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NAME:______________________

ASoundofThunder
RayBradbury

The sign on the wallseemedtoquaver underafilmof slidingwarmwater. Eckels felt his


eyelidsblinkoverhisstare,andthesignburnedinthismomentarydarkness:

TIMESAFARI,INC.
SAFARISTOANYYEARINTHEPAST.
YOUNAMETHEANIMAL.
WETAKEYOUTHERE.
YOUSHOOTIT.

Warm phlegm gathered in Eckels' throat; he swallowedandpusheditdown.Themuscles


around his mouth formed a smile as he put his hand slowlyoutupontheair, and inthat
handwavedacheckfortenthousanddollarstothemanbehindthedesk.

"DoesthissafariguaranteeIcomebackalive?"

"We guarantee nothing," said the official, "except the dinosaurs." He turned. "This is Mr.
Travis, your Safari GuideinthePast.He'lltellyouwhatandwheretoshoot. Ifhe saysno
shooting, no shooting. If you disobey instructions, there's a stiff penalty of another ten
thousanddollars,pluspossiblegovernmentaction,onyourreturn."

Eckelsglancedacrossthevastofficeat amassandtangle,asnakingandhummingofwires
andsteel boxes,atanaurorathatflickered noworange,nowsilver,nowblue.Therewasa
sound like a gigantic bonfire burning all of Time, all the years and all the parchment
calendars,allthehourspiledhighandsetaflame.

Atouchof thehandandthisburningwould,ontheinstant,beautifullyreverseitself.Eckels
remembered the wording in theadvertisementsto theletter.Outofchars and ashes, out of
dust and coals, like golden salamanders, the old years, the green years, might leap; roses
sweetenthe air,whitehairturnIrish-black,wrinklesvanish;all,everythingflybacktoseed,
fleedeath, rush downtotheirbeginnings,sunsriseinwesternskiesandsetingloriouseasts,

moonseatthemselvesopposite tothecustom, allandeverythingcuppingoneinanotherlike


Chinese boxes, rabbits into hats, all and everything returning to the fresh death, the seed
death,thegreendeath,tothe timebefore the beginning.Atouchofahandmightdoit,the
meresttouchofahand.

"Unbelievable." Eckels breathed, the light of the Machine on his thin face. "A real Time
Machine."He shookhis head."Makesyouthink,Iftheelectionhadgonebadlyyesterday,I
mightbe herenowrunningawayfromtheresults.ThankGodKeithwon.He'llmakeafine
PresidentoftheUnitedStates."

"Yes,"saidthemanbehindthedesk."We'relucky.IfDeutscherhadgottenin,we'dhavethe
worst kind of dictatorship. There's ananti everythingmanforyou, amilitarist,anti-Christ,
anti-human, anti-intellectual. People called us up, you know, joking but not joking. Saidif
Deutscher became Presidenttheywantedtogolivein1492. Ofcourseit'snotourbusinessto
conduct Escapes,but toformSafaris.Anyway, Keith'sPresidentnow.Allyougottoworry
aboutis-"

"Shootingmydinosaur,"Eckelsfinisheditforhim.

"A Tyrannosaurus Rex.TheTyrantLizard, themostincredible monsterinhistory.Signthis


release.Anythinghappenstoyou,we'renotresponsible.Thosedinosaursarehungry."

Eckelsflushedangrily."Tryingtoscareme!"

"Frankly,yes.We don'twantanyonegoing who'llpanic atthefirstshot.SixSafarileaders


werekilledlast year, and adozenhunters.We're hereto giveyoutheseverest thrill areal
huntereveraskedfor.Travelingyoubacksixtymillionyearstobagthebiggestgameinall
of Time. Your personal check's still there. Tear it up."Mr. Eckels looked at the check. His
fingerstwitched.

"Goodluck,"saidthemanbehindthedesk."Mr.Travis,he'sallyours."

They moved silently across the room, taking their guns with them, toward the Machine,
towardthesilvermetalandtheroaringlight.

First a day and then a night and then a day and then a night, then it was
day-night-day-night. Aweek,amonth,ayear,a decade!A.D.2055.A.D. 2019. 1999!1957!
Gone!TheMachineroared.

Theyputontheiroxygenhelmetsandtestedtheintercoms.

Eckels swayed on the padded seat, his face pale, his jaw stiff. He feltthetremblinginhis
arms and helookeddown and foundhishandstightonthenewrifle.Therewerefourother
men in the Machine. Travis, the Safari Leader, his assistant, Lesperance, and two other
hunters, Billings and Kramer. They sat lookingateach other,andtheyearsblazedaround
them.

"Canthesegunsgetadinosaurcold?"Eckelsfelthismouthsaying.
"If you hit them right," said Travis on the helmet radio."Somedinosaurshavetwobrains,
one in the head, another far down the spinal column. We stay away from those. That's
stretching luck. Put your first two shots into the eyes, if youcan,blindthem, and go back
intothebrain."

TheMachinehowled.Time wasa filmrunbackward.Suns fledandtenmillionmoonsfled


after them. "Think," said Eckels. "Every hunter that ever lived would envy us today.This
makesAfricaseemlikeIllinois."

TheMachineslowed;itsscreamfelltoamurmur.TheMachinestopped.

Thesunstoppedinthesky.

ThefogthathadenvelopedtheMachineblewawayandtheywereinanoldtime,avery
oldtimeindeed,threehunters and two SafariHeadswiththeirbluemetalgunsacrosstheir
knees.

"Christ isn't born yet," said Travis, "Moses has notgone tothemountains totalkwithGod.
The Pyramids are still in the earth, waiting to be cut out and put up. Remember that.
Alexander,Caesar,Napoleon,Hitler-noneofthemexists."

Themannodded.

"That"-Mr.Travis pointed-"isthejungleofsixtymilliontwothousandandfifty-fiveyears
beforePresidentKeith."

He indicated a metal path that struck off into green wilderness, over streaming swamp,
amonggiantfernsandpalms.

"Andthat,"hesaid,"isthePath,laidbyTimeSafariforyouruse,

It floatssixinchesabove theearth.Doesn'ttouchsomuchasonegrassblade,flower,ortree.
It'san anti-gravitymetal. Itspurposeistokeep youfromtouchingthisworldofthe pastin
anyway. Stayon thePath.Don'tgooffit.Irepeat.Don't go off.Foranyreason!Ifyoufall
off,there'sapenalty.Anddon'tshootanyanimalwedon'tokay."

"Why?"askedEckels.

They satintheancient wilderness. Far birds'criesblewonawind,andthesmelloftarand


anoldsaltsea,moistgrasses,andflowersthecolorofblood.

"We don't want to change the Future. We don'tbelongherein the Past.The government
doesn't like us here. We have to pay big graft to keep our franchise. A Time Machineis
finickybusiness.Notknowing it,wemightkillanimportantanimal,asmallbird,aroach,a
flowereven,thusdestroyinganimportantlinkinagrowingspecies."

"That'snotclear,"saidEckels.

"All right," Travis continued, "say weaccidentallykill onemousehere.That meansallthe


futurefamiliesofthisoneparticularmousearedestroyed,right?"
"Right"

"And all thefamiliesofthefamiliesofthefamiliesofthatonemouse! Withastampofyour


foot, you annihilate first one, then a dozen, then a thousand, a million, a billion possible
mice!"

"Sothey'redead,"saidEckels."Sowhat?"

"So what?" Travis snorted quietly. "Well, what about the foxes that'll need those mice to
survive?For want often mice, afoxdies.Forwantoftenfoxesalionstarves.Forwantofa
lion, all manner of insects, vultures, infinite billionsoflifeformsarethrownintochaosand
destruction.Eventuallyitallboilsdownto this:fifty-ninemillionyearslater,acaveman,one
of a dozen on the entire world, goes hunting wildboar or saber-toothed tigerforfood. But
you,friend,havesteppedonallthetigersinthatregion.Bysteppingononesinglemouse.So
thecavemanstarves.Andthecaveman,pleasenote,isnotjustanyexpendableman,no!He
is an entire future nation. From his loins would have sprungten sons.Fromtheirloinsone
hundred sons, and thus onward to a civilization. Destroy this oneman, and youdestroy a
race, a people, an entire history of life. It is comparable to slaying some of Adam's
grandchildren.Thestompofyourfoot,ononemouse,couldstartanearthquake,theeffectsof
which could shake our earth and destinies down through Time, to their very foundations.

Withthedeathof thatonecaveman,abillionothersyetunbornarethrottledinthewomb.
PerhapsRome neverrises on itssevenhills. PerhapsEuropeisforeveradarkforest,andonly
Asia waxes healthy and teeming.Stepon amouse and youcrush thePyramids.Stepona
mouse and you leave your print, like a Grand Canyon, across Eternity. Queen Elizabeth
might never be born, Washington might not cross the Delaware, there might never be a
UnitedStatesatall.Sobecareful.StayonthePath.Neverstepoff!"

"Isee,"saidEckels."Thenitwouldn'tpayforuseventotouchthegrass?"

"Correct. Crushing certain plants could add up infinitesimally. A little error here would
multiply in sixtymillionyears,alloutof proportion.Ofcoursemaybeourtheoryis wrong.
Maybe Time can't be changed by us. Or maybe it can be changed only in little subtle
ways.Adead mouseheremakesaninsectimbalancethere,apopulationdisproportionlater,
a bad harvest further on, a depression, mass starvation, and finally, a change in social
temperament in far-flung countries. Something much moresubtle,likethat.Perhapsonlya
soft breath,awhisper,a hair,pollenontheair, suchaslight,slightchangethatunlessyou
looked close you wouldn't see it. Who knows? Who really can say he knows? We don't
know. We're guessing. But until we do know for certain whether our messing around in
Time canmakeabigroaroralittlerustleinhistory,we'rebeingcareful.ThisMachine,this
Path, your clothing and bodies, weresterilized, asyouknow,before thejourney.Wewear
theseoxygenhelmetssowecan'tintroduceourbacteriaintoanancientatmosphere."

"Howdoweknowwhichanimalstoshoot?"
"They're marked with red paint," said Travis. "Today, before our journey, we sent
Lesperancehere backwith the Machine.Hecametothisparticulareraandfollowedcertain
animals."

"Studyingthem?"

"Right," said Lesperance. "I track them through theirentireexistence, notingwhichofthem


liveslongest.Veryfew.Howmanytimesthey mate.Notoften.Life'sshort,WhenIfindone
that'sgoingtodiewhenatreefallson him,oronethatdrownsinatarpit,Inotetheexact
hour, minute, and second. Ishoot apaintbomb.Itleavesared patchonhisside. Wecan't
miss it. ThenI correlateourarrivalinthe PastsothatwemeettheMonsternot morethan
two minutesbeforehe wouldhavediedanyway. This way, wekillonlyanimals withno
future,thatarenevergoingtomateagain.Youseehowcarefulweare?"

"Butifyoucomeback this morninginTime," saidEckelseagerly,youmust'vebumpedinto


us,ourSafari!Howdiditturnout?Wasitsuccessful?Didallofusgetthrough-alive?"


TravisandLesperancegaveeachotheralook.

"That'd beaparadox,"saidthelatter."Timedoesn't permitthat sortofmess-aman meeting


himself. When such occasions threaten, Time steps aside. Like an airplane hitting an air
pocket.YoufelttheMachinejumpjustbeforewestopped?Thatwasuspassingourselveson
the way back to the Future. We saw nothing. There's no way oftellingifthisexpedition
was asuccess,ifwegotourmonster,orwhetherallofus-meaningyou,Mr.Eckels-gotout
alive."

Eckelssmiledpalely.

"Cutthat,"saidTravissharply."Everyoneonhisfeet!"

TheywerereadytoleavetheMachine.

Thejunglewashighand thejungle wasbroadand thejunglewastheentireworldforever


and forever. Sounds like music and sounds like flying tents filled the sky, and those were
pterodactylssoaringwithcavernousgraywings,giganticbatsofdeliriumandnightfever.

Eckels,balancedonthenarrowPath,aimedhisrifleplayfully.

"Stopthat!"saidTravis."Don'tevenaimforfun,blastyou!Ifyourgunsshouldgooff--"

Eckelsflushed."Where'sourTyrannosaurus?"

Lesperancecheckedhiswristwatch."Upahead,We'llbisecthistrailinsixtyseconds.Lookfor
theredpaint!Don'tshoottillwegivetheword.StayonthePath.StayonthePath!"
Theymovedforwardinthewindofmorning.
"Strange," murmured Eckels. "Up ahead,sixtymillionyears,ElectionDay over. Keith made
President.Everyonecelebrating.Andhereweare,amillionyearslost,andtheydon't exist.
Thethingsweworriedaboutformonths,alifetime,notevenbornorthoughtofyet."

"Safetycatchesoff,everyone!"orderedTravis. "You,first shot,Eckels. Second,Billings,Third,


Kramer."

"I've huntedtiger,wildboar,buffalo,elephant,but now, this isit,"saidEckels."I'mshaking


likeakid."

"Ah,"saidTravis.

Everyonestopped.

Travis raised his hand. "Ahead," he whispered. "In the mist. There he is. There's His Royal
Majestynow."

Thejunglewaswideandfulloftwitterings,rustlings,murmurs,andsighs.

Suddenlyitallceased,asifsomeonehadshutadoor.

Silence.

Asoundofthunder.

Outofthemist,onehundredyardsaway,cameTyrannosaurusRex.

"It,"whisperedEckels."It......

"Sh!"

It cameongreat oiled,resilient,stridinglegs.Ittoweredthirtyfeetabovehalfofthetrees,a
great evil god, folding its delicate watchmaker's clawsclosetoitsoilyreptilianchest.Each
lower leg was a piston, a thousand pounds of white bone, sunk in thick ropes of muscle,
sheathedover in agleamofpebbledskinlikethemailofaterriblewarrior.Eachthighwas
atonofmeat,ivory,andsteelmesh.Andfromthegreatbreathingcage oftheupperbody
those two delicate arms dangled out front, arms with hands which might pick up and
examinemenlike toys,whilethe snakeneckcoiled.Andtheheaditself, atonofsculptured
stone, liftedeasily uponthesky.Itsmouthgaped, exposingafenceofteethlike daggers.Its
eyes rolled, ostrich eggs,emptyofallexpressionsavehunger.It closedits mouth in adeath
grin. It ran, its pelvic bones crushing asidetrees and bushes,itstalonedfeetclawingdamp
earth,leavingprintssixinchesdeepwhereveritsettleditsweight.
It ranwitha glidingballetstep,fartoopoisedandbalancedforitstentons.Itmovedintoa
sunlitareawarily,itsbeautifullyreptilianhandsfeelingtheair.

"Why,why,"Eckelstwitchedhismouth."Itcouldreachupandgrabthemoon."

"Sh!"Travisjerkedangrily."Hehasn'tseenusyet."

"It can't be killed,"Eckels pronounced this verdictquietly,asifthere could benoargument.


He had weighed the evidence and this was his considered opinion. The rifle in his hands
seemedacapgun."Wewerefoolstocome.Thisisimpossible."

"Shutup!"hissedTravis.

"Nightmare."

"Turn around," commanded Travis. "Walk quietly to the Machine. We'll remit half your
fee."

"I didn'trealize itwouldbethisbig,"saidEckels."Imiscalculated,that'sall.AndnowIwant


out."

"Itseesus!"

"There'stheredpaintonitschest!"

The Tyrant Lizard raised itself. Its armored flesh glitteredlikeathousandgreencoins. The
coins,crustedwithslime,steamed.Intheslime,tinyinsectswriggled,sothattheentirebody
seemedtotwitch and undulate,even whilethemonsteritself didnotmove.Itexhaled.The
stinkofrawfleshblewdownthewilderness.

"Get me out of here," said Eckels. "It wasnever likethisbefore.I wasalwayssureI'd come
through alive. I had good guides, good safaris, and safety. This time,Ifigured wrong.I've
metmymatchandadmitit.Thisistoomuchformetogetholdof."

"Don'trun,"saidLesperance."Turnaround.HideintheMachine."

"Yes."Eckelsseemedtobenumb.He looked athisfeetasiftrying tomakethemmove.He


gaveagruntofhelplessness.

"Eckels!"

Hetookafewsteps,blinking,shuffling.

"Notthatway!"

The Monster, at the first motion, lunged forward with a terrible scream. It covered one
hundred yards in six seconds. The rifles jerked up and blazed fire. A windstorm from the
beast'smouthengulfedtheminthestenchofslimeandoldblood.TheMonsterroared,teeth
glitteringwithsun.

The riflescrackedagain,Their soundwas lostinshriekandlizardthunder.The greatlevel


of thereptile's tail swungup,lashedsideways. Treesexplodedincloudsof leafandbranch.
TheMonstertwitcheditsjeweler'shandsdowntofondleatthemen,totwistthemin half,to
crushthem likeberries,tocramthemintoitsteethanditsscreamingthroat.Itsboulderstone
eyesleveled withthemen.Theysawthemselvesmirrored.Theyfiredatthemetalliceyelids
andtheblazingblackiris,

Likeastoneidol,likeamountainavalanche,Tyrannosaurusfell.

Thundering,itclutchedtrees,pulledthem withit.Itwrenched andtorethemetalPath.The


men flung themselves back and away. The body hit, tentonsofcoldfleshandstone.The
guns fired. The Monster lashed its armored tail, twitched its snake jaws, and lay still. A
fount of blood spurted from its throat. Somewhere inside, a sac of fluids burst. Sickening
gushesdrenchedthehunters.Theystood,redandglistening.

Thethunderfaded.

Thejunglewassilent.Aftertheavalanche,agreenpeace.Afterthenightmare,morning.
Billings and Kramer sat on the pathway andthrewup.Travisand Lesperancestoodwith
smoking rifles, cursing steadily. In the Time Machine, on his face,Eckels layshivering.He
hadfoundhiswaybacktothePath,climbedintotheMachine.

Travis came walking,glanced atEckels,tookcottongauzefroma metal box,andreturned


totheothers,whoweresittingonthePath.

"Cleanup."

Theywipedtheblood fromtheirhelmets.Theybegantocursetoo.TheMonsterlay,ahillof
solidflesh.Within,youcouldhearthesighsandmurmursasthefurthestchambersofitdied,
the organs malfunctioning, liquids running a final instant from pocket to sac to spleen,
everythingshuttingoff, closingupforever.Itwas likestanding byawreckedlocomotiveor
asteamshovelat quittingtime,allvalvesbeingreleasedorleveredtight.Bonescracked;the
tonnage of its own flesh, off balance, dead weight, snapped the delicate forearms, caught
underneath.Themeatsettled,quivering.


Another cracking sound. Overhead, a gigantic tree branch broke from its heavy mooring,
fell.Itcrasheduponthedeadbeastwithfinality.
"There." Lesperance checked his watch. "Right on time. That's the giant tree that was
scheduled tofallandkillthis animaloriginally."Heglancedat thetwohunters."Youwant
thetrophypicture?"

"What?"

"Wecan't takeatrophybacktotheFuture.Thebodyhastostayrightherewhereitwould
have diedoriginally,so theinsects,birds,andbacteriacanget atit, astheywereintended
to. Everythinginbalance.The bodystays.Butwecantakea pictureofyoustanding near
it."

Thetwomentriedtothink,butgaveup,shakingtheirheads.

They let themselves be led along the metal Path. They sank wearily into the Machine
cushions. They gazed back at the ruined Monster, the stagnating mound, where already
strangereptilianbirdsandgolden insectswerebusyatthesteaming armor.Asoundonthe
flooroftheTimeMachinestiffenedthem.Eckelssatthere,shivering.

"I'msorry,"hesaidatlast.

"Getup!"criedTravis.

Eckelsgotup.

"Goouton thatPathalone,"saidTravis.Hehadhisriflepointed,"You'renotcomingbackin
the
Machine.We'releavingyouhere!"

LesperanceseizedTravis'sarm."Wait-"

"Stayoutofthis!" Travis shookhishandaway."Thisfoolnearlykilledus.Butitisn'tthat so


much, no. It's his shoes! Look at them! He ran off the Path. That ruins us! We'll forfeit!
Thousandsof dollarsof insurance! Weguarantee nooneleaves thePath.Heleftit.Oh, the
fool! I'll have to report to the government. They might revoke our license to travel. Who
knowswhathe'sdonetoTime,toHistory!"

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"Takeiteasy,allhedidwaskickupsomedirt."

"How do we know?" cried Travis. "Wedon'tknowanything!It'sallamystery!Getoutof


here,Eckels!"

Eckelsfumbledhisshirt."I'llpayanything.Ahundredthousanddollars!"

Travis glared at Eckels' checkbook and spat. "Go out there. TheMonster'snextto thePath.
Stickyourarmsuptoyourelbowsinhismouth.Thenyoucancomebackwithus."
"That'sunreasonable!"

"The Monster's dead, you idiot. The bullets! The bullets can't be left behind. They don't
belonginthePast;theymightchangeanything.Here'smyknife.Digthemout!"
Thejunglewasaliveagain,fulloftheoldtremoringsandbirdcries.Eckelsturnedslowlyto
regard the primeval garbage dump, that hill of nightmares and terror. After a longtime,
likeasleepwalkerheshuffledoutalongthePath.

Hereturned,shuddering,fiveminuteslater, his armssoakedandredto theelbows.Heheld


out his hands. Each held a number of steel bullets. Then he fell. Helaywherehefell,not
moving.

"Youdidn'thavetomakehimdothat,"saidLesperance.

"Didn'tI?It'stoo early totell."Travisnudgedthestillbody."He'lllive.Nexttimehewon'tgo


huntinggamelikethis. Okay."HejerkedhisthumbwearilyatLesperance."Switchon.Let's
gohome."

1492.1776.1812.

They cleanedtheir handsandfaces.Theychangedtheircakingshirtsandpants.Eckelswas


upandaroundagain,notspeaking.Travisglaredathimforafulltenminutes.

"Don'tlookatme,"criedEckels."Ihaven'tdoneanything."

"Whocantell?"

"Just ran off the Path, that's all, alittlemud onmy shoes-whatdoyou want metodo-get
downandpray?"

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"Wemightneedit.I'mwarningyou,Eckels,Imightkillyouyet.I'vegotmygunready."

"I'minnocent.I'vedonenothing!"

1999.2000.2055.

TheMachinestopped.

"Getout,"saidTravis.

Theroom wasthereastheyhadleft it.Butnot thesameastheyhadleft it.Thesameman


sat behindthe samedesk.Butthesamemandidnotquitesitbehindthesamedesk. Travis
lookedaroundswiftly."Everythingokayhere?"hesnapped.

"Fine.Welcomehome!"

Travisdidnotrelax.Heseemedtobelookingthroughtheonehighwindow.

"Okay,Eckels,getout.Don'tevercomeback."Eckelscouldnotmove.

"Youheardme,"saidTravis."What'reyoustaringat?"

Eckelsstoodsmellingoftheair,and therewasathingtothe air,a chemicaltaintsosubtle,


soslight,thatonlyafaintcry ofhissubliminalsenseswarnedhimit wasthere.The colors,
white,gray, blue,orange,inthewall,inthefurniture,intheskybeyondthewindow,were
...were.. .. Andtherewasafeel.Hisfleshtwitched.Hishandstwitched.Hestooddrinking
theoddnesswiththeporesofhisbody.Somewhere,someonemusthavebeenscreamingone
of thosewhistlesthatonlyadog canhear. Hisbodyscreamed silenceinreturn.Beyondthis
room, beyond this wall, beyond this man who wasnotquite thesamemanseatedatthis
desk thatwasnotquite thesamedesk...lay anentireworld ofstreetsandpeople. What
sortof worlditwas now,therewasnotelling.Hecouldfeelthemmovingthere,beyondthe
walls,almost,likesomanychesspiecesblowninadrywind....

Buttheimmediatething wasthesignpaintedontheofficewall,thesamesignhehadread
earliertodayonfirstentering.Somehow,thesignhadchanged:

TYMESEFARIINC.
SEFARISTUANYYEERENTHEPAST.
YUNAIMTHEANIMALL.

12

WEETAEKYUTHAIR.
YUSHOOTITT.

Eckels felt himself fall into a chair. He fumbled crazily at the thick slime on his boots.He
heldupaclodofdirt,trembling,"No,itcan'tbe.Notalittlethinglikethat.No!"

Embeddedinthemud, glisteninggreenandgoldandblack,wasabutterfly,verybeautiful
andverydead.

"Notalittlethinglikethat!Notabutterfly!"criedEckels.

It fell to the floor, an exquisite thing, a small thing that could upset balances and knock
down alineofsmalldominoesandthenbigdominoesandthengiganticdominoes,alldown
the years across Time. Eckels' mind whirled. Itcouldn'tchangethings.Killing onebutterfly
couldn'tbethatimportant!Couldit?

His face was cold. His mouth trembled, asking: "Who - who won the presidentialelection
yesterday?"
The man behindthedesklaughed."Youjoking?Youknowvery well.Deutscher,ofcourse!
Who else?Notthat fool weakling Keith.We got anironmannow,amanwithguts!"The
officialstopped."What'swrong?"

Eckels moaned.Hedropped tohisknees.He scrabbledatthegoldenbutterflywithshaking


fingers."Can'twe,"hepleadedtotheworld,tohimself,totheofficials,totheMachine,"can't
wetakeitback,can'twemakeitaliveagain?Can'twestartover?Can'twe-"

Hedid not move.Eyesshut,hewaited,shivering.HeheardTravisbreatheloudintheroom;


heheardTravisshifthisrifle,clickthesafetycatch,andraisetheweapon.

Therewasasoundofthunder.

RayBradbury,"ASoundofThunder,"inRisforRocket,(NewYork:Doubleday,1952)

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