Prologue

I had always known deep down that one day it would come to this. I had been running since I was fourteen, and now, just a few days short of my twentieth birthday, they had finally caught up with me, and the punishment for that, as I had known all along that it would be, was going to be my death.

Had I stuck to just running for these last six years, there is every chance that I would not be in this position now. But I had not been able to just run and hide. There was a lot more at stake than just me, and I had felt an overwhelming urge to help out in any way I could.

I had started out as a lookout, but had quickly grown in stature in the organisation due to my quick mind and fearlessness. By the time I was sixteen I was in command of my local area, which was unheard of but also made a lot of sense in a way, as the last person they would be looking for as a person with such responsibility was someone like me.

It had actually saved my life a couple of times early on, when I had been arrested and questioned. The irony that they were threatening to torture me in order that they might be able to persuade me to betray myself was not lost on me. Some of the beatings had been pretty severe, but there was nothing I couldn't really handle, and the alternative was much worse.

When I first took control I did have a few issues with some of the group thinking that I was too young and inexperienced for a position of such responsibility, and there was always a fear in the back of my mind that they might betray me, but as time had gone on I quickly gained their trust and respect.

Still, that was now all in the past, and in a few hours I was due to be executed by firing squad. Knowing that this had always been my most likely future did not make it easier to deal with now it was upon me, but I could at least be content that I had done my best to fight back, and had not surrendered meekly like so many of my brethren.

I had taken out a lot of the enemy over the last six years, and for that I knew that when the history books were written I would be regarded as a hero. If my name was even mentioned that was. I would not be entirely surprised if others stepped forwards to claim my actions as their own, but there was nothing that I could do about that now.

The people that knew me, they were aware of what I had done over the years to fight to evil that at one time had been threatening to overwhelm the entire continent.

My family were all dead, of that I was sure as they had been taken away on that awful day all those years ago. The last time I had seen them was in a cramped boxcar on a train, and I knew now the kind of places those trains had been heading to for all of these years. There were rumours of genocide, of mass butchery, and I was sure they were all true.

And I was equally sure that my family were amongst those that had been butchered.

Now I had nothing left, no real hope of rescue.

Our group had been a long way from our base on that last, fateful mission, and I knew I was the only one that had survived the fire-fight, and that because they had instructions to take me alive. I was wanted for questioning they claimed, but I knew the truth. I was needed as a trophy, a last desperate attempt to show that they were still in charge.

The irony was that even here, awaiting execution at dawn, I could hear the sounds of the fighting getting closer. It sounded like they were within ten or fifteen miles by now, and I knew that in a couple of days they would be sweeping through the town in their victory parade, the glorious liberators come to save us all.

Alas they would come just a little too late to save me, but that was just the cruel hand that fate had chosen to deal me. I had survived for so long, and now, with just a couple of days to go, my luck had run out.

I lay down and tried to sleep the last few hours away, but the sound of the fighting kept me awake all night, and then, at the first sign of light, I heard the boots coming down the hall, and the key in the door lock.

It was time to die.