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In the deceiving warmth of earliest October, civil war has come to Green Town, Illinois, an age-old conflict pitting the young against the elderly for control of the clock that ticks their lives ever forward. The graying forces of school board despot Mr. Calvin C. Quartermain have declared total war on thirteen-year-old Douglas Spaulding and his downy-cheeked cohorts. The boys, in turn, plan and execute daring campaigns, matching old Quartermain's experience and cunning with their youthful enthusiasm and devil-may-care determination to hold on forever to childhood's summer. Yet time must ultimately be the victor, as life waits in ambush to assail young Spaulding with its powerful mysteries—the irresistible ascent of manhood, the sweet surrender of a first kiss . . .
erupted. One! Two! Three! It fired its bells! And he was a moth, a mouse in a bucket being kicked, and kicked again. An earthquake shook the tower, jolting him off his feet. Four! Five! Six! He staggered, clapping his hands over his ears to keep them from bursting. Again, again—Seven! Eight!—the tempest tore the air. Shaken he fell against the wall, eyes shut, his heart stopped with each storm of sound. “Quick!” Douglas shouted. “The crackers!” “Kill the darn thing!” shouted Tom. “I’m
Charlie.” “So long, Charlie,” said Tom. “You know something,” said Charlie, turning back toward his friends, as if he’d suddenly remembered something important. “I been thinkin’. I got an uncle, twenty-five years old. Came by earlier today in a big Buick, with his wife. A really nice, pretty lady. I was thinkin’ all morning: Maybe I’ll let them make me twenty-five. Twenty-five strikes me as a nice medium age. If they’ll let me ride in a Buick with a pretty lady like that, I’ll go along with
closed they stopped laughing, enveloped suddenly in darkness. Doug turned blindly and walked out into the light. He took a deep breath of the hot summer-like air, and squeezed his eyes shut. He could still see the platforms and the tables and the glass jars filled with thick fluid, and in the fluid, suspended, strange bits of tissue, alien forms from far unknown territories. What could be a swamp water creature with half an eye and half a limb, he knew, was not. What could be a fragment of
carries the burden of time on his shoulders: Timothy, the sad and different foundling son who must share it all, remember, and tell … and who, alone out of all of them, must one day age and wither and die. “Filled with poetic imagery, paeans to yesterday and lost faith, and plenty of magic storytelling, From the Dust Returned is ample proof that 81-year-old Bradbury hasn’t lost the passion and fire of his youth. Like the members of his [Elliot] Family, Bradbury’s talents are immortal.”
crawfish.” Charlie Woodman slung his bottle at a rock. They all threw their bottles, like Germans after a toast, the glass crashing in bright splinters. They unwrapped the melting chocolate and butter chip and almond frivolities. Their teeth parted, their mouths watered. But their eyes looked to their general. “I solemnly pledge from now on: no candy, no pop, no poison.” Douglas let his chocolate chunk drop like a corpse into the water, like a burial at sea. Douglas wouldn’t even let them