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Concrete Island by J. Roger Baker

Concrete Island by J. Roger Baker

Concrete Island by J. Roger Baker


When he found the first one, Simon didn’t tell anybody. He hid it in the pocket of his dark grey overall suit and joined the other children who were playing in the sand-pit. That night, when his mother kissed him good night and went out, he examined his discovery.
It was most interesting: soft, but not squashy, a beautiful new color, and the scent was strange. He sniffed it again, it made him feel uneasy somewhere inside. It reminded him of something, but he couldn’t remember what.
The next day its color was darker, almost black. Later it got nasty and squashy and Simon threw it away and went to look for another.
He ran across the paved playing area and climbed down the vertical ladder to the lower level. This was forbidden territory for the children. The sun was hot.
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The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury

The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury

The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury


Ray Bradbury (1920-June 5, 2012) was one of America’s best-known science fiction and fantasy writers. He has inspired generations of readers to dream, think and create. His most chilling stories comment on the human consequences of progress. ‘Science ran too far ahead of us too quickly,’ he once said, ‘and the people got lost in a mechanical wilderness.’ Bradbury believed that one purpose of science fiction ‘is to warn about negative things that might happen in the future if care is not taken in the present’.

It was a misty evening in November. Leonard Mead went out into the silent street, hands in pockets. He loved walking in silence. He would stand at an intersection and peer down long moonlit avenues in four directions, deciding which way to go. But it really made no difference; he was alone in this world of 2053 A.D., or almost alone.
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Luck by Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Mark Twain


I was at a dinner in London given in honor of one of the most celebrated English military men of his time. I do not want to tell you his real name and titles. I will just call him Lieutenant General Lord Arthur Scoresby.
I cannot describe my excitement when I saw this great and famous man. There he sat. The man himself, in person, all covered with medals. I could not take my eyes off him. He seemed to show the true mark of greatness. His fame had no effect on him.
The hundreds of eyes watching him, the worship of so many people did not seem to make any difference to him.
Next to me sat a clergyman, who was an old friend of mine. He was not always a clergyman. During the first half of his life, he was a teacher in the military school at Woolwich. There was a strange look in his eye as he turned to me and whispered, “Between you and me — he is a complete fool.” He meant, of course, the hero of our dinner.
This came as a shock to me. I looked hard at my friend. I could not have been more surprised if he had said the same thing about Napoleon, or Socrates, or Solomon.
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Pastoral after Nevil Shute

Nevil Shute

Nevil Shute

Gervase rang up Mr Ellison in the middle of the morning. She said, «This is Section Officer Robertson speaking from the aerodrome. Mr Ellison, you know everybody round here. Who lives in Kingslak House?»
«I don’t know, I could find out for you.”
«Could you? I want to know this morning, if I can.» She hesitated. «I tell you what it’s about. There’s a lake there with a lot of trout in it. Some of us were wondering if the owner of the house would let us go fishing there.»
«I get you,» he said. «Give you a ring back in half an hour.»
He telephoned later in the morning. «About those trout you want to fish,” he said. «You haven’t got a hope. Nobody’s allowed near them.»
«Who does the house belong to?”
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The boy next door by J. London

Jack London

Jack London


Sladen Morris is the boy next door. He has grown very tall now, and all the girls think he is wonderful. But I remember when he refused to comb his hair and wash his face.
Of course, he remembers me too whenever I appear in a new dress and special hair-do, he says, “Well, well, look at Betsy, she’s almost grown-up. But I remember her first party, when she was so excited that she dropped her ice-cream on her best dress, and she ran home crying.”
So when I say that Sladen Morris didn’t mean anything to me, I am quite serious. But I had known him so long that I felt I had to take care of him — just as I feel towards Jimmy, my little brother. That’s the only feeling I had — neighbourly friendship — when I tried to save Sladen from Merry Ann Milbum.
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The one who waits by Ray Bradbury

The one who waits by Ray Bradbury

The one who waits by Ray Bradbury


I live in a well. I live like smoke in the well. Like vapor in a stone throat. I don’t move. I don’t do anything but wait. Overhead I see the cold stars of night and morning, and I see the sun. And sometimes I sing old songs of this world when it was young. How can I tell you what I am when I don’t know? I cannot. I am simply waiting. I am mist and moonlight and memory. I am sad and I am old. Sometimes I fall like rain into the well. I wait in cool silence and there will be a day when I no longer wait.
Now it is morning. I hear a great thunder. I smell fire from a distance. I hear a metal crashing. I wait. I listen. Voices. Far away.
“All right!”
One voice. An alien voice. An alien tongue I cannot know. No word is familiar. I listen.
“Mars! So this is it!”
“Where’s the flag?”
“Here, sir.”
“Good, good.”
The sun is high in the blue sky and its golden rays fill the well and I hang like a flower pollen, invisible and misting in the warm light.
Voices.
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My First Date

My First Date
My First Date by L. Thomas
In the day, shaking and shining, I went up to London on the train and then by bus to the Albert Hall. There she was. Waiting for me! As though I took women out every night, I kissed her on the cheek.
Then things started to become difficult. She grumbled about sitting up in the highest seats, and complained all the way up the endless stairs. When she had gone with Cedric, she moaned, they had sat in the front stalls, just behind the conductor.
‘You don’t hear the music properly down there’, I argued with inspiration.
We sat down. It was like peering into the mouth of a volcano. ‘Up here the music floats to you.’
She kept muttering through the first half of the concert, and then horrified me in the interval by announcing that she really would like a drink. Dumbstruck, I mentally counted the money in my pocket.
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