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Selected Shorts- Uncanny

From Audio: Uncanny
Last Played: June 11, 2021
05:41
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The McClellan family is dead, their bodies incinerated by a nuclear bomb. Only their house remains, carrying on like there is still a family inside. Kate Burton presents There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury and read by Kathleen Chalfant and three other stories of the odd.
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They're butterflies of delicate red tissue wavered among the sharp aroma of animal spores. There was a sound like a great matted yellow hive of bees within a dark bellows, the lazy bumble of a purring lion, and there was the patter of oh, copy feet and the murmur of a fresh jungle rain, like other hooves falling upon the summer starched grass. Now the walls dissolved into distances of parched grass, mile on mile, and warm, endless sky. The animals drew away into thorn breaks and water holes. It was the Children's Hour, five oclock, The bath filled with clear hot water. 678 o'clock. The dinner dishes manipulated like magic tricks, and in the study a click in the metal stand opposite the hearth, where a fire now blazed up warmly. A cigar popped out, half an inch of soft grey ash on it, smoking, waiting nine o'clock. The beds warm there hidden circuits for nights were cool here. 95 A voice spoke from the studies ceiling mrs McLelland. Which poem would you like this evening? The house was silent. The Voice said at last, Since you express no preference, I shall select a poem. At random quiet music rose to back. The voice sara Teasdale, As I recall your favorite. There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground and swallows circling with their simmering sound and frogs in the pool singing at night, and wild plum trees in prem. Youlus! White Robbins will wear their feathery fire, whistling their whims on a low fence wire, and not one will know of the war. Not one will care at last. When it is done, not one would mind neither bird nor tree if mankind perished utterly and spring herself. When she woke at dawn would scarcely know that we were gone. The fire burned on the stone hearth, and the cigar fell away into a mound of quiet asks on its tray. The empty chairs faced each other between the silent walls and the music played. At 10 o'clock the house began to die, the wind chill. A falling tree bow crashed through the kitchen window, cleaning solvent bottled shattered over the stove. The room was a blaze in an instant fire! Screamed a voice. The house lights flashed, water pump shop water from the ceilings, but the solvent spread on the linoleum licking, eating under the kitchen door while the voices took it up in chorus fire fire fire. The house tried to save itself. Doors sprang tightly shut, but the windows were broken by the heat, and the wind blew and sucked upon the fire. The house gave ground as the fire in 10 billion angry sparks moved with flaming ease from room to room and then up the stairs, while scurrying water rats sweep from the walls, pistol their water and ran for more, and the wall sprays let down showers of mechanical rain, but too late somewhere sighing a pump shrunk to a stop. The quenching rains ceased. The reserve water supply, which had filled baths and washed dishes for many quiet days, was gone. The fire crackled up the stairs. It fed upon picassos and matisses in the upper halls, like delicacies, baking off the oily flesh, tenderly crisping the canvases into black shavings. Now the fire lay in beds stood in windows, changed the color of drapes and then reinforcements from attic trapdoors. Blind robot faces peered down with faucet mouths, gushing green chemical. The fire backed off as even an elephant must at the sight of a dead snake. Now there were 20 snakes whipping over the floor, killing the fire with a clear cold venom of green froth. But the fire was clever. It had sent flame outside the house, up through the attic to the pumps. They're an explosion. The attic brain which directed the pumps, was shattered into bronze shrapnel on the beams. The fire rushed back into every closet and felt of the clothes hung there. The house shuttered oak bone on bone. It's baird skeleton cringing from the heat. It's wire. It's nerves revealed as if a surgeon had torn the skin off to let the red veins and capillaries quiver in the scalded air. Help help fire run run. Heat snapped mirrors like the first brittle winter ice. And the voices wailed, fire. Fire run run like a tragic nursery rhyme, A dozen voices high, low, like Children dying in a forest alone, alone. And the voices fading as the wires popped there. See things like hot chestnuts. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 voices died.
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