Clockren. Clockwork children. The hope of our future.

I looked out of the window, seeing the Victoria Embankment, and beyond it the Thames. Boats still sailed up and down, black smoke pouring from their funnels as though nothing had happened. There was a hubbub in the street below, angry voices shouting, but the rattle of the clockwork carriages was gone, the brisk whisking of steamcycles no more. Even the air smelled sourer without the clockren to purify it.

I looked back into the nursery, where the two clockren I looked after now sat, legs akimbo and heads lolling on their chests. The lights in their abdomens had gone out this morning and they had stopped functioning. I had opened the maintanence panels, rewound the mainsprings, and checked the valves but everything was in working order. I’d repressurized the steam-core, shut down and reignited, and for a moment the operating lights had glowed, then died again.

Everywhere, the lights had gone out and our children, our clockren had died.

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