The War of the Worlds

by Sue Johnson


Nobody believed me when I told them about the strange lights in the sky. Dad didn’t even glance up from his newspaper, Mum was busy ironing and watching the latest episode of ‘East Enders’, and Matthew was welded to his PS4 as usual.

“They’re coming,” I said, trying to keep the panic out of my voice. “You can see them. Everyone’s up on the top of Wildmoor Hill – even old Mrs Stanley. Charlie Cooper says he’s going to pick everyone up on the school bus and take us to an underground shelter he knows about from the war.”

“Sounds like Charlie’s been on the pop again, Jane,” said Dad, folding up his newspaper. He jabbed at the paper with a podgy forefinger. “It says in here that the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one. All anyone round here wants to do is scare-monger.”

A beam of light flashed past the window, filling the room with sparkling whiteness that made my teeth and eyes ache. It bounced off the ground outside the window and flashed back up into the meteor-ridden sky.

“Those youngsters with their headlights!” said Mum folding up the last piece of ironing.

“It wasn’t anyone in a car…” I started to say, but nobody was listening.

For a moment, there was silence apart from the TV that nobody was listening to, but that now had strange pictures and coded messages flashing across its screen. A feeling like an electrical charge pulsed through the room.

“There’s a storm coming,” said Mum.

“It’s not a storm – its aliens,” I shouted. “Why won’t anyone listen?”

The patch of sky I could see was an angry red and crammed with flying saucers and shooting stars. The ground juddered as they landed, sending shock waves vibrating under my feet. I crouched on the floor under the table, hoping it would give me some protection. The air around me smelled scorched. Nobody else appeared to notice anything. Dad was doing a crossword, Mum was talking on the phone to her friend Polly. Matthew was still on his PS4.

I wished I’d stayed on the top of Wildmoor Hill with the other villagers. I’d be on Charlie’s bus by now instead of facing an uncertain future.

The doorbell rang, the sound unusually wild and jagged.

“That’ll be the gas man,” said Mum. “Let him in will you, Jane?”

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