‹ Prequel: Hurricane Heart
Sequel: Storms in Utopia

Martyr's Run

The Victor


I threw myself round a corner, pounding on relentlessly through delirium and nightmares. I wasn’t even going to begin to sort through what was real and what was fake. The lines of reality had long since blurred. I was too far gone to tell the difference between them anymore. My side screamed, my burns screamed, the cut in my forehead screamed, every muscle in my body screamed. My legs were detached from everything, pounding on relentlessly, no matter what.

One minute remaining.’

We were running out of time.

Fifty-nine, fifty-eight...

And then I rounded a corner, and froze. Jake practically crashed into me.

He noticed it a second later.

At the far end of this pathway was a silver tube stretching six feet into the air, just big enough for one person to stand inside. The smooth, silver sides of the tube began lowering into the ground at that moment, so that it was no longer a cylindrical shape, but a platform.

The way out.


‘Nissa!’ Rina shrieked, launching herself forward instinctively. It was all I could do to hold her back; to push her down into her seat. I held onto her shoulders tightly as she fought against me, tears blinding her.

‘Rina,’ I said, ‘she’s gone. There’s nothing you can do.’

‘Let me go!’ she shrieked.

I looked round at the clock.

We had forty-four seconds.

‘Just stay here,’ I said. ‘Fire the bomb. Go on. Before it’s too late.’

And then I saw it. Against all the odds, Simeon and Jake were at the exit. They were running towards it—limping, staggering, stumbling, even crawling, practically holding each other up, bruised and bloody and burnt and panting and sweating and exhausted and delirious.

But they had made it.

Even as her lifeblood poured out onto the floor, Nissa fired one more shot as the only four soldiers who were still on their feet swarmed past her, towards us. They weren’t looking out for her, and one cried in agony, tripping and collapsing to the floor beside her, as she shot him in the ankle.

Half smiling, she choked out one last chuckle, and then became still.


Simeon and I froze a pace away from the platform.

Seventeen, sixteen, fifteen...

‘Together,’ Simeon said. The platform was only big enough for one person, but we could squeeze on it together. After all we’d been through, a minute more of being uncomfortable was nothing.

Fourteen, thirteen...

Simultaneously, we lifted a foot each, hovering it over the platform.

‘Go,’ Simeon said softly.

We lowered our feet together.

Wavering slightly in his instability, the edge of Simeon’s toe touched down a nanosecond before mine.

In an instant, a sort of force field shot up round the edge of the platform and I was flung backwards, thrown away from the exit, from my salvation, crashing into the wall on the other side of the path.

At the same time, Simeon was thrown onto the platform by the force field, and he whipped round, screaming out, pounding at it, but the field was like steel, and he was hitting a solid wall, crying out to me.

JAKE!’ he screamed, more anguished than I’d ever heard him. The silver walls began to slide up around him. No. Not now. How could they? We were there. We were promised freedom. We were...

‘Simeon!’ I yelled back. Already, the tube had engulfed him, and he was sinking down into the ground, into freedom...a place where I could never go.

In frustration, I punched the wall, swearing as loudly as I could. I punched out again, beyond angry. I had always been willing to let him save himself, but this hadn’t been either of our choices—this had been cruelly and sadistically planned. Whatever we’d done, only one of us was going to make it out.

‘JAKE!’ I heard the voice one last time before he disappeared altogether.

I punched the wall again and again until my knuckles bled, eventually sinking down. It was hopeless. Simeon had won. I had lost. There was nothing I could do.



Simeon was out. Jake was trapped.

‘Move and we’ll shoot.’

The voice came from behind me; at the computer, I had my back to the rest of the room. My right index finger was hovering over the button. One tap, and the bomb would blow up.

I didn’t care what they did. I had nothing to lose. Jake had nothing to lose. If my bomb freed him, then it was a miracle. And if it didn’t...well then he was in no worse a situation than he was in now.

‘This is for Jake,’ I whispered.

I pressed the key.

The bomb exploded with a force far greater than any I had anticipated.

And I watched on the screen as Jake was blown to pieces.
♠ ♠ ♠
Well then...

I can't read those last few lines without freaking out. I'm hoping that means it's a good climax.

Please take a moment to leave a comment. I'm seriously beginning to doubt whether anyone's still reading this, and whether it's actually worth taking time to post a new chapter every few nights.