A man is running for his life. An army is deployed to hunt him down. He has no right to be there, he has no right to live. He is not considered human.
A man is on a mission. He is looking for the hunted, for those denied humanity. He is trying to save them, to deliver them to safety, to give them a chance of life.
The year is 2058. The world’s powers have stabilised, the citizens of the newly formed super-states are living in peace and prosperity. But when safety is a privilege of the fortunate, liberty is a radical idea. For those born on the wrong side of the wall surrounding the Federated States of Europe, the price of privilege is unimaginably high.
When fate brings the two men together, they struggle against time, hostile forces and their own prejudices, towards a conclusion, neither of them would have thought possible.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2020 Ishmael O. Ross
All rights reserved. Permission is hereby given to use and reproduce this excerpt in any promotional event organized by RABT Book Tours and PR
(Part of) Chapter Two
HEY WERE WEAK, half-starved and exhausted after the weeks-long journey through wastelands and strange forests, through abandoned villages, and burned-out towns. Only the weather turning colder every day reminded him that they were no longer in Africa. They had met no people on their way. The few they had seen had run away long before they could make contact, or ask any questions. They ate what they could find, and whatever the strange forests provided, but it was scarce, barely enough to keep them going. They never stopped, only for a short rest every once in a while. The land of promise was there, must be there, they had only to find it, to endure a little longer, maybe one more day, maybe two.
When the smugglers had brought them to the shore in life-boats, they had shown them a general direction then abandoned them in the cold night. The people had been confused and directionless, but they had stayed together and begun walking. Jonas and Moses had stuck together ever since then, with a few younger men clinging to their sides like an entourage.
By the time they had arrived at the wall, there were only the six of them left. The others had either given up, seeking refuge in the ruins of abandoned buildings or died of starvation and exhaustion along the way. Those who had stayed behind could not be persuaded to move on, and Jonas was sure they would die out there, alone, in the cold wilderness, as the weather was turning against them day by day. He pressed on among the more determined few, not wasting effort to try and save those who wanted to be left alone. It was their choice, and Jonas had made his own too. He chose to live and to live well, and free. It was only a question of getting to Europe.
Looking at the wall now he thought that must be it. A place as well guarded as that must be rich. The people on the other side seemed to have much to protect. He could not understand what they defended themselves from; there was nothing in the forest to threaten anyone. Perhaps the war reached this far, or maybe slavers were coming in to take the people, like they had in Africa. Either way, the wall itself was reassuring in a way, promising safety and protection for those on the inside. It was only a matter of getting through somehow.
There were no doors, no gates, nor any other entrance; the wall was seemingly endless, continuing well into the darkness in both directions. Jonas was contemplating moving a little farther, to see if there was any chance they could gain entry, when Moses beside him broke the silence.
That was all he said, and nobody argued. Jonas knew he was right, that the shortest way was straight in, that if they tried to find a point of entry they might be stuck on the wrong side for days or even weeks, without food or shelter. He knew he probably would not survive that. Maybe some of the younger men would, but not him. He was too weak to even think about it.
Thank you, Ishmael O. Ross and RABT Book Tours
About the author
Ishmael O. Ross is an author, technical writer and software architect. His stories appeared in The Scarlet Leaf Review and The Opiate magazines. Dire Redemption is his first novel.
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