In the living room the voice clock sang, "Ticktock, seven o' clock, time to get up, seven o' clock!" As if it were afraid nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness.
Today is August 4, 2026 in the city of Allendale, California. Today is Mr.Featherstone's birthday. Today is the anniversary of Tilta's marriage. Insurance is payable, as are the water, gas, and light bills.
In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from it's warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast,eight eggs sunny side up, sixteen slices of bacon and two coffees.
A dog whined, shivering, on the front porch. The front door recognized the dog voice and opened. 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 at each door, at last realizing that only silence was here. It sniffed the air and scratched the kitchen door. Behind the door, the stove was making pancakes which filled the house with a rich baked odor and the scent of maple syrup. The dog frothed at the mouth, lying at the door, sniffing, its eyes turned to fire. It ran wildly in circles, biting at its tail, spun in a frenzy and died. It lay in the parlor for an hour.
"Fire!" screamed a voice. The house lights flashed, water pumps shot 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!"
Dawn showed faintly in the east. Among the ruins, one wall stood alone. Within the wall, a last voice said, over and over again and again, even as the sun tose to shine upon the heaped rubble and steam: "Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is..."