"In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunny side up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees, and two cool glasses of milk."
The Children's Hour
The entire west face of the house was black, save for five places. Here the silhouette in paint of a man mowing a lawn. Here, as in a photograph, a woman bent to pick flowers. Still farther over, their images burned on wood in one titanic instant, a small boy, hands flung into the air; higher up, the image of a thrown ball, and opposite him a girl, hands raised to catch a ball which never came down.
Fire! Fire! Fire!
Fire, fire, fire!
The dog, once huge and fleshy, but now gone to bone and covered with sores, moved in and through the house, tracking mud... The dog ran upstairs, hysterically yelping to each door, at last realizing, as the house realized, that only silence was here.
Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is...
Animals took shape: yellow giraffes, blue lions, pink antelopes, lilac panthers cavorting in crystal substance... The nursery floor was woven to resemble a crisp, cereal meadow... And there was the patter of okapi feet and the murmur of a fresh jungle rain, like other hoofs, falling upon the summer-starched grass. Now the walls dissolved into distances of parched grass, mile on mile, and warm endless sky.
The wind blew. A falling tree bough crashed through the kitchen window. Cleaning solvent, bottled, shattered over the stove. The room was ablaze in an instant!
Among the ruins, one wall stood alone. Within the wall, a last voice said, over and over again and again, even as the sun rose to shine upon the heaped rubble and steam: "Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is..."