Next morning a crowd gathered on the Common.
hypnotized by the unscrewing of the cylinder.
Two feet of shining screw projected when, suddenly, the
lid fell off.
Two luminous, disc-like eyes appeared above the rim.
A huge rounded bulk, larger than a bear, rose up slowly,
glistening like wet leather.
It's lipless mouth quivered and slathered, and snake-like tentacles
writhed as the body heaved and pulsated.
A few younger man crept closer to the pit.
A tall funnel rose, then an invisible ray of heat leapt
from man to man and there was a bright glare as each
was instantly turned into fire.
Every tree and bush became a mass of flames at the
touch of this savage, unearthly heat ray.
People clawed their way off the Common, and I ran too.
I felt I was being toyed with, that when I was on the very
verge of safety, this mysterious death would leap after me
and strike me down.
At last I reached Maybury Hill and in the dim coolnes
of my home I wrote an account for my newspaper, before I
sank intro a restless, haunted sleep.
I awoke to alien sounds of hammering from the pit,
and hurried to the railway station to buy the paper
Around me the daily routine of life
was continuing serenely, as it had for countless years.
On Horsell Common,
the Martians continued hammering and stirring,
sleepless, indefatigable, at work upon the machines
they were making.
Now and again a light
like the beam of a warship's searchlight
swept the Common, and the heat ray was ready to follow.
In the afternoon a company of soldiers came through
and deployed along the edge of the Common to form a
That evening there was a violent crash
and I realize with horror
that my home was now within range of the Martian's heat ray
At dawn, a falling star with a trail of green mist
landed with a flash like summer lightning.
This was the second cylinder.