Sunday, April 29, 2007

August 2026: The Day My World Collapsed (Sarah Moser)

(Note: In Jennifer Semple Siegel's Introduction to Literature class, students were offered the option of writing a prequel or sequel to a short story. Sarah Moser chose to write a prequel, from the point-of-view of the family dog, to Ray Bradbury's "August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains.")

I lay on my rug in front of the fireplace just waking up from a deep, dream-filled sleep. The day before had been full of intense activity and play. The prospect of what today might hold was almost too much to handle. I had even woken up to my feet furiously fluttering, as if running at high speed. After a brief stretch, I was ready to begin my routine. It always made me stop and stare, head cocked, when I moved away from my rug. The funny, little mice came out, buzzing furiously, while vacuuming up the hair I had left behind. In my younger days, I would bark at these interesting creatures, but now I just watch in amusement, day after day.

Walking over into the kitchen, I waited for the muffled voice I knew would come. Tick-tock, five o’clock, time to eat, time to eat, five o’clock! As if coming to greet me, a nook in the wall opened up to reveal a small robot Dalmatian carrying a miniature hose. It zipped out to my bowl and a stream of cold water majestically began to arc out of the nozzle. A minute passed and the Dalmatian, hose-in-hand, retreated into the wall it came from. The water tasted amazing! It always did, but today it seemed to dance on my tongue as I lapped it up. Almost on cue, three choices lit up on the screen behind my food dish and a new voice asked, “Turkey and gravy, Lamb and rice, or Beef and potatoes?” This was my favorite part of the day, until dinnertime any way. I pressed my nose to the Beef and Potatoes option and a robotic arm emerged clutching a can. A small saw buzzed in a circle around the top and the arm flipped over. The moist food glistened in my dish. Eat up, no time to waste, no time to waste, eat up! In a moment, the food was gone and my stomach was pleasantly full.

As I strolled back into the living room, a voice chirped again. Five-six, time to play, time to play, five-six! A bundle of toys appeared in the corner of the room; a rope, a few balls, and a bone. Normally, I would take turns playing with each of these toys until my family woke up. Today, however, all I wanted to do was go outside and play. After that fantastic dream, I was ready to run. One whine at the front door was all it took and I was free.

Outside, a breeze was blowing and the air was filled with familiar smells. The one that caught my attention was the scent of a rabbit. The hair on my back perked up and my eyes did a quick scan of the perimeter in search of my target. There it was! I darted over the hill and followed the speedy rabbit into the woods. Around bends and trees, carefully avoiding roots and rocks, my family should be up by now, but I persisted in my pursuit. Suddenly, as I ran through the winding creek a brilliant light seared my eyes.

The next thing I remember is waking up with half of my body in the creek, I didn’t know how long I had been unconscious, but my stomach told me I hadn’t eaten in awhile. My weak body struggled to get up. I felt nauseous, but sheer will-power kept me moving in the direction of home. The family must be worried!

What felt like a hurried pace was more of a slow crawl. As I came over the hill, I saw funny markings on the wall; however, my only thought was going inside to let my family know I was alive. Arriving at the door, a chill swept over my body and I let out a whimper. The door opened. I was feeling so weak that I barely even noticed the robot mice scurrying all around me. I hurried from room to room. What is going on? Where is everyone? I knew something was wrong, but the smell of breakfast lured me to the kitchen. The familiar scent was a small comfort. My family was gone and I frantically tried to think! The room started to get hazy and I felt myself spinning in circles. I fell to the ground and my last conscious thought was of my family and the hope that I might be with them once again.


LIT160 Introduction to Literature, Spring 2007

Published with permission

No comments: