Bradbury, Ray - SSC 07

Bradbury, Ray - SSC 07 by Twice Twenty-two (v2.1) Read Free Book Online

Book: Bradbury, Ray - SSC 07 by Twice Twenty-two (v2.1) Read Free Book Online
Authors: Twice Twenty-two (v2.1)
skim
across as over fields of mica-snow. For the first time they knew their town was
beautiful and the lonely lights and the ancient bricks beautiful, and they both
felt their eyes grow large with the beauty of this feast they were giving themselves.
All floated upon an evening carrousel, with fitful drifts of music wafting up
here and there, and voices calling and murmuring from houses that were whitely
haunted by television.
                   The two women passed like needles, sewing one
tree to the next with their perfume. Their eyes were too full, and yet they
kept putting away each detail, each shadow, each solitary oak and elm, each
passing car upon the small snaking streets below, until not only their eyes but
their heads and then their hearts were too full.
                   I feel like Tm dead, thought Janice, and in
the graveyard on a spring night and everything alive but me and everyone moving
and ready to go on with fife without me. It's like I felt each spring when I
was sixteen, passing the graveyard and weeping for them because they were dead
and it didn't seem fair, on nights as soft as that, that I was alive. I was
guilty of living. And now, here, tonight, I feel they have taken me from the
graveyard and let me go above the town just once more to see what it's like to
be living, to be a town and a people, before they slam the black door on me
again.
                   Softly, softly, like two white paper lanterns
on a night wind, the women moved over their lifetime and their past, and over
the meadows where the tent cities glowed and the highways where supply trucks
would be clustered and running until dawn. They hovered above it all for a long
time.
                   The courthouse clock was booming eleven forty-five when they came hke spider webs floating from the stars, touching on the moonlit pavement
before Janice's old house. The city was asleep, and Janice's house waited for
them to come in searching for their sleep, which was not there.
                   "Is this us, here?" asked Janice.
"Janice Smith and Leonora Hohnes, in the year 2003?"
                   "Yes."
                   Janice licked her lips and stood straight.
"I wish it was some other year."
                   "1492? 1612?" Leonora sighed, and
the wind in the trees sighed with her, moving away. "It's always Columbus
Day or Plymouth Rock Day, and I'll be darned if I know what we women can do
about it."
                   "Be old maids."
                   "Or do just what we're doing."
                   They opened the door of the warm night house,
the sounds of the town dying slowly in their ears. As they shut the door, the
phone began to ring.
                   "The call!" cried Janice, running.
                   Leonora came into the bedroom after her and
already Janice had the receiver up and was saying, "Hello, hello!"
And the operator in a far city was readying the immense apparatus which would
tie two worlds together, and the two women waited, one sitting and pale, the
other standing, but just as pale, bent toward her.
                   There was a long pause, full of stars and
time, a waiting pause not unlike the last three years for all of them. And now
the moment had arrived, and it was Janice's turn to phone through millions upon
millions of miles of meteors and comets, running away from the yellow sun which
might boil or bum her words or scorch the meaning from them. But her voice went
like a silver needle through everything, in stitches of talking, across the big
night, reverberating from the moons of Mars. And then her voice found its way
to a man in a room in a city there on another world, five minutes by radio
away. And her message was this:
                   "Hello, Will. This is Janice!"
                   She swallowed.
                   "They say I haven't

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