Alternate Ending to ‘There Will Come Soft Rains’

*My alternate ending is bolded*

In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o’clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o’clock! as if it were afraid nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness. Seven-nine, breakfast time, seven-nine!
In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunnyside up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees, and two cool glasses of milk.
“Today is August 4, 2026,” said a second voice from the kitchen ceiling., “in the city of Allendale, California.” It repeated the date three times for memory’s sake. “Today is Mr. Featherstone’s birthday. Today is the anniversary of Tilita’s marriage. Insurance is payable, as are the water, gas, and light bills.”
Somewhere in the walls, relays clicked, memory tapes glided under electric eyes.

Eight-one, tick-tock, eight-one o’clock, off to school, off to work, run, run, eight-one! But no doors slammed, no carpets took the soft tread of rubber heels. It was raining outside. The weather box on the fron door sang quietly: “Rain, rain, go away; rubbers, raincoats for today…” And the rain tapped on the empty house, echoing.
Outside, the garage chimed and lifted its door to reveal the waiting car. After a long wait the door swung down again.
At eight-thirty the eggs were shriveled and the toast was like stone. An aluminum wedge scraped them down a metal throat which digested and flushed them away to the distant sea. The dirty dishes were dropped into a hot washer and emerged twinkling dry.

Nine-fifteen, sang the clock, time to clean. Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted. The rooms were acrawl with the small cleaning animals, all rubber and metal. They thudded against chairs, whirling their mustached runners, kneading the rug nap, sucking gently at hidden dust. Then, like mysterious invaders, they popped into their burrows. Their pink electric eye faded. The house was clean.
Ten o’clock. The sun came out from behind the rain. The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave of a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles.
Ten-fifteen. The garden sprinklers whirled up in golden founts, filling the soft morning air with scatterings of brightness. The water pelted windowpanes, running down the charred west side where the house had been burned evenly free of its white paint. The entire west face of the house was black, save for five places. Here the silhouette in paint of a man mowing a lawn. Here, as in a photograph, a woman bent to pick flowers. Still farther over, their images burned on wood in one titantic instant, a small boy, hands flung into the air; higher up, the image of thrown ball, and opposite him a girl, hand raised to catch a ball which never came down. The five spots of paint- the man, the woman, the children, the ball – remained. The rest was a thin charcoaled layer. The gentle sprinkler rain filled the garden with falling light.

Until this day, how well the house had kept its peace. How carefully it had inquired, ‘Who goes there? What’s the password?” and, getting no answer from the only foxes and whining cats, it had shut up its windows and drawn shades in an old-maidenly preoccupation with self-protection which bordered on a mechanical paranoia.
It quivered at each sound, the house did. If a sparrow brushed a window, the shade snapped up. The bird, startled, flew off! No, not even a bird must touch the house!
The house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.

Twelve noon.
A dog whined, shivering, on the front porch.
The front door recognized the dog voice and opened. The dog, once large and fleshy, but now gone to bone and covered with sores, moved in and through the house, tracking mud. Behind it whirred angry mice, angry at having to pick up mud, angry at inconvenience.
For not a leaf fragment blew under the door but what the wall panels flipped open and the copper scrap rats flashed swiftly out. The offending dust, hair, or paper, seized in miniature steel jaws, was raced back to the burrows. There, down tubes which fed into the cellar, it was dropped like evil Baal in a dark corner.

The dog ran upstairs, hysterically yelping to each door, at last realizing, as the house realized, that only silence was here. It sniffed the air and scratched the kitchen door. Behind the door, the stove was making pancakes which filled the house with a rich odor and the scent of maple syrup. The dog frothed at the mouth, lying at the door, sniffing, its eyes turned to fire. It ran wildly in circles, biting at its tail, spun in a frenzy, and died. It lay in the parlor for an hour
Two ‘clock, sang a voice.
Delicately sensing decay at last, the regiments of mice hummed out as softly as blown gray leaves in an electrical wind.
Two-fifteen.
The dog was gone.
In the cellar, the incinerator glowed suddenly and a whirl of sparks leaped up the chimney.
Two thirty-five.
Bridge tables sprouted from patio walls. Playing cards fluttered onto pads in a shower of pips. Martinis manifested on an oaken bench with egg salad sandwiches. Music played.
But the tables were silent and the cards untouched.
At four o’clock the tables folded like great butterflies back through the paneled walls.

Four-thirty.
The nursery walls glowed.
Animals took shape: yellow giraffes, blue lions, pink antelopes, lilac panthers cavorting in crystal substance. The walls were glass. They looked out upon color and fantasy. Hidden films clocked though the well-oiled sprockets, and the walls lived. The nursery floor was woven to resemble a crisp cereal meadow. Over this ran aluminum roaches and iron crickets, and in the hot still air butterflies of delicate red tissue wavered among the sharp aroma of animal spoors! There was the sound like a great matted yellow hive of bees within a dark bellows, the lazy bumble of a purring lion. And there was the patter of okapi feet and the murmur of a fresh jungle rain, like other hoofs falling upon the summer-starched grass. Now the walls dissolved into distances of parched weed, mile on mile, and warm endless sky. The animals drew away into thorn brakes and water holes.It was the children’s hour.

Five o’clock. The bath filled with clear hot water.
Six, seven, eight o’clock. The dinner dishes manipulated like magic tricks, and in the study a click. In the metal stand opposite the hearth where a fire now blazed up warmly, a cigar popped out, half an inch of soft gray ash on it, smoking, waiting.

Nine o’clock. The beds warmed their hidden circuits, for nights were cool here.
Nine-five.  A voice spoke from the study ceiling: “Mrs. McClellan, which poem would you like this evening?”
The house was silent.
The voice said at last, “Since you express no preference, I shall select a poem at random.” Quiet music rose to back the voice. “Sara Teasdale. As I recall, your favorite…

“There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night, And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire, Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn Would scarcely know that we were gone.”

The fire burned on the stone hearth and the cigar fell away into a mound of quiet ash on its tray. The empty chairs faced each other between the silent walls, and the music played.

At ten o’clock the house began to die. The technology inside the house began to malfunction and the music came to a stop. For a moment there was complete silence. 

Suddenly, figures emerged from the walls of the home. The silhouette of a man mowing a lawn became a real man, the picture of the woman picking flowers became a real woman, and the picture of the children playing with a ball became a real girl and boy. 

“I knew this would not work forever” stated the woman in defeat.

“But we survived past the destruction, and now we can go on and finally continue our lives” replied the man.

“So we don’t have to live as a house anymore, Papa?” inquired the young boy.

“No, but now we must find another way to survive.” replied the man, ” There is not much left on this desolate planet, so it will be difficult.”

“Will you still share a nightly poem, Mama?” asked the little girl.

“Of course, but we must be on our way,” said the woman, “Which poem would you like to begin our journey?”

 

Apocalyptic Short Stories Review

The first apocalypse short story I chose to read was There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury. Published in 1950, this is a futuristic story set in 2026. Although most people do not live in them today, the concept of a “Smart” house does exist in this day and age. It was so interesting how the author achieved a pretty accurate representation of modern technology. In the story, somehow the humans are no longer around, but the technology of the smart home is still going through the old house-owners’ daily routine. I began to take note of how technology is able to outlive humans and survive without us, and immediately after I wrote that down, the house had the fire and began to malfunction. This short story was extremely easy to read as it was fun to think of how it is possible that the concepts could happen in our future reality.

The second short story I read was Finis by Frank L. Pollack. Published in 1906, it is understandable that the female characters seemed fragile and not as knowledgeable as them men, but it still bothered me. The way the characters were not very well introduced or described made it slightly hard to follow in the beginning. The action towards the middle of the short story was the most interesting part, but then the author made the poor mistake of adding a love scene to the end. Overall I would say it was okay.

Can You See Me in My Camo Hammock?

Here is the link to a state of the art camouflage hammock:

https://www.amazon.com/WoneNice-Portable-Camping-Mosquito-Camouflage/dp/B01NADZ7NU/ref=sr_1_4?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1517443455&sr=1-4&keywords=camo+hammock

I recently ordered this camouflage netted hammock in preparation for our impending doom. I thought it would be best to test it out before the end comes, just to make sure it works. But good news! It’s perfect. I spent a night in a hunting ground in this camo hammock, and I was completely invisible to the hunters! When the apocalypse comes and we need to hide from aliens or zombies, but also get our beauty rest, this is the product that will keep the innocent alive. As an added bonus, the hammock was extremely comfortable, and I got a great night’s rest.

The hammock comes with an attachable net, which is completely sealed, so in the event of uncontrollable airborne diseases, you will be safe. It also keeps away any unruly pests from infected you, or just being a bother.

If this review is not convincing enough yet, just consider the alternate uses for the hammock pieces. You can use the carabiners for rock climbing. The ropes have an abundance of uses, such as making a tourniquet, building a ladder or making a trap.

This lightweight hammock condenses into a small compact bag and can easily carry 500lbs. It is a staple for anyone anticipating the apocalypse. Highly recommend it for all you future survivors out there!

I Would Rather be a Zombie

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

“In the event of a zombie apocalypse, would you rather be turned into a zombie or have everyone you love turned into a zombie? Why?”

I would much rather be turned into a zombie than have everyone I love turned into a zombie. In my opinion, this is the much safer choice. Imagining my family and friends being turned into zombies and me being the only human left is absolutely terrifying. Whenever thinking about myself in the position of a horror/murder film, I would want to be killed first for two reasons; it would be so stressful and just plain terrible to experience anything like what happens in those types of movies and if I were to survive it, I would need so much therapy for the psychological damage it would cause me. So, putting this weirdly selfish perspective into the zombie apocalypse scenario, I would rather be turned into a zombie because then I would be the “bad guy” and maybe if I am lucky I could control myself and not eat people’s brains.

SURVIVING WEEK TWO:

This week was a little rough for me. I got off to a good start by completing my Twitter zombie story for the daily create. This daily create was pretty fun and I put a personal twist on the task.

Later on Tuesday, I went to the library to check out Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood thinking it would be nice to have the physical copy. When I checked out the book the librarian stated: “That’s weird, it says its due today.” And looking back on it, that seems to foreshadow Tuesday being the last day of the week I had time to get my assignments done. I had an overwhelming amount of work from my other courses, so I fell a bit behind on my assignments for this class.

Luckily, I was inspired by my Global Environmental Problems course to write about Easter Island for the Tell it/Tweet it Assignment. Although I felt a bit rushed, I did enjoy writing my fictional story based on the collapse of Easter Island, or Rapa Nui.

Throughout the week, I managed to give a bit of time to read some of Oryx and Crake, the Routledge article and watch End Day. I want to try reading some of the other novels and see which ones peak my interest the most.

Completing my second daily create was slightly stressful since I could not figure out how to edit my photo quickly. I did the daily create on strange dreams, so I knew I wanted to use layering of different photos, but I do not have photoshop so I had to play around with different apps. Finally, I found an app on my phone that worked to layer photos on top of others, and I am not mad about how it turned out. Although, I would like to become more comfortable with editing photos.

For this upcoming week, I hope to be much more on top of my work so I can put more thought and effort into my assignments. I also want to become more active and interact with other people in the class on our social media accounts.

The Apocalypse Starter Kit

The novel I chose to begin reading was Oryx and Crake. Maybe I just have not read enough yet, but the first couple chapters did not make me very excited to keep reading. The main character, Snowman, is not terribly interesting and he does not have strong qualities. There also have not been mentions of the main apocalyptic events yet. After reading the Routledge article, I might switch to reading The Last Man by Mary Shelley because it is one of the original novels in the genre of the apocalypse. I am hoping this will get me more familiar and comfortable with the topic, as I do not have much of a background. Also from the Routledge article, I found it interesting that feminism plays a role in some apocalypse stories. I think that when many people think of apocalypse and who are the leading characters, they lean towards men so it is cool that there is a sub-topic of feminism in some of the stories.

Of the five situations in End Day, the massive tsunami, the meteor, and the disease outbreak were the most frightening, while the volcano seemed a little silly to me. The disease situation is the one that maybe seems the most realistic because of past outbreaks, such as Zika and general flu, although obviously not as widespread as the fictional one in the story. If there were a completely unknown disease to rapidly infect the human population without quick control, there could be massive military quarantine. If I were in that situation, I would probably find a secure place to avoid being infected before the disease was cured. The tsunami and meteor shower were the other two that I thought might be slightly believable, although I think if there were to be either of those things in the real world, we would have more warning because of modern technology and science. The world would be better prepared for the situation and be able to evacuate the areas faster than in the film. Personally, I found the volcano situation to be a little silly, although it may have something to do with how it was filmed. Overall, the movie gave me more perspective on different apocalypse situations, which helps to give me background on the subject.

Hope for Rapa Nui?

Rapa Nui is the island I call home. Although today it is desolate, Grandfather tells us stories of when our island was lush and full of trees and crops to feed the thousands of inhabitants. When I drift off some days, I imagine myself running through the forest and rolling along the log pathways and standing strong next to the proud Moai, looking over our flourishing island. However, going outside my family’s hideaway is forbidden, the trees are gone and the once lumbering stone statues are sinking into the ground with nothing but shame to oversee.

Inspired by my grandfather’s stories of this beautiful island, I escaped one night to experience its beauty for myself. When I stepped outside, the land was barren. I could see nobody and nothing nearby, so I thought it would be safe to venture out further. Feeling my feet against the strong, rocky ground made me feel a connection with my ancestors who worked so hard over this land. Drawn to the bright moon in the distant, reflecting off the vast Pacific ocean, I slowly moved toward it before being snatched from my trance.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUTSIDE??” yells my mother as she dragged me faster than any speed I have ever experienced. “THEY’RE GOING TO EAT YOU!!”

“Who is going to eat me, Mama?” I inquire, but there is no response as my mother is focused on getting us back to the hideaway. I see shadows of beasts beginning to chase us and shout, “PREY! PREY! PREY!”, repeatedly, but I could not depict what the creatures were.

That night was the first and only time I had heard my parents talk about the tree that ended it all. After decades of using trees for moving the Moai and making rope and other daily Rapa Nui tasks, there was one tree left standing. The chiefs of the island told the inhabitants that the Gods would replenish the trees and save the people from all their troubles if they built the Moai. Much debate had stirred amongst the island about the final tree. Should they chop it down and use it for its resources? Or let it live and have that tree spread its seeds to grow a new forest?

The tree was cut, and after not much longer there was chaos on the island. There were no more crops to be grown and no more trees to use, and the island was devastated. Islanders began to break all law and eat the others to save themselves from starvation. Our people became animals, with no human instincts. This is why my family lives in the hideaway.

We have lived on small rations of food and deep soils that still hold some nutrients, but we are running low. I know we need to find a new food source, but it is dangerous outside and my family is afraid.

Tonight I will leave our home. I will be more careful than when I was a child and I will go to the ocean. From there I will find a new island and make a safe home for my family.

As I step out of the hideaway quietly, the coast is clear and the ocean is just as beautiful as I remembered, and the moon is just as bright as I remembered and the ground feels just as rugged and stable as I remembered.

“PREY! PREY!” I hear as I try to run, but I feel a sharp claw around my foot and I fall. This beast is not a human, but it is too late for me to warn my family as I see them appear out of the hideaway as I drift out of consciousness.

My Acquaintanceship with Apocalyptic Fiction

Personally, I do not have a very close relationship with apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction. I have tried to watch shows such as The 100, but they have not peaked my interest. However, the most closely related TV show to the apocalypse that I have watched is Stranger Things. Although not directly a show about the apocalypse, it does have some of the common themes of aliens and the spreading of deadly unknown diseases. I find Stranger Things to be particularly interesting to me because of how it incorporates people, especially children, into the mysterious alien epidemic. The kids who have been affected by the outbreak are so lovable, but if you put yourself into the situation it may have been difficult to decipher if you could trust the child or if they were on the side of the alien contagion. It was also intriguing how the outbreak sourced from a laboratory in a town where “nothing happens”. That is how many people, especially those who live in the suburbs, feel about their towns, so it is thrilling to think about that happening in a place one calls home. You might feel safe in your boring little town, but little do you know there could be the upside-down lurking beneath your feet!

Due to my lack of experience in the apocalypse realm, I went through the Wikipedia page about apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, to see which genre intrigued me. Going through that page made me understand that apocalypse does not just involve zombies, aliens, and disease, but also environmental disasters. As someone who regularly reprimands my friends for not recycling or making too much waste and is deeply concerned about the state of our planet, an apocalypse rooted from an environmental disaster does not seem like too much of a stretch. At humanity’s rate of destruction and pollution and lack of knowledge and responsibility, the human population is due for a crash in the incoming future. Yes, I may be the crazy person digging through the trash to remove recyclables and put them in the correct bins, but I do know that the earth is in a crisis and we need to fix it on a large scale. If not, we really could be in for an apocalypse.

Apocalypse Bootcamp

I am a grandma when it comes to technology. However, this week in bootcamp through me into the rings of the online world. I decided to make completely new social media for this course because the only account I really use is Instagram. Setting up the accounts was a fairly simple task and I tried to play into the apocalypse theme while introducing myself on those mediums. It also became evident that my mom is more hip with social media than me when she followed me on Twitter before I even told her I made an account.

The highlight of my week in bootcamp was making my video on Youtube about my preparations for the end. I took a bit of time to find a well-lit and quiet space that had a bit of a bunker vibe.

Unfortunately, I did struggle a bit when I was trying to post it since the video required a lot of effort on part of my slowly dying iPhone 6. The other task I struggled with a bit was setting up my Domain of One’s Own with WordPress. After going to the Digital Knowledge Center twice, it is looking pretty decent, but it is definitely still a work in progress. I am going to continue to improve my website and social media pages as we move forward in the apocalypse; I look forward to surviving with you all.