One of twelve brief stories the late science-fiction legfinish composed for slrfc.org. And, weirdly, possibly the the majority of lasting.

You are watching: Ray bradbury the last night of the world



Originally publimelted in the February 1951 worry of slrfc.org

"What would certainly you do if you kbrand-new this was the last night of the world?"

"What would certainly I do; you expect, seriously?"

"Yes, seriously."

"I don"t know — I hadn"t assumed. She turned the manage of the silver coffeepot toward him and put the 2 cups in their saucers.

He poured some coffee. In the background, the 2 little girls were playing blocks on the parlor rug in the light of the green hurricane lamps. Tright here was an easy, clean aroma of brewed coffee in the evening air.

"Well, much better start thinking around it," he sassist.

"You don"t intend it?" said his wife.

He nodded.

"A war?"

He shook his head.

"Not the hydrogen or atom bomb?"

"No."

"Or germ warfare?"

"None of those at all," he shelp, stirring his coffee slowly and staring right into its black depths. "But just the closing of a book, let"s say."

"I don"t think I understand also."

"No, nor do I really. It"s jut a feeling; occasionally it frigh10s me, periodically I"m not frightened at all — yet calm." He glanced in at the girls and their yellow hair shining in the bright lamplight, and lowered his voice. "I didn"t say anything to you. It first occurred about 4 nights ago."

"What?"

"A dream I had actually. I dreamt that it was all going to more than and a voice said it was; not any type of voice I can remember, however a voice anymeans, and also it shelp points would certainly stop below on Planet. I didn"t think also a lot around it when I awoke the next morning, but then I went to job-related and the feeling as via me all day. I caught Stan Willis looking out the window in the middle of the afternoon and I sassist, "Penny for your thoughts, Stan," and he said, "I had a dream last night," and before he even told me the dream, I kbrand-new what it was. I can have actually told him, but he told me and also I listened to him."

"It was the exact same dream?"

"Yes. I told Stan I had dreamed it, as well. He didn"t seem surprised. He relaxed, in truth. Then we began walking via workplaces, for the hell of it. It wasn"t planned. We didn"t say, let"s walk around. We simply walked on our own, and anywhere we saw civilization looking at their desks or their hands or out the home windows and also not seeing what remained in front of their eyes. I talked to a couple of of them; so did Stan."

"And every one of them had dreamed?"

"All of them. The same dream, via no distinction."

"Do you think in the dream?"

"Yes. I"ve never before been more specific."

"And once will certainly it stop? The people, I suppose."

"Sometime during the night for us, and then, as the night goes on about the world, those progressing sections will go, too. It"ll take twenty-four hours for it all to go."

They sat awhile not poignant their coffee. Then they lifted it gradually and also drank, looking at each various other.

"Do we deserve this?" she shelp.

"It"s not a issue of deserving, it"s just that points didn"t work out. I alert you didn"t even argue around this. Why not?"

"I guess I have actually a factor," she said.

"The same reason everyone at the office had?"

She nodded. "I didn"t want to say anypoint. It taken place last night. And the woguys on the block are talking around it, simply among themselves." She picked up the evening paper and also held it towards him. "There"s nopoint in the news around it."

"No, everyone knows, so what"s the need?" He took the paper and sat back in his chair, looking at the girls and also then at her. "Are you afraid?"

"No. Not also for the youngsters. I always thought I would certainly be frightened to fatality, yet I"m not."

"Where"s that spirit of self-conservation the scientists talk around so much?"

"I do not recognize. You don"t get too excited when you feel things are logical. This is logical. Nothing else however this can have taken place from the method we"ve lived."

"We haven"t been also negative, have we?"

"No, nor enormously excellent. I intend that"s the trouble. We haven"t been incredibly a lot of anypoint other than us, while a huge component of the human being was busy being lots of quite awful points."

The girls were laughing in the parlor as they waved their hands and tumbled down their house of blocks.

"I always imagined people would be screaming in the highways at a time prefer this."

"I guess not. You do not scream about the genuine point."

"Do you recognize, I won"t miss anything but you and the girls. I never before preferred cities or autos or factories or my work-related or anything other than you three. I won"t miss a thing other than my household and also maybe the readjust in the weather and also a glass of cool water as soon as the weather"s hot, or the deluxe of resting. Just bit things, really. How can we sit right here and also talk this way?"

"Due to the fact that there"s nothing else to perform."

"That"s it, of course, for if tright here were, we"d be doing it. I suppose this is the initially time in the background of the world that everyone has actually really known just what they were going to be doing in the time of the last night."

"I wonder what everyone else will certainly carry out currently, this evening, for the next few hours."

"Go to a present, listen to the radio, watch the TV, play cards, put the children to bed, gain to bed themselves, favor constantly."

"In a way that"s something to be proud of — choose always."

"We"re not all bad."

They sat a moment and then he poured even more coffee. "Why execute you intend it"s tonight?"

"Since."

"Why not some night in the past ten years of in the last century, or five centuries earlier or ten?"

"Maybe it"s because it was never before February 30, 1951, ever before before in history, and also now it is and also that"s it, because this date implies more than any other day ever meant and also bereason it"s the year as soon as points are as they are almost everywhere the people and that"s why it"s the finish."

"There are bombers on their course both ways throughout the ocean tonight that"ll never before see land also aget."

"That"s component of the reason why."

"Well," he said. "What shall it be? Wash the dishes?"

They wamelted the dishes carefully and also stacked them amethod via especial neatness. At eight-thirty the girls were put to bed and kissed good night and also the bit lights by their beds turned on and also the door left a trifle open up.

"I wonder," shelp the husband also, coming out and looking back, standing there via his pipe for a minute."

"What?"

"If the door need to be shut all the way or if it must be left just a tiny ajar so we deserve to hear them if they contact."

"I wonder if the children understand — if anyone mentioned anything to them?"

"No, of course not. They"d have actually asked us about it."

They sat and review the files and also talked and also listened to some radio music and then sat together by the firelocation looking at the charcoal embers as the clock struck ten-thirty and also elalso and eleven-thirty. They assumed of all the various other world in the people that had actually spent their evening, each in their very own special means.

"Well," he shelp at last. He kissed his wife for a long time.

"We"ve been good for each various other, anyway."

"Do you want to cry?" he asked.

"I don"t think so."

They went via the residence and turned out the lights and also locked the doors, and got in the bedroom and stood in the night cool darkness undressing. She took the spreview from the bed and also folded it closely over a chair, as constantly, and puburned back the covers. "The sheets are so cool and clean and also nice," she sassist.

"I"m tired."

"We"re both exhausted."

They got right into bed and lay earlier.

"Wait a moment," she sassist.

He heard her acquire up and go out into the earlier of the house, and also then he heard the soft shuffling of a swinging door. A moment later on she was earlier. "I left the water running in the kitchen," she shelp. "I turned the faucet off."

Something about this was so funny that he had to laugh.

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She laughed with him, learning what it was that she had done that was so funny. They quit laughing at last and also lay in their cool night bed, their hands clasped, their heads together.