The Narrator of the book was close to one of the arrival sites but this was not necessarily the most active site. He also spent more than two weeks (or a three week invasion) hiding in a collapsed house. He was not the first to discover the dead Martians at the end of the invasion and perhaps was even one of the last. We have to speculate what else happened during the time he was hiding and we have only the barest hints from the book
This period is overshadowed by killing and destruction as the Martians make their presence known and start to cow the human populace and deter any efforts of the Military to gain any meaningful intelligence on their movements. The Martians spend this time constructing their machines to defend themselves and then set about building their towers and handling machines. The Humans, when they are roused from their overconfidence in the stability of their way of life are immediately routed and the roads fill with refugees. Some individuals attempt to hide among the ruins. Others still try to fight, joining the hundreds who have become an informal militia, both under-equipped and relatively low of morale considering the onslaught of crushing defeats. Armed with only relatively static and heavy guns, the defenders have to face the physical might of the Fighting Machines as well as the dreadful gaze of the Heat Ray and worse, the deadly caress of the Black Smoke.
The Martians start to establish themselves and build their main factories. They shift their production facilities at the cylinders to constructing Handling Machines which process their raw materials as well as herd their ‘food’. They have built great cages into which the Fighting Machines deliver hundreds of frightened humans daily. The Handling Machines also start to collect and manufacture food for their human herds, raiding homes and shops at first and then upon analysis, producing it from the earth itself. These captive humans are under constant threat of death but after the first few days of captivity, their cries and wails die down as they become resigned to their fate. For those who misbehave, food and water are withheld from an entire group and that quickly becomes the leveller. Most relevantly, the Martians have exhausted all other food sources and start to feed upon their herds.
The Martians are already deep in decline and the Red Weed itself seems to be suffering from a similar malady. Though the Martians never managed to adapt to our gravity, it is noted that they have become excessively lethargic, even their Handling and Fighting machine seem to spend long periods resembling statues. And in some cases, their installations are completely abandoned. Cage farms quickly become the domains of petty warlords, those who are strong and charismatic enough to mobilise a breakout and take control. At the same time, the remnants of a once-proud military nation start to creep back to their cities and resume their lives to find domains carved out of neighbourhoods, the destruction of homes and landmarks, the looting of food and valuables. There is also the opportunity cost as the British Empire is upon it’s knees at home and lifting it’s head once more just as news of it’s fall was reaching the colonies.