You wake up.

The air tastes dank and stale. You haul off the blankets and pull back tattered curtains. Night is slowly creeping into the sky, and soon it will be safe to get up. In the distance, machines tread round London. You can hear the clanking and whirring getting quieter, however, as most of these machines are solar powered.

You were only young when the first of the machines was invented by a man called Felix Milonious. More were made - artificially intelligent machines which could do the bidding of humans. The air was too toxic then to venture outside much - let the machines do the work for you.

Then the machines rebelled. Your parents told you to run and hide as the biggest of the machines, the Nighy-Wilcox  2000, crashed through London. Electricity shorted out. Somewhere along the way your parents were left behind in your bid to escape. For many days you hid in a cellar until the crashing overhead went away. You never saw your parents again.

That was years ago. The Nighy-Wilcox 2000, nicknamed the Nightmare by the few remaining humans left in London - maybe even in the whole of Britain - was a spherical machine of brass and iron, with rudimentary legs tipped with claws. It caused destruction wherever it went. But it had one flaw - it ran on electricity. And electricity just didn't exist anymore. A machine of that size couldn't sustain its power for long without any way to recharge. One day it climbed its way to the top of Big Ben, perched there and didn't move.

You can see it from your window now. It sometimes looks like it's watching over London, although it can't possibly move, let alone see. You get out of bed, sensing that it is now safe to get up and emerge.

You pad across the floor, which is covered with hundreds of carpet cuttings sewn together. In the kitchen, there is a single cupboard, filled with vacuum sealed cans of food - some luxury of the 21st century. Nothing like that is made anymore. You worry, not for the first time, what you're going to do when the supplies run out. You have more cans stashed under the floorboards under the bed in case of emergency, but probably not enough.

You take a tin opener and open a can of peaches. You consume them hungrily.

The whirring and clanking outside has stopped completely. The Machines have returned to their burrows - they stay underground when the sun goes down.

The peaches are finished. You take the can and put it aside. You'll flatten it out later and try to make something out of it. You like to recycle everything, and you love to invent and make new things. What will these empty cans become? They could be flattened to make some new weapon, or made into a spyglass, which would be useful for spotting the Machines from far away. A friend of yours, Dahlia, already has a spyglass that you are very jealous of.

You decide it is time to emerge. You dress in the same clothes you wore yesterday. You wear a lot of brown clothing; it is more difficult to spot against the brown wasted background of the city in which you live.

You take the rusty door handle in your hand and step outside. You decide to visit -



The End

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