Dime Mystery Nov. 1946
Stories from Suspense Magazine #1 Spring 1951
The idea that a newborn, a tiny baby could be an assassin aiming his sights on his own caregivers, aka his parents, is absurd. Yet, that is the premise of “Small Assassin” by Ray Bradbury that was reprinted in the first edition of Suspense Magazine. The story’s first appeared in Dime Mystery (Nov. 1946).
Despite the premise, the story is well-written and has been reprinted in multiple anthologies, including one named for the story. It was adapted for an EC comic book and an episode of The Ray Bradbury Theater television series and even has a page on Wikipedia.
Here’s the opening paragraph:
“Just when the idea occurred to her that she was being murdered she could not tell. There had been little subtle signs, little suspicions for the past month; things as deep as sea tides in her, like looking at a perfectly calm stretch of cerulean water and liking it and wanting to bathe in it, and finding, just as the tide takes your body into it, that monsters dwell just under the surface, things unseen, bloated, many-armed, sharp-fanged, malignant and inescapable.”
Image from the Wikipedia page.
The Mysterious Traveler Mystery Reader #5 Sept. 1952
“The Crowd” debuted in Weird Tales (May 1943) and was picked up for reprint by editor Robert Arthur for The Mysterious Traveler Mystery Reader #5 (Sept. 1952).
Here’s the macabre opening:
“After the accident, the crowd gathered swiftly. A ring of faces looking down at Spallner, stirring, shifting, gaping. Where they came from, he did not know. He had heard their hard heels clattering over the asphalt of the street, heard their shouts and tiny squeals and curses as they saw the new motor car crumpled against the brick wall.”
The gist of Bradbury’s story is an impossible notion. The idea that there’s something more than the obvious to the crowd that forms when accidents happen. But once the suggestion is made, the master storyteller thrusts his main character into a chilling chain of events, and it’s impossible to look away.
“The fireworks sizzled across the cool-tile square, banged against the adobe café walls, then rushed on hot wires to bash the high church tower, while a fiery bull ran about the plaza chasing boys and laughing men. It was a spring night in Mexico in the year 1938.”
“To The Future” by Ray Bradbury
The Mysterious Traveler Magazine #2, Jan. 1952
“The phone rang at six thirty that evening. It was December, already dark as Thompson picked up the phone.”
”The Wind” by Ray Bradbury
The Mysterious Traveler Magazine #1, Nov. 1951