"Today is August 4, 2026, in the city ofAllendale, California.""Today is Mr.Featherstone's birthday. Today is the anniversary of Tilita's marriage. Insurance is payable,as are the water, gas, and light bills."
"Tick-tock, seven o'clock, time to get up!""Seven-nine, breakfast time, seven-nine!""Eight-one o'clock, off to school, off to work, run, run, eight-one!""Nine-fifteen, sang the clock, time to clean."
"Fire, fire, fire!"
The five spots of paint - the man, the woman, the children, the ball- remained. The rest was a thincharcoaled layer.The shadow run inside the house.
Help, help! Fire! Run, run!
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.Two o'clock, sang a voice.Delicately sensing decay at last, the regiments of mice hummed out.
August 5, 2026
A falling tree bough crashed through the kitchen window. Cleaning solvent, bottled, shattered over the stove. The room was ablaze in an instant!
A tragic nursery rhyme, a dozen voices, high, low, like children dying in a forest, alone, alone.One, two, three, four, five voices died.
Smoke and silence. Among the ruins, one wall stood alone.
"Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is..."