Thomas didn’t hesitate. He swung his elbow backward into the face of the guard behind him just as he kicked the knee of the one in front. Both fell to the floor, stunned, but recovered quickly. Out of the corner of his eye Thomas saw Newt tackle a guard to the ground; Minho was punching another. But the fifth—a woman—hadn’t been touched, and she was raising her Launcher.
Thomas dove for her, knocked the end of the weapon toward the ceiling before she could press the trigger, but she brought it around and smashed it into the side of his head. Pain exploded in his cheeks and jaw. He was already off balance, and crumpled to his knees, then flat onto his stomach. He put his hands under him to get up, but a crushing weight fell on his back, slamming him to the hard tile and knocking the breath from his lungs. A knee dug into his spine and he felt hard metal press against his skull.
“Give me the word!” the woman yelled. “A.D. Janson, give me the word! I’ll fry his brain.” Thomas couldn’t see the others, but the sounds of scuffling had already stopped. He knew that meant their mutiny had been short-lived, all three of them subdued in less than a minute. His heart ached with despair.
“What are you people thinking!” Janson roared from behind Thomas. He could only imagine how enraged the man’s weaselly face must look. “You really think three … children can overpower five armed guards?
You kids are supposed to be geniuses, not idiotic … delusional rebels. Maybe the Flare has taken your minds after all!”
“Shut up!” Thomas heard Newt scream. “Just shut your—”
Something muffled the rest of his words. Imagining one of the guards hurting Newt made Thomas tremble with rage. The woman pressed her weapon even harder against his head.
“Don’t … even … think about it,” she whispered in his ear.
“Get them up!” Janson barked. “Get them up!”
The guard pulled Thomas to his feet by the back of his shirt, keeping the business end of the Launcher pressed against his head. Newt and Minho were being held at Launcher-point as well, and the two free guards were training their weapons on the three Gladers.
Janson’s face burned red. “Completely ridiculous! We absolutely will not allow this to happen again.” He spun on Thomas.
“I was just a kid,” Thomas said, surprising himself.
“Excuse me?” Janson asked.
Thomas glared at the Rat Man. “I was a kid. They brainwashed me into doing those things—into helping.” That was what had been eating away at him since the memories had started coming back. Since he’d been able to start connecting the dots.
“I wasn’t there in the beginning,” Janson said in a level voice. “But you yourself approved me for this job after the original founders were purged. And you should know, I’ve never seen someone, child or adult, as driven as you were.” He smiled and Thomas wanted to rip his face off.
“I don’t care what you—”
“Enough!” Janson yelled. “We’ll do him first.” He gestured at one of the guards. “Get a nurse down here.
Brenda’s inside—she’s been insisting that she wants to help. Maybe he’ll be easier to deal with if she’s the technician working with him. Take the others to the waiting room—I’d like to do them one at a time. I need to go check on another matter, so I’ll meet you there.”
Thomas was so upset that he didn’t even register Brenda’s name. Another guard joined the one behind him and they each took hold of an arm.
“I won’t let you do it!” Thomas screamed, a hysteria rising up in him. The thought of learning who he’d been terrified him. “There’s no way you’re putting that thing on my face!” Janson ignored him and spoke directly to the guards. “Make sure she sedates him.” Then he started walking away.
The two guards pulled Thomas toward the door, his feet dragging behind him. He struggled, tried to free his arms, but their hands were like iron manacles, and he finally gave up to conserve his strength. The realization hit him that he might have lost the fight. His only hope was Brenda.
Brenda stood next to a bed inside the room. Her face was stony. Thomas searched her eyes, but she was impossible to read.
His captives yanked him farther into the room. He couldn’t understand why Brenda was there, helping WICKED do this. “Why are you working for them?” His voice sounded weak to his ears.
The guards spun him around.
“Better to just keep your mouth shut,” Brenda answered. “I need you to trust me like you did back in the Scorch. This is for the best.”
He couldn’t see her, but there was something in her voice. Despite what she’d said, she sounded warm.
Could she be on his side?
The guards pulled Thomas to the last bed in the row. Then the female guard released him and aimed her Launcher at him while the man held Thomas against the edge of the mattress.
“Lie down,” the guard said.
“No,” Thomas growled.
The guard swung back and slapped Thomas across the cheek. “Lie down! Now!”
The man lifted Thomas by the shoulders and slammed him onto the mattress. “This is going to happen, so you might as well not fight it.” The metal ic mask with its wires and tubes hung above him like a giant spider waiting to smother him.
“You’re not putting that thing on my face.” Thomas’s heart raced dangerously now, the fear he’d been holding at bay rushing in, beginning to take away any calm that could help him figure a way out of this.
The male guard took both of Thomas’s wrists and pressed them to the mattress as he leaned forward with all his weight to make sure Thomas didn’t go anywhere. “Sedate him.” Thomas forced himself to calm down, save his energy for one last effort to escape. He almost hurt at seeing Brenda; he’d grown closer to her than he’d realized. If she helped force him to do this, it would mean she was the enemy as well. It was too heartbreaking to even consider.
“Please, Brenda,” he said. “Don’t do it. Don’t let them do this.” She stepped close to him and gently touched his shoulder. “Everything’s going to be okay. Not everyone is out to make your life miserable—you’ll thank me later for what I’m about to do. Now quit your whining and relax.”
He still couldn’t read her for the life of him. “That’s it? After everything back in the Scorch? How many times did we almost die in that city? All we went through, and you’re just gonna abandon me?”
“Thomas …” She trailed off, not bothering to hide her frustration. “It was my job.”
“I heard your voice in my head. You warned me that things were about to get bad. Please tell me you’re not really with them.”
“When we made it back to HQ after the Scorch, I got into the telepathy system because I wanted to warn you. Prepare you. I never expected us to become friends in that hell.” On some level, just hearing that she’d felt that way, too, made things more manageable, and now he really couldn’t stop himself. “Do you have the Flare?” he asked.
She answered in quick, short bursts. “I was acting. Jorge and I are immune—we’ve known it for a long time. It’s why they used us. Now be quiet.” Her eyes flickered over to the guard.
“Get on with it!” the male guard suddenly shouted.
Brenda gave the man a stern look but didn’t say anything. Then she gazed at Thomas and surprised him with a slight wink. “Once I inject the sedative, you’ll be asleep in seconds. Do you understand?” She stressed that last word, then subtly winked again. Luckily the two guards were focused on their prisoner and not her.
Thomas was confused, but hope ran through his body. She was up to something.
Brenda moved to the counter behind her and started preparing what she needed, and the guard continued to lean all of his weight on Thomas’s wrists, cutting off the circulation. Sweat beaded on the man’s forehead, but it was clear he wasn’t letting go until Thomas was unconscious. The female guard stood just beside him, her Launcher aimed at Thomas’s face.
Brenda turned back around, a syringe in her left hand, its nozzle pointing up, her thumb on the trigger. A yell owish liquid showed in the small window on the side. “Okay, Thomas. We’re going to do this really fast.
Are you ready?”
He nodded at her, not sure what she meant but determined to be prepared.
“Good,” she replied. “You better be.”
|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|