Plot SummaryEdit

This is a story of how Richard Pierson live and survived the invasion from mars, read as we tell the tail of richard pierson.


Richard Pierson POV:

August 11, 2018

As I set down these notes on paper, I'm obsessed by the thought that I may be the last living man on earth. I have been hiding in this empty house near Grovers Mill -- a small island of daylight cut off by the black smoke from the rest of the world. All that happened before the arrival of these monstrous creatures in the world now seems part of another life. . . a life that has no continuity with the present, furtive existence of the lonely derelict who pencils these words on the back of some astronomical notes bearing the signature of Richard Pierson. I look down at my blackened hands, my torn shoes, my tattered clothes, and I try to connect them with a professor who lives at Princeton, and who on the night of july the 27th and August 11th, glimpsed through his telescope an orange splash of light on a distant planet. My wife, . . . my colleagues, . . . my assistants,  . . . my students, . . . my books, . . . my observatory, . . . my. . . my world. . . where are they? Did they ever exist? Am I Richard Pierson? What day is it? Do days even exist without calendars? Does time pass when there are no human hands left to wind the clocks and timers on the alarms? . . . In writing down my daily life I kept on telling myself that i shall preserve human history between these dark covers of this little book that was meant to record the movements of the stars. . . But to write I must live, and to live, I must eat  . . . I find moldy bread in the kitchen but thankfully i was able to store some packges of oranges not too spoiled to chew or swallow. yet sometimes I kept watch at the window. From time to time I catch sights of Martian machines above the black smoke. The smoke still holds the house in its black coil. . . but at length there is a hissing sound and suddenly I see a herd of Martian machines marching their way past the house and saw above me there was a martian inside his machine judging by the lights from inside, then i notice it spraying the air with a jet of steam, as if to dissipate the smoke. I hid in a corner of the house as i watch his huge metal leg nearly brush against the house. Exhausted by terror, I fall asleep. . .it's morning. . .

August 12, 2018

(QUIETLY) "Morning!" Sun streams in the window. The black cloud of gas has lifted, and the scorched meadows to the north look as though a black snowstorm has passed over them. sometimes I venture thurther from the house and wander around the naighborhood but its like there were some houses still damaged by the marching machines of tripods.

I make my way to a road. No traffic. Here and there barly any cars left in the street, baggage overturned, a blackened skeleton. I push on north. For some reason I feel safer trailing these monsters than running away from them. And I keep a careful watch. I have seen the Martians. . . feed.

Should one of their machines appear over the top of trees, I am ready to fling myself flat on the earth. I come to a chestnut tree. October chestnuts are ripe. I fill my pockets. I must keep alive. Two days I wander in a vague northerly direction through a desolate world. Finally i came across a field of martian red weed. . . a strange martian jungle growing and blooming on the surface of the earth but then I notice a living creature. . . a small red squirrel in a beech tree. I stare at him, and wonder. He stares back at me. I believe at that moment the animal and I shared the same emotion. . .the joy of finding another living being, then . I push on north. I find dead cows in a brackish field. Beyond, the charred ruins of a dairy, seems as thought they were being covered by the red weed but then saw a large red tree growing next to a tower. The silo remains standing guard over the waste land like a lighthouse deserted by the sea. Astride the silo perches a weathercock. The arrow points north.

Next day I came to a city vaguely familiar in its contours, yet its buildings strangely dwarfed and leveled off, as if a giant hand sliced off its highest towers with a capricious sweep of his hand. I reached the outskirts. I found Newark, undemolished, but humbled by some whim of the advancing Martians. Presently, with an odd feeling of being watched, I caught sight of something crouching in a doorway. I made a step towards it, and it rose up and became a man! -- a man, armed with a large knife.

STRANGER: (OFF MIKE) Stop. . . (CLOSER) where did you come from?

PIERSON: I come from . . . many places. A long time ago from Princeton.

STRANGER: Princeton, huh? That's near Grovers Mill!


STRANGER: Grovers Mill. . . (LAUGHS AS AT A GREAT JOKE) There's no food here. This is my country. . . all this end of town down to the river. There's only food for one. . . Which way are you going?

PIERSON: I don't know. I guess I'm looking for -- for people.

STRANGER: (NERVOUSLY) What was that? Did you hear something just then?

PIERSON: Only a bird . . . (AMAZED) A live bird!

STRANGER: You get to know that birds have shadows these days. . . Say, we're in the open here. Let's crawl into this doorway and talk.

PIERSON: Have you seen any . . . Martians?

STRANGER: Naah. They've gone over to New York. At night the sky is alive with their lights. Just as if people were still livin' in it. By daylight you can't see them. Five days ago a couple of them carried somethin' big across the flats from the airport. I believe they're learning how to fly.


STRANGER: Yeah, fly.

PIERSON: Then it's all over with humanity. Stranger, there's still you and I. Two of us left.

STRANGER: They got themselves in solid; they wrecked the greatest country in the world. Those green stars, they're probably falling somewhere every night. They've only lost one machine. There isn't anything to do. We're done. We're licked.

PIERSON: Where were you? You're in a uniform.

STRANGER: Yeah, what's left of it. I was in the militia -- national guard. . . That's good! Wasn't any war any more than there's war between men and ants.

PIERSON: And we're eat-able ants. I found that out. . . What will they do with us?

STRANGER: I've thought it all out. Right now we're caught as we're wanted. The Martian only has to go a few miles to get a crowd on the run. But they won't keep doing that. They'll begin catching us systematic-like -- keeping the best and storing us in cages and things. They haven't begun on us yet!

PIERSON: Not begun!

STRANGER: Not begun! All that's happened so far is because we don't have sense enough to keep quiet. . . botherin' them with guns and such stuff and losing our heads and rushing off in crowds. Now instead of our rushing around blind we've got to fix ourselves up -- fix ourselves up according to the way things are NOW. Cities, nations, civilization, progress. . . done.

PIERSON: But if that's so, what is there to live for?

STRANGER: Well, there won't be any more concerts for a million years or so, and no nice little dinners at restaurants. If it's amusement you're after, I guess the game's up.

PIERSON: And what is there left?

STRANGER: Life. . . that's what! I want to live. Yeah, and so do you. We're not going to be exterminated. And I don't mean to be caught, either, and tamed, and fattened, and bred, like an ox.

PIERSON: What are you going to do?

STRANGER: I'm going on. . . right under their feet. I got a plan. We men as men are finished. We don't know enough. We gotta learn plenty before we've got a chance. And we've got to live and keep free while we learn, see? I've thought it all out, see.

PIERSON: Tell me the rest.

STRANGER: Well, it isn't all of us that were made for wild beasts, and that's what it's got to be. That's why I watched YOU. All these little office workers that used to live in these houses -- they'd be no good. They haven't any stuff to 'em. They just used to run off to work. I've seen hundreds of 'em, running wild to catch their commuter train in the morning for fear they'd get canned if they didn't; running back at night afraid they won't be in time for dinner. Lives insured and a little invested in case of accidents. And on Sundays, worried about the hereafter. The Martians will be a godsend for those guys. Nice roomy cages, good food, careful breeding, no worries. After a week or so chasing about the fields on empty stomachs they'll come and be glad to be caught.

PIERSON: You've thought it all out, haven't you?

STRANGER: You bet I have! And that isn't all. These Martians will make pets of some of 'em, train 'em to do tricks. Who knows? Get sentimental over the pet boy who grew up and had to be killed. . . And some, maybe, they'll train to hunt us.

PIERSON: No, that's impossible. No human being. . .

STRANGER: Yes they will. There's men who'll do it gladly. If one of them ever comes after me, why. . .

PIERSON: In the meantime, you and I and others like us. . . where are we to live when the Martians own the earth?

STRANGER: I've got it all figured out. We'll live underground. I've been thinking about the sewers. Under New York are miles and miles of 'em. The main ones are big enough for anybody. Then there's cellars, vaults, underground storerooms, railway tunnels, subways. You begin to see, eh? And we'll get a bunch of strong men together. No weak ones; that rubbish -- out.

PIERSON: And you meant me to go?

STRANGER: Well, I gave you a chance, didn't I?

PIERSON: We won't quarrel about that. Go on.

STRANGER: And we've got to make safe places for us to stay in, see, and get all the books we can -- science books. That's where men like you come in, see? We'll raid the museums, we'll even spy on the Martians. It may not be so much we have to learn before -- just imagine this: four or five of their own fighting machines suddenly start off -- heat rays right and left and not a Martian in 'em. Not a Martian in 'em! But MEN -- men who have learned the way how. It may even be in our time. Gee! Imagine having one of them lovely things with its heat ray wide and free! We'd turn it on Martians, we'd turn it on men. We'd bring everybody down to their knees.

PIERSON: That's your plan?

STRANGER: You, and me, and a few more of us we'd own the world.

PIERSON: I see. . .

STRANGER: (FADING OUT) Say, what's the matter? . . . Where are you going?

PIERSON: Not to your world. . . Goodbye, stranger. . .

PIERSON: After parting with the artilleryman, I came at last to the Holland Tunnel. I entered that silent tube anxious to know the fate of the great city on the other side of the Hudson. Cautiously I came out of the tunnel and made my way up Canal Street. I reached Fourteenth Street, and there again were black powder and several bodies, and an evil ominous smell from the gratings of the cellars of some of the houses. I wandered up through the Thirties and Forties; I stood alone on Times Square. I caught sight of a lean dog running down Seventh Avenue with a piece of dark brown meat in his jaws, and a pack of starving mongrels at his heels. He made a wide circle around me, as though he feared I might prove a fresh competitor. I walked up Broadway in the direction of that strange powder -- past silent shopwindows, displaying their mute wares to empty sidewalks -- past the Capitol Theatre, silent, dark -- past a shooting gallery, where a row of empty guns faced an arrested line of wooden ducks. Near Columbus Circle I noticed models of 1939 motorcars in the showrooms facing empty streets. From over the top of the General Motors Building, I watched a flock of black birds circling in the sky. I hurried on. Suddenly I caught sight of the hood of a Martian machine, standing somewhere in Central Park, gleaming in the late afternoon sun. An insane idea! I rushed recklessly across Columbus Circle and into the Park. I climbed a small hill above the pond at Sixtieth Street. From there I could see, standing in a silent row along the mall, nineteen of those great metal Titans, their cowls empty, their great steel arms hanging listlessly by their sides. I looked in vain for the monsters that inhabit those machines.
Suddenly, my eyes were attracted to the immense flock of black birds that hovered directly below me. They circled to the ground, and there before my eyes, stark and silent, lay the Martians, with the hungry birds pecking and tearing brown shreds of flesh from their dead bodies. Later when their bodies were examined in the laboratories, it was found that they were killed by the putrefactive and disease bacteria against which their systems were unprepared. . . slain, after all man's defenses had failed, by the humblest thing that God in His wisdom put upon this earth.
Before the cylinder fell there was a general persuasion that through all the deep of space no life existed beyond the petty surface of our minute sphere. Now we see further. Dim and wonderful is the vision I have conjured up in my mind of life spreading slowly from this little seedbed of the solar system throughout the inanimate vastness of sidereal space. But that is a remote dream. It may be that the destruction of the Martians is only a reprieve. To them, and not to us, is the future ordained perhaps.
Strange it now seems to sit in my peaceful study at Princeton writing down this last chapter of the record begun at a deserted farm in Grovers Mill. Strange to see from my window the university spires dim and blue through an April haze. Strange to watch children playing in the streets. Strange to see young people strolling on the green, where the new spring grass heals the last black scars of a bruised earth. Strange to watch the sightseers enter the museum where the dissembled parts of a Martian machine are kept on public view. Strange when I recall the time when I first saw it, bright and clean-cut, hard, and silent, under the dawn of that last great day.

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