Thomas was still groggy from sleep. The dreams he’d had—the memories of his childhood—clouded his mind. He almost didn’t catch what the man had said.
“Like hell you are,” Newt responded. He was out of his bed, fists clenched at his sides, glaring at Janson.
Thomas couldn’t remember ever seeing such fire in his friend’s eyes. And then the full force of the Rat Man’s words snapped Thomas out of his fog.
He swung his legs around to the floor. “You told us we didn’t have to.”
“I’m afraid we don’t have much of a choice,” Janson replied. “The time for lies is over. Nothing’s going to work with you three still in the dark. I’m sorry. We need to do this. Newt, of everyone, you will benefit the most from a cure, after all.”
“I don’t care about myself anymore,” Newt responded in a low growl.
Thomas’s instincts took over then. He knew that this was the moment he’d been waiting for. It was the final straw.
Thomas watched Janson carefully. The man’s face softened and he took a deep breath, as if he sensed the growing danger in the room and wanted to neutralize it. “Look, Newt, Minho, Thomas. I understand how you must feel. You’ve seen some awful things. But the worst part is over. We can’t change the past, can’t take back what has happened to you and your friends. But wouldn’t it be a waste to not complete the blueprint at this point?”
“Can’t take it back?” Newt shouted. “That’s all you have to say?”
“Watch yourself,” one of the guards warned, pointing a Launcher at Newt’s chest.
The room fell silent. Thomas had never seen Newt like this. So angry—so unwilling to put on a calm front, even.
Janson continued. “We’re running out of time. Now let’s go or we’ll have a repeat of yesterday. My guards are willing, I assure you.”
Minho jumped down from the bunk above Newt’s. “He’s right,” he said matter-of-factly. “If we can save you, Newt—and who knows how many others—we’d be shuck idiots to stay in this room a second longer.” Minho shot Thomas a glance and nodded toward the door. “Come on, let’s go.” He walked past Rat Man and the guards into the hallway without looking back.
Janson raised his eyebrows at Thomas, who was struggling to hide his surprise. Minho’s announcement was so strange—he had to have some sort of plan. Pretending to go along with things would buy them time.
Thomas turned away from the guards and Rat Man and gave Newt a quick wink that only he could see.
“Let’s just listen to what they want us to do.” He tried to sound casual, sincere, but it was one of the hardest things he’d done yet. “I worked for these people before the Maze. I couldn’t have been totally wrong, right?”
“Oh, please.” Newt rolled his eyes, but he moved toward the door, and Thomas smiled inwardly at his small victory.
“You’ll all be heroes when this is over,” Janson said as Thomas followed Newt out of the room.
“Oh, shut up,” Thomas replied.
Thomas and his friends followed the Rat Man down the mazelike corridors once again. As they walked, Janson narrated the journey as if he were a tour guide. He explained that the facility didn’t have many windows because of the often fierce weather outside, and the attacks from roaming gangs of infected people. He mentioned the severe rainstorm the night the Gladers been taken from the Maze, and how the group of Cranks had broken through the outer perimeter to watch them board the bus.
Thomas remembered that night all too well. He could still feel the bump of the tires running over the woman who’d accosted him before he boarded the bus, how the driver didn’t even slow down. He could hardly believe that had happened only weeks ago—it felt like it’d been years.
“I really wish you’d just shut your mouth,” Newt finally spat. And the Rat Man did, but he never wiped the slight grin off his face.
When they reached the area they’d been in the day before, the Rat Man stopped and turned to address them. “I hope you will all cooperate today. I’m expecting nothing less.”
“Where is everybody else?” Thomas asked.
“The other subjects have been recovering—”
Before he could finish Newt had pounced, grabbing the Rat Man by the lapels of his white suit coat and slamming him against the nearest door. “Call them subjects again and I’ll break your bloody neck!” Two guards were on Newt in an instant; they pulled him away from Janson and threw him to the floor, aiming their Launchers at his face.
“Wait!” Janson yelled. “Wait.” He composed himself and straightened his wrinkled shirt and jacket. “Don’t disable him. Let’s just get this over with.”
Newt slowly got to his feet, arms raised. “Don’t call us subjects. We’re not mice trying to find the cheese.
And tell your shuck friends to calm down—I wasn’t gonna hurt you. Much.” His eyes fell on Thomas, questioning.
WICKED is good.
For some inexplicable reason, those words popped into Thomas’s mind. It was almost as if his former self—the one who’d believed that WICKED’s objective was worth any depraved action—was trying to convince him that it was true. That no matter how horrible it seemed, they must do whatever it took to find a cure for the Flare.
But something was different now. He couldn’t understand who he’d been before. How he could have thought any of this was okay. He’d changed forever … but he had to give them the old Thomas one last time.
“Newt, Minho,” he said quietly, before the Rat Man could speak again. “I think he’s right. I think it’s time we did what we’re supposed to do. We all agreed to it just last night.” Minho broke into a nervous smile. Newt’s hands balled into fists.
It was now or never.
|Chapter 1||Chapter 2||Chapter 3||Chapter 4||Chapter 5||Chapter 6|
|Chapter 7||Chapter 8||Chapter 9||Chapter 10||Chapter 11||Chapter 12|
|Chapter 13||Chapter 14||Chapter 15||Chapter 16||Chapter 17||Chapter 18|
|Chapter 19||Chapter 20||Chapter 21||Chapter 22||Chapter 23||Chapter 24|
|Chapter 25||Chapter 26||Chapter 27||Chapter 28||Chapter 29||Chapter 30|
|Chapter 31||Chapter 32||Chapter 33||Chapter 34||Chapter 35||Chapter 36|
|Chapter 37||Chapter 38||Chapter 39||Chapter 40||Chapter 41||Chapter 42|
|Chapter 43||Chapter 44||Chapter 45||Chapter 46||Chapter 47||Chapter 48|
|Chapter 49||Chapter 50||Chapter 51||Chapter 52||Chapter 53||Chapter 54|
|Chapter 55||Chapter 56||Chapter 57||Chapter 58||Chapter 59||Chapter 60|
|Chapter 61||Chapter 62||Chapter 63||Chapter 64||Chapter 65||Chapter 66|
|Chapter 67||Chapter 68||Chapter 69||Chapter 70||Chapter 71||Chapter 72|
|Chapter 73||Book 1: Maze Runner||Book 2: Scorch Trials||Book 3: Death Cure||Prequel: Kill Order|