Thank you for your kind words Judith! I'm glad you enjoyed the story.
Thanks a lot for your technical/grammatical advice Happy Hound- I do appreciate that, this is one of the first stories I ever wrote, it was written back in 2001-2002. I've self published all of my early stories, and when I read a lot of them again later, there are often things like duplications of words, elongated sentences and also little quirks of description I hadn't noticed at the time. You're right about the clunky sentence of course, and that is where I would benefit from a good editor and a fresh pair of eyes on my work before self-publication. I could have written the first couple of introductory paragraphs with better clarity of description.
For example that sentence as you suggested, followed by 'devoid of human life'.