We call this place Sweet Home, and it is, really. We have everything we need and we have engines of our own. The vampire machines don’t have a monopoly an engines.

We grow switchgrass for conversion into ethanol. We get about ten tons per acre, and also use it as forage for our goats. For ourselves we grow wheat and barley inside the wall, and there is a grove of date trees and oil palms. All our water comes from the qanat and is divided by the Parceller, who happens to be me.

The vampire machines like to burn our switchgrass, but switchgrass is hardy and perennial. We keep it clear near the wall anyway, so a switchgrass fire is an early warning sign that a vampire machine is causing trouble.

Our walls are made of hardened clay and are twice a man’s height in most places. We have palm oil lamps with Fresnel lenses on them that turn night into day. Some villages hang the wreckage of machines on their walls as a warning, but we re-use their dead husks and leave the power piles, trapped, for other vampire machines to find. We have a metalworking shop powered by an ethanol engine.

We also have more tin than we can use from the mine off the qanat channel. We fashion bronze, solder, and stannous chloride salts for trade, and it makes us rich. We can hook the engine up to a cart and drive up and down the grass road very fast if we need to. All of our youngsters have gone overwall and seen the world.

Soda Village, one of our neighbors up-valley, uses our tin in the Pilkington process to fashion window glass that is in high demand. They make a nice window; as good as the old glass shards you find now and then, perfectly flat and clear.

Sweet Home