Unit 23 The Shipwreck 海难
The rumble(隆隆声) of the ship’s engine was too loud and Greg could not get to sleep. He got up and put on an overcoat because he could hear the wind outside, and a walk on the deck was what he needed to calm his nerves. The tossing of the ship caused him to stagger as he went down the passage way to the upper deck. Outside the wind it was fierce and he clung to his lapel(衣领) to keep his coat from blowing off. The port(船左舷) side of the ship was less windy and Greg found a sheltered passage way amid the ship.
Sitting on a deck chair he began to think of the reasons for taking this voyage. Why had his marriage gone wrong? Who was at fault? Why did his wife’s lifestyle and his never seem to coincide? He felt bitter and guilty at the same time. The sound of the wind and the harsh(刺耳的) whipping of the ship in the rough sea played destruction with his reasoning.
He was half dozing off when he looked up and standing in the passage way was a figure clutching an overcoat. He could see by the waving of the long black hair that it was a woman. She dropped down onto a deck chair next to him and said, "Do you mind?"
He said, "No, not at all, be my guest(欢迎赏光，请随便). "
She settled down in the chair and said, "This wind and the rough sea are more than I can take and I just have to get out. "
"I know what you mean, I sure hope it doesn’t last much longer, my nerves are on edge. "
"Mine, too. " she agreed. He cast a glimpse at her face and remembered her sitting alone at dinner, like himself.
"My name’s Greg. I noticed you were dining alone. I assume you are sailing by yourself?"
"Yes, I am, my name is Pearl, isn’t this weather terrible?" Greg nodded and clutched his coat tighter. They sat for quite some time, not saying anything. Her thoughts wondered back to home and to her troubles. Her husband was killed in an auto accident and this trip was to ease herself and relieve her sadness. The rough sea and the howling(嚎叫的) wind didn’t help very much.
Then they chatted a bit to pass the time. Greg thought it was a nice relief to have someone to talk to. They both, however, managed to overlook the howling of the wind and the pitching of the ship as they related their tales of misery to each other. There was a natural feeling of attraction between them as they chatted the night away. Just before daybreak(黎明), they both dozed off.
Suddenly the ship lurched(倾斜). The whole deck tilted and their chairs slid out of the passage way and before they were even conscious of what was happening they were thrown overboard(向船外的). Greg lost sight of Pearl as he hit the water head first. He could hear the boat’s whistle wail(呼啸) out in a frantic cadence(调子). It was pitch dark as he scrambled around in the water, his coat helped him stay afloat(漂浮的). A wave submerged his head and he thought, "This is the end?"He struggled to keep from sinking by grabbing firmly a floating piece of debris(残骸) of the ship.
In the darkness he heard a woman cry out for help and moved over towards the sound. Reaching out, he seized her by her hair and pulled her up to his side. "Are you all right?"
She cried out, "Yes, I’m all right, oh God, thank you. " He could tell by the sound of her voice that it was Pearl. She clung to him for dear life,
Suddenly the wailing sound of the boat whistle stopped as the ship plunged down into silence.They clung to the debris and managed to stay afloat in the darkness for what seemed like a endless abyss(深渊).
Dawn was breaking and the two lay debilitated (虚弱无力地) on the debris with their limbs soaked in the water. The storm blew over and there was nothing to be seen on the ocean except several pieces of debris floating in the distance. Apparently, no one else survived. Pearl gasped, "They must have been caught in their beds. "
A feeling of gloom set in on the two weary survivors and would have devoured(毁灭) them but suddenly Greg caught a sight of an island in the distance. "Look, Pearl, there is an island ahead." They both paddled till their arms ached. After a zealous effort they were able to touch the beach sand beneath their feet.
They hailed with great joy and struggled to the edge of the water. There they fell to their knees, thanking God for their fortune. The two crawled out of the water and laid down in the warm sun to rest themselves from their dreadful experience.
After a good rest, they got up and toured the little island and found fresh water, and something to eat. Greg managed to break open some coconuts(椰子) and they used the shells for drinking the heavenly water. Fortunately, the temperature was mild so survival was possible. The only thing they had were the clothes on their backs, their memories of home and the terrible experience they’d been through. They managed to build a lean-to(单坡屋顶) of twigs(树枝) and palm branches.
Their thoughts always dwelled on being rescued but they knew it was hopeless, so they did their best to survive. Time passed and somehow they managed to cope with this and a sense of affiliation flourished. In fact without each other, existence would be impossible to imagine. However,the chronic sound of the ship’s whistle kept haunting(常浮现脑中的) them. The mournful sound was even heard in their sleep.
They swam by the seashore and spent a lot of their hours making their camp livable. The deserted island became a paradise. But the sharp sound of the ship’s whistle plagued their thoughts. It was like the sound of the voice of Satan(撒旦，魔鬼) desperately demanding more hostages.
At last--the ship’s whistle ceased--it was then Greg realized they were still on the deck of the sinking ship. The small island was nothing but his illusion. The last thing he remembered was he reached out his hand and grabbed a lump of hair and pulled her to his side. "Are you all right?"
"Yes, I’m all right, oh God, thank you. " By the sound of her voice, he knew it was Pearl.She clung to him for dear life.
Suddenly a huge wave came and took them under, submerging them deep down into the cold,dark and silent water. They clung to each other in desperation and slowly sank down into the eternal depths.
The cruel sea added two more souls to its unsatisfied appetite.