The first couple of pages of the short story, published in 1950.
Tick tock, it's 7 o'clock, time to get up; time to get up, it's 7 o'clock!
In the living room of the empty house, the clock called for everyone to get up , as if it were afraid that nobody would.
Another voice, this time from the kitchen, announced the day and important events. It repeated the date three times for memory's sake!
Today is August 4, 2026. in the city of Allendale, 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.
Eight-one, tick-tock, eight-one o'clock, off to school, off to work, run, run, eight-one!
But no doors slammed, no carpets took the soft tread of rubber heels. It was raining outside. The weatherbox on the front door whispered the weather. And the rain tapped on the empty house, echoing.
Rain, rain, go away; umbrellas, raincoats for today. ..
Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted. The rooms were a crawl with the small cleaning animals, all rubber and metal. They thudded against chairs, whirling their moustached runners, kneading the rug nap, sucking gently at hidden dust. Then, like mysterious invaders, they popped into their burrows. Their pink electric eyes faded. The house was clean.
Ten-fifteen. The garden sprinklers whirled up in golden founts, filling the soft morning air with scatterings of brightness. The water pelted window panes, running down the charred west side where the house had been burned, evenly free of its white paint.
The dog, covered in sores, 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 until the regiments of mice sensed decay. They moved the limp creature to the incinerator. Sparks flew.