Stories by Ray Bradbury. The full list



ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWYZЛ

Dark Carnival, 1947

The Illustrated Man, 1951

The Golden Apples of the Sun, 1953

The October Country, 1955

A Medicine For Melancholy, 1959

R Is For Rocket, 1962

The Machineries of Joy, 1964

The Vintage Bradbury, 1965

S Is For Space, 1966

I Sing the Body Electric, 1969

Long After Midnight, 1976

The Stories of Ray Bradbury, 1980

A Memory of Murder, 1984

The Toynbee Convector, 1988

Quicker Than The Eye, 1996

Driving Blind, 1997

One More for the Road, 2002

Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales, 2003

The Cat's Pajamas, 2004

Summer Morning, Summer Night, 2007

We'll always have Paris, 2009

Сборник редких рассказов, 2009

Uncollected

The Stories of Ray Bradbury, 1980

"" Ray Bradbury collection cover

1. Introduction: Drunk, and in Charge of a Bicycle, 1980


Leave a comment

2. The Night, 1947


Leave a comment

3. The Homecoming, 1946


"Here they come," said Cecy, lying there flat in her bed.

"Where are they?" cried Timothy from the doorway.

"Some of them are over Europe, some over Asia, some of them over the Islands, some over South America!" said Cecy, her eyes closed, the lashes long, brown, and quivering.

Timothy came forward upon the bare plankings of the upstairs room. "Who are they?"

"Uncle Einar and Uncle Fry, and there's Cousin William, and I see Frulda and Helgar and Aunt Morgiana and Cousin Vivian, and I see Uncle Johann! They're all coming fast!"

Leave a comment

6. Uncle Einar, 1947


It will take only a minute," said Uncle Einar's sweet wife.

"I refuse," he said. "And that takes but a _second_."

"I've worked all morning," she said, holding to her slender back, "and you won't help? It's drumming for a rain."

"Let it rain," he cried, morosely. "I'll not be pierced by lightning just to air your clothes."

"But you're so quick at it."

"Again, I refuse." His vast tarpaulin wings hummed nervously behind his indignant back.

She gave him a slender rope on which were tied four dozen fresh-washed clothes. He turned it in his fingers with distaste. "So it's come to this," he muttered, bitterly. "To this, to this, to this." He almost wept angry and acid tears.

Leave a comment

8. The Traveller, 1946


Leave a comment

9. The Lake, 1944


The wave shut me off from the world, from the birds in the sky, the children on the beach, my mother on the shore. There was a moment of green silence. Then the wave gave me back to the sky, the sand, the children yelling. I came out of the lake and the world was waiting for me, having hardly moved since I went away.

I ran up on the beach.

Mama swabbed me with a furry towel. "Stand there and dry," she said.

I stood there, watching the sun take away the water beads on my arms. I replaced them with goose-pimples.

Leave a comment

5. The Coffin / Wake for the Living, 1947


Leave a comment

6. The Crowd, 1943


Mr. Spallner put his hands over his face.

There was the feeling of movement in space, the beautifully tortured scream, the impact and tumbling of the car with wall, through wall, over and down like a toy, and him hurled out of it. Then--silence.

The crowd came running. Faintly, where he lay, he heard them running. He could tell their ages and their sizes by the sound of their numerous feet over the summer grass and on the lined pavement, and over the asphalt street, and picking through the cluttered bricks to where his car hung half into the night sky, still spinning its wheels with a senseless centrifuge.

Leave a comment

4. The Scythe, 1943


Quite suddenly there was no more road. It ran down the valley like any other road, between slopes of barren, stony ground and live oak trees, and then past a broad field of wheat standing alone in the wilderness. It came up beside the small white house that belonged to the wheat field and then just faded out, as though there was no more use for it.

It didn't matter much, because just there the last of the gas was gone. Drew Erickson braked the ancient car to a stop and sat there, not speaking, staring at his big, rough farmer's hands.

Leave a comment

3. There Was an Old Woman, 1944


"No, there's no lief arguin'. I got my mind fixed. Run along with your silly wicker basket. Land, where you ever get notions like that? You just skit out of here; don't bother me, I got my tattin' and knittin' to do, and no never minds about tall, dark gentlemen with fangled ideas."

The tall, dark young man stood quietly, not moving. Aunt Tildy hurried on with her talk.

"You _heard_ what I said! If you got a mind to talk to me, well, you can talk, but meantime I hope you don't mind if I pour myself coffee. There. If you'd been more polite, I'd offer you some, but you jump in here high and mighty and you never rapped on the door or nothin'. You think you own the place."

Leave a comment

4. There Will Come Soft Rains (из "Марсианских хроник"), ?


Leave a comment

5. The Third Expedition (из "Марсианских хроник"), ?


Leave a comment

6. The Silent Towns (из "Марсианских хроник"), ?


Leave a comment

7. The Earth Men (из "Марсианских хроник"), ?


Leave a comment

8. The Off Season (из "Марсианских хроник"), ?


Leave a comment

9. The Million-Year Picnic (из "Марсианских хроник"), ?


Leave a comment

10. The Fox and the Forest, 1950


There were fireworks the very first night, things that you should be afraid of perhaps, for they might remind you of other more horrible things, but these were beautiful, rockets that ascended into the ancient soft air of Mexico and shook the stars apart in blue and white fragments. Everything was good and sweet, the air was that blend of the dead and the living, of the rains and the dusts, of the incense from the church, and the brass smell of the tubas on the bandstand which pulsed out vast rhythms of "La Paloma." The church doors were thrown wide and it seemed as if a giant yellow constellation had fallen from the October sky and lay breathing fire upon the church walls; a million candles sent their color and fumes about. Newer and better fireworks scurried like tight-rope walking comets across the cool-tiled square, banged against adobe cafe walls, then rushed on hot wires to bash the high church tower, in which boys' naked feet alone could be seen kicking and re-kicking, clanging and tilting and re-tilting the monster bells into monstrous music. A flaming bull blundered about the plaza chasing laughing men and screaming children.

Leave a comment

2. Kaleidoscope, 1949


The first concussion cut the rocket up the side with a giant can opener. The men were thrown into space like a dozen wriggling silverfish. They were scattered into a dark sea; and the ship, in a million pieces, went on, a meteor swarm seeking a lost sun.

"Barkley, Barkley, where are you?"

The sound of voices calling like lost children on a cold night

"Woode, Woode!"

"Captain!"

"Hollis, Hollis, this is Stone."

"Stone, this is Hollis. Where are you?"

Read comments (3)

Leave a comment

8. The Rocket Man, 1951


The electrical fireflies were hovering above Mother's dark hair to light her path. She stood in her bedroom door looking out at me as I passed in the silent hall. "You will help me keep him here this time, won't you?" she asked.

"I guess so," I said.

"Please." The fireflies cast moving bits of light on her white face. "This time he mustn't go away again."

"All right," I said, after standing there a moment. "But it won't do any good; it's no use."

She went away, and the fireflies, on their electric circuits, fluttered after her like an errant constellation, showing her how to walk in darkness. I heard her say, faintly, "We've got to try, anyway."

Leave a comment

6. Marionettes, Inc., 1949


They walked slowly down the street at about ten in the evening, talking calmly. They were both about thirty-five, both eminently sober.

'But why so early?' said Smith.

'Because,' said Braling.

'Your first night out in years and you go home at ten o'clock.'

'Nerves, I suppose.'

'What I wonder is how you ever managed it. I've been trying to get you out for ten years for a quiet drink. And now, on the one night, you insist on turning in early.'

'Mustn't crowd my luck,' said Braling.

Leave a comment

8. No Particular Night or Morning, 1951


Read comments (3)

Leave a comment

9. The City, 1951


Leave a comment

10. The Fire Balloons, 1951


Leave a comment

11. The Last Night of the World, 1951


Read comments (2)

Leave a comment

12. The Veldt, 1950


"George, I wish you'd look at the nursery."

"What's wrong with it?"

"I don't know."

"Well, then."

"I just want you to look at it, is all, or call a psychologist in to look at it."

"What would a psychologist want with a nursery?"

"You know very well what he'd want." His wife paused in the middle of the kitchen and watched the stove busy humming to itself, making supper for four.

"It's just that the nursery is different now than it was."

"All right, let's have a look."

Read comments (1)

Leave a comment

10. The Long Rain, 1946


Read comments (1)

Leave a comment

11. The Great Fire, 1949


Leave a comment

12. The Wilderness, 1952


"Oh, the Good Time has come at last -"

It was twilight, and Janice and Leonora packed steadily in their summer house, singing songs, eating little, and holding to each other when necessary. But they never glanced at the window where the night gathered deep and the stars came out bright and cold.

"Listen!" said Janice.

A sound like a steamboat down the river, but it was a rocket in the sky. And beyond that - banjos playing? No, only the summer-night crickets in this year 2003. Ten thousand sounds breathed through the town and the weather. Janice, head bent, listened. Long, long ago, 1849, this very street had breathed the voices of ventriloquists, preachers, fortunetellers, fools, scholars, gamblers, gathered at this selfsame Independence, Missouri. Waiting for the moist earth to bake and the great tidal grasses to come up heavy enough to hold the weight of their carts, their wagons, their indiscriminate destinies, and their dreams.

Leave a comment

5. A Sound of Thunder, 1952



The sign on the wall seemed to quaver under a film of sliding warm water. Eckels felt his eyelids blink over his stare, and the sign burned in this momentary darkness:

TIME SAFARI, INC.
SAFARIS TO ANY YEAR IN THE PAST.
YOU NAME THE ANIMAL.
WE TAKE YOU THERE.
YOU SHOOT IT.


Warm phlegm gathered in Eckels' throat; he swallowed and pushed it down. The muscles around his mouth formed a smile as he put his hand slowly out upon the air, and in that hand waved a check for ten thousand dollars to the man behind the desk.

Read comments (1)

Leave a comment

8. The Murderer, 1953


Music moved with him in the white halls. He passed an office door: "The Merry Widow Waltz." Another door: "Afternoon of a Faun." A third: "Kiss Me Again." He turned into a cross corridor: "The Sword Dance" buried him in cymbals, drums, pots, pans, knives, forks, thunder, and tin lightning. All washed away as he hurried through an anteroom where a secretary sat nicely stunned by Beethoven's Fifth. He moved himself before her eyes like a hand, she didn't see him.

His wrist radio buzzed.

Leave a comment

3. The April Witch, 1952


Into the air, over the valleys, under the stars, above a river, a pond, a road, flew Cecy. Invisible as new spring winds, fresh as the breath of clover rising from twilight fields, she flew. She soared in doves as soft as white ermine, stopped in trees and lived in blossoms, showering away in petals when the breeze blew. She perched in a limegreen frog, cool as mint by a shining pool. She trotted in a brambly dog and barked to hear echoes from the sides of distant barns. She lived in new April grasses, in sweet clear liquids rising from the musky earth.

Read comments (3)

Leave a comment

2. Invisible Boy, 1945


She took the great iron spoon and the mummified frog and gave it a bash and made dust of it, and talked to the dust while she ground it in her stony fists quickly. Her beady gray bird-eyes nickered at the cabin. Each time she looked, a head in the small thin window ducked as if she'd fired off a shotgun.

"Charlie!" cried Old Lady. "You come outa there! I'm fixing a lizard magic to unlock that rusty door! You come out now and I won't make the earth shake or the trees go up in fire or the sun set at high noon!"

Leave a comment

3. The Golden Kite, The Silver Wind, 1953


"In the shape of a pig?' cried the Mandarin.

"In the shape of a pig," said the messenger, and departed.

"Oh, what an evil day in an evil year," cried the Mandarin. "The town of Kwan-Si, beyond the hill, was very small in my childhood. Now it has grown so large that at last they are building a wall."

"But why should a wall two miles away make my good father sad and angry all within the hour?" asked his daughter quietly.

"They build their wall," said the Mandarin, "in the shape of a pig! Do you see? Our own city wall is built in the shape of an orange. Thai pig will devour us, greedily!"

Leave a comment

6. The Fog Horn, 1951


Out there in the cold water, far from land, we waited every night for the coming of the fog, and it came, and we oiled the brass machinery and lit the fog light up in the stone tower. Feeling like two birds in the gray sky, McDunn and I sent the light touching out, red, then white, then red again, to eye the lonely ships. And if they did not see our light, then there was always our Voice, the great deep cry of our Fog Horn shuddering through the rags of mist to startle the gulls away like decks of scattered cards and make the waves turn high and foam.

Read comments (2)

Leave a comment

2. The Big Black and White Game, 1945


Leave a comment

3. Embroidery, 1951


Leave a comment

4. The Golden Apples of the Sun, 1953


"South," said the captain.

"But," said his crew, "there simply aren't any directions out here in space."

"When you travel on down toward the sun," replied the captain, "and everything gets yellow and warm and lazy, then you're going in one direction only." He shut his eyes and thought about the smoldering, warm, faraway land, his breath moving gently in his mouth. "South." He nodded slowly to himself. "South."

Their rocket was the Copa de Oro, also named the Prometheus and the Icarus and their destination in all reality was the blazing noonday sun. In high good spirits they had packed along two thousand sour lemonades and a thousand white-capped beers for this journey to the wide Sahara. And now as the sun boiled up at them they remembered a score of verses and quotations:

Leave a comment

5. Powerhouse, 1948


Leave a comment

6. Hail and Farewell, 1953


But of course he was going away, there was nothing else to do, the time was up, the clock had run out, and he was going very far away indeed. His suitcase was packed, his shoes were shined, his hair was brushed, he had expressly washed behind his ears, and it remained only for him to go down the stairs, out the front door, and up the street to the small-town station where the train would make a stop for him alone. Then Fox Hill, Illinois, would be left far off in his past. And he would go on, perhaps to Iowa, perhaps to Kansas, perhaps even to California; a small boy twelve years old with a birth certificate in his valise to show he had been born forty-three years ago.

Leave a comment

2. The Great Wide World Over There, 1952


Leave a comment

3. The Playground, 1963


Leave a comment

4. Skeleton, 1945


It was past time for him to see the doctor again. Mr. Harris turned palely in at the stair well, and on his way up the flight saw Dr. Burleigh's name gilded over a pointing arrow. Would Dr. Burleigh sigh when he walked in? After all, this would make the tenth trip so far this year. But Burleigh shouldn't complain; he was paid for the examinations!

The nurse looked Mr. Harris over and smiled, a bit amusedly, as she tiptoed to the glazed glass door, opened it, and put her head in. Harris thought he heard her say, "Guess who's here, Doctor." And didn't the doctor's voice reply, faintly, "Oh, my God, _again?_" Harris swallowed uneasily.

Leave a comment

3. The Man Upstairs, 1947


He remembered how carefully and expertly Grandmother would fondle the cold cut guts of the chicken and withdraw the marvels therein; the wet shining loops of meat- smelling intestine, the muscled lump of heart, the gizzard with the collection of seeds in it. How neatly and nicely Grandma would slit the chicken and push her fat little hand in to deprive it of its medals. These would be segregated, some in pans of water, others in paper to be thrown to the dog later, perhaps. And then the ritual of taxidermy, stuffing the bird with watered, seasoned bread, and performing surgery with a swift, bright needle, stitch after pulled-tight stitch.

Leave a comment

2. Touched with Fire, 1954


They stood in the blazing sunlight for a long while, looking at the bright faces of their old-fashioned railroad watches, while the shadows tilted beneath them, swaying, and the perspiration ran out under their porous summer hats. When they uncovered their heads to mop their lined and pinkened brows, their hair was white and soaked through, like something that had been out of the light for years. One of the men commented that his shoes felt like two loaves of baked bread and then, sighing warmly, added:

Leave a comment

2. The Emissary, 1947


Martin knew it was autumn again, for Dog ran into the house bringing wind and frost and a smell of apples turned to cider under trees. In dark clock-springs of hair, Dog fetched goldenrod, dust of farewell-summer, acornhusk, hair of squirrel, feather of departed robin, sawdust from fresh-cut cordwood, and leaves like charcoals shaken from a blaze of maple trees. Dog jumped. Showers of brittle fern, blackberry vine, marsh-grass sprang over the bed where Martin shouted. No doubt, no doubt of it at all, this incredible beast was October!

Read comments (1)

Leave a comment

2. The Jar, 1944


It was one of those things they keep in a jar in the tent of a sideshow on the outskirts of a little, drowsy town. One of those pale things drifting in alcohol plasma, forever dreaming and circling, with its peeled, dead eyes staring out at you and never seeing you. It went with the noiselessness of late night, and only the crickets chirping, the frogs sobbing off in the moist swampland. One of those things in a big jar that makes your stomach jump as it does when you see a preserved arm in a laboratory vat.

Leave a comment

2. The Small Assassin, 1946


Just when the idea occurred to her that she was being murdered she could not tell. There had been little subtle signs, little suspicions for the past month; things as deep as sea tides in her, like looking at a perfectly calm stretch of tropic water, wanting to bathe in it and finding, just as the tide takes your body, that monsters dwell just under the surface, things unseen, bloated, many-armed, sharp-finned, malignant and inescapable.

A room floated around her in an effiuvium of hysteria. Sharp instruments hovered and there were voices, and people in sterile white masks.

Leave a comment

3. The Next in Line, 1947


It was a little caricature of a town square. In it were the following fresh ingredients: a candy-box of a bandstand where men stood on Thursday and Sunday nights exploding music; fine, green-patinated bronze-copper benches all scrolled and flourished; fine blue and pink tiled walks— blue as women's newly lacquered eyes, pink as women's hidden wonders; and fine French-clipped trees in the shapes of exact hatboxes. The whole, from your hotel window, had the fresh ingratiation and unbelievable fantasy one might expect of a French villa in the nineties. But no, this was Mexico! and this a plaza in a small colonial Mexican town, with a fine State Opera House (in which movies were shown for two pesos admission: Rasputin and the Empress, The Big House, Madame Curie, Love Affair, Mama Loves Papa).

Leave a comment

2. Jack-In-The-Box, 1947


He looked through the cold morning windows with the Jack-in-the-Box in his hands, prying the rusted lid. But no matter how he struggled, the Jack would not jump to the light with a cry, or slap its velvet mittens on the air, or bob in a dozen directions with a wild and painted smile. Crushed under the lid, in its jail, it stayed crammed tight coil on coil. With your ear to the box, you felt pressure beneath, the fear and panic of the trapped toy. It was like holding someone's heart in your hand. Edwin could not tell if the box pulsed or if his own blood beat against the lid.

Leave a comment

2. Good-by Grandma (из "Вина из одуванчиков"), ?


Leave a comment

3. Exorcism (из "Вина из одуванчиков"), ?


Leave a comment

4. The Happiness Machine (из "Вина из одуванчиков"), ?


Leave a comment

5. The Window (из "Вина из одуванчиков"), ?


Leave a comment

6. The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, 1958


It was summer twilight in the city and out front of the quiet-clicking pool-hall three young Mexican-American men breathed the warm air and looked around at the world. Sometimes they talked and sometimes they said nothing at all, but watched the cars glide by like black panthers on the hot asphalt or saw trolleys loom up like thunderstorms, scatter lightning, and rumble away into silence.

"Hey," sighed Martinez, at last. He was the youngest, the most sweetly sad of the three. "It's a swell night, huh? Swell."

Leave a comment

3. Dark They were, And Golden Eyed (The Naming of Names), 1949


The rocket's metal cooled in the meadow winds. Its lid gave a bulging pop. From its clock interior stepped a man, a woman, and three children. The other passengers whispered away across the Martian meadow, leaving the man alone among his family.

The man felt his hair flutter and the tissues of his body draw tight as if he were standing at the centre of a vacuum. His wife, before him, trembled. The children, small seeds, might at any instant be sown to all the Martian climes. The children looked up at him. His face was cold. "What's wrong?" asked his wife. "Let's get back on the rocket." "Go back to Earth?" "Yes! Listen!"

Read comments (14)

Leave a comment

3. The Strawberry Window, 1954


Leave a comment

4. A Scent of Sarsaparilla, 1958


Mr. William Finch stood quietly in the dark and blowing attic all morning and afternoon for three days. For three days in late November, he stood alone, feeling the soft white flakes of Time falling out of the infinite cold steel sky, silently, softly, feathering the roof and powdering the eaves. He stood, eyes shut. The attic, wallowed in seas of wind in the long sunless days, creaked every bone and shook down ancient dusts from its beams and warped timbers and lathings. It was a mass of sighs and torments that ached all about him where he stood sniffing its elegant dry perfumes and feeling of its ancient heritages. Ah. Ah.

Leave a comment

2. In a Season of Calm Weather, 1957


George and Alice Smith detrained at Biarritz one summer noon and in an hour had run through their hotel on to the beach into the ocean and back out to bake upon the sand.

To see George Smith sprawled burning there, you'd think him only a tourist flown fresh as iced lettuce to Europe and soon to be transhipped home. But here was a man who loved art more than life itself.

"There..." George Smith sighed. Another ounce of perspiration trickled down his chest. Boil out the Ohio tap-water, he thought, then drink down the best Bordeaux. Silt your blood with rich French sediment so you'll see with native eyes!

Read comments (1)

Leave a comment

4. The Day it Rained Forever, 1959


The hotel stood like a hollowed dry bone under the very centre of the desert sky where the sun burned the roof all day. All night, the memory of the sun stirred in every room like the ghost of an old forest fire. Long after dusk, since light meant heat, the hotel lights stayed off. The inhabitants of the hotel preferred to feel their way blind through the halls in their never-ending search for cool air.

This one particular evening Mr. Terle, the proprietor, and his only boarders, Mr. Smith and Mr. Fremley, who looked and smelled like two ancient rags of cured tobacco, stayed late on the long veranda. In their creaking glockenspiel rockers, they gasped back and forth in the dark, trying to rock up a wind.

Leave a comment

3. A Medicine for Melancholy, 1959


Leave a comment

4. The Shoreline at Sunset, 1959


Leave a comment

5. Fever Dream, 1948


They put him between fresh, clean, laundered sheets and there was always a newly squeezed glass of thick orange juice on the table under the dim pink lamp. All Charles had to do was call and Mom or Dad would stick their heads into his room to see how sick he was.

He was fifteen, Charles was. It was mid September, with the land beginning to burn with autumn. He lay in the bed for three days before the terror overcame him.

His hand began to change. His right hand. He looked at it and it was hot and sweating there on the counterpane, alone. It fluttered, it moved a bit. Then it lay there, changing colour.

Leave a comment

4. The Town Where No One Got Off, 1958


Crossing the continental United States by night, by day, on the train, you flash past town after wilderness town where nobody ever gets off. Or rather, no person who doesn't belong, no person who hasn't roots in these country graveyards ever bothers to visit their lonely stations or attend their lonely views.

I spoke of this to a fellow-passenger, another salesman like myself, on the Chicago-Los Angeles train as we crossed Iowa.

"True," he said. "People get off in Chicago, everyone gets off there. People get off in New York, get off in Boston, get off in L.A. People who don't live there go there to see and come back to tell. But what tourist ever just got off at Fox Hill, Nebraska, to look at it? You? Me? No! I don't know anyone, got no business there, it's no health resort, so why bother?"

Leave a comment

4. All Summer in a Day, 1959


"Ready ?"

"Ready."

"Now ?"

"Soon."

"Do the scientists really know? Will it happen today, will it ?"

"Look, look; see for yourself !"

The children pressed to each other like so many roses, so many weeds, intermixed, peering out for a look at the hidden sun.

It rained.

It had been raining for seven years; thousands upon thousands of days compounded and filled from one end to the other with rain, with the drum and gush of water, with the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion of storms so heavy they were tidal waves come over the islands. A thousand forests had been crushed under the rain and grown up a thousand times to be crushed again. And this was the way life was forever on the planet Venus, and this was the school room of the children of the rocket men and women who had come to a raining world to set up civilization and live out their lives.

Read comments (1)

Leave a comment

10. Frost and Fire, 1946


Leave a comment

11. The Anthem Sprinters, 1963


Leave a comment

12. And So Died Riabouchinska, 1963


Leave a comment

13. Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar! (Come into My Cellar), 1962


Leave a comment

14. The Vacation, 1963


Leave a comment

15. The Illustrated Woman, 1961


Leave a comment

16. Some Live Like Lazarus, 1960


Leave a comment

17. The Best of All Possible Worlds, 1963


The two men sat swaying side by side, unspeaking for the long while it took for the train to move through cold December twilight, pausing at one country station after another. As the twelfth depot was left behind, the older of the two men muttered, "Idiot, Idiot!" under his breath.

"What?" The younger man glanced up from his Times.

The old man nodded bleakly. "Did you see that damn fool rush off just now, stumbling after that woman who smelled of Chanel?"

"Oh, her?" The young man looked as if he could not decide whether to laugh or be depressed. "I followed her off the train once myself."

Leave a comment

5. The One Who Waits, 1949


I live in a well. I live like smoke in the well. Like vapour in a stone throat. I don't move. I don't do anything but wait. Overhead I see the cold stars of night and morning, and I see the sun. And sometimes I sing old songs of this world when it was young. How can I tell you what I am when I don't know? I cannot. I am simply waiting. I am mist and moonlight and memory. I am sad and I am old. Sometimes I fall like rain into the well. Spider webs are startled into forming where my rain falls fast, on the water surface. I wait in cool silence and there will be a day when I no longer wait.

Read comments (1)

Leave a comment

2. Tyrannosaurus Rex, 1962


He opened a door on darkness. A voice cried, "Shut it!" It was like a blow in the face. He jumped through. The door banged. He cursed himself quietly. The voice, with dreadful patience, intoned, "Jesus. You Terwilliger?"

"Yes," said Terwilliger. A faint ghost of screen haunt-ed the dark theatre wall to his right. To his left, a cigarette wove fiery arcs in the air as someone's lips talked swiftly around it.

"You're five minutes late!"

Don't make it sound like five years, thought Terwilliger. "Shove your film in the projection room door. Let's move."

Leave a comment

5. The Screaming Woman, 1951


Leave a comment

6. The Terrible Conflagration up at the Place, 1969


Leave a comment

7. Night Call, Collect, 1949


Leave a comment

8. The Tombling Day, 1952


Read comments (1)

Leave a comment

9. The Haunting of the New, 1969


Read comments (1)

Leave a comment

10. Tomorrow's Child, 1948


He did not want to be the father of a small blue pyramid. Peter Horn hadn't planned it that way at all. Neither he nor his wife imagined that such a thing could happen to them. They had talked quietly for days about the birth of their coming child, they had eaten normal foods, slept a great deal, taken in a few shows, and, when it was time for her to fly in the helicopter to the hospital, her husband held her and kissed her.

"Honey, you'll be home in six hours," he said. "These new birth-mechanisms do everything but father the child for you."

Leave a comment

3. I Sing the Body Electric!, 1969


Grandma! I remember her birth. Wait, you say, no man remembers his own grandma's birth. But, yes, we remember the day that she was born.

For we, her grandchildren, slapped her to life. Timothy, Agatha, and I, Tom, raised up our hands and brought them down in a huge crack! We shook together the bits and pieces, parts and samples, textures and tastes, humors and distillations that would move her compass needle north to cool us, south to warm and comfort us, east and west to travel round the endless world, glide her eyes to know us, mouth to sing us asleep by night, hands to touch us awake at dawn.

Leave a comment

3. The Women, 1948


Leave a comment

4. The Inspired Chicken Motel, 1969


Leave a comment

5. Yes, We'll Gather at the River, 1969


Leave a comment

6. Have I Got a Chocolate Bar For You!, 1973


Leave a comment

7. A Story of Love, 1951


That was the week Ann Taylor came to teach summer school at Green Town Central. It was the summer of her twenty-fourth birthday, and it was the summer when Bob Spaulding was just fourteen.

Every one remembered Anna Taylor, for she was that teacher for whom all the children wanted to bring huge oranges or pink flowers, and for whom they rolled up the rustling green and yellow maps of the world without being asked. She was that woman who always seemed to be passing by on days when the shade was green under the tunnels of oaks and elms in the old town, her face shifting with the bright shadows as she walked, until it was all thing to all people. She was the fine peaches of summer in the snow of winter, and she was cool milk for cereals on a hot early-June morning. Whenever you needed on opposite, Ann Taylor was there. And those rare few days in the world when the climate was balanced as fine as maple leaf between winds that blew just right, those were days like Ann Taylor, and should have been so named on the calendar.

Read comments (2)

Leave a comment

3. The Parrot Who Met Papa, 1972


Leave a comment

4. The October Game, 1948


He put the gun back into the bureau drawer and shut the drawer.

No, not that way. Louise wouldn't suffer. It was very important that this thing have, above all duration. Duration through imagination. How to prolong the suffering? How, first of all, to bring it about? Well.

The man standing before the bedroom mirror carefully fitted his cuff-links together. He paused long enough to hear the children run by switftly on the street below, outside this warm two-storey house, like so many grey mice the children, like so many leaves.

Leave a comment

4. Punishment Without Crime, 1950


Leave a comment

5. A Piece of Wood, 1952


Leave a comment

6. The Blue Bottle, 1950


Leave a comment

7. Long After Midnight, 1963


The police ambulance went up into the palisades at the wrong hour. It is always the wrong hour when the police ambulance goes anywhere, but this was especially wrong, for it was long after midnight and nobody imagined it would ever be day again, because the sea coming in on the light-less shore below said as much, and the wind blowing salt cold in from the Pacific reaffirmed this, and the fog muffling the sky and putting out the stars struck the final, unfelt-but-disabling blow. The weather said it had been here forever, man was hardly here at all, and would soon be gone. Under the circumstances it was hard for the men gathered on the cliff, with several cars, the headlights on, and flashlights bobbing, to feel real, trapped as they were between a sunset they hardly remembered and a sunrise that would not be imagined.

Read comments (2)

Leave a comment

2. The Utterly Perfect Murder, 1971


Leave a comment

3. The Better Part of Wisdom, 1975


Leave a comment

4. Interval in Sunlight, 1954


Leave a comment

5. The Black Ferris, 1948


Leave a comment

6. Farewell Summer, 1980


Leave a comment

7. McGillahee's Brat, 1956


Leave a comment

8. The Aqueduct, 1979


Leave a comment

9. Gotcha!, 1980


Leave a comment

10. The End of the Beginning, 1956


He stopped the lawn mower in the middle of the yard, because he felt that the sun at just that moment had gone down and the stars had come out. The fresh-cut grass that had showered his face and body died softly away. Yes, the stars were there, faint at first, but brightening in the clear desert sky. He heard the porch screen door tap shut and felt his wife watching him as he watched the night.

'Almost time,' she said.

He nodded; he did not have to check his watch. In the passing moments he felt very old, then very young, very cold, then very warm, now this, now that. Suddenly he was miles away. He imagined he was his own son talking steadily, moving briskly to cover his pounding heart and the resurgent panics as he felt himself slip into fresh uniform, check food supplies, oxygen flasks, pressure helmet, space-suiting, and turn as every man on Earth tonight turned, to gaze at the swiftly filling sky.

Leave a comment