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Story 2

Maureen Bowman

Maureen Bowden is a Liverpudlian, living with her musician husband in North  Wales. She has had a hundred and forty-nine stories and poems accepted  for publication by paying markets, she was nominated for the 2015  international Pushcart Prize, and in 2019 an anthology of her stories, €Whispers of Magic was published and is available from Hiraeth Books. She also writes song lyrics, mostly comic political satire, set to  traditional melodies. Her husband has performed these in folk music clubs throughout England and Wales. In 2013 she obtained a First Class  Honours Degree from the Open University. As well as Literature and  History, the Degree included modules in Creative Writing and Advanced Creative Writing. She achieved a distinction in both. She doesn't blog, tweet, twitter, or any of that stuff. She's just an old-fashioned girl who writes stories. She loves her family and friends, rock and roll, Shakespeare, and cats.

Think we on Earth are the only ones concerned with climate change and the destruction of our planet? Think again.

Some few earthlings hear my voice. Earth herself has opened their ears, and they wake screaming in the night.... They deserve no pity.
-- The Red Planet


The War God Waits

By Maureen Bowden


Once again, my wife woke screaming in the night. I turned on the bedside light, and held her until her sobs subsided. “There's nothing to fear,  Sophie,” I said. “Mars has no life forms except perhaps primitive clusters of cells in water beneath the surface. Nothing on the planet can hurt us.”€

She shook her head, “You’re wrong, Max. You mustn't go there.”€

I struggled to remain calm and not upset her further. “You know we have to do this, don't you?”

Of course she knew. She‒s an intelligent woman. We all know that Earth is in its death throes. We’ve seen the television newsreel footage of garbage-filled oceans, swollen by the melting ice caps, encroaching upon most of the world's farmland. We've heard the newspaper reports that the rest has been hit by hurricanes, and tornadoes have killed the animals, destroyed the harvests, left Millions of people dead and millions more starving to death.

I’m privileged to be part of this expedition,” I said, and I meant it. We had to explore and colonise other planets or the human race wouldn’t survive, and I was honoured to be part of the crew that would take the first steps. “Come on, Sophie, be happy for me. I’ll be back in two years time. It will soon pass.”

“No. You won’t be back, Max. If we all have to die, so be it. We won’t find safety by leaving Earth. Stay here and die with me.”

“Listen to me,€” I said. “We have the world’s greatest scientific brains working on this. The astronauts' welfare is their first priority.

She pushed me away, climbed out of bed and wrapped her dressing gown around her. She was calm now. “I may not have a great scientific brain,”€ she said, “but I know that you're going to your death. The words that I hear in my mind tell me.”

“It’s only your fear that's talking to you, it isn’t real.”

She walked to the window, drew back the curtains, and stared at the night sky. “It isn't my fear,”€ she said. “It comes from out there. It's the voice of Mars.”


Earth’s spawn named me for their god of war. I didn’t object. It was an appropriate compliment as I’m warlike by nature.

The expanse of space is no hindrance to a planet’s cosmic consciousness. I see and hear everything that carbon-based life-forms see and hear. The arrogant earthlings don’t fear me. They believe me to be barren, but I cradle my babes, concealed in cracks and caves, where water pools between my bones. Infant Martians feed, grow and divide. One becomes two. Pseudopodia crossed, little ones. We’re on our way.

Earth’s spawn are making a mess of their own world, but they won’t mess with me. A floppy-haired physicist who used to be a rock star, beams his charming smile from their television screens, and lulls them into the illusion that the solar system is a benign playground. They believe that they can bend it to their will, conquer, ravish, and use it for their own purposes. They do as much to each other, and to their crippled sphere.

They are wrong. Their species has peaked and will plummet. In time Earth will die by their hands and when they venture beyond her frontier they will find the playground is full of monsters as greedy, vicious, and stupid as they are. My concealed offspring will be the ones to fear most, because they won’t be stupid.

Some few earthlings hear my voice. Earth herself has opened their ears, and they wake screaming in the night. No one will heed them. They deserve no pity. 

I have gravitas, and I am gravid. The Red Planet will be ready when they come.

The End

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