Fiction

Excerpt from The Cat’s Pajamas – Ray Bradbury

The Island, 1952:: Ray Bradbury

The winter night drifted by lamplit windows in white bits and pieces. Now the procession marched evenly, now fluttered and spun. But there was a continual sifting and settling, which never stopped filling a deep abyss with silence.Β 

The house was locked and bolted at every seam, window, door, and hatch. Lamps bloomed softly in each room. The house held its breath, drowsed and warm. Radiators sighed. A refrigerator hummed quietly. In the library, under the lime green hurricane lamp, a white hand moved, a pen scratched, a face bent to the ink, which dried in the false summer air.Β 

Upstairs in bed, an old woman lay reading. Across the upper hall, her daughter sorted linen in a cupboard room. On the attic floor above, a son, half through thirty years, tapped delicately at a typewriter, added yet another paper ball to the growing heap on the rug.Β 

Downstairs, the kitchen maid finished the supper wine-glasses, placed them with clear bell sounds onto shelves, wiped her hands, arranged her hair, and reached for the light switch.Β 

It was then that all five inhabitants of the snowing winter night house heard the unusual sound.

The sound of a window breaking.

It was like the cracking of moon-colored ice on a midnight pond.

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