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were descending upon me. In a moment my hand was on the lever,
and I had placed a month between myself and these monsters.

But I was still on the same beach, and I saw them distinctly now as
soon as I stopped. Dozens of them seemed to be crawling here and
there, in the sombre light, among the foliated sheets of intense

‘I cannot convey the sense of abominable desolation that hung over
the world. The red eastern sky, the northward blackness, the salt
Dead Sea, the stony beach crawling with these foul, slow-stirring
monsters, the uniform poisonouslooking green of the lichenous
plants, the thin air that hurts one’s lungs: all contributed to an
appalling effect. I moved on a hundred years, and there was the
same red sun-a little larger, a little duller-the same dying sea, the
same chill air, and the same crowd of earthly crustacea creeping in
and out among the green weed and the red rocks. And in the
westward sky, I saw a curved pale line like a vast new moon.

‘So I travelled, stopping ever and again, in great strides of a
thousand years or more, drawn on by the mystery of the earth’s
fate, watching with a strange fascination the sun grow larger and
duller in the westward sky, and the life of the old earth ebb away.
At last, more than thirty million years hence, the huge redhot dome
of the sun had come to obscure nearly a tenth part of the darkling
heavens. Then I stopped once more, for the crawling multitude of
crabs had disappeared, and the red beach, save for its livid green
liverworts and lichens, seemed lifeless. And now it was flecked
with white. A bitter cold assailed me.

Rare white flakes ever and again came eddying down. To the
north-eastward, the glare of snow lay under the starlight of the
sable sky and I could see an undulating crest of hillocks pinkish
white. There were fringes of ice along the sea margin, with drifting
masses further out; but the main expanse of that salt ocean, all
bloody under the eternal sunset, was still unfrozen.

‘I looked about me to see if any traces of animal life remained. A
certain indefinable apprehension still kept me in the saddle of the
machine. But I saw nothing moving, in earth or sky or sea. The
green slime on the rocks alone testified that life was not extinct. A
shallow sandbank had appeared in the sea and the water had
receded from the beach. I fancied I saw some black object flopping
about upon this bank, but it became motionless as I looked at it,
and I judged that my eye had been deceived, and that the black
object was merely a rock. The stars in the sky were intensely bright
and seemed to me to twinkle very little.

‘Suddenly I noticed that the circular westward outline of the sun
had changed; that a concavity, a bay, had appeared in the curve. I
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