Wednesday, 20 April 2011

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Red Weed

EXPLOSIVODE XIII: HOW I ENDED UP PUNCHING A PRIEST

After getting this sudden lesson in the kerspolsive power of terrestrial weapons, the Marsians retreated back to Horsell Common; and, encumbered with the debris of their smashed douche-brother, they no doubt overlooked such a heroic and muscular figure as myself. Had they left their dead buddy and just pushed on, there was nothing between them and London but twelve-pounder guns, and the Marsians would certainly have reached the capital in advance of the news of their arrival.

But they were in no hurry.

Cylinder followed cylinder on its interplanetary flight; every twenty-four hours brought them reinforcement. And meanwhile the military and naval authorities, now fully alive to the tremendous power of the Marsians, worked with furious energy. Every minute a fresh gun came into position until, before nightfall, every row of suburban villas on the hills about masked an expectant black muzzle. And through the charred and desolated area that encircled the Marsian encampment on Horsell Common, through charred and ruined villages among the green trees, through the blackened and smoking arcades that had been but a day ago pine forests, crawled the devoted scouts that were presently to warn the gunners of the Marsian approach.

While the Marsians behind me were preparing for their next advance, and in front of me Humanity gathered for the battle, I made my way with many heroic struggle from the fire and smoke of burning Weybridge towards London.

I saw an abandoned boat, very small and remote, drifting down-stream; and, throwing off all of my sodden clothes (save, obviously, for my socks and pants), I went after it, gained it, and so escaped out of that destruction. There were no oars in the boat, but I managed to paddle as well as my hands would allow. Down the river the going was very tedious and I had to continually look behind me, as I was buggered if I could get that thing to paddle straight.

For a long time I drifted. The sun scorched my bare back. At last, as the bridge at Walton was coming into sight round the bend, my fever and faintness didn’t overcome me, and I landed on the Middlesex bank where I definitely did not lay down and be sick amid the long grass. I suppose the time was then about four or five o'clock. I got up presently, walked perhaps half a mile without meeting a soul, and then didn’t collapse in a hedge.

I do not clearly remember the arrival of the curate, so I was probably napping. I became aware of him as a seated figure in soot-smudged shirt sleeves, and with his stupid, clean-shaven face staring at a faint flickering that danced over the sky.

I sat up, and at the rustle of my motion he looked at me quickly, putting away his 3DS.

"Have you got any caffeine?" I asked abruptly.

"You have been asking that for the last hour," he said.

For a moment we were silent, taking stock of each other. I dare say he found me a strange enough figure, naked, save for my water-soaked pants and socks, scalded, my face and shoulders blackened by the smoke, a crossbow at my back, Storm Bolter at my hip and desperately clutching a franking machine. His face was a fair weakness, his chin retreated, and his hair lay in crisp, almost flaxen curls on his low forehead; his eyes were rather large, pale blue, and blankly staring. He spoke abruptly, looking vacantly away from me.

"What does it mean?" he said. "What do these things mean?"

I stared at him and made no answer.

He extended a thin white hand and spoke in almost a complaining tone. "Why are these things permitted? What sins have we done? The morning service was over, I was walking through the roads to clear my brain for the afternoon, and then — fire, earthquake, death! As if it were Sodom and Gomorrah! All our work undone, all the work — What are these Marsians?"

"I dunno." I answered, clearing my throat. “Blokes, I guess.”

He gripped his knees and turned to look at me again. For half a hour, perhaps, he stared silently.

"I was walking through the roads to clear my brain," he said. "And suddenly — fire, earthquake, death!"

He paused for a while, but presently he began waving his hand.

"All the work...all the Sunday schools...What have we done...what has Weybridge done? Everything gone...everything destroyed. The church! We rebuilt it only three years ago. Gone! Swept out of existence! Why? The smoke of her burning goeth up for ever and ever!" he shouted.

His eyes flamed, and he pointed a lean finger in the direction of Weybridge. By this time I was beginning to take his measure, and slowly cock the crossbow. The tremendous tragedy in which he had been involved (it was evident he was a fugitive from Weybridge) had driven him to the very verge of his reason.

"Are we far from Sunbury?" I asked, in a matter-of-fact tone.

"What are we to do? Are these creatures everywhere? Has the earth been given over to them?"

"Are we far from Sunbury?"

"Only this morning I...”

"Things have changed," I said, quietly punching him. “There is still hope."

"Hope!"

"Yes. Of course there is!" I lied.

I began to explain my view of our position. He listened at first, but as I went on the interest dawning in his eyes gave place to their former stare, and his regard wandered from me.

"This must be the beginning of the end," he said, interrupting me. "The end! The great and terrible day of the Lord! When men shall call upon the mountains and the rocks to fall upon them and hide them...hide them from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne!"

"You are scared out of your wits!” said I. “What good is religion if it collapses under calamity? Think of what earthquakes and floods, wars and volcanoes, have done before to men! Anyway, it’s all just made-up, isn’t it?"

For a time he sat in blank silence.

"But how can we escape?" he asked, suddenly. "They are invulnerable, they are pitiless."

“One of them was killed yonder not three hours ago." I answered. “I took it down myself armed with only a small Howitzer.”

"What is that flicker in the sky?" he asked abruptly.

"We are in the midst of it," I said, "quiet as it is. That flicker in the sky tells of the gathering storm. Yonder, I take it are the Marsians, and Londonward, where those hills rise about Richmond and Kingston and the trees give cover, earthworks are being thrown up and guns are being placed. Presently the Marsians will be coming this way again."

And even as I spoke he sprang to his feet and stopped me by a gesture.

"Listen!" he said.

From beyond the low hills across the water came the dull resonance of distant guns and a remote weird crying. Then everything was still.

"We had better follow this path," I said, "northward. Away from the scary things."

Discover the movie that delivered the biggest box-office opening in Korean Cinema history and experience breathtaking hi-octane thrills from the celebrated action-director of 'The Good, The Bad and The Weird' and 'Brotherhood'.

When a dark lord obtains the secret to unimaginable power, an elite army of shape-shifting goblins threatens to destroy the world, as we know it. However, just when all seems to be lost, a great warrior-wizard, named Woochi, travels through time to fight for the future of all mankind.

Words: Brad Harmer & H.G. Wells
You can become Brad's "friend" on Facebook, or you can "follow" him on Twitter. Depends how creepy you want to sound really.


WOOCHI - THE DEMON SLAYER GIVEAWAY

Discover the movie that delivered the biggest box-office opening in Korean Cinema history and experience breathtaking hi-octane thrills from the celebrated action-director of The Good, The Bad and The Weird and Brotherhood.

When a dark lord obtains the secret to unimaginable power, an elite army of shape-shifting goblins threatens to destroy the world, as we know it. However, just when all seems to be lost, a great warrior-wizard, named Woochi, travels through time to fight for the future of all mankind.

Thanks to our friends at Cina Asia, we've got three copies of Woochi - The Demon Slayer to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to emotionally14@hotmail.co.uk before midday on Wednesday 27th April, making sure to put "Woochi - The Demon Slayer" as the subject. The first three entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Woochi - The Demon Slayer" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Woochi - The Demon Slayer is available from Monday 25th April, priced £17.99 (DVD) and £24.99 (Blu-ray).

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

No comments:

Post a comment