‹ Prequel: Hurricane Heart
Sequel: Storms in Utopia

Martyr's Run

The Price of Love


I had been expecting to have to bring up the conversation with Rina, but instead, she brought it up with me. As soon as we finished eating, a silence fell between us, and she broke it with the inevitable question.

‘Why don’t you want to go to Europe, Tim?’

It took me a moment to formulate a decent answer. I had never had a way with words like so many Dreamers; like Simeon and Jake, for instance.

‘I agreed to this journey back in LA,’ I explained, ‘but ever since then, I’ve been wondering why. Going back to Salt Lake City made me question why I was leaving; what Europe had that America didn’t; and ever since then, I guess you could say I’ve been feeling kind of homesick. And then, things have gone from bad to worse—we’ve all been in terrible moods, we’ve had no sleep, no food, nowhere safe to stay at the end of a day. There’s been no rest. And I’m sick of it.’

‘But once we get to Europe, it’ll be better,’ Rina insisted.

I cupped her face gently in my hand, feeling my freshly bandaged shoulder burn as I moved it.

‘Listen to me, Rina,’ I said, ‘you said, this morning, that Simeon was chasing a dream. You said that, if he was disappointed with Europe, we were all going to suffer. You were the one who asked him whether this was really worth it. Now, all of that creates an impression of a girl who doesn’t want to leave behind everything she’s ever known in favour of an uncertain future full of strange people and strange places, where nothing is guaranteed other than the fact that we will still be in danger. Now, tell me that’s not true.’

She was lost for words. As she laced her fingers into mine, I knew I had won.

‘It’s true,’ she admitted. ‘I’ve been feeling the same way as you. Kind of. I want to go, but I don’t. But what I don’t want is for the others to end up hurt or captured because of us.’

‘We’ll protect them,’ I said. ‘We’ll protect them right up to the airport entrance.’

‘But once they’re inside those doors, that’s the most dangerous part,’ she insisted. ‘If they never come out again, we might never know.’

‘I hate to say it, but it’s their choice, Rina,’ I told her. ‘If they want to risk their lives to get to Europe, then let them. It’s not your battle to fight. You can come back to Utah with me. Or we can go to Oregon. Or we could run away completely, and start a rebellion on our own. Just because we’re not going to Europe, it doesn’t mean we’re not resisting. This Operation stuff won’t have gone unnoticed. We’ll have more Dreamers fighting for freedom than ever before. And we can lead them.’

‘You think we can?’ she asked dubiously.

‘’Course we can,’ I said cheerfully. I was ready to give it my all. ‘We’ve both shown, just by coming this far, that we’ve got more guts than any other Dreamers I know. And we can use that. We can fight. We can start a rebellion for the American Dreamers.’

‘That sounds...’ Rina thought for an appropriate word, but I could already see the hint of a smile twitching at the corners of her mouth and lighting up her eyes. ‘Good.’


‘Anyway, Carl,’ I heard Simeon say as I walked out of the bathroom.

‘Again?’ I asked in dismay, walking over to the laptop. Catching Carl’s eye, I saw him feign being insulted. ‘I’ve nothing against you, Carl,’ I added hastily, ‘but passing information over the internet’s always risky.’

‘We’ve got it covered,’ Carl said casually. ‘Don’t worry about it.’

I sat down next to Simeon, who was more animated than I had seen him in days.

‘We think we’re gonna be able to get to Berlin tomorrow,’ he announced.

‘Seriously?’ Carl exclaimed. ‘That was quick!’

‘If all goes well, we should be at Brandenburg airport by five am,’ he said.

I nudged him. ‘Uh, you’re forgetting the time differences,’ I pointed out sheepishly. ‘I think ten or eleven is more accurate.’

‘So sometime after ten on May 31st,’ Carl confirmed. ‘That’s great, guys! I’ll come and meet the four of you just outside the airport.’

‘Well,’ Simeon began, suddenly looking worried, ‘there may not be four of us.’

‘What?’ Carl looked terrified. ‘What’s happened?’

‘Nothing bad,’ I filled in hastily. ‘But Tim and Rina are not sure if they’re going to come or not. I think they want to stay here.’

‘Really?’ Carl’s voice lowered, and he seemed sympathetic. ‘Are they sure? They’re not gonna get many chances at this.’

‘That’s what I’ve been trying to tell them,’ I said, ‘but they won’t listen. Tim’s not happy about going, and Rina’s not going to leave without him.’

‘I see. I’ll look out for you two, and if I see them, I’ll consider it a bonus.’

‘Yeah,’ Simeon agreed, looking eager to move on. A depressive aura had fallen over him, and he seemed desperate to shake it off. Just a moment ago, he had been so happy. ‘So, how’s Hurricane? You said you were meeting her last night.’

Carl began laughing. ‘Oh, Sonja. That woman will be the death of me!’ He chuckled a bit more, shaking his head in dismay. At least he seemed like a good person for improving Simeon’s mood.

‘What happened?’ Simeon asked.

Carl laughed again. ‘Simeon, if there’s one thing you need to know, it’s this: don’t ever put Sonja Vilkas and Tobias Hummel in a room together. I barely made it out alive.’

I laughed despite myself; Carl seemed like such a lively, genuinely nice person. Even though I had no idea who Tobias Hummel was, and I’d only heard of Sonja Vilkas when she was mentioned as ‘Hurricane’ in Simeon’s conversations, it was still quite amusing.

‘Okay, I’ll bear that in mind,’ Simeon replied.

Even though our moods were high when we said goodbye to Carl, they declined rapidly.

‘We could be over there tomorrow,’ I said, half smiling, trying to bring some light into the conversation.

‘It won’t be the same without Tim and Rina,’ Simeon replied darkly.

I sighed. ‘You really think they’re not coming.’

‘Tim won’t budge. And I don’t think Rina will come alone.’

‘She’s in love with him,’ I mused, wondering why a tear decided to prick my eye at that moment.
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