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All Summer in a Day

All Summer in a Day

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Published by Hirudinea Returns
All Summer in a Day
All Summer in a Day

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Published by: Hirudinea Returns on Sep 17, 2013
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All Summer in a DayBy Ray Bradbury
"Ready ?""Ready.""Now ?""Soon.""Do the scientists really know? Will ithappen today, will it ?""Look, look; see for yourself !"The children pressed to each other like somany roses, so many weeds, intermixed,peering out for a look at the hidden sun.It rained.It had been raining for seven years;thousands upon thousands of dayscompounded and filled from one end to theother with rain, with the drum and gush of water, with the sweet crystal fall of showersand the concussion of storms so heavy theywere tidal waves come over the islands. Athousand forests had been crushed under the rain and grown up a thousand times tobe crushed again. And this was the way lifewas forever on the planet Venus, and thiswas the schoolroom of the children of therocket men and women who had come to araining world to set up civilization and liveout their lives."It’s stopping, it’s stopping !""Yes, yes !"Margot stood apart from them, from thesechildren who could ever remember a timewhen there wasn’t rain and rain and rain.They were all nine years old, and if therehad been a day, seven years ago, when thesun came out for an hour and showed itsface to the stunned world, they could notrecall. Sometimes, at night, she heard themstir, in remembrance, and she knew theywere dreaming and remembering gold or ayellow crayon or a coin large enough to buythe world with. She knew they thought theyremembered a warmness, like a blushing inthe face, in the body, in the arms and legsand trembling hands. But then they alwaysawoke to the tatting drum, the endlessshaking down of clear bead necklaces uponthe roof, the walk, the gardens, the forests,and their dreams were gone.All day yesterday they had read in classabout the sun. About how like a lemon itwas, and how hot. And they had writtensmall stories or essays or poems about it:
think the sun is a flower,That blooms for just one hour.
That was Margot’s poem, readin a quiet voice in the still classroom whilethe rain was falling outside."Aw, you didn’t write that!" protested oneof the boys."I did," said Margot. "I did.""William!" said the teacher.But that was yesterday. Now the rain wasslackening, and the children were crushed inthe great thick windows.Where’s teacher ?""She’ll be back.""She’d better hurry, we’ll miss it !"They turned on themselves, like afeverish wheel, all tumbling spokes. Margotstood alone. She was a very frail girl wholooked as if she had been lost in the rain for years and the rain had washed out the bluefrom her eyes and the red from her mouth
 
and the yellow from her hair. She was an oldphotograph dusted from an album, whitenedaway, and if she spoke at all her voice wouldbe a ghost. Now she stood, separate,staring at the rain and the loud wet worldbeyond the huge glass."What’re
you
looking at ?" said William.Margot said nothing."Speak when you’re spoken to."He gave her a shove. But she did notmove; rather she let herself be moved onlyby him and nothing else. They edged awayfrom her, they would not look at her. She feltthem go away. And this was because shewould play no games with them in theechoing tunnels of the underground city. If they tagged her and ran, she stood blinkingafter them and did not follow. When theclass sang songs about happiness and lifeand games her lips barely moved. Onlywhen they sang about the sun and thesummer did her lips move as she watchedthe drenched windows. And then, of course,the biggest crime of all was that she hadcome here only five years ago from Earth,and she remembered the sun and the waythe sun was and the sky was when she wasfour in Ohio. And they, they had been onVenus all their lives, and they had been onlytwo years old when last the sun came outand had long since forgotten the color andheat of it and the way it really was.But Margot remembered."It’s like a penny," she said once, eyesclosed."No it’s not!" the children cried."It’s like a fire," she said, "in the stove.""You’re lying, you don’t remember !" criedthe children.But she remembered and stood quietlyapart from all of them and watched thepatterning windows. And once, a month ago,she had refused to shower in the schoolshower rooms, had clutched her hands toher ears and over her head, screaming thewater mustn’t touch her head. So after that,dimly, dimly, she sensed it, she was differentand they knew her difference and keptaway. There was talk that her father andmother were taking her back to Earth nextyear; it seemed vital to her that they do so,though it would mean the loss of thousandsof dollars to her family. And so, the childrenhated her for all these reasons of big andlittle consequence. They hated her palesnow face, her waiting silence, her thinness,and her possible future."Get away !" The boy gave her another push. "What’re you waiting for?"Then, for the first time, she turned andlooked at him. And what she was waiting for was in her eyes."Well, don’t wait around here !" cried theboy savagely. "You won’t see nothing!"Her lips moved."Nothing !" he cried. "It was all a joke,wasn’t it?" He turned to the other children."Nothing’s happening today.
Is
it ?"They all blinked at him and then,understanding, laughed and shook their heads."Nothing, nothing !""Oh, but," Margot whispered, her eyeshelpless. "But this is the day, the scientists
 
predict, they say, they
know 
, the sun…""All a joke !" said the boy, and seized her roughly. "Hey, everyone, let’s put her in acloset before the teacher comes !""No," said Margot, falling back.They surged about her, caught her up andbore her, protesting, and then pleading, andthen crying, back into a tunnel, a room, acloset, where they slammed and locked thedoor. They stood looking at the door andsaw it tremble from her beating and throwingherself against it. They heard her muffledcries. Then, smiling, the turned and went outand back down the tunnel, just as theteacher arrived."Ready, children ?" She glanced at her watch."Yes !" said everyone."Are we all here ?""Yes !"The rain slacked still more.They crowded to the huge door.The rain stopped.It was as if, in the midst of a filmconcerning an avalanche, a tornado, ahurricane, a volcanic eruption, somethinghad, first, gone wrong with the soundapparatus, thus muffling and finally cuttingoff all noise, all of the blasts andrepercussions and thunders, and then,second, ripped the film from the projector and inserted in its place a beautiful tropicalslide which did not move or tremor. Theworld ground to a standstill. The silence wasso immense and unbelievable that you feltyour ears had been stuffed or you had lostyour hearing altogether. The children puttheir hands to their ears. They stood apart.The door slid back and the smell of thesilent, waiting world came in to them.The sun came out.It was the color of flaming bronze and itwas very large. And the sky around it was ablazing blue tile color. And the jungle burnedwith sunlight as the children, released fromtheir spell, rushed out, yelling into thespringtime."Now, don’t go too far," called the teacher after them. "You’ve only two hours, youknow. You wouldn’t want to get caught out !"But they were running and turning their faces up to the sky and feeling the sun ontheir cheeks like a warm iron; they weretaking off their jackets and letting the sunburn their arms."Oh, it’s better than the sun lamps, isn’t it?""Much, much better !"They stopped running and stood in thegreat jungle that covered Venus, that grewand never stopped growing, tumultuously,even as you watched it. It was a nest of octopi, clustering up great arms of fleshlikeweed, wavering, flowering in this brief spring. It was the color of rubber and ash,this jungle, from the many years without sun.It was the color of stones and white cheesesand ink, and it was the color of the moon.The children lay out, laughing, on the jungle mattress, and heard it sigh andsqueak under them resilient and alive. Theyran among the trees, they slipped and fell,they pushed each other, they played hide-and-seek and tag, but most of all they

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