This article is about an horrific event that transpires in the future, “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” (1950) written by Ray Bradbury tells us a story about the near future and the devastating power of a nuclear war, because what else can “radioactive glow” (Bradbury,1,10) mean if not the aftermath of war. After all, many life forms still seem to co-exist around the big house in the middle of the city. However, there isn’t much leftover. So, who was left to take in the remaining scenery of a once full city?
The author, Ray Bradbury describes to us a magnificent scenery inside the house, “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.” (Bradbury,1,2), giving us an insight into the family’s daily morning routine, and how big the family is, a house that is self-automated and goes about daily chores. However, Bradbury explains that the house is empty, “But no doors slammed, no carpets took the soft tread of rubber heels. It was raining outside. The weather box on the front door sang quietly: “Rain, rain, go away; rubbers, raincoats for today…” And the rain tapped on the empty house, echoing.” (Bradbury,1,5). Giving the reader an understanding that no one will ever take advantage of living in such a home. No more children running around. No more parents leaving for work. It is all gone and no one is here to witness this spiritual scene. To capture it in its entirety, before it too goes away.
Even though the house itself is empty, we get a glimpse of a creature entering the house of automation. Out of many creatures, the loyal companion of man enters the house, and now we finally have someone to admire the beauty that is the house that still stands. However, the author has a different plan in mind, “It sniffed the air and scratched the kitchen door. Behind the door, the stove was making pancakes which filled the house with a rich baked 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.” (Bradbury, 2, 8), yes, the dog passes away, the last living creature to take in the beauty of the scenery but blinded by hungry it only saw fire through its eyes and couldn’t hold on to life any longer.
We were witness to the passing of the dog, but the greatest tragedy is yet to come. Bradbury lets the reader know in one sentence, “The wind blew. A falling tree bough crashed through the kitchen window. Cleaning solvent, bottled, shattered over the stove. The room was ablaze in an instant.” (Bradbury, 3,12). Thus, ends another life is lost, the building goes down screaming in a frantic yell, “fire!”, the robots scurry around frantic to eliminate the threat, but to no avail. The only thing left standing is one wall, just one, and it will be the most beautiful, picture perfect scene to be witnessed. “Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is…” (Bradbury,4, last), and now it is over, there is no one left.