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The Story Teller's Tale

Page 4

Clare Rhoden

Those humachines hated the tribesfolk and would hunt them down to kill them and feed them into their biofuel tanks. No, Daisy, I don’t know what biofuel is except that it’s made of the dead bodies of anything that the humachines could catch, and anything else they could find to put in it. My daddy had to live on biofuel when he was inside the Pale.

Yes, he got inside, and this is how. I just told you that the greatest enemy of the tribesfolk was the humachines, and that the gates were closed, and that the person who brought my little boy daddy to the gates, let’s call that person his mummy, that person was dying.

But just then, when his mummy crumpled down like a dead bird dropping out of the drought-hard sky, the whole of Broad Plain shook with a terrible rumble. That was an aftershock, one of the leftovers from the last explosions of the Conflagrationist war. So the big gate twisted and the paved go-ways burst up out of their smooth paths and the mighty towers shifted and started to lean down every which way, and one of the humachines just plucked up my daddy and carried him inside.

My daddy doesn’t know why that happened, that the greatest enemy of ordinary humans would try to save him, and there was a bit of him that wondered if he might be going into the biofuel tank. Not that he knew anything about biofuel then, but he did say that he was very afraid they were going to eat him all up. Only that never happened. The humachine picked him up and slung him onto its back, and all that day and the next day, my daddy clasped his hands around the neck of the massive humachine who should be his enemy, and together they went all around the Pale City and helped with the work, with moving fallen rubble and crushed humachines.


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