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 titanic instant, a small boy, hands flung into the air; higher up, the image of a thrown ball,and opposite him a girl, hands raised to catch a ball which never came down. –Ray Bradbury
This story is a fantastic read, touching on life for a house after some unspecified nuclear disaster 16 years and two months from today. “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” is part of Ray Bradbury’s short story collection, The Martian Chronicles. The story’s real success lives in the details. Bradbury uses rich, vivid description to make the house seem alive, and for all intents and purposes, the house is a living sentient being struggling with the loss of its owners in the wake of an awful calamity. By the end of the story you care about the house and want it — automated, mechanical parts and all — to succeed.