‹ Prequel: Hurricane Heart
Sequel: Storms in Utopia

Martyr's Run



Through the doors was another large, open room like the atrium we had arrived in. The walls were glass, and from here, I could look out over the runway. I was meant to carry on across this room to customs, but I waited for Jake.

‘Mr Stryder?’ a voice asked from further across the room.

I was half way through turning to face the voice when I realised that ‘Stryder’ was not meant to be my name.


Nevertheless, I turned fully. I was the only person in the room, and it wasn’t hard to see that the man, who was dressed in a security guard’s uniform, was looking at me.

‘Sorry, you must be mistaking me for someone,’ I said, smiling all too innocently.

‘Oh yes,’ the guard said. He was a young, African American man, with muscles that made mine look pathetic. ‘You’re not Mr Stryder.’

Where was Jake? Why was he taking so long? I was beginning to grow concerned. The fact that the man had called me by my real name couldn’t possibly be a coincidence.

‘Mr Stroud, is it?’ the man asked a little too stiffly.

‘Yes,’ I replied curtly, wondering how he knew.

‘I’ve been asked to take you through customs,’ the guard said. ‘Mr Wallace is waiting for you on the other side.’

Waiting for me? Cameron Wallace didn’t even know of my existence.

Something was wrong.

‘Come on, Mr Stroud,’ the guard said. He glanced over my shoulder and I turned, hoping that Jake had finally arrived. ‘Where’s your friend?’

‘I—‘ I trailed off. ‘I don’t know.’

‘Hmm, maybe there’s been a change of plan,’ the guard said.

I didn’t like this. I didn’t like it at all.

‘Can I go back?’

‘No,’ the man said a little too sharply. ‘No, we’ll wait a moment longer. If Mr Montgomery doesn’t come, we’ll go through now, and I’ll come back for him.’

‘Okay,’ I breathed, putting on an act. I was scared. I was terrified. And where the hell was Jake?


‘You’re sure you’re meant to be flying today?’ the inspector persisted.

‘Yes,’ I said, beginning to feel dizzy with fear. ‘I’m sure. Can’t you just check again?’

Had Carl made a mistake? Had he forgotten to add me to the list, or been unable to do it? What was going on?

The man at the desk exited the page on his computer and typed in a few more things.

‘Hmm,’ he said, his thick eyebrows lowering. ‘You say you’re meant to be assisting Mr Wallace? Perhaps I’ll call him; ask him to come through.’

‘Uh...’ I didn’t know what to say. If he phoned the MIRC, I was stuffed. But if I protested, I was also stuffed. And why had he sent Simeon through? What was going on?

‘If you like,’ I said. There was nothing else to say. ‘But don’t you think...don’t you think you should just try re-entering the information? Perhaps the computer system’s faulty. Perhaps the information hasn’t loaded properly.’

‘Whatever,’ the man grumbled. Evidently, manners weren’t part of his job description. He pressed the ‘back’ button on his PC and began re-entering all my details—my full name; my ID number; my date of birth.

All I knew was that something was wrong.


Two more security guards appeared and began talking to the first one. They gestured at me more than once.

‘Come on then, Mr Stroud,’ the first guard finally announced.

‘We need to wait for Jack!’ I said, making sure I used Jake’s ‘correct’ name.

‘If Mr Montgomery has a problem, Mr Wallace or one of his assistants will have to sort it out,’ the guard said.

That was when they pointed their guns at me.

That was when I finally knew with absolute certainty that this was a trap.

Calling me ‘Mr Stryder’ had been no accident. The guard had known the truth all along. But I had hoped...I hoped he’d made a mistake.

It turned out that I had no such luck.

‘Wait!’ I cried.

But it was too late.

I was surrounded.

‘Mr Stryder!’ the guard snapped, no longer using my pretend name, ‘come with us or we will shoot.’

They had caught me. So close to freedom, I had fallen at the final hurdle.

And it had all been going so well.

The guards closed in a small circle around me, their guns all pointed in my direction. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. They were going to take me to the Institution; they knew I was a Dreamer; a fugitive.

And then I would have the Operation.

The thought was so dreadful that I lashed out blindly, punching one of the security guards in the face before I even knew what was going on.

‘Hold onto him!’ the guard cried, producing some handcuffs.

‘Get off me!’ I yelled, shaking them away viciously. ‘Leave me alone!’

And what had they done to Jake?


I waited with bated breath as time seemed to freeze around me. All was silent.

‘Oh,’ the inspector suddenly said, looking a lot more positive than he had done a moment ago. ‘It seems there really was a mistake, Mr Montgomery. Your information’s here.’

‘Really?’ I asked, knowing I sounded too hopeful, but not caring. We were one step closer to freedom.

‘Yes,’ he said. ‘There must have just been a fluke in the system.’ He handed back my passport. ‘Off you go.’

‘Thanks,’ I said, heading down the deserted corridor towards the sliding doors.

I was approximately three steps away from them when I heard the unmistakeable sound of a gunshot.

Simeon was in trouble.

Pushing through the doors which seemed to slide open too slowly, I saw Simeon on the ground, three security guards surrounding him as one pinned him down, cuffing his hands behind his back as he cried out in anger and pain.

No. This could not be happening. Not now.

I could have sunk to the ground in despair, but I didn’t dare move. As Simeon rolled to the side slightly, and his head turned, his eyes caught mine.

For a moment, he stopped crying out.

Just long enough for him to mouth ‘run!’

I had no choice. The guards hadn’t seen me just yet; their attention was too focused on Simeon.

I staggered backwards, hiding round the corner as they hoisted Simeon, still struggling even with his hands shackled, to his feet and began to march him off.

‘Take him to the car,’ one of them ordered, stopping. It seemed he was going to stay here whilst the others took Simeon away.

‘And then where?’ another asked.

‘Take him to the compound,’ he said. ‘Hartnett’s orders.’


Janice Hartnett.

Head of USBN.

Head of Martyr’s Run.

‘Get off me!’ Simeon was yelling, still struggling even though it was futile. I watched in horror as he was dragged further away from me; from safety; from freedom.

‘What’re you doing?’ asked one of the guards to the one who was staying behind.

‘I’ll hang around and wait for the other guy,’ he said.

That was when I knew I had to go.
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