Thomas blinked rapidly, trying to adjust to the darkness. The alarm rang in shrill, deafening bursts.
He sensed Minho stand up, then heard him shuffling about. “The guard’s gone!” his friend shouted. “I can’t find her!”
As soon as he said the last word, that sound of power charging filled the gaps between the whines of the alarm, followed by the pop of a grenade exploding against the ground. The bolts of electricity lit up the room; Thomas saw a shadowy figure running away from them back down the hall, gradually disappearing in the gloom.
“My fault,” Minho muttered, barely audible.
“Get back in position,” Thomas said, fearing what the alarm might mean. “Feel for the crack where the doors open. I’ll use the Rat Man’s key card. Be ready!”
He felt around on the wall until he found the right place, then swiped the card; there was an audible click, and one of the doors began to swing inward.
“Start shooting!” Minho shouted.
Newt, Brenda and Minho began to launch grenades through the doorway into the darkness. Thomas carefully got into position and followed suit, shooting into the fray of dancing electricity that now crackled on the far side of the doors. It took a few seconds between rounds, but soon they had created a blinding display of light and explosions. There was no sign of people anywhere, no answering fire.
Thomas let his gun drop to his side. “Stop!” he yelled. “Don’t waste any more ammunition!” Minho let one last grenade fly, but then they all stood and waited for some of the energy to die down so they could safely enter the room.
Thomas turned to Brenda, speaking loudly to be heard over the noise. “We’re a little short on memories.
Do you know anything that’ll help us? Where is everyone? Why the alarm?” She shook her head. “I have to be honest—something definitely feels off.”
“I bet this is another one of their bloody tests!” Newt yelled. “All of this is meant to happen and we’re being analyzed all over again.”
Thomas could barely hear himself think, and Newt wasn’t helping.
He held his Launcher up and walked through the doorway. He wanted to get somewhere safer before the light from the grenade blasts disappeared entirely. From the shallow pool of his few returned memories, he knew he’d grown up in this place—he just wished he could remember the layout. He realized again how important Brenda was to their freedom. Jorge, too—if he was willing to fly them out of there.
The alarm stopped.
“What—” Thomas had started too loud, and quieted himself. “What now?”
“They probably got sick of their ears bleeding from the noise,” Minho answered. “Just because they turned it off doesn’t mean anything.”
The glow from the electric bolts had disappeared, but the room on this side of the doorway had emergency lights that cast everything in a red haze. They stood in a large reception area with couches and chairs and a couple of desks. Nobody was in sight.
“I’ve never seen one person in these waiting rooms,” Thomas said, the space suddenly familiar. “The whole place is empty and creepy.”
“It’s been a long time since they allowed visitors here, I’m sure,” Brenda responded.
“What’s next, Tommy?” Newt asked. “We can’t just stand here all day.” Thomas thought for a second. They had to find their friends, but ensuring that they had a way out seemed the first priority.
“Okay,” he said. “Brenda, we really need your help. We need to get to the hangar and find Jorge, get him prepping a Berg. Newt and Minho—you guys can stay with him for backup and Brenda and I will search the place for our friends. Brenda—do you know where we can stock up on weapons?”
“Weapons depot’s on the way to the hangar,” Brenda said. “But it’s probably guarded.”
“We’ve seen worse,” Minho offered. “We’ll start firing till they drop or we drop.”
“We’ll cut through ’em all,” Newt added, almost with a growl. “Every last one of those buggers.” Brenda pointed down one of two hallways that branched off the reception room. “It’s that way.” Brenda led Thomas and his friends through turn after turn, the dull red emergency beacons lighting the way.
They met no resistance, though every so often a beetle blade skittered by, click-clacking across the floor as it scurried along. Minho tried firing a shot at one of them, missing badly and almost scorching Newt, who yelped and wanted to fire back, judging by the look on his face.
After a good fifteen minutes of jogging, they reached the weapons depot. Thomas stopped in the hallway, surprised to find the door swung wide open. From what he could see, the shelves inside seemed fully stocked.
“That does it,” Minho said. “No more doubt.”
Thomas knew exactly what he meant. He’d been through too much not to. “Someone’s setting us up,” he muttered.
“Has to be,” Minho added. “Everyone suddenly disappears, doors are unlocked, weapons sitting here for us. And they’re obviously observing us through those shuck beetle blades.”
“Definitely fishy,” Brenda added.
At her voice, Minho turned on her. “How do we know you’re not in on it?” he demanded.
She answered in a weary voice. “All I can say is that I swear I’m not. I have no idea what’s happening.” Thomas hated to admit it, but what Newt had hinted at earlier—that this whole escape so far might be nothing but an orchestrated exercise—was looking more and more likely. They’d been reduced once again to mice, scuttling about in a different kind of maze. Thomas hoped so badly that it wasn’t true.
Newt had already wandered into the weapons room. “Look at this,” he called.
When Thomas entered the room Newt was pointing to a section of empty wall space and shelves. “Look at the dust patterns. It’s pretty obvious that a bunch of stuff was taken recently. Maybe even within the last hour or so.”
Thomas inspected the area. The room was pretty dusty—enough to make you sneeze if you moved around too much—but the spots Newt pointed out were completely clean. He was dead on.
“Why is that so important?” Minho asked from behind them.
Newt turned on him. “Can’t you figure something out yourself for once, you bloody shank!” Minho winced. He looked more shocked than angry.
“Whoa, Newt,” Thomas said. “Things suck, yeah, but slim it. What’s wrong?”
“I’ll tell ya what’s bloody wrong. You go all tough-guy without a plan, leading us around like a bunch of chickens lookin’ for feed. And Minho can’t take a bloody step without askin’ which foot he should use.” Minho had finally recovered enough to get ticked. “Look, shuck-face. You’re the one acting like a genius because you figured out some guards took weapons from the weapons room. I thought I’d give you the benefit of the doubt, act like maybe you’d discovered something deeper than that. Next time I’ll pat you on the freaking back for stating the obvious.”
Thomas looked back at Newt in time to see his friend’s expression change. He seemed stricken, almost teary.
“I’m sorry,” Newt murmured, then turned and walked out of the room.
“What was that?” Minho whispered.
Thomas didn’t want to say what he was thinking: that Newt’s sanity was slowly being eaten away. And luckily he didn’t have to—Brenda spoke up. “You guys were missing his point.”
“Which was?” Minho asked.
“There had to have been two or three dozen guns and Launchers in this section, and now they’re all gone.
Very recently. In the last hour or so, like Newt said.”
“Yeah?” Minho prodded, just as it clicked for Thomas.
Brenda held her hands out as though the answer should be obvious. “Guards only come here when they need a replacement or want to use something besides a Launcher. Why would they all need to do that at the same time? Today? And Launchers are so heavy, you can’t fire them if you’re carrying another weapon, too. Where are the weapons they would have left behind?”
|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|