Author's Note: I saw War of the Worlds last night and, wow, was it totally amazing. The ending was a little too neatly wrapped, though, so I decided to make an alternate ending/sequel (maybe).
Oh, and special thanks to Jack E. Peace, who made me post this again ;)
Warnings: Spoilers, implied character death(s), language
Disclaimer: H.G. Wells owns the plot, Steven Spielberg owns the characters, The Beach Boys own themselves (I think) and I own Robbie (I wish! God, he's so much hotter than Tom Cruise… um, anyway…).
"Bones sinking like stones
All that we've fought for
Homes, places we've grown
All of us are done for."
—Coldplay, 'Don't Panic'
Ray Ferrier gazed upon his final destination, a decimated Boston Massachusetts, with a pessimist's eyes, and it was difficult not to. Columns of smoke churned from above the ruins, making the overcast day seem even more clouded. This was it? They'd been carjacked by the masses, seen far more horrifying sights than any human being should be forced to fix their eyes upon, fuck, he'd even killed a man; he and his children—child—had been through far more than Hell to get to this point, and it seemed all for naught. The carpet of the sprawling crimson 'fertilizer' softened the highway on Ray and his daughter's feet, but it served as a reminder of the previous night all too well. Cines of it had even crawled up the green sign before them, slightly obscuring the 'City of Boston'. He had wanted to turn away, but denying Rachel any hope that her mother and stepfather and grandparents were still alive would probably tear the little ten-year-old apart, even more so than whatever fate laid in the direction towards Boston.
In the distant city, he could see movement amongst the skyscrapers, and his panging heart sunk into his shoes. Rachel obviously saw the tripods too, since she'd tightened the grip on his arm and whimpered almost inaudibly. The mass exodus of refugees and soldiers reluctantly marched on, in spite of the city razed to the ground before them, and the peril that lay with it.
By the time their feet laced the city, the emigration had broken up to hide in the shadows and to not appear too conspicuous, and Ray and Rachel were now on their own. He remembered where Mary Ann's parents had lived, but it was hard to navigate with street signs obliterated and landmarks reduced to a point where they got lost a lot more than once. Passing an old warehouse, a familiar siren blasted through the air, confirming the presence of the tripods. The open street revealed a blinding beam coming from the eye-like lens in the front of a vehicle, reducing a steeple on a church to a crumbling torrent of brick. Rachel's azure eyes fixed on this sight as if she were under hypnosis. "Hey, hot girl," Ray urged, almost sounding as if he were trying to make a joke of it, tugging Rachel to the opposite side of the vacant downtown street. She was still staring behind her, until Ray turned her head to face him, and then kneeled to her eye level. "W have to keep moving…" she was still unresponsive. "Dammit, Rachel, talk to me!"
"Dad," she whispered. "It's—unfair. To come this far, to get this close… without," she chopped her sentence short, trying to force the next word out without crying hysterically. "Robbie." Rachel threw herself at her father, letting her reserved emotions go.
Ray stood up, holding her tiny, fragile little body against his chest, and rubbing her back a little. "She's my little deuce coupe, you don't know what I got…" he sang under his breath, and Rachel offered an awkward, teary smile.
Crisp, blackened leaves swirled in mini-tornadoes at the intersection in front of Mary Ann's—well, technically just her parents'—house. The breeze picked up even more now, tossing the dead foliage in Rachel's tousled blonde hair. Still clinging to Ray for dear life, she shifted a little towards the old brick home, leaping out of her father's arms and running like she'd never ran before, flying up the steps and nearly crashing into the door with excitement. The door was already unlocked, and Rachel used all of her might to shove it away from her path. Ray could hear her shriek from his place outside. "ROBBIE!"
At first, he'd thought his mind had deceived him, but upon further investigation (he'd sprinted up the steps, following her), Rachel's words proved true. There was Robbie, but he didn't look too happy to see them. Rachel was sticking to Robbie's frayed and slightly incinerated clothing, and Ray noticed a shiny, pink discoloration from his son's neck to a few inches below his wide eyes. His face had been burned. "Rae," he said, acknowledging his sister's hug, then added, "Dad."
"Robbie—where's Mom and Tim?" Rachel asked hurriedly.
"Where are they Robbie?" she shook him furiously.
"Where did they go?"
Robbie's eyes flashed towards the wall opposite, and Ray and Rachel looked towards it. A smear of blood had been wiped across the wallpaper, and their grandpa's body lying on the floor next to it.
"They're not dead!" Rachel contradicted, suddenly letting go. "You're lying. You—you're the most horrible—you liar!" tears trickled down her face. "They're alive!" she sobbed.
"Just—shut up!" Ray yelled. Suddenly seeing Rachel's shocked expression, he reached out for her hand, but she withdrew it angrily.
The whole room echoed in silence, until a few scattered leaves blew into the living room through the door left wide open.
"Was it the aliens?" Rachel broke the silence hollowly.
"No…" Robbie answered emotionlessly. "It—it was people."