Ray Bradbury Short Stories

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Opening LinesTitleCharacter(s) (not necessarily main)
'After 70 years of writing short stories that never sold, Mr. Henry William Field arose one night at 11:30 and burned ten million words.'Thomas Wolfe
'Aggie Lou could hardly wait through the morning until Clarisse stopped in the house on the way home from school to lunch.'Helen Shepherd
'Aimee watched the sky quietly. Tonight was one of those motionless hot summer nights.'Ralph Banghart
'All the way home that late afternoon, driving through the winding streets, enjoying the weather, admiring the jaranda trees and the violet snow they were letting down on the lawnsGrieving Husband/No-nonsense Wife
'Alone they lived in their house, the two old sisters, as quiet as spiders, as large as sofas, both of them, stuffed with time and dust and snow.'Miss Nancy Jillet
'And out there in the middle of the first day of August, just getting into his car, was Bill Forrester, who shouted he was going downtown for some extraordinary ice cream or other Miss Helen Loomis
'At 8:30 that night he heard the sharp crack from the theater down the hall.'Norman Llewellyn Booth
'At first it was like a storm, far away, a touch of thunder, a kind of wind and a stirring.'Mr. Roland Britt
'A wall collapses, followed by another and another; with dull thunder, a city falls into ruin.'Mr. Douglas/Kelly
'A whisper of snow touched the cold window.'Charlie Simmons
'A wind blew the long years away past their hot faces.'Mr. Fields/Janet
'Before going on up into the blue hills, Tomas Gomez stopped for gasoline at the lonely station.''It was an evening unlike any he could remember in all of his life.'
'Bernard Trimble played tennis against his wife and when he beat her she was unhappy and when she beat him he was demon-possessed and double-damn madness unhappy, to put it mildly.Charles William Bishop
'Brokaw. What a name! Listen to it bark, growl, yip, hear the bold proclamation of: Immanuel Brokaw!'Simon Wincelaus
'But of course he was going away, there was nothing else to do, the time was up, the clock had run out, and he was going very far away indeed.'Mr. Robert Hanlon
'By 8:00 she had placed the long cigarettes and the wine crystals and the silver bucket of thin shaved ice packed around the green bottle.'Alice Summers/Martha
'Captain Hart stood in the door of the rocket.'Martin
'''Charlie! Where you going?' Members of the rocket crew, passing called.'Mr. George Bernard Shaw/Charles Willis
'Clara Peck had lived in the old house for some ten years before she made the strange discovery.'Emma Crowley
'''Company, Tenshun!' Snap. 'Company, forward -- Harch!''Sid
'''Did you hear about it?' 'About what?' 'The niggers, the niggers!''Samuel Teece
''Did you see that?' 'See what?' 'Why, hell, look there!'Thomas Quincy 'Quint' Riley
''Do you doubt ---? the Connemara Runners are best!''Doone
''During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, throuMr. Bigelow
'Emily Wilkes had her eyes pried open by a peculiar sound at 3:00 in the deep morning, with no moon, and only the stars as witness.'William Ross Fielding
'Everything was almost the same. Now that the luggage was brought into the echoing damp cottage, with the raindrops still shining on it, and he had drawn the canvas over the car, wSkip
'Far out in the country beyond the woods, beyond the world, really, lived Old Mam, and she had lived there for 90 years with the door locked tight, not opening for anyone, be it wiWilly Winchester
'Father Brian delayed going down below to breakfast because he thought he heard Father Vittorini down there, laughing.'Father Kelly/Pope Pius XII
'Fentriss sat up in his chair in the garden in the middle of a fine autumn and listened.'Wolfgang Prouty
'Filomena flung the plank door shut with such violence the candle blew out; she and her crying children were left alone in the darkness.'Ricardo Albanez/Filepe Diaz
'George and Katherine Hill have had a perfect marriage, so it has always seemed, though George Hill is some 15 years older than his wife.'Leonard Fellowes
''George, I wish you'd look at the nursery.''Lydia Hadley
'''Good God in Heaven, what's that?' 'What's what?''David Snell-Orkney
'''Good! Great! Bravo for me!' Roger Shumway flung himself into the seat, buckled himself in, revved the rotor and drifted his Dragonfly Super-6 helicopter up to blow away on the sCraig Bennet Stiles
''Good Lord.' 'Good Lord, indeed!' They fell back and stared at the ceiling.'tennis players/beer drinkers/book lovers
'Good Lord, there must be a thousand ways to tell of these two ladies.'Julia Wycherly
'''Good morning, Captain.' 'Good morning Hanks.''Katherine
''Gosh, I can hardly wait!' I said. 'Why don't you shut up?' my brother replied.'Papa
'Grandma! I remember her birth. Wait, you say, no man remembers his own grandma's birth.'Guido Fantoccini
'Harrison Cooper was not that old, only 39, touching at the warm rim of 40 rather than the cold rim of 30, which makes a great difference in temperature and attitude.'Herman Melville/Edgar Allan Poe
'He called her Stanley, she called him Ollie.'Laurel
'He came into town riding fast and firing his guns at the blue sky.'Mr. James Malone
'He fed the canaries and the geese and the dogs and the cats.'Alfred Flonn
'He had been waiting a long, long time in the summer night, as the darkness pressed warmer to the earth and the stars turned slowly over the sky.'Tom Dillon/Lavinia Nebbs
'He lay on his bed and the wind blew through the window over his ears and over his half-opened mouth so it whispered to him in his dream.'Jedediah Prentiss
''He's a very sick man.' 'Where is he?' 'Up above on deck C.'Mr. Pale
'He stopped the lawn mower in the middle of the yard, because he felt that the sun at just that moment had gone down and the stars come out.'Robert (Bob)
'He wanted to get out and run, bounding over hedges, kicking tin cans down the alley, shouting at all the windows for the gang to come and play.'Johnny Bishop
'''Hey . . . Hey . . . wait for me!' The call, the echo.'William Smith
'''Hey, The Illustrated Man!' A calliope screamed, and Mr. William Philippus Phelps stood, arms folded, high on the summer-night platform, a crowd unto himself.'Lisabeth Phelps
'His name was Andrew Rudolph Gerald Vesalius and he was a genius of the world, dialectician, statistician, creator of Italian operas, lyricist, poet of German lieder, Vedanta TemplWilliam Hopkins Blair
''Holy Jeez, damn. Christ off the cross!' said Jerry Would.Howard Hughes the 'billionaire butinsky'
'''How is it?' asked Levering. 'Married to a woman who is all woman?'Ellen Thomas
'How it began with the children, old Mrs. Bentley never knew.'Tom Spaulding/Alice
'I arrived in the truck very early in the morning.'Papa
'I have this wonderful ability to read lips.'The Robinsons (a quite broken family?)
'Imagine a summer that would never end.'Ralph Spaulding
'In the April night, more than once, blossoms fell from the orchard trees and lit with rustling taps on the drumskin.'Joby
'In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, 7:00, time to get up, time to get up, 7:00!Sara Teasdale
'In the room, the deaths came and went.'Mr. Joseph Lantry
''In the shape of a pig?' cried the Mandarin.'Mandarin Kwan-Si
'In the Spring of the year 1934, Miss Ann Taylor came to teach at the Central School.'Bob Markham
'In the town square the queue had formed at 5 in the morning while the cocks were crowing far out in the rimed country and there were no fires.'Bill Henderson
'In the twilight just before sunrise, it was the most ordinary-looking building he had seen since the chicken farm of his youth.'Charlie Crowe
'In the year A.D. 400, the Emperor Yuan held his throne by the Great Wall of China, and the land was green with rain, readying itself toward the harvest, at peace, the people in hiservant
'In this room the sound of the tapping of the typewriter keys is like knuckles on wood, and my perspiration falls down upon the keys that are being punched unceasingly by my trembl'They all came out and looked at the sky that night.'
'Into the air, over the valleys, under the stars, above a river, a pond, a road, flew Cecy.'Ann Leary
Opening LinesTitleCharacter(s) (not necessarily main)
'I often remember his name, Harry Hands, a most unfortunate name for a 14-year-old boy in 9th grade in junior high in 1934, or in any other year, come to think of it.'Douglas Spaulding/Harry Hinds
'It had been decided already that Ultar was guilty.'Kront/Ome
'It had been going on for a long time, but perhaps she first gave it notice this autumn evening when Charlie was walking the dog and met her on the way back from the grocer's.'Saroyan
''It's a very sad time of year to be cleaning out the attic,' said Miss Elizabeth Simmons.'Juliet
'It seemed there was never a time when someone did not say, 'There was the Rose of Sharon, there was the lilies of the valley.''George Gray
'It started out to be just another poem.'David
'It was a day of holocausts, cataclysms, tornadoes, earthquakes, blackouts, mass murders, eruptions, and miscellaneous dooms, at the peak of which the sun swallowed the earth and tSusan Bentley
'It was a hot Saturday night in July in Paris, near midnight, when I prepared to head out and walk around the city, my favorite pastime, starting at Notre Dame and ending, sometimeTarzan
'It was almost unbelievable when they found out.'Dave Lacey
'It was an afternoon of rain, and lamps lighted against the gray.'Anna
'It was a pounding on a door, a furious, frantic, insistent pounding, born of hysteria and fear and a great desire to be heard, to be freed, to be let loose, to escape.'Robert Webb
'It was at twilight in the autumn of 1989, in the hour of the closing of the graveyard in Paris, when I, overlooked by the guards who were ushering out the last visitors, came uponR.C.
'It was getting late, but he thought there was just enough sunlight left that he could play a quick 9 holes before he had to stop.'golf widowers
'It was getting on toward dusk as I drove down Motor Avenue one late afternoon and saw the old man walking on the far side of the road picking up lost golf balls.'Two people, different ages, same name.
'It was just before midnight on Christmas Eve when Father Mellon woke, having slept for only a few minutes.'Father Mellon
'It was one of those nights, crossing Ireland, motoring through the sleeping towns from Dublin, where you came upon mist and encountered fog that blew away in rain to become a blowDouglas Rogers/John
'It was on the morning of October 1 that Albert Beam, aged eighty-two, woke to find an incredible thing had happened, if not in the night, miraculously at dawn.'Emily
'It was on the Orient Express heading north from Venice to Paris to Calais that the old woman noticed the ghastly passenger.'Miss Minerva Halliday/The Ghost
'It was past time for him to see the doctor again.'Clarisse Harris
'It was so cold when they first came from the rocket into the night that Spender began to gather the dry Martian wood and build a small fire.'Sam Parkhill/Captain Wilder
'It was summer twilight in the city, and out front of the quiet-clicking pool hall three young Mexican-American men breathed the warm air and looked around at the world.'Jose Martinez
'It was Sunday noon and the fog touching at the hotel windows when the mist did not and rain rinsing the fog and then leaving off to let the mist return and coffee after lunch was Harpist
'It was the sensation of silence that was the most notable aspect of the house.'Alice Jane Ballard/Mr. Greppin
'It was while he was eating breakfast that Charles Douglas glanced at his newspaper and saw the date.'Ross Simpson
'It was while shuttling his eye down the menu posted in a 19th century silver frame outside Le Restaurant Fondue that Andre Hall felt the merest touch at his elbow.'Monsieur Sault
''It will take only a minute,' said Uncle Einar's good wife.'Brunilla Wexley
'James Crusoe was in the club car of a train plummeting out of Chicago, rocking and swaying as if it were drunk, when the conductor, lurching by, glanced at the bar, gave Crusoe a Gambler
'Jamie Winters worked his first miracle in the morning.'Billiard Cunningham
'Joe Tiller entered the apartment and was removing his hat when he saw the middle-aged, plump woman facing him, shelling peas.'Anna Tiller
'Johnny Choir came like the Spring lambs over the green Italian hills, gamboling at the game of war.'Private Smith/Melter
'Just when the idea occurred to her that she was being murdered she could not tell.'Alice Leiber
'Late that night, going home from the show with his mother and father and his brother Tom, Douglas saw the tennis shoes in the bright store window.'Old Mr. Sanderson
'Lisabeth stopped screaming because she was tired.'Sam Norman/Catherine, Mother of All Russias
'Looking back now, I can't remember a time when Bug wasn't dancing.'Bert Bagley
'Many nights Fiorelli Bodoni would awaken to hear the rockets sighing in the dark sky.'Maria Bodoni
'Mr. and Mrs. Welles walked away from the movie theater late at night and went into the quiet little store, a combination restaurant and delicatessen.'Alec
'Mr. Benedict came out of his little house.'Edmund Worth
'My name is Margaret Leary and I'm 10 years old and in the 5th grade at Central School.'Charlie & Helen Nesbitt/Dippy Smith
'My secretary stuck her head in my office and talked over my barricade of letters and books.'G.F. Follette
'No day in all of time began with nobler heart or fresher spirit.'Mrs. Elma Alexander
'No one remembered how it began with Miss Appletree.'George/Nora
'Oh it was to be so jolly! What a game! Such excitement they hadn't known in years.'Mink Morris
'Old Miss Bidwell used to sit with a lemonade glass in her hand in her squeaking rocker on the porch of her house on St. James Street every summer night from 7 until 9.'Mr. Robert Farr
'One day in April 2022 the great library door slammed flat shut.'Jonathan Barnes/Charlie Bowman
'One minute it was Ohio winter, with doors closed, windows locked, the panes blind with frost, icicles fringing every roof, children skiing on slopes, housewives lumbering like grepeople
'One night about a year ago I was having a late dinner, alone, in a fine restaurant, feeling good about myself and my place in the world (a nice feeling to have when you're in yourRamon/Sonny
'One. Two. Hattie's lips counted the long, slow strokes of the high town clock as she lay quietly on her bed.'Aunt Maude
'On the way to the cemetery Menville decided they needed to pick up something to eat, so they stopped the car at a roadside stand near an orange grove where there were displays of Russ Simpson
'Out there in the cold water, far from land, we waited every night for the coming of the fog, and it came, and we oiled the brass machinery and lit the fog light up in the stone toMcDunn
'Ralph Fentriss put the phone down, scowling.'Beryl Veronique Glass
''Remember me? Of course, surely you do!''Harry Stadler
'Remember the Aaron Stolittz jokes? How they called him a Vampire Bat because he was a fly-by-night producer?'Joe Samasuku
'Remember? Why, how could they forget?'Maggie Spaulding
'Saul Williams awoke to the still morning.'Leonard Mark
''Send for some leeches; bleed her,' said Doctor Gimp.'Camelia Wilkes
'She had called and there was to be a visit.'William (Bill) Robinson
'She sounded crazy with joy on the phone.'Helen/Father Reilly
'She took the great iron spoon and the mummified frog and gave it a bash and made dust of it, and talked to the dust while she ground it in her stony fists quickly.'Charlie/Old Lady
'Sighting Rock Junction, Arizona, at noon on August 22, 1967, Willy Bersinger let his miner's boot rest easy on the jalopy's accelerator and talked quietly to his partner, Samuel FAntonelli
'Small fifteen-year-old fingers plucked at the buttons on Chris' trousers like a moth drawn to a flame.'Vivian
'Smith and Conway were almost finished with lunch when they somehow fell into a chat about innocence and evil.'Norma Conway
'Somebody started playing the yellow-keyed piano, somebody started singing, and somebody, myself, started thinking.'Bob Hartmann/Sally Ames
'Someone's born, and it may take the best part of a day for the news to ferment, percolate, or otherwise circumnavigate across the Irish meadows to the nearest town, and the nearesLord Kilgotten
'Somewhere above the building whose flake-painted sign read MYRON'S BALLROOM the lights flickered as if to go out and a small orchestra of truly fragile size played, 'Good Night La'I'm 18, 19 in August, 5'8'', 150lbs, brown hair, blue eyes. Unattached.'
'So you want to know all the whys and wherefores of the Irish?'Nick/Heber Finn
''Take good care. That's it, that's it.' The cargo was most especially precious.'Anthony Smith
''That's the man, right over there,' said Mrs. Ribmoll, nodding across the street.'Mr. Jenkins' Odd Martin
Opening LinesTitleCharacter(s) (not necessarily main)
'That was the autumn they found the genuine Egyptian mummy out past Loon Lake.'Charlie Flagstaff
'The camera clicked like an insect. It was blue and metallic, like a great fat beetle held in the man's precious and tenderly exploiting hands.'Ricardo Reyes
'The courthouse clock chimed seven times.'Lavinia Nebbs/The Lonely One
'The door slammed and John Martin was out of his hat and coat and past his wife as fluently as a magician en route to a better illusion.'Tom Lee
'The electrical fireflies were hovering over Mother's dark hair to light her path.'Mom/Dad(He's only home after 3 months)/Doug
'The facts about John Huff, aged 12, are simple and soon stated.'Douglas Spaulding
'The family was deep in bed the night the enemy came to live in their wheat field.'Tony
'The first concussion cut the rocket up the side with a giant can opener.'Hollis/Applegate
'The first light on the roof outside; very early morning.'Mr. Tridden
'The incredible event occurred during my third visit to Gustav Von Seyfertitz, my foreign psychoanalyst.'Gustav Mannerheim Auschlitz Von Seyfertitz, Baron Woldstein, Unterderseaboat Captain
'Their eyes were fire and the breath flamed out of the witches' mouths as they bent to probe the cauldron with greasy stick and bony finger.'Mr. Edgar Allan Poe
'The Jeep came down an empty road into an empty town beside a shoreline that was empty and a vast bay dotted with half-sunken ships stretched as far as one could see.'James Clayton
'The man staggered through the flung-wide doors of Heber Finn's pub as if struck by lightning.'Pat Nolan
'The morning the great fire started, nobody in the house could put it out.'Isak Van Pelt
'The night blew in the short grass on the moor; there was no other motion.'Fred
'The night was cold and there was a slight wind which had begun to rise around 2 in the morning.'Dr. Meade
'The phone rang at 5:30 that evening.'Herb Thomas
'The postman came melting along the sidewalk in the hot summer sun, his nose dripping, his fingers wet on his full leather pouch.'Thomas Barton
'The raw carcasses, hung in the sunlight, rushed at them, vibrated with heat and red color in the green jungle air, and were gone.'Leonora & John Webb
''There are some people who would never commit a murder,' said Mr. Bentley.'Mr. Hill
''There he is!' The two men leaned. The helicopter tilted with their lean.'Sam Welles
'There is this truly wonderful bookstore by the ocean where you can hear the tide under the pier, shaking the shop, the books on the shelves, and you.'Charles 'Charlie' Woodley Nesbitt
'There was a quiet tapping at the door and when Steve Ralphs opened it there stood Henry Grossbock, 5'1' tall, immaculately dressed, very pale and very perturbed.Evelyn Grossbeck
'There was a tap on the door, the bell was not rung, so I knew who it was.'William (Bill) Westerleigh
'There was this fence where we pressed our faces and felt the wind turn warm and held to the fence and forgot who we were or where we came from but dreamed of who we might be and wRalph Priory
'There were fireworks the very first night, things that you should be afraid of perhaps, for they might remind you of other more horrible things, but these were beautiful, rockets William Travis
'There were two important things -- one, that she was very old; two, that Mr. Thirkell was taking her to God.'Mrs. Amelia Bellowes (from the planet Earth)/Mr. Thirkell
'The rickety Ford came along a road that plowed up dust in yellow plumes which took an hour to lie back down and move no more in that special slumber that stuns the world in mid-JuNeva
'The room was like the bottom of a cool well all night and she lay in it like a white stone in a well, enjoying it, floating in the dark yet clear element of half-dreams and half-wVinia/James 'Jim' Conway
'The sign on the door said: Marionettes, Inc.'George Hill
'The soft knock came at the kitchen door, and when Mrs. O'Brian opened it, there on the back porch were her best tenant, Mr. Ramirez, and two police officers, one on each side of hsons
'The sounds began in the middle of summer in the middle of the night.'Bella Winters
'The subject was women, by the singles and in the mobs.'Heeber Finn/Timulty
'The sun was going down and in a few swift minutes it dipped below the horizon and the shadows came out from under all the trees, and one by one the golf-range practicers scabbardeGlenn Foray
'The town, then, later in the day. And yet another harvest.'Grandfather
'The woman stepped to the kitchen window and looked out.'Leonard/his mother
'They ate 6 suppers in the open, talking back and forth over the small campfire.'Smith/Drew
'They came running through the hot still dust of town, with their shadows burned black under them by the sun.'Mrs. Haydecker
'They came to the strange blue lands and put their names upon the lands.''they'/Nathaniel York
'They had a house of crystal pillars on the planet Mars by the edge of an empty sea, and every morning you could see Mrs. K eating the golden fruits that grew from the crystal wallNathaniel York/Bert
'They had been dead for 200 years. Yet they were alive.'Will Grimes
'They put him between fresh, clean, laundered sheets and there was always a newly squeezed glass of thick orange juice on the table under the dim pink lamp.'Charles
''They're very odd,' I said. 'The little Mexican couple.''The loud Americans, the quiet drinking Mexicans
'They say that Mexicali has changed. They say it has many people and more lights and the nights are not so long there anymore and the days are better.'Lucretia Melba Roxanne Ramona Gonzales
'They walked slowly down the street at about 10 in the evening, talking quietly, both about 35, both eminently sober.'Braling Two
'They were waiting for him to come out.'Rudy Steihl
'This is how his work was: He got up at 5 in the cold dark morning and washed his face with warm water if the heater was working and cold water if the heater was not working.'Tom/distressed husband
'To enter out into that silence that was the city at 8:00 of a misty evening in November, to put your feet upon that buckling concrete walk, to step over grassy seams and make yourEmpty Police Car
'To say that I have been haunted for the rest of my life by the affair Finnegan is to grossly understate the events leading up to that final melancholy.'Sir Robert Merriweather
'Very early in the morning the two men encountered each other on the country road.'Hogan
'Very late at night he heard the weeping on the lawn in front of his house.'Will
'Very late on this night, the old man came from his house with a flashlight in his hand and asked of the little boys the object of their frolic.''They brought in 15,000 lumber feet of Oregon pine to build 10th city, and 79,000 feet of California redwood and they hammered together a clean, neat little town by the edge of the stone canals.'
''We all have that special dream when we are young,' said Bishop Kelly.'Father Niven
''We hate you!' cried the 16 boys and girls rushing and crowding about Michael in the school room.'Mr. Howard
''Well, what do you have to say for yourself?''A rat/bastard/s.o.b./cad
'We were far out at the tip of Ireland, in Galway, where the weather strikes from its bleak quarters in the Atlantic with sheets of rain and gusts of cold and still more sheets of Heber Finn/'Ahab'
'We were walking along the boardwalk in Ocean Park one summer evening, arm in arm, my friend Sid and me, when we saw a familiar sight on one of the benches just ahead, not far fromAl and Rose Stein
'Whenever the wind came through the sky, he and his small family would sit in the stone hut and warm their hands over a wood fire.'Walter Gripp/Mrs. Alice Hathaway
'When first we meet George Garvey he is nothing at all.'Alexander Pape/Giulio
'Why Joseph Kirk did what he did, on impulse, he could not immediately say.'Willy Bob
'William Acton rose to his feet. The clock on the mantel ticked midnight.'Huxley
''Would I what?' he asked, in the dark, lying there easily, looking at the ceiling.'Robert/Anne
'You do not build a time machine unless you know where you are going.'Simon Cross(old and young)
'Young Father Kelly edged his way into Father Gilman's office, stopped, turned, and looked as if he might go back out, and then turned back again.'Father Riordan
'''You're getting too big for this!' Grandpa gave Doug a toss toward the blazing chandelier.'Miss Leonora Welkes
''You remember people by the things they do,' said Mrs. Coles, 'rather than by how their face looks or what their tongues say, while they're doing what they do.'Kit Random

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