‘It came on great oiled, resilient, striding legs. It towered thirty feet above half of the trees, a great evil god, folding its delicate watchmaker’s claws close to its oily reptilian chest. Each lower leg was a piston, a thousand pounds of white bone, sunk in thick ropes of muscle, sheathed over in a gleam of pebbled skin like the mail of a terrible warrior.’
A lot of my exposure to short stories comes through listening to readings or dramatizations on the radio, and my habit of falling under their thrall leads to many scorched shirts abandoned mid-ironing and dishes left unwashed in the sink. The BBC iPlayer Radio app portions its ‘Drama’ into particular (often baffling) genre categories, and generally my thumb slips to the ‘Horror/Supernatural’ and ‘Psychological’ labels. When the continuity announcer gave a quick precis for the day’s story and a rumbling, stern voice introduced itself (‘This is Ray Bradbury…’) I almost unplugged my headphones: I had decided I knew what ‘Sci-fi’ meant, was and could be, and that it could not possibly hold anything for me. I was an idiot, and soon an agog, reformed idiot with something in their eye.
Men are drifting in space. ‘They were scattered into a dark sea; and the ship, in a million pieces, went on, a meteor swarm seeking a lost sun.’ Their communication channels are still open, and they are able to talk for a short while as they spin further and further apart.
Original story, published 1951, adapted drama broadcast in 1991 which I believe you can hear here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjeiHRm8LNE