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Long After Midnight

Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Long After Midnight
Рэй Дуглас Брэдбери

A classic collection of Ray Bradbury’s short fiction, available in ebook for the first time.In twenty-two stories of amazing range and variety, Ray Bradbury once again works his special magic, sounding out life's mysteries in the past, present, and the future.

LONG AFTER MIDNIGHT

Ray Bradbury

Dedication (#)

This book, with love, is dedicated to William F. Nolan, amazing collector, fantastic researcher, dear friend.

Table of Contents

Cover (#u1ffad92a-1FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Title Page (#u1ffad92a-2FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Dedication (#)

The Blue Bottle (#)

One Timeless Spring (#)

The Parrot Who Met Papa (#)

The Burning Man (#)

A Piece of Wood (#)

The Messiah (#)

G.B.S.—Mark V (#)

The Utterly Perfect Murder (#)

Punishment Without Crime (#)

Getting Through Sunday Somehow (#)

Drink Entire: Against the Madness of Crowds (#)

Interval in Sunlight (#)

A Story of Love (#)

The Wish (#)

Forever and the Earth (#)

The Better Part of Wisdom (#)

Darling Adolf (#)

The Miracles of Jamie (#)

The October Game (#)

The Pumpernickel (#)

Long After Midnight (#)

Have I Got a Chocolate Bar for You! (#)

Keep Reading (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Author (#)

Also by the Author (#)

Copyright (#)

About the Publisher (#)

The Blue Bottle (#)

The sundials were tumbled into white pebbles. The birds of the air now flew in ancient skies of rock and sand, buried, their songs stopped. The dead sea bottoms were currented with dust which flooded the land when the wind bade it reenact an old tale of engulfment. The cities were deep laid with granaries of silence, time stored and kept, pools and fountains of quietude and memory.

Mars was dead.

Then, out of the large stillness, from a great distance, there was an insect sound which grew large among the cinnamon hills and moved in the sun-blazed air until the highway trembled and dust was shook whispering down in the old cities.

The sound ceased.

In the shimmering silence of midday, Albert Beck and Leonard Craig sat in an ancient landcar, eyeing a dead city which did not move under their gaze but waited for their shout:

“Hello!”

A crystal tower dropped into soft dusting rain.

“You there!”

And another tumbled down.

And another and another fell as Beck called, summoning them to death. In shattering flights, stone animals with vast granite wings dived to strike the courtyards and fountains. His cry summoned them like living beasts and the beasts gave answer, groaned, cracked, leaned up, tilted over, trembling, hesitant, then split the air and swept down with grimaced mouths and empty eyes, with sharp, eternally hungry teeth suddenly seized out and strewn like shrapnel on the tiles.

Beck waited. No more towers fell.

“It’s safe to go in now.”

Craig didn’t move. “For the same reason?”

Beck nodded.

“For a damned bottle! I don’t understand. Why does everyone want it?”

Beck got out of the car. “Those that found it, they never told, they never explained. But—it’s old. Old as the desert, as the dead seas—and it might contain anything. That’s what the legend says. And because it could hold anything—well, that stirs a man’s hunger.”

“Yours, not mine,” said Craig. His mouth barely moved; his eyes were half-shut, faintly amused. He stretched lazily. “I’m just along for the ride. Better watching you than sitting in the heat.”

Beck had stumbled upon the old landcar a month back, before Craig had joined him. It was part of the flotsam of the First Industrial Invasion of Mars that had ended when the race moved on toward the stars. He had worked on the motor and run it from city to dead city, through the lands of the idlers and roustabouts, the dreamers and lazers, men caught in the backwash of space, men like himself and Craig who had never wanted to do much of anything and had found Mars a fine place to do it in.

“Five thousand, ten thousand years back the Martians made the Blue Bottle,” said Beck. “Blown from Martian glass—and lost and found and lost and found again and again.”

He stared into the wavering heat shimmer of the dead city. All my life, thought Beck, I’ve done nothing and nothing inside the nothing. Others, better men, have done big things, gone off to Mercury, or Venus, or out beyond the System. Except me. Not me. But the Blue Bottle can change all that.

He turned and walked away from the silent car.

Craig was out and after him, moving easily along. “What is it now, ten years you’ve hunted? You twitch when you sleep, wake up in fits, sweat through the days. You want the damn bottle that bad, and don’t know what’s in it. You’re a fool, Beck.”
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