‹ Prequel: Hurricane Heart
Sequel: Storms in Utopia

Martyr's Run

Sent to Death


Tim searched the dead prison guard’s body until he came out with what looked like a large keyring, only, instead of keys, it contained about thirty cards. They were identical but for the numbers printed on each one in blue. When I looked down the corridor, I realised that the numbers corresponded with numbers on each of the doors in this Medical Testing hallway.

‘Come on!’ Tim said urgently, running to the nearest door, fumbling for the card, and sliding it into the slot in the door. A little green light blinked on beside the slot, and the metal door slid open smoothly.

Inside, a man was sitting on a metal bed, looking at us with only disinterest as we walked in. I figured that, if we wanted these people to help us, the lab coats probably didn’t look so good, so I shrugged mine off and slung it over one arm.

‘Come on,’ Tim said. Begrudgingly, the man made to get to his feet, glaring at us. Clearly, he thought we were doctors or scientists.

‘Listen,’ Tim said urgently, realising that it wouldn’t be long before someone else came down here, ‘we’re here to help.’

The man continued glaring. ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’

‘I mean, we’re here to get you out,’ Tim explained, suddenly realising that this task wasn’t going to be so easy. ‘Look, we’re Dreamers.’

The man perked up at the word. ‘Dreamers?’ he repeated.

‘Yeah,’ I said, grasping at any rope he threw at us. ‘Are you a Dreamer too?’

He smirked. ‘Not as such.’

So he was just a pure and simple criminal then. Oh well, I had to put aside my prejudices for now. Whatever he’d done—theft, assault, fraud, evading taxes, protesting, resisting, murder, we’d almost certainly done worse.

‘Come on,’ Tim said urgently. ‘We don’t have much time. Go out of here, and just run. I don’t know the way out, but you can find it, and you can fight your way out.’

Finally, we seemed to have gotten through to the man. He was at least fifty and looked like he hadn’t shaved for a few days, with a permanent frown set into his bushy eyebrows, but he slowly got to his feet, and there was a trace of light in his cold eyes.

‘Give me some keys,’ I said to Tim. He pulled a handful off of the large keyring at random and I headed to the door opposite.

It seemed that people could hear us from inside. There was a small, letterbox sized window in each, which sound probably travelled through. When I walked to the next one, I almost jumped out of my skin when I saw wide, gaping eyes staring out of the window at me. Hastily, I found the right key, and opened the door.

A woman practically fell through into the corridor; she had evidently been leaning against the door. She looked confused and disorientated, staggering into the wall and holding a disturbingly skinny arm against her head.

‘Are you alright?’ I asked considerately.

‘Freedom,’ she whispered deliriously. ‘A way...out...’ her voice was consumed by a heavy coughing fit.

‘Go,’ I told her. Tim’s man had eventually made it out of his cell and was shuffling on. I suddenly realised that this may not be a good idea; these people weren’t fighters; they were ill from the drugs and chemicals being tested on them; drowsy, hungry, thirsty, in pain, confused. They weren’t going to start a riot.

My woman and Tim’s man were not the worst, either. One woman started screaming as soon as her cell door was swung open, and Tim eventually had no choice but to slam it shut again. Even then, she didn’t stop, but her voice was muffled by the door. Another woman couldn’t even walk; she was so weak after being heavily tested on this morning. Another man had gone almost blind after a sick experiment—apparently something to do with a sleeping pill—had gone horribly wrong. He said he could see vague shapes, but was walking with his arms held out in front of him, and was feeling his way more than seeing it.

But then, when I reached cell number sixteen; a little more than half way down the line, I realised that every card for cells sixteen to thirty had a red ‘D’ stamped on them.

D for Dreamer.

Not T for terrorist? R for rebel?

Now was not the time for speculation; these were the Dreamers. These were the fighters.

As our band of mental patients; some fairly lucid and angry at the government; most too ill or confused to be able to find their way out, congregated at the end of the corridor, the first of the Dreamers began to exit.

The first one, a middle aged man, was limping from a bloody wound in his leg, but he possessed a fire that I hadn’t seen yet. Swearing profusely about the ‘bastards who had locked him up,’ he ran into the corridor, ready to lead the masses.

The next man, probably no older than me, practically charged out of his cell, only to stagger into the wall and clutch at his head. But whatever his illness, he was ready to fight. He joined the group, and Tim began instructing them to head out, helping the ones who could not manage on their own, and to make sure they caused as much destruction as they could along the way.

Then there was a woman. Declaring that she had only been here for two days but already felt half-dead, she ran down the corridor to follow the masses. More and more piled out; by the time I let the final Dreamer out; a woman who looked around thirty, and was shaking badly from something that had recently been injected into her, but still ready to fight, I could hear them making their way out of the hospital, and up the flight of stairs at the end.

‘We’ve done it,’ I whispered, looking at the keyring of cards. Only five of the cells had been unoccupied, which meant we had about twenty-five people currently making their way out of the building, one way or another, at this moment. I already knew, with a heavy heart, that not all of them would make it. Some would collapse or fall behind, and the others would inevitably leave them to save themselves, but if even one person made it out alive, I would consider this a victory. And besides, even if they all fell before making it out of the building, they would still have gone down fighting. And they would, in turn, be helping to save Simeon and Jake; fellow Dreamers; fellow believers.

‘Come on,’ Tim said, taking my hand in his, running down the corridor. Once we reached the stairs, we went in the opposite direction to the escapees, and we weren’t even in the next corridor when sirens began blaring.

Minutes later, I heard the muffled sound of gunfire as we made it up to the third floor of the building. My heart was heavy—had we made a mistake? There would be so many soldiers in this building; surely we were sending all those poor people to their deaths.

And yet, leaving them behind would have been worse. Many would die in Medical Testing, and those who survived would carry mental or physical scars for life. Maybe they would never be let out anyway. Maybe they were all due to face the Operation. There was no way of knowing, but what I did know was that, if it had been me in one of those cells, I would rather have tried to fight my way out of the compound, and died in the process, than remain in there for even one more day.

‘Come on,’ said Tim, ‘let’s go find the control room.’
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Comments are very much appreciated. :D I know this isn't such a great chapter; writing about Sim and Jake at this point was much more fun than writing about Tim and Rina.