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KLARA AND THE SUN - KAZUO ISHIGURO, Part Two - 01 (2)

Part Two - 01 (2)

‘Mom, that's just great. But do you mind if Klara and I go up to my room for a minute? Klara just loves to watch the sunset and if we don't go now we'll miss it.'

When she said this I glanced round and saw the kitchen had become filled with the Sun's evening light. The Mother was staring at Josie, and I thought she was about to become angry. But then her face softened into her kind smile, and she said: ‘Of course, honey. You go ahead. Go watch your sunset. Then we'll get supper.'

Apart from the fields and the sky, there was something else we could see from the bedroom rear window that drew my curiosity: a dark box-like shape at the end of the furthest field. It didn't move as the grass shifted around it, and when the Sun came so low it was almost touching the grass, the dark shape remained in front of his glow. It was on the evening Josie risked the Mother's anger on my behalf that I pointed it out to her. When I did so, she raised herself higher on the Button Couch and moved her hands to her eyes to shade them.

‘Oh, you must mean Mr McBain's barn.'

‘A barn?'

‘It's maybe not really a barn because it's open on two sides. More a shelter, I guess. Mr McBain keeps stuff in there. I went there once with Rick.'

‘I wonder why the Sun would go for his rest to a place like that.'

‘Yeah,' Josie said. ‘You'd think the Sun would need a palace, minimum. Maybe Mr McBain's done a big upgrade since I was last there.'

‘I wonder when it was Josie went there.'

‘Oh, a long time ago now. Rick and I were still quite little. Before I got sick.'

‘Was there anything unusual nearby? A gateway? Or perhaps steps going down into the earth?'

‘Uh uh. Nothing like that. Just the barn. And we were glad of it too because we were little and we'd got really tired walking all that way. Mind you, it was nowhere near sunset. If there's an entrance to a palace, it might be hidden. Maybe the doors open just before the Sun gets there? I saw a movie like that once, where all these bad guys had their HQ inside a volcano, and what you thought was a lava lake on top slid open just before they came down in helicopters. Maybe the Sun's palace works the same way. Anyway, me and Rick, we weren't looking for it. We'd gone out there for the hell of it, then we got hot and wanted some shade. So we sat inside Mr McBain's barn for a time then came back.' She touched my arm gently. ‘Wish we'd seen more, but we didn't.'

The Sun had become just a short line glowing through the grass.

‘There he goes,' Josie said. ‘Hope he gets a good sleep.'

‘I wonder who this boy was. This Rick.'

‘Rick? Only my best friend.'

‘Oh, I see.'

‘Hey, Klara, did I just say something wrong?'

‘No. But…it's now my duty to be Josie's best friend.'

‘You're my AF. That's different. But Rick, well, we're going to spend our lives together.'

The Sun was now barely a pink mark in the grass.

‘There's nothing Rick won't do for me,' she said. ‘But he worries too much. Always worrying things will get in our way.'

‘What kind of things?'

‘Oh, you know. The whole love and romance stuff to figure out. And I guess there's the other thing too.'

‘Other thing?'

‘But he's worrying over nothing. Because with me and Rick it got decided a long time ago. It's not going to change.'

‘Where is this Rick now? Does he live nearby?'

‘Lives next door. I'll introduce you. Can't wait for you two to meet!'

I met Rick the following week, on the day I first saw Josie's house from the outside.

Josie and I had been having many friendly arguments about how one part of the house connected to another. She wouldn't accept, for instance, that the vacuum cleaner closet was directly beneath the large bathroom. Then one morning, after another such friendly argument, Josie said:

‘Klara, you're driving me crazy with this. As soon as I'm done with Professor Helm, I'm taking you outside. We're going to check all this out from out there.'

I became excited at this prospect. But first Josie had her tutorial, and I watched her spread her papers over the surface of the Island and turn on her oblong.

To give privacy, I sat with an empty highstool separating us. I could soon tell the lesson wasn't going smoothly: the tutor's voice escaping from Josie's headset seemed frequently to reprimand her, and she kept scribbling meaninglessly on her worksheets, sometimes pushing them dangerously close to the sink. At one point I noticed she'd become very distracted by something outside the large windows and was no longer listening to her professor. A little later, she said angrily to the screen, ‘Okay, I've done it. I really have. Why won't you believe me? Yes, exactly the way you said!'

The lesson went on longer than usual, but at last came to an end with Josie saying quietly, ‘Okay, Professor Helm. Thank you. Yes. I'll be sure to. Goodbye. Thank you for today's lesson.'

She turned off the oblong with a sigh and removed her headset. Then seeing me, she immediately brightened.

‘I haven't forgotten, Klara. We're going outside, right? Just let me get my sanity back. That Professor Helm, wow, am I glad I don't have to look at him any more! Lives somewhere hot, you can tell. I could see him perspiring.' She got off the highstool and stretched out her arms. ‘Mom says we have to let Melania know any time we go outside. Will you go and tell her while I put a coat on?'

I could see Josie was also feeling excitement, though in her case I guessed it had to do with whatever she'd seen through the large windows during her lesson. In any case, I went to the Open Plan to find Melania Housekeeper.

The Open Plan was the largest room in the house. It had two sofas and several soft rectangles on which residents could sit; also cushions, lamps, plants and a corner desk. When I opened the sliding doors that day, its furniture was a series of interlocking grids, the figure of Melania Housekeeper almost indistinguishable amidst their complex pattern. But I was able to spot her, sitting upright on the edge of a soft rectangle, busily doing something on her oblong. She looked up at me with unfriendly eyes, but when I told her Josie wanted to go outside, she tossed aside her oblong and marched out past me.

I found Josie in the hall, putting on her brown padded jacket, a favorite of hers she sometimes also wore indoors when she was less well.

‘Hey, Klara. I can't believe you've been in this house all this time and never been out.'

‘No, I've never been outside.'

Josie looked at me for a second, then said, ‘You mean you've never been outside? Not just outside here, but outside anywhere?'

‘That's correct. I was in the store. Then I came here.'

‘Wow. Then this is going to be so great for you! There's nothing to be afraid of, right? No wild animals or anything. So come on, let's go.'

As Melania Housekeeper opened the front door, I felt new air – and the Sun's nourishment – entering the hall. Josie smiled at me, her face full of kindness, but then Melania Housekeeper came between us, and before I was fully aware, had taken Josie's arm, tucking it under her own. Josie too was surprised by this, but didn't protest, and I appreciated that Melania Housekeeper had concluded I might not be able to protect Josie reliably while outdoors due to my unfamiliarity. So the two of them went out together, and I followed.

We walked onto the loose stones area, which I supposed had been kept deliberately rough for the car. The wind was mild and pleasant, and I wondered how it was the tall trees up on the hill were even then bending and waving under its push. But I soon had to concentrate on my feet, because the loose stones area contained many dips, perhaps created by the car's wheels.

The view before me was familiar from the bedroom front window. I continued to follow Josie and Melania Housekeeper onto the road, which was smooth and hard like a floor, and we walked on it for some time, even when cut grass appeared to either side. I wished to look back at the house – to see it as a passer-by would, and to confirm my estimates – but Josie and Melania Housekeeper kept walking, their arms still linked, and I didn't dare to pause.

After a while I no longer had to attend to my feet so carefully, and looked up to see a grass mound rising to our left – and the figure of a boy moving about near its summit. I estimated he was fifteen, though I couldn't be sure since his figure was a silhouette against the pale sky. Josie moved towards the mound, and Melania Housekeeper said something I might have heard had we been indoors, but outside the sound behaved differently. In any case, I could see there was now a disagreement. I heard Josie say:

‘But I want Klara to meet him.'

There were further words I didn't hear, then Melania Housekeeper said, ‘All right but only short,' and freed Josie's arm.

‘Come on, Klara,' Josie said, turning to me. ‘Let's go up and see Rick.'

As we climbed the side of the green mound, Josie's breath became short and she clung tightly to me. This meant I was only able to look back briefly, but I became aware that behind us was not just Josie's house, but a second house standing further back in the fields – a neighbor house that wasn't visible from any of Josie's windows. I was eager to study the appearance of both houses, but had to concentrate on ensuring Josie came to no harm. At the top of the hill, she stopped to recover her breath, but the boy didn't greet us or even look our way. He had in his hands a circular device, and was looking at the sky between the two houses where a group of birds was flying in formation, and I quickly realized these were machine birds. He kept his gaze on them and when he touched his control, the birds responded by changing their pattern.

‘Wow, they're beautiful,' Josie said, though still short of breath. ‘Are they new?'

Rick kept his gaze fixed on the birds, but said:

‘Those two on the end are new. You can tell they don't really match.'

The birds swooped till they were hovering directly above us.

‘Yeah, but real birds don't all look the same either,' Josie said.

‘I suppose. At least I've got the whole team taking the same commands now. Okay, Josie, watch this.'

The machine birds began to come down, landing one by one on the grass in front of us. But two remained in the air, and Rick, frowning, pressed his remote again.

‘God. Still not right.'

‘But they look great, Ricky.'

Josie was standing surprisingly close to Rick, not actually touching him, but with hands raised just behind his back and left shoulder.

‘What those two need is a complete recalibration.'

‘Don't worry, you'll get it right. Hey, Ricky, you're remembering about Tuesday, right?'

‘I'm remembering it. But look, Josie, I didn't say I was coming.'

‘Oh come on! You agreed!'

‘Like hell I agreed. Anyway, I don't think your guests will be so pleased.'

‘I'm hosting, so I can invite who I like. And Mom will be great about it. Come on, Rick, we've been through this enough. If we're serious about the plan, we need to do stuff like this together. You've got to be able to handle it just as well as me. And why should I have to face that crowd alone?'


Part Two - 01 (2)

‘Mom, that's just great. But do you mind if Klara and I go up to my room for a minute? Klara just loves to watch the sunset and if we don't go now we'll miss it.'

When she said this I glanced round and saw the kitchen had become filled with the Sun's evening light. The Mother was staring at Josie, and I thought she was about to become angry. But then her face softened into her kind smile, and she said: ‘Of course, honey. You go ahead. Go watch your sunset. Then we'll get supper.'

Apart from the fields and the sky, there was something else we could see from the bedroom rear window that drew my curiosity: a dark box-like shape at the end of the furthest field. Aparte de los campos y el cielo, había algo más que podíamos ver desde la ventana trasera del dormitorio que atrajo mi curiosidad: una forma oscura en forma de caja al final del campo más alejado. It didn't move as the grass shifted around it, and when the Sun came so low it was almost touching the grass, the dark shape remained in front of his glow. No se movió mientras la hierba se movía a su alrededor, y cuando el Sol bajó tanto que casi tocaba la hierba, la forma oscura permaneció frente a su resplandor. Он не двигался, поскольку трава вокруг него шевелилась, и когда Солнце опустилось так низко, что почти коснулось травы, темная фигура осталась перед его сиянием. It was on the evening Josie risked the Mother's anger on my behalf that I pointed it out to her. Fue la noche en que Josie se arriesgó a provocar la ira de la Madre por mí cuando se lo señalé. When I did so, she raised herself higher on the Button Couch and moved her hands to her eyes to shade them. Cuando lo hice, ella se subió más alto en el Button Couch y se llevó las manos a los ojos para protegerlos.

‘Oh, you must mean Mr McBain's barn.' —Oh, debe de referirse al granero del señor McBain. — О, вы, должно быть, имеете в виду амбар мистера Макбейна.

‘A barn?' '¿Un granero?'

‘It's maybe not really a barn because it's open on two sides. 'Tal vez no sea realmente un granero porque está abierto por dos lados. More a shelter, I guess. Más un refugio, supongo. Скорее приют, наверное. Mr McBain keeps stuff in there. El Sr. McBain guarda cosas ahí. I went there once with Rick.' Fui allí una vez con Rick.

‘I wonder why the Sun would go for his rest to a place like that.' 'Me pregunto por qué el Sol iría a descansar a un lugar como ese.'

‘Yeah,' Josie said. —Sí —dijo Josie—. ‘You'd think the Sun would need a palace, minimum. Uno pensaría que el Sol necesitaría un palacio, como mínimo. Maybe Mr McBain's done a big upgrade since I was last there.' Quizá el señor McBain haya hecho una gran mejora desde la última vez que estuve allí. Может быть, мистер Макбейн сделал большую модернизацию с тех пор, как я был там в последний раз.

‘I wonder when it was Josie went there.' Me pregunto cuándo fue Josie allí. — Интересно, когда это была Джози?

‘Oh, a long time ago now. 'Oh, hace mucho tiempo ahora. — О, это было давно. Rick and I were still quite little. Rick y yo todavía éramos bastante pequeños. Рик и я были еще совсем маленькими. Before I got sick.' Antes de enfermarme.

‘Was there anything unusual nearby? '¿Había algo inusual cerca? A gateway? ¿Una puerta de enlace? Or perhaps steps going down into the earth?' ¿O tal vez escalones que bajan a la tierra? Или, может быть, ступени, уходящие в землю?

‘Uh uh. 'Eh, eh. Nothing like that. Nada como eso. Just the barn. Solo el granero. And we were glad of it too because we were little and we'd got really tired walking all that way. Y nosotros también nos alegramos porque éramos pequeños y nos cansábamos mucho de tanto caminar. Mind you, it was nowhere near sunset. Eso sí, no estaba ni cerca del atardecer. Имейте в виду, это было далеко не закат. If there's an entrance to a palace, it might be hidden. Si hay una entrada a un palacio, podría estar oculta. Maybe the doors open just before the Sun gets there? ¿Quizás las puertas se abren justo antes de que llegue el sol? I saw a movie like that once, where all these bad guys had their HQ inside a volcano, and what you thought was a lava lake on top slid open just before they came down in helicopters. Una vez vi una película como esa, donde todos estos tipos malos tenían su cuartel general dentro de un volcán, y lo que pensabas que era un lago de lava en la parte superior se abrió justo antes de que descendieran en helicópteros. Maybe the Sun's palace works the same way. Tal vez el palacio del Sol funcione de la misma manera. Anyway, me and Rick, we weren't looking for it. De todos modos, Rick y yo no lo estábamos buscando. We'd gone out there for the hell of it, then we got hot and wanted some shade. Habíamos ido allí por gusto, luego nos dio calor y quisimos un poco de sombra. Мы пошли туда, черт возьми, а потом нам стало жарко и захотелось немного тени. So we sat inside Mr McBain's barn for a time then came back.' She touched my arm gently. Así que nos sentamos en el granero del Sr. McBain por un tiempo y luego volvimos. Tocó mi brazo suavemente. ‘Wish we'd seen more, but we didn't.' Ojalá hubiéramos visto más, pero no lo hicimos.

The Sun had become just a short line glowing through the grass. El Sol se había convertido en una línea corta que brillaba a través de la hierba.

‘There he goes,' Josie said. —Ahí va —dijo Josie. ‘Hope he gets a good sleep.' Espero que duerma bien.

‘I wonder who this boy was. 'Me pregunto quién era este chico. This Rick.' Este Rick.

‘Rick? '¿Almiar? Only my best friend.' Sólo mi mejor amigo.

‘Oh, I see.' 'Ah, claro.'

‘Hey, Klara, did I just say something wrong?' 'Oye, Klara, ¿acabo de decir algo malo?'

‘No. 'No. But…it's now my duty to be Josie's best friend.' Pero... ahora es mi deber ser el mejor amigo de Josie.'

‘You're my AF. 'Tú eres mi AF. That's different. Eso es diferente. But Rick, well, we're going to spend our lives together.' Pero Rick, bueno, vamos a pasar la vida juntos.

The Sun was now barely a pink mark in the grass. El Sol era ahora apenas una marca rosada en la hierba.

‘There's nothing Rick won't do for me,' she said. "No hay nada que Rick no haga por mí", dijo. ‘But he worries too much. Pero se preocupa demasiado. Always worrying things will get in our way.' Las cosas siempre preocupantes se interpondrán en nuestro camino. Всегда тревожные вещи будут мешать нам».

‘What kind of things?' '¿Que tipo de cosas?'

‘Oh, you know. 'Oh tú sabes. The whole love and romance stuff to figure out. Todo el asunto del amor y el romance por descubrir. And I guess there's the other thing too.' Y supongo que también está la otra cosa. И я думаю, есть и другое.

‘Other thing?' '¿Otra cosa?'

‘But he's worrying over nothing. Pero no se preocupa por nada. Because with me and Rick it got decided a long time ago. Porque conmigo y Rick se decidió hace mucho tiempo. Потому что со мной и Риком все было решено давным-давно. It's not going to change.' No va a cambiar. Это не изменится».

‘Where is this Rick now? '¿Dónde está este Rick ahora? «Где этот Рик сейчас? Does he live nearby?' ¿Vive cerca?

‘Lives next door. 'Vive en la casa de al lado. I'll introduce you. Te presentaré. Can't wait for you two to meet!' ¡No puedo esperar a que ustedes dos se conozcan!'

I met Rick the following week, on the day I first saw Josie's house from the outside. Conocí a Rick la semana siguiente, el día que vi por primera vez la casa de Josie desde el exterior.

Josie and I had been having many friendly arguments about how one part of the house connected to another. Josie y yo habíamos tenido muchas discusiones amistosas sobre cómo una parte de la casa se conectaba con otra. She wouldn't accept, for instance, that the vacuum cleaner closet was directly beneath the large bathroom. No aceptaría, por ejemplo, que el armario de la aspiradora estuviera directamente debajo del baño grande. Например, она не согласилась бы с тем, что шкаф для пылесоса находится прямо под большой ванной. Then one morning, after another such friendly argument, Josie said: Entonces, una mañana, después de otra discusión tan amistosa, Josie dijo:

‘Klara, you're driving me crazy with this. 'Klara, me estás volviendo loco con esto. As soon as I'm done with Professor Helm, I'm taking you outside. En cuanto termine con el profesor Helm, te llevaré afuera. Как только я закончу с профессором Хелмом, я выведу тебя на улицу. We're going to check all this out from out there.' Vamos a comprobar todo esto desde fuera.

I became excited at this prospect. Me entusiasmé con esta perspectiva. But first Josie had her tutorial, and I watched her spread her papers over the surface of the Island and turn on her oblong. Pero primero Josie tuvo su tutorial, y la vi esparcir sus papeles sobre la superficie de la isla y encender su oblongo. Но сначала у Джози был урок, и я наблюдал, как она разложила свои бумаги по поверхности Острова и повернулась к своему продолговатому.

To give privacy, I sat with an empty highstool separating us. Para dar privacidad, me senté con un taburete alto vacío separándonos. I could soon tell the lesson wasn't going smoothly: the tutor's voice escaping from Josie's headset seemed frequently to reprimand her, and she kept scribbling meaninglessly on her worksheets, sometimes pushing them dangerously close to the sink. Pronto me di cuenta de que la lección no iba bien: la voz de la tutora que se escapaba del auricular de Josie parecía reprenderla con frecuencia, y ella seguía garabateando sin sentido en sus hojas de trabajo, a veces acercándolas peligrosamente al fregadero. At one point I noticed she'd become very distracted by something outside the large windows and was no longer listening to her professor. En un momento me di cuenta de que se había distraído mucho con algo fuera de los grandes ventanales y ya no escuchaba a su profesor. A little later, she said angrily to the screen, ‘Okay, I've done it. Un poco más tarde, le dijo enojada a la pantalla: 'Está bien, lo hice. I really have. Realmente tengo Why won't you believe me? ¿Por qué no me crees? Yes, exactly the way you said!' ¡Sí, exactamente como dijiste! Да, именно так, как вы сказали!

The lesson went on longer than usual, but at last came to an end with Josie saying quietly, ‘Okay, Professor Helm. Thank you. Gracias. Yes. Sí. I'll be sure to. Me aseguraré de Goodbye. Adiós. Thank you for today's lesson.' Gracias por la lección de hoy.

She turned off the oblong with a sigh and removed her headset. Apagó el oblongo con un suspiro y se quitó los auriculares. Она со вздохом выключила продолговатый и сняла наушники. Then seeing me, she immediately brightened. Luego, al verme, inmediatamente se iluminó.

‘I haven't forgotten, Klara. No lo he olvidado, Klara. We're going outside, right? Vamos a salir, ¿verdad? Just let me get my sanity back. Sólo déjame recuperar mi cordura. That Professor Helm, wow, am I glad I don't have to look at him any more! ¡Ese profesor Helm, guau, me alegro de no tener que mirarlo más! Этот профессор Хелм, вау, как я рад, что мне больше не нужно на него смотреть! Lives somewhere hot, you can tell. Vive en algún lugar caluroso, se nota. Живет где-то жарко, можно сказать. I could see him perspiring.' She got off the highstool and stretched out her arms. Podía verlo transpirar. Se levantó del taburete alto y estiró los brazos. Я видел, как он вспотел. Она слезла с табурета и протянула руки. ‘Mom says we have to let Melania know any time we go outside. Mamá dice que tenemos que avisar a Melania cada vez que salgamos. Will you go and tell her while I put a coat on?' ¿Irás a decírselo mientras me pongo el abrigo? Вы пойдете и расскажете ей, пока я надену пальто?

I could see Josie was also feeling excitement, though in her case I guessed it had to do with whatever she'd seen through the large windows during her lesson. Me di cuenta de que Josie también estaba emocionada, aunque en su caso supuse que tenía que ver con lo que fuera que había visto a través de los grandes ventanales durante la lección. Я мог видеть, что Джози тоже была взволнована, хотя в ее случае я предположил, что это было связано с тем, что она увидела через большие окна во время урока. In any case, I went to the Open Plan to find Melania Housekeeper. En cualquier caso, fui al Open Plan a buscar a Melania Housekeeper.

The Open Plan was the largest room in the house. El Open Plan era la habitación más grande de la casa. It had two sofas and several soft rectangles on which residents could sit; also cushions, lamps, plants and a corner desk. Tenía dos sofás y varios rectángulos suaves en los que los residentes podían sentarse; también cojines, lámparas, plantas y un rincón escritorio. When I opened the sliding doors that day, its furniture was a series of interlocking grids, the figure of Melania Housekeeper almost indistinguishable amidst their complex pattern. Cuando abrí las puertas correderas ese día, su mobiliario era una serie de rejillas entrelazadas, la figura de Melania Housekeeper casi indistinguible en medio de su complejo diseño. But I was able to spot her, sitting upright on the edge of a soft rectangle, busily doing something on her oblong. Pero pude verla, sentada erguida en el borde de un rectángulo suave, ocupada haciendo algo en su oblongo. She looked up at me with unfriendly eyes, but when I told her Josie wanted to go outside, she tossed aside her oblong and marched out past me. Me miró con ojos hostiles, pero cuando le dije que Josie quería salir, tiró a un lado su oblongo y pasó junto a mí.

I found Josie in the hall, putting on her brown padded jacket, a favorite of hers she sometimes also wore indoors when she was less well. Encontré a Josie en el pasillo, poniéndose su chaqueta acolchada marrón, una de sus favoritas que a veces también usaba adentro cuando no se encontraba bien.

‘Hey, Klara. 'Hola, Klara. I can't believe you've been in this house all this time and never been out.' No puedo creer que hayas estado en esta casa todo este tiempo y nunca hayas salido.

‘No, I've never been outside.' 'No, nunca he estado afuera.'

Josie looked at me for a second, then said, ‘You mean you've never been outside? Josie me miró por un segundo y luego dijo: '¿Quieres decir que nunca has estado afuera? Not just outside here, but outside anywhere?' ¿No sólo fuera de aquí, sino fuera de cualquier parte?

‘That's correct. 'Eso es correcto. I was in the store. yo estaba en la tienda Then I came here.' Luego vine aquí.

‘Wow. 'Guau. Then this is going to be so great for you! ¡Entonces esto va a ser genial para ti! There's nothing to be afraid of, right? No hay nada que temer, ¿verdad? No wild animals or anything. No hay animales salvajes ni nada. So come on, let's go.' Así que vamos, vamos.

As Melania Housekeeper opened the front door, I felt new air – and the Sun's nourishment – entering the hall. Cuando Melania Housekeeper abrió la puerta principal, sentí aire nuevo, y el alimento del sol, entrando en el pasillo. Josie smiled at me, her face full of kindness, but then Melania Housekeeper came between us, and before I was fully aware, had taken Josie's arm, tucking it under her own. Josie me sonrió, su rostro lleno de amabilidad, pero entonces Melania Housekeeper se interpuso entre nosotros, y antes de que me diera cuenta, había tomado el brazo de Josie, metiéndolo debajo del suyo. Джози улыбнулась мне, ее лицо было полно доброты, но тут между нами встала Мелания Домоправительница и, прежде чем я полностью осознал это, взяла Джози за руку и взяла ее под свою. Josie too was surprised by this, but didn't protest, and I appreciated that Melania Housekeeper had concluded I might not be able to protect Josie reliably while outdoors due to my unfamiliarity. Josie también estaba sorprendida por esto, pero no protestó, y agradecí que Melania Housekeeper hubiera llegado a la conclusión de que quizás no pueda proteger a Josie de manera confiable mientras esté al aire libre debido a mi falta de familiaridad. So the two of them went out together, and I followed. Entonces salieron los dos juntos, y yo los seguí.

We walked onto the loose stones area, which I supposed had been kept deliberately rough for the car. Caminamos hacia el área de piedras sueltas, que supuse que se había mantenido deliberadamente áspera para el automóvil. Мы вышли на площадку с рыхлыми камнями, которую, как я полагал, намеренно сделали грубой для машины. The wind was mild and pleasant, and I wondered how it was the tall trees up on the hill were even then bending and waving under its push. El viento era suave y agradable, y me pregunté cómo era posible que los altos árboles de la colina se doblaran y ondearan bajo su empuje. Ветер был мягким и приятным, и мне стало интересно, как высокие деревья на холме даже тогда сгибались и качались под его напором. But I soon had to concentrate on my feet, because the loose stones area contained many dips, perhaps created by the car's wheels. Pero pronto tuve que concentrarme en mis pies, porque el área de piedras sueltas contenía muchas depresiones, quizás creadas por las ruedas del auto.

The view before me was familiar from the bedroom front window. La vista ante mí era familiar desde la ventana del frente del dormitorio. I continued to follow Josie and Melania Housekeeper onto the road, which was smooth and hard like a floor, and we walked on it for some time, even when cut grass appeared to either side. Continué siguiendo a Josie y Melania Housekeeper por el camino, que era liso y duro como el suelo, y caminamos por él durante un rato, incluso cuando aparecía hierba cortada a ambos lados. I wished to look back at the house – to see it as a passer-by would, and to confirm my estimates – but Josie and Melania Housekeeper kept walking, their arms still linked, and I didn't dare to pause. Quise volver a mirar la casa, verla como lo haría un transeúnte y confirmar mis estimaciones, pero Josie y Melania Housekeeper siguieron caminando, aún con los brazos unidos, y no me atreví a detenerme.

After a while I no longer had to attend to my feet so carefully, and looked up to see a grass mound rising to our left – and the figure of a boy moving about near its summit. Al cabo de un rato ya no tuve que cuidarme tanto de los pies, y miré hacia arriba para ver un montículo de hierba que se elevaba a nuestra izquierda, y la figura de un niño moviéndose cerca de su cima. Через некоторое время мне уже не нужно было так тщательно следить за своими ногами, и я, взглянув вверх, увидел травяной холмик, возвышающийся слева от нас, и фигуру мальчика, двигавшуюся у его вершины. I estimated he was fifteen, though I couldn't be sure since his figure was a silhouette against the pale sky. Calculé que tenía quince años, aunque no podía estar seguro ya que su figura era una silueta contra el cielo pálido. Josie moved towards the mound, and Melania Housekeeper said something I might have heard had we been indoors, but outside the sound behaved differently. Josie se acercó al montículo y Melania Housekeeper dijo algo que podría haber escuchado si hubiéramos estado adentro, pero afuera el sonido se comportó de manera diferente. In any case, I could see there was now a disagreement. En cualquier caso, pude ver que ahora había un desacuerdo. I heard Josie say: Escuché a Josie decir:

‘But I want Klara to meet him.' Pero quiero que Klara lo conozca.

There were further words I didn't hear, then Melania Housekeeper said, ‘All right but only short,' and freed Josie's arm. Hubo más palabras que no escuché, luego Melania Housekeeper dijo: "Está bien, pero solo un poco", y liberó el brazo de Josie.

‘Come on, Klara,' Josie said, turning to me. —Vamos, Klara —dijo Josie, volviéndose hacia mí—. ‘Let's go up and see Rick.' Subamos a ver a Rick.

As we climbed the side of the green mound, Josie's breath became short and she clung tightly to me. Mientras subíamos por la ladera del montículo verde, Josie se quedó sin aliento y se aferró a mí con fuerza. This meant I was only able to look back briefly, but I became aware that behind us was not just Josie's house, but a second house standing further back in the fields – a neighbor house that wasn't visible from any of Josie's windows. Esto significó que solo pude mirar hacia atrás brevemente, pero me di cuenta de que detrás de nosotros no solo estaba la casa de Josie, sino una segunda casa que se encontraba más atrás en los campos, una casa vecina que no era visible desde ninguna de las ventanas de Josie. I was eager to study the appearance of both houses, but had to concentrate on ensuring Josie came to no harm. Estaba ansioso por estudiar la apariencia de ambas casas, pero tenía que concentrarme en asegurarme de que Josie no sufriera ningún daño. At the top of the hill, she stopped to recover her breath, but the boy didn't greet us or even look our way. En la cima de la colina, se detuvo para recuperar el aliento, pero el niño no nos saludó ni siquiera miró en nuestra dirección. He had in his hands a circular device, and was looking at the sky between the two houses where a group of birds was flying in formation, and I quickly realized these were machine birds. Tenía en sus manos un dispositivo circular, y estaba mirando el cielo entre las dos casas donde un grupo de pájaros volaba en formación, y rápidamente me di cuenta de que eran pájaros mecánicos. He kept his gaze on them and when he touched his control, the birds responded by changing their pattern. Mantuvo su mirada en ellos y cuando tocó su control, los pájaros respondieron cambiando su patrón.

‘Wow, they're beautiful,' Josie said, though still short of breath. 'Wow, son hermosos', dijo Josie, aunque todavía sin aliento. ‘Are they new?' '¿Son nuevos?'

Rick kept his gaze fixed on the birds, but said: Rick mantuvo la mirada fija en los pájaros, pero dijo:

‘Those two on the end are new. Esos dos del final son nuevos. You can tell they don't really match.' Se nota que en realidad no coinciden. Вы можете сказать, что они на самом деле не совпадают.

The birds swooped till they were hovering directly above us. Los pájaros volaron en picado hasta que estuvieron revoloteando directamente sobre nosotros. Птицы пикировали, пока не зависли прямо над нами.

‘Yeah, but real birds don't all look the same either,' Josie said. —Sí, pero los pájaros de verdad tampoco tienen el mismo aspecto —dijo Josie—.

‘I suppose. 'Supongo. At least I've got the whole team taking the same commands now. Al menos ahora tengo a todo el equipo tomando los mismos comandos. Okay, Josie, watch this.' Vale, Josie, mira esto.

The machine birds began to come down, landing one by one on the grass in front of us. Los pájaros-máquina empezaron a descender, aterrizando uno a uno en la hierba frente a nosotros. But two remained in the air, and Rick, frowning, pressed his remote again. Pero quedaban dos en el aire, y Rick, frunciendo el ceño, volvió a apretar el control remoto.

‘God. 'Dios. Still not right.' Todavía no está bien.

‘But they look great, Ricky.' Pero se ven geniales, Ricky.

Josie was standing surprisingly close to Rick, not actually touching him, but with hands raised just behind his back and left shoulder. Josie estaba de pie sorprendentemente cerca de Rick, sin tocarlo en realidad, pero con las manos levantadas justo detrás de su espalda y hombro izquierdo.

‘What those two need is a complete recalibration.' Lo que esos dos necesitan es una recalibración completa.

‘Don't worry, you'll get it right. 'No te preocupes, lo harás bien. Hey, Ricky, you're remembering about Tuesday, right?' Oye, Ricky, te acuerdas de lo del martes, ¿verdad?

‘I'm remembering it. Lo estoy recordando. But look, Josie, I didn't say I was coming.' Pero mira, Josie, no dije que vendría. Но послушай, Джози, я не говорил, что приду.

‘Oh come on! '¡Oh vamos! You agreed!' ¡Usted estuvo de acuerdo! Ты согласился!'

‘Like hell I agreed. 'Como el infierno, acepté. «Черт возьми, я согласился. Anyway, I don't think your guests will be so pleased.' De todos modos, no creo que tus invitados estén tan contentos. Во всяком случае, я не думаю, что ваши гости будут так довольны.

‘I'm hosting, so I can invite who I like. Soy el anfitrión, así que puedo invitar a quien quiera. And Mom will be great about it. Y mamá será genial al respecto. Come on, Rick, we've been through this enough. Vamos, Rick, ya hemos pasado por esto bastante. Да ладно, Рик, мы уже достаточно через это прошли. If we're serious about the plan, we need to do stuff like this together. Si nos tomamos en serio el plan, tenemos que hacer cosas como esta juntos. You've got to be able to handle it just as well as me. Tienes que ser capaz de manejarlo tan bien como yo. And why should I have to face that crowd alone?' ¿Y por qué tengo que enfrentarme solo a esa multitud? И почему я должен стоять перед этой толпой один?