Октябрьская страна (The October Country), 1955

Бредбери Рэй

И вновь сборник «ужастиков» раннего Брэдбери, разбавленных поздними житейско-психологическими историями («Прикосновение пламени»). Из ранних своих запасов писатель извлёк на свет настоящие жемчужины: такие как «Озеро» и «Коса».

The Dwarf 1953

Aimee watched the sky, quietly.

Tonight was one of those motionless hot summer nights. The concrete pier empty, the strung red, white, yellow bulbs burning like insects in the air above the wooden emptiness. The managers of the various carnival pitches stood, like melting wax dummies, eyes staring blindly, not talking, all down the line.

Two customers had passed through an hour before. Those two lonely people were now in the roller coaster, screaming murderously as it plummeted down the blazing night, around one emptiness after another.

Aimee moved slowly across the strand, a few worn wooden hoopla rings sticking to her wet hands. She stopped behind the ticket booth that fronted the MIRROR MAZE. She saw herself grossly misrepresented in three rippled mirrors outside the Maze. A thousand tired replicas of herself dissolved in the corridor beyond, hot images among so much clear coolness.

She stepped inside the ticket booth and stood looking a long while at Ralph Banghart's thin neck. He clenched an unlit cigar between his long uneven yellow teeth as he laid out a battered game of solitaire on the ticket shelf.

The Dwarf 1953( Карлик)

Эйми отрешенно смотрела на небо.

Тихая ночь была такой же жаркой, как и все это лето. Бетонный пирс опустел; гирлянды красных, белых и желтых лампочек светились над деревянным настилом сотней сказочных насекомых. Владельцы карнавальных аттракционов стояли у своих шатров и, словно оплавленные восковые фигуры, безмолвно и слепо разглядывали темноту.