….and a famous short-short story, at that, having been selected by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1970 for inclusion in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964. Originally published in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1950, it went on to become the title piece of Matheson’s first anthology of stories (see right).
You may read the entire story right now. It’s only 1200 words, but it packs a wallop…which is what makes it one of the SF greats.
BORN OF MAN AND WOMAN
by Richard Matheson
X– This day when it had light mother called me a retch. You retch she said. I saw in her eyes the anger. I wonder what it is a retch.
This day it had water falling from upstairs. It fell all around. I saw that. The ground of the back I watched from the little window. The ground it sucked up the water like thirsty lips. It drank too much and it got sick and runny brown. I didn’t like it.
Mother is a pretty thing I know. In my bed place with cold walls around I have a paper things that was behind the furnace. It says on it Screen Stars. I see in the pictures faces like of mother and father. Father says they are pretty. Once he said it.
And also mother he said. Mother so pretty and me decent enough. Look at you he said and didn’t have the nice face. I touched his arm and said it is alright father. He shook and pulled away where I couldn’t reach.
Today mother let me off the chain a little so I could look out the little window. That’s how I saw the water falling from upstairs….