‹ Prequel: Hurricane Heart
Sequel: Storms in Utopia

Martyr's Run

Where the War Rages

Simeon

We had no choice. We had to run.

Numbly pulling Jake through the doors into the building, both of us staggering, exhausted and injured and overcome with the horrors of what we had just witnessed, I was only too happy to sink down and let darkness pull me under once and for all. But that would be useless. If I gave up now, Rina and Tim would have forsaken their freedom for good. And for what? For nothing! If I kept on fighting, though, I would get them back. I was not abandoning them; I was not running away. Just like I was not abandoning my people back in America.

And yet, as I fled again, I began to realise that maybe, just maybe, this was all there was to life. Maybe I was not some incredible saviour like I thought I was. Maybe I was just hiding, running, surviving. When things got too tough, I left. And I ran. And I hid. And I started again. And when Germany got too tough, I would, no doubt, do this again. I would run off again. I would leave everyone else behind. I would promise to be back, but I would not know whether I could ever fulfil those promises. And as I ran off over some other borders of some other country, I wouldn’t look back. I would just keep going.

Perhaps that was life. Perhaps that was all there would ever be.

Jake collapsed beneath me, too exhausted and in too much pain to run. We were almost out of the airport by now. There wasn’t much further left to go.

‘Jake!’ I yelled in despondence. ‘Come on. We’re nearly there. You can do it!’

‘Just leave me...damn you,’ he breathed, his voice slurred as he fought to pull himself back to his feet. He pushed me away, but I would not budge.

‘Go!’ he cried more forcefully. ‘They’re coming!’

And then I realised: I didn’t run away. Not all the time. And Jake was my proof. If I’d run away, he’d be trapped out on the runway, surrounded by Dream-Snatchers. No—he wouldn’t have even come that far. He would still be stuck in the Run, blown up and barely alive, awaiting his fate on the Operating table. Or maybe he wouldn’t have even got to that stage. Maybe he’d still be stuck in Jefferson City, trapped by the Dream-Snatchers after leaving the motel on his own. Maybe he wouldn’t have even left the Institution.

Jake was my one constant. I would never leave him behind; we were too close. He had saved me too many times for me to even consider it—there was no way I would have made it out of the Run if it wasn’t for him. And yet, he wouldn’t have made it out without me.

That was it: we were a team.

And teams stuck together.

So, even as I heard the sound of running and shocked cries from behind, I wrenched him stubbornly from the floor, practically dragging him through the doors and out into the car park. Hartnett had betrayed us. She had said we were free, but that was all a trick. And this anger became fire inside me, and this fire was energy, propelling me on, making me fight my way through. I wasn’t running at all. I was fighting.

The car park...cars. I staggered out, my eyes darting around, praying that Carl was good at time keeping.

‘Simeon?’

A voice. A familiar voice. A slightly German familiar voice.

‘Carl?’ My eyes hurriedly scanned the bleak, grey desert until I saw the car speeding towards us. It stopped right in front of us and I threw the door open, pushing Jake into the back seat and diving in after him.

‘GO!’ I yelled.

‘W-what?’ Carl stammered, confused. ‘What’s going on?’

‘Just go, goddamn it!’ Without question, he slammed down on the ignition, shooting us forward down the road, speeding round a corner and winding his way rather recklessly through the cars.

‘What’s going on?’ he asked.

‘Dream-Sna—Soulless,’ I said, correcting myself. ‘They’re after us. They got Tim and Rina!’

‘They got...’ he trailed off. ‘I thought they weren’t coming.’

‘Things change,’ I said bluntly. ‘We all came. Hartnett said we could—she said we were free!’ In my anger at her betrayal, I punched the back of the seat in front of me. I was an erupting volcano, too much anger boiling up inside me for too long. I punched out again, the insanity of the situation catching up with me.

‘She said we were fucking free!’ I screamed. ‘She said we could go! And she betrayed us.’

‘No.’ Jake spoke for the first time we got in the car. His voice was little more than a whisper.

I turned to him, anger almost overwhelming me once again.

‘What do you mean?’ I demanded in disbelief.

‘She didn’t betray us,’ he said in a low voice.

I couldn’t comprehend what he was saying. I couldn’t even formulate a response. ‘What?’ I eventually managed to spit out.

Jake’s dark eyes, so full of sorrow and hatred at the world, fixed on mine.

‘Think about it, Simeon,’ he said, his voice quiet, calm, measured. And yet, there was such a deep bitterness within it that it put my dramatic tantrum to shame. ‘She’s one of the most powerful people in the whole of the US. If she wanted us caught, she could have had the entire Berlin police force waiting for us at the bottom of the plane. And what did we get? Three Dream-Snatchers, and they weren’t even on time!’

It took me a long moment to process what he was saying. In that time, Carl pulled onto the motorway, and I began to realise that we might have actually escaped.

‘You mean...’ I began. I couldn’t take it. It was Hartnett’s fault—all her fault. Martyr’s Run, our exile, our ambush at the airport.

And yet, what Jake was saying made sense.

‘I don’t know who betrayed us, but it wasn’t Hartnett,’ he announced, his voice finally coming back in full.

‘Who else would it have been?’ I asked.
‘She was surrounded by about twelve soldiers yesterday. And then there were all the airport staff—receptionists, cleaners, bag-searchers, the pilots. Anyone could have told on us.’

I couldn’t deny that he was right. If Hartnett wanted us caught, we would have been caught. No escape. No exceptions.

And, weirdly enough, it all began to make sense. Letting us go—all of us; not just me, the victor, but all my friends too. And then sending people in to search for Jake, and letting us shower, and giving us medication, and even giving us packets of food...

It was almost like she was being nice to us.

In reality, I had half-expected a catch all along. The idea of freedom was simply too good to be true. So of course Hartnett was the first person I would blame, but maybe it hadn’t been her at all.

‘I reckon it was that Simms guy,’ I decided suddenly. ‘He wasn’t happy with what we were doing at all.’

‘It was more likely him than it was Hartnett,’ Jake said in way of agreement.

Finally, the anger within me began to die down. Because we had made it. Against all the odds, and after the countless obstacles that had been thrown in our way, we had achieved the impossible. We had escaped the cage of America. And now we were in Europe; Europe, where the war was raging, where Dreamers made themselves almost public, where things were achieved, where there was no Tamara Lomax and no immediate Operation and no Martyr’s Run. Europe; where the rebellion was going to begin.

Tim and Rina were gone, but not forgotten. They were in the Institution, but they weren’t facing the Operation. Not now; not today. And for now, that was good enough. I would get them out. I wasn’t going to leave them behind like I had left my American friends behind. I was chasing a dream, and one day, fairly soon, I was going to catch up with it.
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Well...that's it, guys. That's Martyr's Run. Hope you enjoyed it. Next up, book four. And I'm really excited about this one, because guess what: a few old favourite characters are making a comeback! And things are gonna be getting crazier than ever before!

I'm going away tomorrow, so it may be a week or two before the first chapter gets posted. If you want me to let you know when it's up, just leave me a comment and I'll be more than happy to inform you. If not, just keep a look out for Dreamers Book Four: Storms in Utopia. Thanks for persevering for this long!

Edit;; Aaaand Storms in Utopia is up!