From the Dust Returned
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Ray Bradbury, America's most beloved storyteller, has spent a lifetime carrying readers to exhilarating and dangerous places, from dark street comers in unfamiliar cities and towns to the edge of the universe. Now, in an extraordinary flight of the imagination a half-century in the making, he takes us to a most wondrous destination: into the heart of an Eternal Family.
They have lived for centuries in a house of legend and mystery in upper Illinois -- and they are not like other midwesterners. Rarely encountered in daylight hours, their children are curious and wild; their old ones have survived since before the Sphinx first sank its paws deep in Egyptian sands. And some sleep in beds with lids.
Now the house is being readied in anticipation of the gala homecoming that will gather together the farflung branches of this odd and remarkable family. In the past-midnight stillness can be detected the soft fluttering of Uncle Einars wings. From her realm of sleep, Cecy, the fairest and most special daughter, can feel the approach of many a welcome being -- shapeshifter, telepath, somnambulist, vampire -- as she flies high in the consciousness of bird and bat.
But in the midst of eager anticipation, a sense of doom pervades. For the world is changing. And death, no stranger, will always shadow this most singular family: Father, arisen from the Earth; Mother, who never sleeps but dreams; A Thousand Times Great Grandmére; Grandfather, who keeps the wildness of youth between his ears.
And the boy who, more than anyone, 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.
By turns lyrical, wistful, poignant, and chilling, From the Dust Returned is the long-awaited new novel by the peerless Ray Bradbury -- a book that will surely be numbered among his most enduring masterworks.
each other, circling, singing, and somewhere in the cold distance of morning the town clock stopped its chimes and was still. Timothy sang. He knew no words, no tune, yet he sang and the words and tune were pure, round and high and beautiful. Finished, he gazed up to the High Attic of Egyptian sands and dreams. “Thanks, Cecy,” he whispered. A wind blew. Her voice echoed from his mouth, “Do you forgive me?” Then he said, “Cecy. Forgiven.” Then he relaxed and let his mouth move as it wished,
to the sea, off the train, onto the ferry! It will indeed be a—” “Lark!” cried the ghastly passenger. Spasms of laughter shook him. “Larks? Yes, that is what we are!” “But,” she said, “in Paris, do they not eat larks even while they roast priests?” He shut his eyes and whispered, “Paris? Ah, yes.” The train wailed. The night passed. And they arrived in Paris. And even as they arrived, a boy, no more than six, ran past and froze. He stared at the ghastly passenger and the ghastly passenger
shut and the ghastly passenger and his wondrous nurse were home. CHAPTER 14 The October People All because of the cold exhalation of the ghastly passenger the inhabitants of the Autumn House suffered a delicious chill, shook down the ancient metaphors in their attic skulls and decided to gather at an even greater meeting of the October People. Now that the Homecoming was over, certain terrible truths arrived. One moment the tree was empty of leaves in the autumn wind, and then,
and the humming, thundering kite in the sky flew and soared and wrote a great and magical exclamation mark across a cloud! CHAPTER 16 The Whisperers The list was long, the need was manifest. Manifestations of need took many shapes and forms. Some were solid flesh, some were evanescent ambiences which grew on the air, some partook of the clouds, some the wind, some merely the night, but all needed a place to hide, a place to be stashed, whether in wine cellars or attics or formed in
name in ink, slowly, on the form, his skin had been pure and white and clean. He glanced down at himself in sudden horror. Now he was like a great painted canvas, shaken in the night wind! How had it happened? Where had it all begun? It had started with the arguments, and then the flesh, and then the pictures. They had fought deep into the summer nights, she like a brass trumpet forever blaring at him. And he had gone out to eat five thousand steaming hot dogs, ten million hamburgers, and a