Fever Dream by Ray Bradbury

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Fever Dream by Ray Bradbury

One hundred classic stories from the celebrated author of Fahrenheit 451. In this, the first volume of Ray Bradbury’s short stories, some of the author’s finest works are published together, among them ‘Homecoming’, ‘Veldt’, ‘A Sound of Thunder’ and ‘The Long Rain’. Join an ill-fated crew of astronauts pushed to the brink of insanity by the incessant and highly corrosive rain on Venus, a high-tech virtual reality playroom that comes to life with terrible consequences, and a safari company offering tours for the wealthy back in time to the prehistoric era to stalk and kill dinosaurs, resulting in the present they return to being irrevocably altered. This collection is a rare treasure trove of wonder; as apprehensive about technology and the fate of humanity as it is elegiaic of its irrepressible progress. Each story presents an enlightening and poetic facet of Bradbury’s writing, every one as relevant now as when it was first written.

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Fever Dream by Ray Bradbury

They put him between fresh, clean, laundered sheets and there was always a newly squeezed glass of thick orange juice on the table under the dim pink lamp. All Charles had to do was call and Mom or Dad would stick their heads into his room to see how sick he was. The acoustics of the room were fine; you could hear the toilet gargling its porcelain throat of mornings, you could hear rain tap the roof or sly mice run in the secret walls or the canary singing in its cage downstairs. If you were very alert, sickness wasn’t too bad.

Fever Dream by Ray Bradbury

He was thirteen, Charles was. It was mid-September, with the land beginning to burn with autumn. He lay in the bed for three days before the terror overcame him.

His hand began to change. His right hand. He looked at it and it was hot and sweating there on the counterpane alone. It fluttered, it moved a bit. Then it lay there, changing color.

That afternoon the doctor came again and tapped his thin chest like a little drum. “How are you?” asked the doctor, smiling. “I know, don’t tell me: ‘My cold is fine, Doctor, but I feel awful!’ Ha!” He laughed at his own oft-repeated joke.

Charles lay there and for him that terrible and ancient jest was becoming a reality. The joke fixed itself in his mind. His mind touched and drew away from it in a pale terror. The doctor did not know how cruel he was with his jokes! “Doctor,” whispered Charles, lying flat and colorless. “My hand, it doesn’t belong to me any more. This morning it changed into something else. I want you to change it back, Doctor, Doctor!”

The doctor showed his teeth and patted his hand. “It looks fine to me, son. You just had a little fever dream.”

“But it changed, Doctor, oh, Doctor,” cried Charles, pitifully holding up his pale wild hand. “It did!”

The doctor winked. “I’ll give you a pink pill for that.” He popped a tablet onto Charles’ tongue. “Swallow!”

“Will it make my hand change back and become me, again?”

“Yes, yes.”

The house was silent when the doctor drove off down the road in his car under the quiet, blue September sky. A clock ticked far below in the kitchen world. Charles lay looking at his hand.

It did not change back. It was still something else…

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