている鳥たちと同じようにびしょ濡れになっていた。頭をあちこちに向けて、木の根元に落ち葉が固まっている大きなぶなの木を見張った。それは既に11月の風できれいに裸にされていた。しかし、立派な若芽が幹を雨から守ろうと枝を広げていた。その木に向かって、一台の車がエンジン音を響かせて、広い郊外の道を走っていく上の空中を飛んだ。高い壁と庭の常緑樹の後ろにいくつかのかなり大きなビラがまるで暗い死人の顔のような醜い白い正面を輝やかせていた。さて、それは恐らく、こちらの気分でそのように見えたのだろう。私には、問題が五つある。最初に、すべての肉体的表示に付属する鈍痛が既に始まっていた。他のものに変身すれば、一時的に痛みを抑えられるが、変身の瞬間を見られてしまう危険がある。周囲の状況がつかめるまで、鳥のままでいる方がよい。次は天気だ。その話題は、もういい。三番目は、生き物の形になったときに、その物体の制限を忘れてしまうことだ。くちばしの上のかゆみがあると、かけるわけがないのに、翼でかこうとしてしまう。四番目はあの少年だ。彼については、たくさんの疑問がある。彼は何者だ。どうしてあんなに死にたいのだ。この仕返しを果たす前に彼は死んでいる。うわさは速く伝わる。彼のような少年のために走り回っていたと馬鹿にされる。