Chapter Twenty-Three

Match ran his hand along my cheek. "I just can't believe that I'm seeing you again. It just doesn't seem possible."

"No, it doesn't," I whisper. "Then again, after all that we've been through, I guess anything is possible."

Fade rolls his eyes. "I'm glad you two have found each other, but in case you've forgotten, we are in the middle of a war."

A bullet comes whizzing close to my head. "No, we haven't forgotten," I snap. "What's wrong with enjoying a little bit of life's happy moments?"
Fade fires into a line of marching Enforcers. Their uniforms are clean...They weren't supposed to get help this quickly! "Well, then, I strongly suggest you start acting like you are ready to fight!"
Match grabs a gun off a dead Enforcer. "Well, if we must fight, then I am happy to stand beside you." His hands shook as he shoulders the gun. The gun's weight almost drags him down to the ground. "Let's go this!"

Fade, Calix, and I exchange looks. There is no way that Match can fight like this. He'll not only put himself in danger, but the rest of our army. However, I really don't want to be the one to tell him this. Judging by the looks Fade and Calix are giving me, it really doesn't seem like I have any other choice.

"Listen, Match," I slowly say. "Maybe it would be best if we got you out of here."

Match gives me a long look. "What do you mean? You don't think I can handle this."

I shake my head. "It's not that at all. It's just, you've been through a lot and we feel that you deserve a break. It's okay to sit one out every once in awhile."

Calix and Fade fire into a line of approaching Enforcers. Even though they hit quite a few of them, it doesn't do anything to slow them down. It seems like the more that fall, the more that replace them.

"Match, we really do think you can fight, but now is just not the best time," I go on.

Fade grunts as the Enforcers get closer. "I think you need to hurry this up!"
I turn back to Match. "Match, please, I'm asking you to trust me. I would not be asking you to do this if I didn't think it was for the best." I blink as smoke stings my eyes. "I can't stand the thought of losing you again and this my way of making sure that doesn't happen again." I pause. "Can you trust me?"

"Hurry up!" Calix roars. "I don't know how much longer we can hold them off!"
Match looks over at the battle, then at me. "I suppose I can let you be right this one time." He gives me a small smile. "Just don't expect me to admit that you're right all the time."

I return his smile. "I wouldn't have it any other way."

I watch as he lets himself be guided away. Alaska gives me a small smile, as if she is reassuring me that everything is going to be okay.

Fade puts his arm around me. "It's going to be okay. If you want to go with him, no one will blame you."

I shake my head. "No, my place is out here with you."

The line of Enforcers grows closer, their boots echoing against the pavement. I really don't get how they can be so much louder than the gunfire.

Fade looks me over. "Are you ready for this?"

I fire into the line of approaching Enforcers. "I was born ready for this." I look over at him as a few Enforcers fall to the ground. "Are you sure you can handle this?"

Fade laughs. "I am sure I can!"

Calix rolls his eyes. "Are you two going to stand there and talk about it or are we going to actually fight? I'm sure they will be glad to wait on you."

I look over at the line of approaching Enforcers. He is actually right about the Enforcers. Bullets race around us; it's a miracle that none of them actually manage to hit us.

We fire into the line, as we back up. It really does seem like they are trying to drive us down the small alley behind us. We change the path, heading for the large open area instead. Knowing them, they have the tops of the buildings lining the alley lined with Enforcers, who will gun us down the moment they get the chance.

I look over at Calix, who fires into the line again. His face looks for worn than I have ever seen it. This war has caused him to age by years instead of weeks. I look over at Fade; he too looks far older than he really is.

The line of Enforcers fires at our line as one. So many of our people actually manage to fall in this round. I don't look very closely at them. I don't want to see if I know any of them.

Most of the prisoners have actually managed to make it to safety. I don't know how it's being done, but I do know that I don't see so many of them running around, looking lost.

I stare up at our plane. Libby looks down at us. I know she wishes that she could help, but knows it will do more harm than anything.

More and more Enforcers seem to be pouring out of the cracks. It just amazes me at how quickly they can get their act together. It shouldn't be happening like this. We were supposed to have the element of surprise on our hand and now it seems like it's not helping us.

Fade looks at me with wide eyes. It is just very clear that the Enforcers now outnumber our troops. Even if Libby were to land right now to save us, so many would die as they try to board the plane.

We rush, no longer making a slow pace, across the pavement. The Enforcers seem to be coming at us at an even faster pace. We are moving backwards so quickly that quite a few of our number actually fall to the ground. The screens all around us show our messy, backwards retreat. It also seems like they are laughing at us taunting our stumbling.

The rush is slowly going behind me, sending chills racing through my body. The Enforcers have had so many chances to kill us, but they seem to be doing little more than driving us, trying to make us bend to their ways. The scary thing about the whole matter is that I think we are actually doing giving in to their ways.

The greatest course of action is to fight back, but there is a cost for everything. To fight would mean the loose of lives and more killing. The killings just have to stop. I don't care what anyone else says. There has to be another way to alter the current path.

The screens above our heads change. The people, the everyday people who have nothing in this battle, are running for their lives, while what appears to be our planes fly over them, dropping some kind purple coloured gas down on them. The people fall to the ground. A few of them do manage to make their way back up, only to stumble for a few steps before falling to the ground and not moving. For the most part, once the people fall, they do not get back up. Their wide open eyes gaze into the sky, as if they are asking the heavens why this happened to them.

"Those aren't our planes," I whisper as smoke fills my lungs. "We didn't do this."

Fade looks over at me. "What?"

I point up at the screens as the army of Enforcers keeps driving us. "It's showing us killing people. We don't have any gas like that."

Fade frowns. "You really want to talk about this now?"

I shake my head. "No, but if they are going to kill us, I would at least like for them to get the facts right."

The ground starts to rumble beneath our feet. It suddenly makes sense as to why they are driving us this way.

It also seems as one that our people turn and find themselves staring into a line of awaiting tanks. My heart skips a beat as the tanks train themselves right on us. They are going to kill us.

I look back over at the Enforcers who has set up some kind of blockage around us, their guns aimed directly at us.

Libby's plane is nowhere in sight.

Whenever I think about the way my life would end, this is not how I thought it would be. I always thought that I would at least have a fighting chance and not be gunned down like this.

Fade slowly bumps up against my arm, the movement is so slow that for a minute I think that he didn't mean to do it. However, whenever I look at him out of the corner of my eye, I find him staring at me, his eyes warm, but filled with fear.

Then, in the horizon, a faint outline appears. At first, it looks like it is moving slowly, but, then; it picks up its speed. My eyes widen as more appear in right behind it. Oh, so the tanks are not going to run us down and they are not going to shoot. I see how this is going to end.

However, the Enforcers all seem to take a step back. The tanks turn their guns from us to the approaching masses. If they are not the islands' planes…Then, whose are they?

The wind from the plane sends our clothes rushing around us.

"Do it now!" Vanderpool screams from somewhere within the masses. "Do it now, you fools!" He shoves the Enforcers in front of him to the side. "If you are not strong enough to end this now, then you really don't belong in my ranks!" He points his gun at the first line of our people. Even from this distance, I can see that he is breathing hard and his eyes have somewhat of a crazed look to them.

The planes are coming closer. It really does look as if Libby has called off all of the planes from the bombing and they are coming to our rescue. Which means that they either have completely ended the threat on the other side of the island or they have given up to save our necks. Either way, I have never been so happy in my life to see them.

Vanderpool's eyes shift around his Enforcers. "Well, I can see where all of your loyalties are and they clearly are not with me or our government."

That seems to get the Enforcers' attention. Almost as one, they all slowly turn and within seconds have their guns focused back on us. So much for Libby being able to hold their complete attention.

Vanderpool smirks at us. "Well, this is more like it."

The planes are still coming closer. It really does feel like they will never reach us in time.

I look over at Fade, who still has a worried look on his face. At least, all of the prisoners managed to make it out. I guess it's one of the few good things that we have going on for us now.

Calix narrows his eyes at Vanderpool. "Well, at least we don't have to beg people to fight for us!"

Vanderpool slowly turns his gaze to Calix. "The people here are fighting for what they believe is right and if you can't see that, then I don't know what to tell you!"

Calix's smirk widens. "Are you hearing yourself now? Do you know how mental you sound?"

It actually looks like Vanderpool is fighting some kind of internal battle against himself. His face is red and I can see the veins in his neck are actually starting to pop. If he didn't look like a monster, the entire situation would actually be quiet funny.

Calix looks Vanderpool over. "Well, you're not the only one who likes to play with toys."

Our planes are so close now. I really do think that we are actually going to get out of this one alive. However, they are letting something out of the back of them. I really can't see our own planes letting gas fall on us. It just really does not seem like them. I try to catch Fade's or Calix's eye, but they seem either don't seem all that concerned about it or haven't seen what is going on.

The screens above our head go black, creating a sense of darkness over us. It is enough to draw the Enforcers' attention off us and onto the screens. A few of them even exchange worried looks.

The planes keep coming, dumping their gas everywhere.

"FADE!" I scream as the planes fly over us and the world changes.

I do not do this for honour. This is my final word before I embark on this journey. I spur my horse and race to catch up with the rest of the men. The purple, fading sun creates a wonderful painting backdrop behind. It makes a man feel strong and needed. However, I go back to my first words: I do not do this for honour.

Like so many others, I am here to protect and seek revenge. My little sister, Charlotte, was shot because of me. I can remember holding her hand as she died. She was just five years old. She had never done anything to them. She did not understand war. She had not deserved to die. This was not her war, nor was it mine. They made it my war. They caused the dark side of the moon to shine of me.

I ride up alongside Caldwell . He is not much older than my twenty-five years. Like me, is doing what he thinks needs to be done. "This is not right," Caldwell mutters.

"What's not?" I ask him.

"None of this," he says. "Those little girls did not deserve to die." He is referring to the events in Great Britain where some of the men's kin was killed during a building collapse. The kin had been taken prisoners by them.

I nod and stare out at the horizon. "We'll make them pay."

"What is about to happen is not good. It is an act of evil," Caldwell pauses, "but it is necessary." He turns to look at me for the first time. "You, Seth Mead, of all people should understand that."

I knew that he was referring to Charlotte's death.

He turns his horse. "Well, we'd best get some shut eye. Tomorrow's the day." He disappears into the woods where most of the men had went.

I did not want to follow him right at this moment. I stare into the horizon thinking of my sweet, innocent kid sister. I would see her death avenged and I would be the one to do it. It does not matter that I do not know the name of her killer, but killing enough them would be good enough. I turn to head into the woods. Tomorrow Saudi Arabia would pay.

The next morning, we awoke before sunrise, ate, and mounted. We met other Norwegian groups on top of Hebrides Island. There is about three or four hundred men here. Each is here for different reasons. Each man wants one thing: to protect those who have been harmed.

Caldwell rides in front of us giving us a talk. "Remember your loved ones. Remember those who died in Great Britain. Remember everyone you care about. This is necessary to see that they live to see another day!" He pauses. "But remember the attacks! This is to plunder, and destroy the town in retaliation for your loved ones!" He turns his horse so he can ride back down the line of armed men. "Lane is the target, but show no mercy!" He rides off, but gives us no orders to follow. He is probably going to talk to the rest of the leaders.

Anderson is sitting next to me. "Mercy is not a problem," he hisses to that. "Ain't that right Sethy boy?"

I do not respond right away. People say that the death of his sister set him off the deep end. I do not know if this is true or not, but do not wish to test it. Instead I nod and ride away.

Five minutes later, Caldwell comes back. "Let's go boys!"

We ride forward. We show no mercy as we race down that mountain. This is for those we love and those who have been lost. This is for everyone who has suffered at the hand of the Yankees. We ride into town without showing no signs of stopping.

I follow a group into a store. A group of men is gathered around the check out area talking. They do not see us. We pull out our guns and fire. BANG! The first kills of the day. We take the money and leave the store.

Outside the town knows that William Caldwell 's Raiders have come to pay them a little visit.

An armed townsman comes running at me. He lines his shot up. He is going to kill me, but not if I kill him first. I rise my revolver and fire. I do not miss and he falls dead to the ground. Another sin of the day, I have taken human lives and stolen. At least this one is in self-defense.

"North, wake up!"

I fumble around. There is something shaking me and even though a town is being raided in my dream, I really don't want to wake up.