Chapter 27: The Taking of Toast in my Living Room
That morning, I awoke on my sofa. It had been three days since the cylinders had landed from Mars. I went to my window, and saw the hill where the Post Office stood, where one could buy envelopes in three colours and five sizes, although they had never stocked an A4 envelope in pink, for no reason I could fathom. Through the valley north of the hill runs a small stream, often teeming with fish, which played no part in the events surrounding the Martian invasion.
The Post Office was gone now, as was much of the village it had served, destroyed, I presumed, by the Martians during the night. My presumption is necessitated by the deep but fitful sleep I had taken, which prevented me from observing the methods used by the invaders, nor whether any man, woman or child escaped from the village unharmed. Indeed, the destruction may have been caused by a runaway house fire. Nevertheless, that afternoon, as I took toast (three slices, lightly buttered, golden brown, with no marmalade as only that encompassing detestable strips of zest remained) in the living room, a large cuboid space within my home, wherein a three-piece suite and several small cushions with a floral design are kept, a platoon of soldiers, attracted by the light of my home, came knocking at my door.
“What is your name?” asked one.
“Are you here about the men from Mars?” I replied, needlessly evading the straightforward question. “I’m afraid I know little of them.”
“What is your name?” the soldier repeated.
“They are giant brutes, and ugly. Think of them as a milking stool, but from Mars, and armed with a heat ray of unknown design, and instead of a milking stool there is an alien marching machine.”
“What is your name?”
“I am sorry, I am tired,” I explained, and retired to my living room to finish my toast. The soldiers marched off with a view to destroy the alien interlopers, however I did not follow them and do not know what became of them, nor did I speak with them for long enough to establish their character.
As I re-entered the living room, I noticed that another window had been smashed during the night, leaving six thousand, four hundred and nine shards of glass on my carpet, I later counted, instead of making any attempt to discover the source of the village’s destruction or the fate of my erstwhile interlocutor. I resolved that later that day I would run away from this place, to another small village of no consequence, which I could describe to you exactly without hindrance from Mars, nor being troubled by any unwanted learnings about the Martians’ ways, looks or number. I was poised to set off immediately, but instead I told myself I would have another night at my own abode, including several more rounds of toast, which I shall describe in equal or greater detail in the coming chapters.
I learned, much later, that the Martians had been repelled back to their own wandering point of light in the East sky, by human agents unknown. So relieved would I be by this news that any desire for clarification or details was quashed. But I did not know that as I began my rest, nor as I set off on my long, repetitive, and ultimately pointless journey.