BOOK ONE: THE COMING OF THE MARTIANS
CHAPTER 10: IN THE STORM
Near the top I stumbled upon something soft, and, by a
flash of lightning, saw between my feet a heap of black broadcloth and a pair of boots. Before I could distinguish clearly
how the man lay, the flicker of light had passed. I stood over
him waiting for the next flash. When it came, I saw that he
was a sturdy man, cheaply but not shabbily dressed; his head
was bent under his body, and he lay crumpled up close to
the fence, as though he had been flung violently against it.
Overcoming the repugnance natural to one who had never
before touched a dead body, I stooped and turned him over
to feel for his heart. He was quite dead. Apparently his neck
had been broken. The lightning flashed for a third time, and
his face leaped upon me. I sprang to my feet. It was the
landlord of the Spotted Dog, whose conveyance I had taken.
I stepped over him gingerly and pushed on up the hill. I
made my way by the police station and the College Arms
towards my own house. Nothing was burning on the hillside,
though from the common there still came a red glare and a
rolling tumult of ruddy smoke beating up against the drenching hail. So far as I could see by the flashes, the houses
about me were mostly uninjured. By the College Arms a dark
heap lay in the road.
Down the road towards Maybury Bridge there were voices
and the sound of feet, but I had not the courage to shout or
to go to them. I let myself in with my latchkey, closed, locked
and bolted the door, staggered to the foot of the staircase, and
sat down. My imagination was full of those striding metallic
monsters, and of the dead body smashed against the fence.
I crouched at the foot of the staircase with my back to the
wall, shivering violently.