Bone Vol. 4: The Dragonslayer

For the third volume. The Dragonslayer starts with the Heavy Metal – Stick-Eater Prologue I reviewed earlier. After, we see how far Fone, Thorn and Gran’ma have gotten from the farm to get to Barrelhaven, which isn’t known other than they’ve been travelling for days off-road so as not to be seen. They go uphill to get a look at the valley, when they reach the top Fone tries to discover if they’ll be staying in the valley once they reach the tavern, Gran’ma Ben not saying and trying to move them along until they’re relatively safe. Then we see what’s happening in the bar, which is some of the locals are sharing personal experiences with unsettling mysteries. One man describes what happened to a man’s wife when she had gone to the woodshed. As the man goes on with the story he declines a drink from Lucius but not one from Smiley. When Smiley puts in the order for more beers and snacks, he also questions Phoney on how he’s actually going to kill the dragons, Phoney revealing he had no intention of following through since the dragons weren’t actually dangerous and to keep it down for a customer walking up.

After getting another sale, Lucius demands to speak with Phoney in private to express he isn’t pleased how he’s using the dragon shtick to sell beer and wants to call the bet off. Phoney reasons Lucius must be jealous of them winning the bet and how funny it is Phoney is the one to be confessing the truth about the dragons whilst Lucius was lying, due to it being the other way around usually. Phoney then comes up with a compromise which doesn’t help Lucius much and walks back out to the bar, leaving Lucius steaming. Then we see Fone and his group walking through the wilderness when Thorn calls out to Gran’ma Ben, noticing she seems odd and she informs them she’s gotten the feeling “of bad things to come”, again. She then urges of they needing to move along quickly since she didn’t know what it was would be coming, but it was big, then we see someone speaking off-panel about Quiche and then we see them surrounded.

Gran’ma Ben tries to get the two to get behind her so they wouldn’t be surrounded. The rat creatures try to convince Gran’ma Ben to give up now and surrender to being made into a Quiche which is when the rat creatures then begin their usual quarrel, Gran’ma Ben trying to take advantage of the situation and failing, but getting the rat creatures to retreat a little ways away. Gran’ma then lets them know the rat creatures arrival isn’t what her “gitchy” feeling is warning them of, since it was still happening and foretold much worse to come, then giving Thorn her sword. Gran’ma Ben then realizes the woods are quiet and they shouldn’t be, so she goes after the rat creatures, capturing one to share with her of what’s going on and as the rat creature was about to spill his guts, Kingdok shows up and throws Gran’ma Ben further into the woods, but then picks her up and we get shown Fone’s perspective, he waking up with a cut on his head and looking for Thorn and Gran’ma Ben, soon calling for the dragon for help. We then go back to Barrelhaven and see Smiley taking a nap and saying Fone’s name before being woken by Phoney, informing him they had a problem of the business slowing down. Smiley suggests a new slogan could help, but Phoney thinks they can’t do better than his current one. Smiley then divulging perhaps the patrons were saving their funds for the summer picnic, which takes Phoney by surprise for not knowing of it and then getting angry Lucius could be trying to keep him from making more money.

Then Smiley hears Phoney yelling again, one of the patrons also hearing it, so Smiley goes off running to help Fone with Phoney trailing behind him. As the Bones run off after Fone, Lucius gets his customers to gather torches so they can follow. The Bones lose Fone since he stopped yelling after they’d gotten into the woods, the townspeople catching up to them now. Lucius doesn’t give up yet, though and gets everyone to scatter around for clues, someone observing blood on the ground. Then we see Kingdok throwing Gran’ma Ben to the ground, then into a tree and before he believes he’s about to make the killing blow, Thorn comes at him with the sword, taking one of his arms. Kingdok is so overcome with pain, he believes he’s seeing Gran’ma Ben and Thorn in their true forms. After, Kingdok screams for the rat creatures who come running and then all retreat deeper into the woods. Gran’ma Ben then comforts Thorn with the words of knowing the rat creatures wouldn’t be coming back anytime soon since it was their way, Fone then detecting them. Thorn notices his cut head, which he speaks of as looking worse than it was, Gran’ma Ben then believing she needs to admit to Thorn the important information of the Lord of the Locusts looking for her and she must keep herself hidden from him no matter what.

We then see the two rat creatures in panic-mode, first believing Kingdok is dead and then trying to stanch his wound, they discussing the fault of the incident being bandied between the two of them and then realizing if Kingdok did die, the Hooded One would torture them. When they realize Kingdok’s wound has stopped bleeding they decide their best course of action is to flee and not return which they immediately begin. We then go back to Thorn trying to inspect Gran’ma Ben’s arm as Fone fools around with the detached appendage on the ground. Gran’ma Ben continues to try and inform Thorn of something she doesn’t know yet whilst she tried to bandage her arm, she confiding Thorn was an “awakened one” and had a rough track ahead of her, she then explaining the details and how the Agents of the Locust will be hunting her, this being the reason they were heading for Atheia, Thorn declining this destination since she was now rebelling against her Gran’ma who tried to convince her what she was revealing was true, but Thorn wasn’t having it and walks off.

Gran’ma Ben then tries to convince Fone to go after her and bring her back, but Fone is having trouble agreeing with Gran’ma Ben now too, she giving Fone her sword and agreeing with the both of them in surrender, ordering Fone instead to get her back to Barrelhaven Tavern safely. Gran’ma Ben makes sure Fone relays the message of what the rat creatures were up to when Fone found Lucius and gave Fone her locket as proof and truth of the information about the Lord of the Locusts. Fone catches up to Thorn and they both head back to the tavern where they run in to a wall with Jonathan guarding it and being told of how he couldn’t let them in since whomever was in charge inside since Lucius hadn’t returned told him anyone outside the walls was a stranger, they then seeing who is giving the orders.

Then we see the Hooded one relaying word from the southern front and how the Lord of the Locusts was in charge of the East once more, he asking of Atheia. He describes the area awaiting the Lord of the Lucusts’ orders and he then informing where the Bones and Thorn were, the Hooded One promising the town’s destruction and the Lord of the Locusts giving voice to his approval of the Hooded One’s service. The Lord of the Locusts then disclosing if they failed to acquire Thorn alive, she must then be destroyed, but the Hooded One being commanded not to give way. The Hooded One then tries to convince the Lord of the Locusts to suffice with his service and he not needing Thorn, hoping to destroy her, but the Lord of the Locusts communicates of needing to keep her powers within his grasp if possible and won’t be forgetting the Hooded One’s loyalty, then going on to stroke the Hooded One’s ego in preference of one day releasing the Lord of the Locusts’ bonds so he could properly reward him. We then go back to Phoney asking the townspeople how long it had been since they’d last seen Lucius, Fone, and Thorn being let into the town. Fone then asks why he keeps hearing people refer to Phoney as the Dragonslayer, Smiley almost letting loose with what had occurred and Phoney shutting him up and escorting them indoors where dinner and drinks awaited them. Thorn decides to rest and Fone goes to dinner with his cousins, but before we join them, we see the Hooded One seeing Thorn in her imagined form as she slept.

When Fone enters his cousins new digs, he’s impressed with its royal touches and immediately asks what the blockade and upgraded lifestyle was all about, Fone displaying his disgust and Phoney defending himself by assuring the townspeople won’t be helped if they’d rather live in fear. Phoney then confesses of he having a plan which will eventually get them out of town and back to Boneville on the upswing of riches, Fone revealing his plans to stay. Phoney then figures the reason for Fone wanting to stay and tries to persuade him to forget about her since she didn’t see him the same way, Fone trying to make him realize he didn’t mean it the way it sounded and was referring to the issues of the rat creatures and problems involving them, leaving the two of them to wonder how they’d get a dragon without Fone’s help.

Fone is shone harrumphing outside about his sensing Phoney trying to get his help with something and of course Fone then having to figure a way to help him out of the issue when he hears something and hoping it’s only a small animal looking for food, when he’s confronted by the creature. He’s then rubbed up against by an iddy rat creature. We then see Thorn in her other form, following her Gran’ma looking like she had in her younger days, motioning toward a tunnel in a mountain. Thorn tries to shout to her not to enter, but then a hooded figure which also turns out to be her Gran’ma instructs her to allow her to proceed, stating she’ll chance upon shelter there, but whilst she tries to convince Thorn to go inside the cave with her, someone is waking Thorn up and we see the hooded Gran’ma get angry because of this. When Thorn is awakened, Fone updates her of their new problem and shows her the iddy rat creature, she not taking this well at all and demanding to get it out of her room or she would kill it.

Jonathan is first to see Lucius return, Phoney then is wakened to give him the news, Phoney ordering the person at his door to let Lucius in and keep him comfortable whilst getting Smiley to round up their militia. Lucius is caught up to what had been going on in the town and Fone gets Smiley’s attention for his help in the stables. Meanwhile Phoney is updating Lucius of how he’d kept up the protection of the town and once revealing where Lucius would now be staying, he not taking it well at all, but being protected by the townspeople so Lucius declines Phoney’s offerings of placement in preference to the barn. We then see Fone showing Smiley the tot rat creature and Smiley noticing how the ears were different and whether he knew any tricks. Smiley tests the iddy rat creature’s ability to listen and is impressed with his first attempt, Fone then noticing someone was coming in and trying to hide the rat creature, Lucius being the visitor and asking Fone of the whereabouts of Thorn and Gran’ma Ben.

Fone reports to him of everything he knows plus what Gran’ma Ben wanted him to relay which Lucius realizes is similar to an attack the rat creatures had implemented before. Fone continues to fret about Kingdok and their danger in the woods, Lucius realizing they needed to get to Thorn. Then we see the townspeople about a fire and how one realized Lucius did have a point in confessing there hadn’t been an invasion of dragons in the town and it had gotten him thinking. They began considering if they were stuck in there with a dragonslayer, they may as well get the slayer to go out and dispose of the dragons so they weren’t trapped indoors. We then see Lucius visiting Thorn and comforting her when she breaks down, Fone and Smiley standing nearby. Meanwhile the rat creatures are being given a speech by the Hooded One about the new laws the Lord of the Locusts has decided upon and ending with the declaration they will take what is theirs.

We then learn anyone who lived outside the village was given accommodations within the walls of the barricade. When Phoney reaches the point of not getting a hearty meal, Wendell informs him of what the townspeople had agreed upon. Phoney comes down hard on the man and reveals he’s aware of their midsummer’s day picnic, informing him to gather what they’ve hoarded and meet him in the center of the compound at dusk, ready to teach them a lesson. Phoney then circles his thoughts back around to where Smiley could have gotten to and still planning his escape from town. He then goes to Lucius to collect tax for the newly placed families, but Phoney uncovers they’ve already taken all of his chickens, putting a back tax on Lucius until the next day. We are then shown Fone swiping some foodstuffs from the kitchen and going to the stables where Smiley is with the iddy rat creature, to Fone’s surprise, discovering Smiley was collecting food for the iddy all day, but the food Fone had brought would be made of good use by Smiley, Fone relaying to him they’re going to have to change the iddy rat creature’s point of venue because of how close it was to Thorn still. Fone comes up with the plan of needing to at least get the cub out of the compound if not all the way to the eastern mountains, he then hearing someone approach and we discovering it to be Thorn. She confides to Fone of knowing the cub is in the barn and came to apologize for her behavior, she then confiding about her dreams becoming stronger and she not having been able to sleep, then confusing Fone with the talks of wanting to go home, but she meaning the farmhouse.

Fone reminds her of it being dangerous still, but she not caring so Fone tries to convince her to come with them to free the cub, but she doesn’t want in on the plan, Fone resorting to trying to get her to at least rationalize her decision before she went through with it. When Fone mentions Gran’ma Ben’s instructions for Thorn to go south to Atheia, Thorn gets irritated about Gran’ma Ben leaving them and Fone admits they don’t actually know what happened so they shouldn’t think about it. Thorn then gives Fone the sword with the intention of he returning the sword to Gran’ma Ben if he thought he’d be seeing her again, Fone declining, but Thorn already leaving. Fone goes out after her and Smiley follows, he noticing all the people gathering into the square.

Fone then sees Thorn head into the tavern, he chasing her and Smiley asking Lucius what everyone was doing, he sensing Phoney was about to make a speech. They soon ascertain Phoney had the intention of getting everyone to gather all their valuables since the hoarding of goods wouldn’t help them keep the dragons away. Lucius steps forward after and Phoney doesn’t spare him in the villagers eyes, going so far as to back him into a corner of silence and making it seem he was doing the bidding of the dragons. After Phoney then speaks of his plans on what they’d be doing with all the loot he ends the meeting and Smiley asks Lucius why he’d lied to everyone about the dragons existence. Fone then comes out to report Thorn locked herself in her room and how he wished Gran’ma Ben would return. Then we observe the Hooded One commanding the masses to destroy the enemies, Kingdok getting his own mission of bringing Thorn and the Bones to him.

We then see Thorn’s shadow in the woods and a letter in her room left for Fone, he being outside and looking for Thorn with Smiley, but they most likely having to get the cub out of the compound without her. They get out no problem, but Smiley keeps going, Fone chasing them now. Phoney is then seen with Jonathan and making sure everything was set for their trek with the treasure the next morning making sure Jonathan would uncover his cousins soon so he could implement his greatest plan, then Ted the bug shows up. At first Phoney doesn’t remember him, but then Ted admits to knowing where his cousins are and not saying since he’d heard Phoney was planning on dragon-extinguishing, Phoney resorting to confiding his plan to Ted so he’d offer him knowledge of where Fone was. Ted imparts the last place he’d seen him and then gives the imparting words of what was in for Phoney if he kept up his crooked ways, Phoney taking his words lightly. When Phoney reaches the barn, he steps on the abandoned sword and hears something still inside, thinking it’s Fone, but no one appearing and when he leaves, the one inside taking the sword.

Thorn is next seen in the woods sleeping and being discovered by a group of hooded figures, she next waking in the woods with the sword next to her and hearing noises, which makes her run and then fall right next to the Red Dragon who greets her. Thorn then realizes she’s dreaming and sees a throne in the distance, she seeing rat creatures and after being too frightened to see what else is there, but peeking to see Gran’ma Ben and possibly someone else, realizing it was Fone and Lucius then deciding she wants to wake up, determining she won’t be going down without a fight anymore and wished to return to her friends. Thorn awakens again and the sword is next to her, she running off and we next seeing the compound again with the townspeople awaiting Phoney to come who arrives after and relates of his cousins not returning the last night. Phoney then goes through with his plan since the people are aware if they wait any longer it will be after nightfall when they reach their destination, Phoney revving them up before getting on their way.

It’s well after nightfall and Phoney is driving them on even though the people nearest him thought they should stop near the bottom of the mountain, but they soon reaching the Dragon’s Stair. He gets the townspeople to set up before they leave him and whilst they’re setting up the first part of their trap, Ted shows up asking if Phoney was planning on leaving his cousins, he stating how they’d left him and then revealing how he was planning on leaving the town as planned with the treasure, Ted deciding to help get Phoney out of the valley, but then the townspeople come to him with the news they’d caught a dragon and sure enough, the red dragon is hog-tied in the trap to Phoney’s surprise. When Phoney approaches the dragon, asking how he could’ve gotten trapped, he determines the dragon was there to help him with the plan. Soon the men have moved in to tie the dragon a little more snugly including his mouth so he couldn’t breathe fire, Phoney trying to get them away from the dragon.

The townspeople were done waiting, though and make Phoney aware he’s at the end of his stalling, especially since the sun was now dawning. They threaten Phoney with being a part of the sacrifice if he didn’t complete the task, he ready and shielding his eyes when Thorn stops him. She then asks what mess he’s gotten himself into when they notice a fire coming from their town. The townspeople are close to hysteria, wanting the dragon to be killed and Thorn continues to try and get them to realize the dragons aren’t the trouble but the rat creatures who have started the fire and they needing to release the dragon. Although when the townspeople next insist upon the dragon’s death, they are supported by the rat creatures saying if the townspeople wouldn’t, they would which then brings the panic around to their presence. Thorn is ready to defend the dragon when the hooded figures come from behind her and fight off the rat creatures, Thorn unbinding the dragon, who promptly uses his flame to bathe the rat creatures which successfully makes them retreat. Thorn tries to ask where Fone and her Gran’ma are, but the dragon takes only enough time to let her know if she’s in trouble, where she can find the dragons and takes off, she then asking Phoney where Fone is, but he also not knowing, of course. When she learns Lucius is back in town she tries to get the townspeople to arm themselves with anything they have and they being in shock they’re actually at war.

Which ends this volume and setting up the upcoming awesomeness; I’m excited to continue with what comes next.

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Skeleton Crew – The Mist

A nice introduction before getting into the one story I planned on reading from this collection, The Mist. It starts by mentioning how in New England there were a series of violent thunderstorms narrated by the main character. Dave, the narrator mentions his family by name since they had been at their lake house at the time the storms had occurred. We don’t learn Dave’s name until someone addresses him, but in any case he is  the first to realize the storms were only getting started and mentions it to Steff, his wife. Dave’s son, Billy is the first to see the cyclone within a dangerous distance to them, Dave corralling everyone indoors. As they all retreat inside, Dave watches the lake begin to look like the ocean with the waves and whitecaps. As he realizes how horribly injured his family could get where they were standing, he moves them into the kitchen as the telephone begins to ring. He then orders Steff to go downstairs, trying to get Billy to go with his mother whilst he looked for candles. After he locates the candles, he also retreats downstairs into a guest room to wait out the storm. When they begin to hear a calm, they go upstairs to check and see it’s begun to lull, but would pick up again an hour later.

We then get background to how oddly the weather had been the last few weeks, in general and the excuses people had come up with for them. When the second storm hit, it wasn’t as brutal as the first, but finished taking down many trees the first storm had weakened, one of them falling on the roof, scaring Billy, but Dave reassuring him the roof was strong enough to hold it. Then later in the night, the third storm hits, being a tough one. After this point we learn Dave’s name, he deciding it being best they go back downstairs, Steff now overwhelmed by the storm’s violence. By this time Billy had gone to sleep and Steff was worried about the picture window they’d heard get smashed, Dave rationalizing the insurance will cover the damage done and after Steff had drifted to sleep, checked the damage and confirmed his thoughts of needing repairs for the living room, then going to sleep in the guest bed with the two.

The next morning Billy sees the damage outside, some power lines coming down in the storm are close to where he’s standing, Dave stops him from getting any closer suggesting they walk down the driveway. They see four trees had fallen there, one being quite old and large. Soon Billy goes down to the lake, getting tired of moving branches into the woods, Dave going into the garage to get the electric chainsaw. Steff comes out to relay how much she’d gotten cleaned up inside and what damage had occurred outside when Billy comes running back to show Dave the damage done to the boathouse, scaring Steff because of the live wires still sparking nearby and ready to make him go inside, but Dave calms her and directs Billy a different way down so he can show him what he’d found. Then we are told about another townie, Mrs. Carmody who liked to reminisce about all the historical myths about the place and owned an antiquary where Steff liked to shop every once in a while, but also was one of the many which got taken in by her stories. Dave remembers hearing the story himself from another townie with a shop, an older gentleman by the name of Bill Giosti, after we get the back-story on him, David invites Steff down to take a look at the damage at the boathouse which she isn’t interested in, but agrees to, knowing their son would be happy to show them both.

When they get down there and see his description is fairly accurate, David asks Billy to fish out the flag which had gotten in the water, surveying the damage to the boathouse which could have been avoided if not for the man responsible in having the dead tree which had fallen, cut down. Then Billy notices the other side of the lake is hidden by a thick oddly straight-moving mist, even Steff is surprised there would be a fog-bank on the lake. David assuring her and suggesting she make the grocery list she’d planned on writing for him. Meanwhile Dave and Billy lay out the flag and Billy shares how he’d learned having the flag on the ground is a “lectercute”-able offense. Billy then goes to visit some neighbors, Dave warning him about steering clear of any other live wires and to stay out of their neighbors way. After Billy leaves, Dave is looking at the mist again and how it seemed to have come closer, also how it was unaffected by the oppositely blowing wind and how extremely white it was, noticing no rainbow reflected off of it. He then hears his next-door neighbor, Brenton Norton trying to start up his electric chainsaw with no luck, which gave Dave some satisfaction. He then notices the damaged property Norton was trying to cut, even more glad he’d be dealing with damage of his own, he heading back to his own project in the drive. Later on Billy comes with the list and a beer for Dave, going back to give his mother the answer to her question and with the acceptance of being able to accompany his father to town, with his mother as well if everyone agreed.

Dave then sees a CMP truck coming up the road, which quelled his worry of trees blocking the road. After Billy comes by with another note, Norton is next to make his presence known to Dave, they not having left off on kind terms, he wondering what brought him over. He discovers it’s to do with his chainsaw and also learns his T-bird had been damaged, wanting to borrow his car to go to town for supplies, Dave offering him a ride after sharing they’d also be going to town. Then Dave checks on where the mist was, since it had warmed up since the last time he’d checked and noticed it had gotten closer. They still get ready to leave, Dave giving Steff one more chance to come with them, but not wanting to with how pervy Norton was acting. We then become privy this is the last time Dave will see his wife. On their way to town Dave and Norton had to move another tree out of their path, reminding Dave of the Ents of The Lord of the Rings, which was brought to his mind because his son wanted to help too, but he was worried he’d get poked in the eye with the effort, it being an old tree. Now they were in the truck and getting on their way, Dave had a chance to get Billy to check the radio stations which usually came in and weren’t at the moment, possibly caused by being on the other side of the fog. When they reach town, they head for the grocery store, it being quite busy. Dave sees Mrs. Carmody talking with some women, everyone seeming to have their little groups in the parking lot, speaking to one another. Dave gets lucky pulling in to a spot to park near the front and sends Billy with Norton inside to start on the list whilst he searches for a pay phone to call Steff.

Unfortunately the line seemed to be dead, so he didn’t get the chance to speak with her and so makes his way into the market. He eventually happens upon the two in an aisle and sees Norton checking the list, when Norton sees him, he brings his attention to the state of the lines at the check-out, they being so long as to go out of sight and with only two lanes open with only the use of pocket calculators to tally everything up. Dave decides he’ll wait in the line whilst Norton got the rest of his belongings, thinking of how worried he was about Steff and wondering whether it would’ve made a difference if they’d decided to go back then or if it would have been too late already. Billy is first to notice the two soldiers in the decently large line and also what with the lack of certain product, they had to make due with some generic, if not completely chemically based substitutes of bologna and bacon.

The only item left on the list was a bottle of wine and as Dave gets it and then passes the storage area, he hears the generator and deduces its capabilities and what it was powering in the grocery store. When he gets back to the line, which has grown longer Dave and Norton make idle chit-chat, which ends shortly, due to their legal dispute making the situation a bit difficult in making nice for long. Billy seemed to get apprehensive for a moment as they waited in line, but it passed and they slowly got closer to the front. They then hear the passing of police sirens after which they hear the fire alarm go off. Norton thinks it’s for a fire which might be on Kansas Road, but then a teenager comes in to inform them all about how the fog has come down the road and they should take a look, some do and go out the door.

When someone comes back in asking for a camera, more people go out to have a look, which gets Mrs. Carmody, who’s also in line to voice her opinion of erring on the side of caution. Then a man comes in with a bloody nose shouting about another man getting taken by the fog and hearing his screams. This is when people slowly begin to panic, either heading for the doors out or going toward the window to look, some leaving with their unpaid groceries. The mist is described as making the town seem darker and the sun looking like an eclipse between clouds. As they became engulfed in the mist, the sky is lost and only white can be seen, a woman’s scream is what finally sends people running for the door and out, which the checker of the place is yelling at people to refrain from taking the items in their arms, but some beyond the realm of listening, others tossing their items down as they leave. Norton begins heading for the door as well, until Dave grabs him and voices his opinion to not follow the others. After Norton questions him, they all hear another scream which continues as the sound gets those near the door back inside. One man still goes out, seemingly to rescue the one who had been screaming for such a prolonged amount of time and Dave feels he’d been the only one to see something pull the man outside, into the fog more deeply.

After, Norton seemed more ready to get out of there again, trying to convince Dave to go with him when the building is shaken and bottles begin to fall. When the noise stops Norton changes his tune again trying to get the people inside to stay there until the fog dissipates, which everyone is at odds in deciding. One woman becomes adamant in going though, after confessing her children being home alone and hoping someone would walk her, no one volunteering and she going off into the fog alone with the insult of hoping they’ll all go to hell. Billy then loses it, becoming uncontrollably upset and shrieking for his mother, Dave leading him to the back of the store to try and calm him. When Billy does compose himself enough to confirm the fog wasn’t a normal one, he then doses off into a deep sleep.

Dave then goes in search of something to cover Billy with, whilst he dosed in the back, looking in the front and noticing Norton trying to work his word magic on the people who would listen. Dave makes his way behind the big double doors reserved for crew, noticing the pungent smell of diesel, deciding to investigate and deducing the exhaust pipe was possibly blocked off on the outside and so resolved to turn the generator off, but upon doing so is left in almost complete darkness and getting spooked by his unexpected blindness, falling and feeling like a fool. After taking a moment to calm his nerves he detects the line of light which could be seen through the double doors, but before making for it, notices a disturbing sound which panicked him to that of a four-year-old, finally making him run for the double doors, then running into a few guys who were coming to look into why the lights had turned off, first asking why Dave looked so spooked, but after learning this and not wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt what with already dealing with a terrible situation, other than for Ollie, he then divulging why he turned off the generator and the others ready to turn it on again.

After the bag boy hands Dave, among others a flashlight, Dave decides to take it for not having found a blanket for Billy yet, one of the others with them conceding to Dave’s judgement in turning the generator off due to the smell. Some of the men are testing the generator themselves as the bag boy gets closer to the loading door, Dave expressing to him to consider differently, but the boy has a different plan in mind, which involved the men turning the generator on long enough for him to open the loading door a bit and go out to clear whatever was plugging the exhaust pipe. Ollie is now dubious to the bag boy’s idea, another man volunteering and Ollie trying to get them to understand no one should try to embark on this plan, soon those wanting to try it arguing as to who it should be, Dave getting them to be quiet enough to consider reason and after not getting it, becoming frustrated and more scared for the situation they were in. The men and boy go on with the plan regardless of the naysayers and Dave still is speaking of how odd it seems they would go so far to restart a generator which doesn’t matter to anyone in the long run, but wouldn’t help the woman home earlier, getting threats of violence in return. The bag boy begins looking scared now and ready to call off his dumb plan, with Dave and Ollie’s support in doing so, when the two men turn the generator on and they all proceed with their plan.

When the door goes up they see the fog everywhere and feel the chill in the air, as they turn the generator off, they then see the tentacle near the loading platform and see it get the bag boy around the ankle. Everyone retreats, but the bag boy puts up a valiant fight and is holding tight trying to get anyone to help him, Dave stepping forward, but with not much luck and soon calling for the others to help, no one responding. After struggling for a while longer, Dave soon thinks of his son and lets the bag boy go, realizing what the tentacles were now doing to him. Dave gets back inside and notices the two men near the generator are staring at the mess of tentacles outside the door in a hypnotic daze, Dave tries to get their attention, but only succeeds with one and he being too busy apologizing and making excuses to why he didn’t believe Dave to turn the generator on again. Ollie taking it upon himself to do it, all the while the bag boy still hanging on to the door, but Ollie can’t reach the button for the other tentacles being in the way, Dave then locates a broom handle to push the button with, this also being the moment the bag boy gives up his struggle and loses his grip on the door, being pulled into the mist. A piece of a tentacle is cut off on the door’s return into it’s closed position.

Dave then starts walloping one of the big-mouthed men because they’d gotten the teenager killed, after awhile Ollie trying to stop him. When Dave calms down, they stop the generator again and start back out to the front of the store, Dave acquiring a rug for Billy. As Dave and Ollie were getting ready to join the others, Dave pulls Ollie back to convince him they’ll be needing to update the others about what they’d seen, Ollie being worried about a panic, but Dave considers most of the people present wanted to leave for having someone at their homes waiting for them. Ollie continues to ask what could possibly be attached to all of the tentacles and questioning what the mist is to allow such a creature to even be slithering along, unable to get a definitive answer. Dave covers Billy with the closest thing he’s found to a blanket, noticing Jim and Myron, the moronic duo standing outside the double doors. Dave then breaks the news to them of needing to advise the others of something about what’s occurred which they readily agreed to after also being told they wouldn’t get the finger pointed at them for having sent the bag boy to his death. Ollie then brings up the possibility of the tentacles getting in for what the store was made of; it not being of impregnable quality.

As the others are drinking their dread away, Dave goes off to see what Norton is up to, being a conversation with another man called Bud Brown at the front of the store near a register. Norton, upon being greeted reacts in a way he’s noticed the amount of time Dave had been gone, Bud Brown-nosing about the men drinking beer in the back of the store, Dave ignoring him to pull Norton aside, but not before Bud stating they would be put to a stop with conviction in his visage. Dave then tries to proceed in explaining to Norton what had happened, but not before almost getting explosive giggles and then remembering the man which had come back out of the mist in hysterics, deciding first to ask what had happened to him, which was after being revived, he was then led to the manager’s office to stay since he’d been upsetting some of the women. Dave then had trouble getting Norton to listen since Norton seemed to be caught up with the job security of one of the men who was drinking in the back, but Dave holds back his temper due to knowing Norton’s usefulness in breaking the terrible news to everyone else. Unfortunately, Norton couldn’t bring himself to come to terms with this reality, even after Dave gets the other men to verify the goings-on, Norton thinking they’d either gone mad or were trying to prank him, not even entertaining the idea of seeing the proof of the tentacle still in the back room.

Norton then rationalizes Dave and the townies were only looking after themselves and didn’t care about anyone from out-of-town, bringing in their court-room dispute as his only validation. From frustration and trying to get Norton to understand how serious he was, Dave threatens to whack him a few, which Norton takes as he showing he’d be willing to beat up someone the age of his father, but Dave gets support by Jim, believing he lacked humanity anyways. Instead, Dave tries to level with him and get him to go into the back room with him to see the evidence, Norton still resisting and Dave deciding he’ll get him in there even if he has to force him. Norton starts to put up a real fuss once he’s getting physically brought closer to the double doors, then trying to scream and plead for help from anyone, most staring, until Bud Brown tries to stop them, Ollie speaking up to defend Dave once Bud starts to try and give Ollie crap for “drinking on the job”. Soon though, Ollie had gotten the other people in the store to gather and prefaced Dave’s testimony about the monster outdoors, Norton still putting his two-cents of denial in; the prick. Bud Brown then tries to support Norton’s view, lightening the mood of the others in the crowd until Mrs. Carmody then brings everyone back down to their unfortunate reality, but bringing it to Doomsday-style talk, Ollie then having to reign her back in. By then though, Dave suggests they go into the back room rather than argue the point, Bud Brown finally agreeing after still arrogantly hanging onto the fact the back room is off limits to customers. Bud Brown is then shown and convinced of the tentacles being real and then wanting to get out of there as quickly as possible, the tentacles outside still being heard, he then concluding the chapter by speaking to the onlookers outside the double-doors of the extent of the situation they were in.

The next few hours has everyone coming to terms with the news, Norton being a part of a group of ten unwilling to bend on their inability to accepting the fantastically horrifying truth and upon being confronted by Ollie to go around to the back where there were recyclable items and to bring one back in to prove he’d done it, Ollie rewarding him the highest of courtesies, which Norton couldn’t give a comeback to since Ollie interrupted him with more sobering confessions, not getting Norton to stop his tirade, but getting some others who weren’t sure of the truth to start making a leap due to the look in Ollie’s eyes. Norton’s diminished group goes off as far as they can from the others and upon passing Billy, one of them awakens him, Dave going over to try and put him back down, but Billy having enough and instead had gone back and saw the spot-light was now on Mrs. Carmody. She still only stating of their imminent deaths until being prompted by one to actually give a suggestion which made her come out with giving a “blood sacrifice” which brought one man out to smack her in the face, presumably for seeming so smug and about to say more. It doesn’t shut her up for long unfortunately, she ending her speech with the foretelling of someone else being killed by the time night fell.

After calm was found, some of the group began talking of the exits and how well they were reinforced, one man coming up with an idea which Dave silently considered to be useless, but harmless and good for morale, being to pile some lawn-food and fertilizer like sand bags against any seemingly weak entrance, some getting behind this idea. Then the same man asks whether anyone has a fire-arm, one woman packing some heat and also divulging of not ever having used it but once on a firing range, they then learning whom can shoot, it being Ollie. Then the crowd began to figure out other make-shift weapons, they all sounding weak if one hadn’t seen the tentacles as Ollie and Dave had. The man with all the good ideas, Dan Miller, catches their aside and gets them alone to speak with them, coming up with another good plan, at least good enough to possibly be a distraction to the tentacles. A couple hours after they’d implemented the bags of fertilizer and what not, they’d posted watchmen at certain spots along with the make-shift torches. Soon Dave has a shift as a sentry with Billy and his son fire-balled multiple unanswerable questions until finally crying and Dave being unable to comfort him in the way he most likely needed: a motherly one. Billy then recognizes a woman whom used to babysit for him and she offers to watch Billy until Dave’s shift is over, both he and Billy agreeing it would be nice, then later someone is arguing about trying to go out, Norton getting loud and trying to get everyone to make room to let them through. One man is still trying to reason with Norton to stop and try to calm down, but he’s gotten it into his head to leave, with only a few others joining him one leaving in the middle of the others protesting.

Dave then gives Norton a package of clothesline, hoping he’d tie it around his waist and then attach it something outside to at least prove he’d gotten to a certain distance, Norton refusing, but one of the others agreeing. When they go out, everything seems to be going smoothly until Dave reaches halfway through the clothesline, soon hearing confirmation to some of the people’s fates. The man whom worked at the grocery since Dave’s preteens was the one to grill up some chicken for everyone in the store, Billy refusing to eat other than going to get a peach upon Dave’s suggestion. Meanwhile the woman who used to babysit Billy requests to watch him for Dave for having something to focus on and being able to stay strong for him. As Mrs. Turman, Billy’s caretaker at the moment had him doing crafts at the back of the store now, Ollie approached Dave with some unsettling news of noticing movement outside and not being the only one. A half hour after, another of the sentries sees something attach itself to the glass and ravingly screams, retreating to the back as others either had gone further back themselves or closer to see what had spooked him, the creature being impish and having suckers to hang onto the glass with and also not being alone, more appearing in varying sizes acting like houseflies, but much more creepy in appearance, being bigger. Dave is the only one to notice another flying creature snatch one of the smaller ones up and eat it, scaring him to the point of he not knowing whether or not he had screamed. Then the situation starts to rev up to panic-mode, people running to the back and at one point trampling an old woman, Dave and Ollie then seeing one man get knocked by one of the plant-food bags as some of the impish bugs began to work their way through cracks in the window. One of them gets in and people see the man whom had fallen was now being perched on by the bug whilst being slowly consumed.

To be clear, the details with which King describes this horror is of perfect pitch and doesn’t reveal much more than necessary, it grabs the reader at the right time and swings one through like the movie should have. Now to get back into it, another of the men does succeed in getting the creature aflame and subsequently burning it to death, but it does bring more terror from everyone regardless of this minor success. Bud Brown brings Dave’s attention to another of the creatures having entered through the cracked window, but before he can do anything an older wiry woman Raid’s the creature which works quite well in ending the creature’s life. Later on, they began re-enforcing some of the barriers with heavier crates filled with fruit, realizing the bird-creatures or the impish ones would have more trouble getting through those, but still not having anything strong enough to keep out the tentacled creature.

People slept fitfully, including Dave, later on we discover he’s noticing an uncomfortable attraction to the woman whom had the gun, Amanda, believing it was most likely caused by the situation they were in, but the feeling not waning. To distract himself, we are told of what career he tried and failed at, then moving on to what had made him his money. Ollie comes to collect Dave, needing to show him something terrible in the back room, being the two soldiers noticed earlier hanging off the ceiling. They consider how the two had hung themselves whilst having their hands tied behind their backs, then Ollie tries to convince Dave to help him hide their bodies, which he succeeds in doing eventually once they figure the Arrowhead Project could have something to do with the fog. When Dave gets back out to where Billy is asleep, Amanda has gone and Mrs. Turman has taken her place staying with Billy, they both still sleeping. Amanda turns up again, though to ask whether Dave would like to go to the office, since it had a lock and no one was currently in it, confronting him about noticing the look he’d had whilst watching her. They do something about it, as well, Dave then joining Dan Miller for a moment upon request, he bringing up some valid points as to what their long term plans involved since they couldn’t stay in the market forever. Dave realized he had a good point, but the man also didn’t have a son to look after.

Dan then brings him to the window to consider why they hadn’t heard any cars getting smashed up when the large creatures had come, theorizing some had either only then disappeared or somehow been “vaporized” during the large crash they’d heard in the market, thinking perhaps the area they inhabited had been separated from the rest of the town since they’d also stopped hearing the town whistle at the same time. Dan also brings up how the pharmacy, which is only next door was also open and why no one from there hadn’t tried to get to the market, wanting to put together a group to go see what happened, then moving on to Mrs. Carmody and how she’s starting to get a following of ladies already and if they stay another night, the possibility of more people considering her strange ideas of sacrificing someone, giving him another reason to leave before anything drastic happens. Dave is then convinced in trying out his drug store expedition idea, planning on getting together again in an hour. Dave informs both Amanda and Mrs. Turman of his plans, then spending some time with Billy before he had to go, he giving him the news last which doesn’t go over well with him. Dave then notices Myron has gone to be with Mrs. Carmody’s other followers, reminding him why he’s going out in to possible danger.

Dave is on his way to leave when Amanda approaches him looking miffed until Dave shares Dan’s theory about Mrs. Carmody, which she accepts and is sure Dave will look out for himself and split if there’s any sign of trouble. Seven people are in the group to go search for the Pharmacy with Dan and Dave. Before leaving, Dan makes an announcement of their plans which included locating medicine for the woman whom got trampled in the bug infestation. After it’s known what they planned to do, Mrs. Carmody opens her fat mouth again and spouts threats of death for anyone who ventures out of the market, but also for those who stayed inside due to the one’s who leave would lead the monsters right to them; Damn woman covers all the bases. Mrs. Carmody is heightening the fervor when someone throws some canned produce at her, successfully getting her to be silent. The moment of paranoia she tried to cause dissipates and the group get on their way, then as Dave begins to lose sight of the two at the forefront, being Ollie and Dan, he begins to think about how close to twenty feet the two must already be when Dan screams an oath and as Dave begins to see what had scared him, he realizes what must have happened to the people in the Pharmacy. King immediately lets the reader know why the people in the market had made it through the night with their lives and the ones in the Pharmacy hadn’t.

Dave would have turned back at this point if he hadn’t promised his son some comics, so goes in after Dan, notices some on the floor at his feet almost immediately and then one of the others begins to examine something black on the floor which Dave then comes to the realization of what had gotten the people in the Pharmacy, advising everyone to get out, then hearing screams coming from outside. Another man was trying to defend himself near the telephone booth, but was wrapped around the leg by a cable looking rope, the man is eventually gotten out of his dire situation, but then Dan gets caught up among hanging threads, like an insect, but frees himself minus a part of his shirt. More of the hanging strings began to fall around them, everyone retreating back to the market. The man who’d been caught at the leg had passed out and another man was lost to the strings, Dave helping Ollie carry the one man, now unconscious. Dan is then caught by one of the strings as well, Dave then sees what was using the strings to catch them. Ollie uses the gun finally and hits the monster, he then confessing to Dave he can let the injured man go, since he was no longer alive. Then they see Dan has been caught again by another of the monster’s and the only woman in their group sprays it with a can of Black Flag, which makes the monster retreat, but not in time to save Dan. Before the three enter the market once more, Dave spears one of the creature’s, javelin-style and once they’ve gotten inside, they describe to everyone what they’d confronted.

After Dave sleeps, he’s approached by the old man who’d offered to grab his shotgun in his truck, speaking of the trouble Mrs. Carmody was brewing and needing to put a stop to it. Unfortunately there was already an altercation between Bud Brown and Myron over Mrs. Carmody’s nonsense so an easy way of dissolving the group seemed improbable. Dave begins to consider the creatures and how they took out their prey, then deciding he needed to speak with Ollie about it. When he finds him and also hears Mrs. Carmody’s rantings, he brings to Ollie’s attention his plan of escape for at least half a dozen of them which he seemed dubious would work, but after Dave figures what others he’d take and where they’d go, Ollie is convinced and they plan an early start the next morning.

By night, Mrs. Carmody had gotten even more followers and by four-fifteen in the morning, Ollie wakes Dave who in succession wakens Amanda and Mrs. Turman to let them in on the plan, both agreeing to come, as well as the woman whom had ventured out with Dave and Ollie before. As Mrs. Carmody is doing her crazy sermonizing still, Ollie is planning out who will sit where in the car when Mrs. Carmody makes her presence known and asks where they thought they were going, dissolving their plan due to her followers blocking both exits and she smashing their rations of food, shouting of sacrifice needing to come from their group. After some of Mrs. Carmody’s followers try to do her bidding, Ollie fires a shot which stops everyone in their tracks, making her followers scatter and leaving Mrs. Carmody to collapse to the floor. Dave and his group then make their way out as planned, but without any food. When Ollie reaches Dave’s car and gets the doors open, he meets his demise by another unknown creature, then Mrs. Turman is taken leaving Amanda and Mrs. Reppler the only others to make it to the car, the old man turning back after seeing what was happening.

Dave then retrieves Amanda’s gun and after letting the car idle awhile, they begin to head back to where Dave’s home is, which doesn’t work out completely as planned, since he’d only been able to get past two of the obstacles in his drive and still had a quarter of a mile to travel, stopping for a while to see if he could figure a way around it, not being successful and coming to terms with having to move on. Well on their way out of town, they come across a couple different creatures, one so tall they couldn’t see the body of it. Dave then mentions how he’s been journaling their progress up to then and describes its end to be Albert Hitchcock-ian. The difference between the movie and story is mostly in the ending since it stayed faithful mostly throughout (recently having seen the black and white version), but whilst it was hilariously evil how they ended the movie, I definitely prefer the story. I enjoyed this read, it was thrilling and whilst not too scary, kept one wondering what could happen next and it will be fun to see the correlation between The Dark Tower series and the next I read which is UR.

The War of the Worlds

I read the copy with the introduction by Ray Bradbury and people’s real reactions to the radio broadcast, which were so wild it’s incredible how prone to hysteria and panic people can be if not susceptible to becoming more informed. Most of those who did listen, missed the preface of it being a dramatization and were too panicked by the play to check with other news stations, also the police weren’t much help because they didn’t have the information necessary and advice to stay indoors and to listen for news broadcasts panicked people more than helped. Although some who heard the broadcast didn’t take it as an alien invasion, they thought “Martian” meant the Japanese or Germans were the threats, something more plausible for their fear. Reporters were angered by the broadcast and  made it seem many had died and committed suicide from the panic; complete bollocks, no one was more injured than those who sustained bruises, to egos as well as physical ones. Welles wasn’t the first to use this broadcasting technique either, but Welles did have a reason for making the broadcast believable, trying to show the public not to take everything they hear as fact; Something which is still a struggle, eh?

One columnist even praised Welles for shining “…a brilliant and cruel light upon the failure of popular education”. I agree, even today, with the rest of her statement being it showed “…the incredible stupidity, lack of nerve, and ignorance of…” in this case, a little over a million people. Those who took the joke hard, obviously don’t get scared often and didn’t like being shown, either to themselves or those who know them, as being weak and ignorant; The saps. Also, H.G. Wells wasn’t happy about being made to believe they weren’t only going to read his book on air, but lost steam when sales for his book increased; Ha! On the sides of the pages for the script of the radio broadcast we have quotes from those who were fooled completely, temporarily and those who didn’t know what to make of it. Some from poor neighborhoods were quoted to panicking at first, but were still able to comprehend it being a play by the end, seemingly because they had nowhere to flee to or being unable to do so in other ways. It seems the lower middle class had a perfect amount of hysteria to make them have more foolish reactions. Welles also suspected some panic from his show, but not to the extent it had; He was 23 when he did this, so no shit, Sherlock; Young and naive, much? Besides, there’s also mini-biographies of both Orson Welles and H.G. Wells, making me want a longer one of Orson, and looking forward to H.G.’s autobiography.

It reads like a science text about outer space and specifically of Mars. Then there’s a first person account of presumably the author being the narrator, unnamed with a well known astronomer. They are looking at and discussing the probability of life on the planet. Then, for 10 nights, flames are seen, believed to be from volcanoes. After the stop of which, life continues to be normal. Then a falling star, “the first” of the events to be seen. Ogilvy, the astronomer, goes to search for it and once discovering the large crash site, awaits for the object to cool. When the surface covering the object began falling off with a severe sound, Ogilvy had a great bout of adrenaline, making him move closer (seemingly a dope). The cylinder began rotating off, Ogilvy not comprehending until seeing, perhaps the dark indentation ridges to indicate movement. Although, most everyone today would know this could mean death or slave-dom, Ogilvy had good ole fashion symptoms of “rescuer” syndrome and began trying to help unscrew the top from the outside; It certainly doesn’t take long to get entertaining. Once he realizes the heat made it impossible for him to get any closer, let alone touch it, he retreats to town.

After bringing his story to a couple unbelieving passersby, he recognizes someone and divulges to the man what he saw, they returning to the site to discover the cylinder open enough for air to enter, but when tapping on the outside with a stick with no response, they conclude death or disorientation of the occupant(s). The men return to town hoping to get more help for the “spacemen”, being unable to do anything more themselves. The news gets the story soon enough with the narrator soon catching wind of it and going to see for himself the area in question. Once arriving, the narrator sees the crowd has gathered and the two men, Ogilvy and Henderson, had gone off to sup at Henderson’s. Later on Ogilvy returns and shares the plan of putting up a fence to deter rubbernecking. Henderson as well as another astronomer had come along and they noticed noises from inside the capsule could still be heard and whether the Narrator would like to see about getting a hold of Lord Hilton who lived in the vicinity. He was told he was in London and expected back at a specific hour later, and so he goes home, relaxing and awaiting Lord Hilton’s arrival at the station to meet up with him there.

We return to the site and more people have come and are being pushed closer to the edge of the crater, one man is pushed in and tries to climb back up again. People are excitedly agitated because the pod has unscrewed at a quicker rate. The lid comes off and we expect to see a creature human-esque, but it isn’t anything close. People aren’t as curious after what they see and begin to run off. When seeing one emerge and the start of another coming out, the Narrator also bolts stumbling towards the first stand of trees, due to being unable to look away from the terror-striking sight. We see the same man whom fell in, still struggling to escape the pit and he almost goes back to help, but fear overrules his fancy as a shriek is heard; Now I understand why this book is a classic. It’s much like a movie in it’s depiction, which I wouldn’t even dare compare to the latest movie, but I may have to look into the first adaptation, praised as being the closest to the original. Anyways, the Narrator is unable to compel himself to flee further, but tries to locate a better vantage point to observe the creatures better.

Soon authorities along with Ogilvy and Henderson wave a white flag, treating the Martians in a way which hopefully shows they respect their intelligence and to prove their own. After, a flame/light bursts forth, after which something comes out of the pit. Meanwhile, we soon learn what the flashes of flame are all about when some of the “white flag” supporters make a hasty retreat. The Narrator sees the fiery destruction of forest and buildings close-by, after which, the silence brings proper fear, a child’s fear and he runs away. We get a death count at the pit and then the spread of how fast the news of what happened could get out to certain surrounding towns. The people in Woking didn’t seem to know the cylinder had even opened, but those who did, made the trek in small groups to have their own look-see, which also brought out some police officers trying to keep the larger growing group, back, inciting the thoughtless group mentality to take over some in the usual noise-rowdy way. Those others who escaped to be able to mention the tale of those first at the pit, had similar descriptions to the Narrator’s in it was dealt and accompanied by bright light.

The second group of onlookers fared no better. The policeman on horse-back returned screaming, meanwhile the Narrator flees, clumsily in his own opinion, through trees until making it to the Horsell crossroads and continues along the path, until collapsing from physical and mental exhaustion. Upon regaining his sense, he didn’t know whether what he had lived through had happened and was confused by waking in his current whereabouts. He walked on in a drunkenly manner across the bridge and introspectively thought of his own dissociation at certain moments, this being one of them. When he arrives at the train-station, he asks some people if they’ve heard any “news from the common”, to which they had none, taking the news of “men from Mars” lightly. He tries to explain his traumatizing experience brokenly and not making it understood, getting laughed at for his trouble, so he makes his way home and shares the tale with his wife. She takes his story more seriously to the point of his comforting her by describing the aliens as barely able to move from the pit. After which, to comfort himself and his wife he speaks of the differing gravitational and oxygen levels which would affect the Martians unfavorably; he also realizes his error of this later. He concludes the chapter with his informing us of this meal with his wife being the last normal one for many days.

They reach their destination and if not having to return the horse, he knew his wife would have rather he stayed, and he regrets not doing so, but he was also excited to go back and see the Martians overthrown. He makes his way back, late and by a different route. Upon reaching Addlestone, a third falling star is seen, followed by a quick succession of lightning flashes, scaring the horse. He soon sees a giant machine walking in his general direction, and then a second one coming out from the trees in front of him, its path going straight at him. Trying to make a quick get away which only ends with the horse being pushed over by the cart and the Narrator falling out. The horse seriously injured, the Narrator watches the machine walk past and to another area, leaving him there to join other machines, he looks on and believes they were gathered around one of the many cylinders shot from Mars. He continues to Maybury, trying to take shelter in a hut and failing to get inside for no one answering the door. He speaks on as if he would have chosen differently in regards to his movements if he hadn’t run into these strange happenings, but he ended up with the idea of staying at his home once reaching it, but before getting there, runs into another man, who hurried away upon running into him and then noticing someone he knew lying in a ditch, dead.

He reaches his home not long after and tries to recover emotionally and due to the hail and rain, physically. After taking a moment to clean himself up, he goes to the window in his study and spies the damage from the fires and Martian shapes busily moving around. He thought of the possibilities of what the machines held inside of them or if they worked autonomously, when he sees a soldier going over the fence to his yard and he welcomes him in for a safe-haven. He tries to withdraw information from him, getting repeated vague-ry in reply, only learning the Martians had overcome the troops. The young soldier soon regains enough of his wits to confess what happened to him, also learning how the large machines started up and began delivering damage; quite entertainingly. Soon dawn has almost arrived and the Narrator and soldier survey the surroundings from his study window. The Martians seemed to have widened the pit, making it the main “working” space. When dawn does come, the two men agree their current quarters isn’t safe and whilst the soldier planned on heading London-ward, the Narrator planned to rejoin his wife, but agreed to accompany the soldier in a safer route until parting to go to their collective destinations. They run into a Lieutenant on a horse and the soldier informs him, when asked, what the Martians looked like. After giving the Lieutenant directions to get a look at them himself, they go on to Weybridge. They get there and move to the point of where the Wey and the Thames converge and this is where the Martians show their force again. The Narrator came up with the idea of detecting safety underwater.

This is where the real action begins as the Narrator and citizens take cover from Martian violence. When he surfaces, he sees one machine-clad Martian ignore the running people around it and make its way to the opposite shore to Shepperton. We are told other action with the Martians could have been occurring simultaneously, but the Narrator chose to focus on the nearest, understandably. As the Martian gets back on land, it is fired upon and we soon perceive although the Martians control these machines, however temporarily, the machines are capable of independent piloting, continuing to bring damage upon a church nearby before finally falling. Whilst the Narrator tries to get a better view of the collapsing one, he is warned of the other Martians coming across to Shepperton where the volley continues this time with assurance at the new targets. Since the Narrator thought it safer being submerged, ducking again for cover. When he rises once more, he observes two Martians inspecting the felled one. One’s heat-ray goes off bringing a tidal wave of destruction to the surrounding area as well as an actual tidal wave, leaving the Narrator to stagger away, burned but able to escape and see the Martians take the remains of the fallen back with them; this would definitely be one of the more action-event-filled chapters. The Martians learned how to deal with the British military after this and so the Narrator goes on by boat toward London. He gets extremely dehydrated on his journey and is met by a curate whom he had repeatedly asked for water. The curate kept bemoaning the rubble which used to be his church and what had they done to have this destruction befall them. Soon the Narrator realizes the curate is in a state of fear which won’t allow him to answer to their whereabouts and only to the state of their well-being, to which the Narrator tries to make reasonable theory and losing the curate to his fear halfway through.

We distinguish at this moment in time the Narrator has a brother in London at medical school and when his class hears the news about the Martians and his brother realizes how close the Narrator was, he telegraphed him, which doesn’t reach him, with news he’d be visiting him and stayed over night in a music hall. From there his brother made it as far as the Waterloo station, unable to get a train the rest of the way and trying to get news of the Martians as it came, which wasn’t much. After some time, the station was being cleared out and his brother was able to buy a paper with the information of how dangerous the Martians actually were. After, his brother returns to London and not long after going to bed hears a commotion and a policeman shouting the Martians have come. He sees through his window people leaving quickly by carriage and such. He dresses and goes down to the street getting a paper and describing the poison gas the Martians have and having the situation looking dire-lessly serious. He gathers some light possessions of import and leaves with the rest.

Whilst the Narrator’s brother is watching people run across Westminster Bridge, the curate is still talking crazy and the Martians are still working in the pit until fairly early in the night. Three ventured out by 8 and were heard by the Narrator and curate, one of the Martians took out those in Painshill Park, but soldiers in another area fared better; I’m starting to understand due to the close geography written, one would be better off with a map of Britain or know the area well due to Wells being quite specific. The second bunch we see, takes down the Martian and the fallen one lets another, by a “howling” communication, know of his need for backup. When the Martian’s call was answered, the table’s turned yet again in favor of the Martians. Three had gathered and the one which fell began repairing the machine the Martian operated. When rockets fired, two Martian “fighting machines” passed close enough to be seen by the curate and himself. As the curate ran off, the Narrator knew better and found a hiding spot close by, which the curate, after seeing him, followed suit.

The Martians quietly set up their attack. They both heard gunshots from varying distances and then the Martian near them fired which made the Narrator forget his safety in preference of a better view, which brought no excitement or events, keeping everyone in suspense. The Martian by them moves on and the Narrator and curate do the same, seeing a protrusion of a hill which wasn’t there before, meanwhile they hear the “hooting” of the Martians communicating to each other. Soon the Martians start firing poisonous gas again as well as another element unidentified for the moment. In some cases the Martians would dissipate the gas once the effects served its purpose and they became increasingly careful whenever they were leery of return gunfire, bringing out their Heat-Ray, which they used sparingly for reasons only theorized. The “battle” continued and the Martians stayed strong, delivering consistent blows to the soldiers, leaving many wounded and civilian spectators still accounted for during it all. The gas is more prevalent, taking out the soldiers which by dawn the government is on its last leg and advising those still holding out for victory the reality of needing to flee.

By Monday, due to people frantically trying to get out, the police became over-worked and frustrated ending up inflicting some brutality of their own. A Martian appeared halfway through the day and with it poisonous gas blocked escape over the bridges of the Thames and Lambeth. We then learn how the Narrator’s brother’s escape was going; turning out to be going better than most, making it to Edgware. Upon resting up, he moves on presumably getting to a town he knew some friends lived in, which seems a long shot they’d still even be there what with everything, but oh well. Anyways, on his travels he joins up with two ladies in time for an impromptu rescue. A few men, thinking they could overpower the women stopped their horse and buggy and whilst one was terror-stricken, the other tried to defend herself. His brother, a trained fighter, gets the troublemakers attention well enough and as the women make a get away and his brother, after laying out one man, tries to follow them as one of the other bullies had defended himself against his brother better than the first, chased after him, the ladies realized their rescuer was in need of their assistance and the dark-haired lady brings out a concealed fire-arm she hadn’t been able to get to during their attack.

After properly scaring off one, making them both retreat to where the knocked out one lay. The three continue on toward Barnet and getting closer, come upon more people, his brother gathering as much broken information as he could. Soon they get rushed by a crowd of people trying to go past them seemingly caused by a fire burning a villa making a smoke which brought confusion to the people trying to leave. We get more closer descriptions of the people trying to escape as the cry of the Martians coming continue. The violence of escape gets worse as the fear grows, the Narrator’s brother trying to help anyone close to him. After realizing the futile-ness of his actions, he decides to retreat with his main group back the way they came, but soon realizes the road ahead is their only option and drives them back into the frenzied crowd. They reach somewhere near East Barnet and rest for the night, but unable to truly be at ease for hunger and anxiety. They also periodically see people rushing past them in the direction they’d come.

The Narrator reiterates the terror-ed mass of people seen by his brother and how nothing could have rivaled its suffered stampede. There was news of the Martians controlling London at this point and how governor officials planned on using a high volume of explosives in mines; I don’t know how mines were supposed to deter the Martians but, only just. The Narrator also is sure to mention each falling star which is seen by his brother and Miss Elphinstone, alternately. We continue to follow them as they try to reach the coast, foregoing food to close the distance instead. Near Tillingham, they are able to view the coast and are greeted with a sight of many freighters and ships letting off and bringing on people from the shore. Miss Elphinstone is now becoming anxious and panic-stricken with the idea of leaving England, especially without her husband, hoping to turn around and spot him “at Stanmore”. The two convince her to board with them upon noticing a steamer which would have them and even shared a meal, once settled. The captain stayed at shore as long as he could to gather as many passengers until well beyond capacity when gunfire was heard. Soon after, they see a Martian in the distance seemingly to mosey along. The one seemed to be heading for the steamer and then another is seen doing the same. By the end, there are three Martians in the water, releasing black smoke and another using the Heat-Ray underwater, damaging a ship. Then a Martian was taken out and not long after another goes with it and although this seemed like a score for humanity, since the third Martian was also missing, the ship it had aimed for was now nowhere to be seen. The captain of their vessel is the first to point out a grey object swiftly rising into the sky and when it reached its height of flight, moved away from them, bringing darkness to the earth.

Upon the start of Book II, we switch back to the Narrator and curate’s whereabouts, which was an abandoned house in Halliford to escape Black Smoke. The Narrator had begun to tire of the curate’s repetitious “woe-is-me” moaning and began retreating to room’s out of the curate’s reach, ending in a box-room. The Narrator was planning on continuing alone since the curate seemed keen on staying, but changed his addled mind when he realized the Narrator was going to leave regardless. They didn’t run in to anything consequential, other than people in Twickenham and didn’t run into Martians until closer to Barnes. He and the curate hid for a few moments and Narrator ditched him again when he didn’t seem ready to move on, the curate comes after him once he begins to make his way to a road towards Kew, which wasn’t the best decision, seeing another or possibly the same Martian collecting Humans running away. Narrator and curate hide in a ditch, well into the night, resuming their hike more stealthily. When the curate starts feeling faint they break into a couple homes, staying in the latter one for some time in Mortlake. This time the curate is the one whom wants to make a hasty continuation of journey, but Narrator decides the opposite and we are then told why they get stranded there. A large impact hit the house, knocking out the Narrator and the curate sustaining a cut head. He updates the Narrator on their situation, believing Martians to be within radius and so keeping themselves still and quiet until light, the Narrator wondering if a Martian had knocked into the house, realizing upon the dawn it was one of the cylinders, after which they rest until the Narrator wakes again and is moved to hunt for food, once doing so, being followed by the curate.

After, they go back to the scullery and the Narrator loses the curate’s whereabouts for probably nodding off, but notices him against the hole which looked out upon the Martians, causing the curate to jump and causing some noise which they anxiously await to learn whether it was noticed. Instead it goes on to describe what the Martians were doing inside the cylinder. We then get a more detailed description of the Martians appearance which leads into the start of how they took blood from living creatures, which they had brought with them on their trip to Earth, the species obviously not surviving the trip. We also are given three other differences between the anatomy of their species to ours. The Narrator mentions, despite a pamphlet written by someone who may not have ever even seen a Martian, supposed they communicated by sound and tentacle movements, but the Narrator alludes to not being the case. Also covering what their hooting sound signified. He does finally give his opinion of how they communicate, which at first he had trouble believing and by the end of the chapter, describes what the methodical rhythmic noise had been coming from.

The Narrator and the curate stayed hidden and fought for purchase to seeing the activities of the Martians. The Narrator soon locates the curate a weak individual who is selfish and ignorant, the sort which would drive anyone mad in a crisis situation; eating too much of their small supply of food and sleeping little, leaving him as scatter-brained as how some discriminative comments about females are described. The Narrator notes they had decided to stay as long as the Martians would go about their work, for it was unsafe to try and escape without notice any sooner. What the Narrator spied was not as interesting as what the curate would see, the former being of more Martians going about their tasks whilst the latter saw the first men brought to the pit. The man was middle-aged and only seen for a moment by the Narrator, but it brought curiosity with his presence. The Narrator was then contemplating escape by digging, but it failed and after seeing a horrible sight, he begins to feel despair yet again. The Narrator found many of the Martians had deserted the site, but for a few and also heard what sounded like gunshot report which ended an apparently beautiful-looking evening.

The next chapter begins with how the Narrator and the curate had been accustoming themselves to the companionship between them, which wasn’t an idyllic one. The Narrator had to keep fighting with the curate to not eat all their rations all at once, he complaining and trying to sneak food or drink. They had been there for six days now and the Narrator now confirmed he was stuck with a man whom had lost his marbles. The curate soon didn’t abide keeping his voice at a whisper, speaking in normal tones and repeating the same ramblings to himself or the Narrator and would digress into how the Narrator was treating him by withholding food, soon becoming a threat to their safety. So the Narrator, due to the curate’s resolve in shouting and planning to give away their hiding place by walking straight into the lion’s den, as it were, hits the curate with the butt of a blade he’d found, the curate lying still. It was still enough to bring a handling-machine to investigate. The Narrator flees in terror and wonders whether the machine had noticed him, only fascinated by how it had made its way into the room, but still trying to detect a place to hide. The Martian comes to his hiding place and the Narrator stays hidden and undiscovered, but apparently quite close to being uncovered, at the end of his rope from paranoia. He stayed in his hiding place until day eleven, ending the chapter.

Later, when the Narrator checked the pantry after the Martian had been through it the day before, it had cleaned out all the food and so he didn’t eat for the next two days, starting to despair. A few days after, being able to discover rain water to drink at least, he also noticing a dog in the kitchen, hoping for the pup to get closer so he could kill and eat him, but also so the dog wouldn’t make any unwanted noise to draw attention. The dog didn’t come any nearer though and nothing was attracted by it’s minimal noise. After gathering courage to look out and see if he could spot any Martians and observing the place was deserted, he resolves only after a short time of hesitation to get the hell out of there. When he begins his walking about, he’s dazzled by the light and seems refreshed and heartened at the still beautiful and quiet nature about him.

He begins to feel how the human race dominated the planet which turned into feeling more like the animals which live on our planet now, the fear of being found and attacked, but soon the knowledge Humans were no longer top dog waned and he focused on detecting food, which he does in a garden, uncovering an assortment of veggies. He also continually notices the new red plants which have sprouted everywhere and how they consumed all the large bodies of water where they were. Meanwhile he makes his way farther from the pit, but he also reports how the red weeds eventually die out. He eventually begins seeing more skeletons as he got to Roehampton which made him believe the Martians take-over must be pretty much complete, thinking they may have gone elsewhere to explore for more “food”. Upon reaching Putney Hill, he breaks into an Inn and scrounges enough food to take with him when he decided to leave, but stays the night and tries to sleep in a bed, which he hadn’t done for some time now. Instead of being able to finally sleep though, he thinks over what had been done to the curate, where the Martians were and what had become of his wife, praying properly for the first time in awhile, until finally setting out again at morning.

When he reaches Wimbledon Common, he runs into a solitary man, whom at first he doesn’t realize he knows, but soon they both recognize each other and the Narrator is able to get information on where the Martians have gone, which is across London where it seems they’re learning to fly. Soon the artilleryman confides to the Narrator his plan of survival and his view of what the Martians had in mind for their species. The artilleryman goes into great detail of his idea on how to keep the Human race going and it seems reasonable enough, once he explains it to the Narrator, but upon starting to help upon the work the artilleryman had started from the home he had chosen to connect to the drains underground in London, he began to realize they might have started in an easier way, but was also glad to be doing something useful after his sojourn in the house with the curate. Soon after staying with the artilleryman long enough though, he begins to realize the artilleryman might not know and has built some beliefs upon theories rather than facts of what was actually going on around them and where the Martians actually were, leaving the Narrator ready to travel to London to learn what was truly going on.

When he reaches London, it’s pretty well eradicated with dead everywhere and some being disturbed by dogs. Soon he begins hearing a repetitive cry of, “Ulla, Ulla…” and not worrying about it at first, looked for food and slept somewhere indoors, being awoken by the same sound. He eventually realizes it’s a lone Martian making the cry, but isn’t afraid and continues on his trek toward the howling alien. He sees more Martians, but they are still and eventually the howling abruptly stops. We then see what realization the Narrator had figured out, whilst men couldn’t overthrow the Martians, because they were more powerful, our planet had. We then see the Narrator had gone properly nuts for a few days after the overthrow was known to the world and taken in by a kindly family who watched after him until he’d regained some sense. The family lets him know what happened to Leatherhead after he’d left it and after four more days of recovery leaves the family with promises of returning after he eased his mind of seeing what had become of his old life and home. On his way back he had bought a paper claiming it was found out how the Martians had learned to fly. He continues on his journey back, going by train and then recognizing his home was as he and the artilleryman had left it, but then once he believed he was alone, he saw his wife and cousin outside.

He concludes by mentioning his belief the Martians not necessarily planning a second attack being out of the question and should be prepared. It was one of the oddest and scientifically intellectual representations of alien invasion I’ve read so far. As for the Orson Welles version, it’s definitely in a league of it’s own, taking the best bits of the story and changing little for American sensibilities. I can imagine people being totally fooled by this if they hadn’t read the story, which seems likely with those who listened to their radios at this time, but I would doubt it’s realism if I was made to believe this was happening on the radio, of course there are now ways of verifying this sort of information, but for arguments sake, it is far-fetched, regardless of the amount of times they let people know of it’s fictional representation due to being too caught up with the dread of its possibility to wait and hear the intermission and mention of it being a story. The second representation taking place this time in Buffalo, New York seemed as far-fetched, but scared the bejesus out of everyone again, ha-ha. I’ll be interested in seeing how Wells’ writing developed due to next beginning The Time Machine.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Stories

jekyllandhyde

Due to reading R.L.S.’s Treasure Island, I finally got around to reading another one of his classics: “Jekyll and Hyde”, while the story was a bit interesting, I didn’t start liking it until the last couple chapters, which doesn’t make it one of the best stories, but wasn’t a complete waste of time.

As for the second story in this collection, “A Lodging For the Night” I thought it was a pretty compelling one. Starts off with a nice bit of action, but then slows down due to the main character actually trying to locate lodging for the night. By the end it seemed slightly anti-climactic, but overall was worth the effort.

It seems the stories get better as they go; the third in line is “The Suicide Club”. (At first I thought it was going to be another bland story, but to my delight it was actually pretty bad ass.) Three stories which revolve around a prince and his lieutenant and how they get involved in a secret society and the multiple deaths which occur. Not too shabby.

The next story, “Thrawn Janet”, I couldn’t understand because it was written in a Scottish dialect which had gone far beyond my understanding. All I could make out for certain is Janet was dead.

“The Body-Snatcher” was infinitely more captivating than mostly all the rest of the stories in this collection. It was even easier to read than Jekyll and Hyde and quite satisfying.

The last story, “Markheim”, I believe beats them all in the absorbing factor. He murders this shop owner and he sees a man in the store afterwards and they talk about if he’ll continue his evil ways or not. It was good.

Overall, worth the effort. I definitely preferred these bunch to Treasure Island hands down.