The faces of my companions remained stony for the entire length of the drive. Perhaps it was fear; more likely, it was the crushing force of irony that cut their words at the bud. I sped down Dexter Avenue with a renewed sense of danger. The whirling, ghoulish flames engulfed many of the stores on the street, and for once the gangs of young people had disbanded and taken shelter in the side streets. This, of course, is retrospection. In the moment my singular motivation was to reach the freeway. To my dismay, a great many automobile drivers had already taken the initiative of evacuating to its asphalt entrance, which stands today as a memorial commemorating the War of the Worlds. I decided instead to take a detour through Grand River Avenue, saving myself and my friends the need for immediate obituary. That part would come.
The first star fell at 2:36. There was an ear-piercing cracking noise, followed by an explosion of putrid green light. “Must be all the garbage-” Otto started, before the spontaneous combustion of every house on the opposite side of the street forced him into silence. I swerved the car into the parking lot of a nearby McDonalds, where a crowd of people suddenly emerged screaming from inside the restaurant; across from us, some of the luckier residents piled onto the street. Here is the breaking point, where the reality of things collapsed into utter chaos. Detroit’s desolate slums have always been said to resemble war zones, and with a backdrop of flaming buildings and the echoing screams of their entrapped inhabitants, in the madness of post Martian landfall it truly became one. Bullets were fired sporadically from the packs of moving people; one grazed the top of Hendrickson’s head, inspiring my hasty getaway.