Thomas had to trust Newt. He had to do this for his friend, but curiosity burned inside him like a brushfire.
He knew, though, that he had no time to waste. They had to get everyone out of the WICKED complex. He could talk to Newt more in the Berg—if they could get to the hangar and convince Jorge to help them.
Newt came back out of the weapons room hefting the box of ammo by himself, followed by Minho, then Brenda, carrying another couple of Launchers with pistols stuffed in her pockets.
“Let’s go find our friends,” Thomas said. Then he headed back the way they’d come, and the others fell in line behind him.
They searched for an hour, but their friends seemed to have disappeared. Rat Man and the guards they’d left behind were gone, and the cafeteria and all the dorms, bathrooms and meeting rooms were empty. Not a person or a Crank in sight. Thomas was terrified that something horrible had happened and they had yet to come across the aftermath.
Finally, after seemingly having searched every nook and cranny of the building, something occurred to him. “Were you guys allowed to move around while they had me locked in the white room?” he asked. “Are you sure we haven’t missed anywhere?”
“Not that I know of,” Minho responded. “But I’d be shocked if there weren’t some hidden rooms.” Thomas agreed but didn’t think they could afford to spend any more time searching. Their only choice was to move on.
Thomas nodded. “Okay. Let’s zigzag our way to the hangar, keep looking for them as we go.” They’d been walking for quite some time when Minho abruptly froze. He pointed to his ear. It was hard to see because the hallway was only dimly lit by red emergency lights.
Thomas stopped along with the others, tried to slow his breathing and listen. He heard it immediately. A low moaning sound, something that made Thomas shiver. It was coming from a few yards ahead of them, through a rare window in the hallway that looked into a large room. From where Thomas stood, the room seemed completely dark. The glass from the window had been shattered from the inside—shards littered the tiled floor below it.
The moan sounded again.
Minho held a finger to his lips, then slowly and carefully set down his two extra Launchers. Thomas and Brenda followed suit while Newt placed his box of ammo on the ground. The four of them gripped their weapons, and Minho took the lead as they crept slowly toward the noise. It sounded like a man trying to wake up from a horrible nightmare. Thomas’s apprehension grew with every step. He was scared of what he was about to discover.
Minho stopped, his back against the wall, right at the edge of the window frame. The door to the room was on the other side of the window, closed.
“Ready,” Minho whispered. “Now.”
He pivoted and aimed his Launcher into the dark room just as Thomas moved to his left side and Brenda to his right, weapons held ready. Newt kept watch at their backs.
Thomas’s finger hovered above the trigger, ready to squeeze it at an instant’s notice, but there was no movement. He puzzled over what he was seeing inside the room. The red glow from the emergency lights didn’t reveal much, but the whole floor appeared to be covered in dark mounds. Something that was slowly moving. Gradually his eyes adjusted and he began to make out the shapes of bodies and black clothing.
And he caught sight of ropes.
“They’re guards!” Brenda said, her voice cutting through the silence.
Muffled gasps escaped from the room, and finally Thomas could see faces, several of them. Mouths gagged and eyes open wide in panic. The guards were tied up and laid out on the floor from head to toe, side by side, filling up the entire room. Some of them were still, but most were struggling in their restraints.
Thomas found himself staring, his mind searching for an explanation.
“So this is where they all are,” Minho breathed.
Newt leaned in to get a look. “At least they’re not all hangin’ from the bloody ceiling with their tongues sticking out like last time.”
Thomas couldn’t agree more—he remembered that scene all too vividly, whether it had been real or not.
“We need to question them and find out what happened,” Brenda said, already moving for the door.
Thomas grabbed her before he had time to think. “No.”
“What do you mean no? Why not—they can tell us everything!” She wrenched her arm out of his grip but waited to see what he had to say.
“It might be a trap, or whoever did this could come back soon. We just need to get out of this place.”
“Yeah,” Minho said. “This isn’t up for debate. I don’t care if we have Cranks or rebels or gorillas running around this place—these shuck guards aren’t our worry right now.” Brenda shrugged. “Fine. Just thought we could get some information.” She paused, then pointed.
“Hangar’s that way.”
After gathering up their weapons and ammunition, Thomas and the others jogged down hallway after hallway, all the while on the lookout for whoever had overpowered all those guards. Finally Brenda stopped at another set of double doors. One of them stood slightly ajar, and a breeze flowed through, ruffling her scrubs.
Without being told, Minho and Newt took up position on either side of the doorway, Launchers at the ready. Brenda grabbed the handle of the door, pistol aimed into the opening. There were no sounds coming from the other side.
Thomas gripped his Launcher tighter, the back end pressed against his shoulder, muzzle aimed forward.
“Open it,” he said, his heart racing.
Brenda swung the door wide and Thomas charged through. He swept his Launcher left and right, turning in a circle as he moved forward.
The massive hangar looked like it was built to hold three of the enormous Bergs, but only two stood in their loading spots. They loomed like giant squatting frogs, all scorched metal and worn edges, as if they’d flown soldiers into a hundred fiery battles. Other than a few cargo crates and what looked like mechanics’
stations, the rest of the area was nothing but open space.
Thomas pushed on, searching the hangar as the other three spread out around him. Not one thing stirred.
“Hey!” Minho shouted. “Over here. Someone’s on the …” He didn’t finish, but he had stopped next to a large crate and had his weapon trained on something behind it.
Thomas was the first one at Minho’s side and was surprised to see a man lying hidden from view on the other side of the wooden box, groaning as he rubbed his head. There was no blood showing through his dark hair, but judging from the way he struggled to sit up, Thomas bet he’d been hit pretty hard.
“Careful there, buddy,” Minho warned. “Nice and easy, no sudden movements or you’ll smell like burnt bacon before you know it.”
The man leaned on an elbow, and when he dropped his hand from his face, Brenda let out a small cry and rushed forward to him, pulling him into a hug.
Jorge. Thomas felt a rush of relief—they’d found their pilot and he was okay, if a little banged up.
Brenda didn’t seem to quite see it that way. She searched Jorge for injuries as her questions poured out.
“What happened? How’d you get hurt? Who took the Berg? Where is everyone?” Jorge groaned again and gently pushed her away. “Calm your pants, hermana. My head feels like it’s been stomped by dancin’ Cranks. Just give me a sec while I get my wits back together.” Brenda gave him some space and sat down, her face flushed, her expression anxious. Thomas had a million questions of his own, but he understood well what it felt like to be knocked in the head. He watched Jorge as he slowly got his bearings, and remembered how he’d once been scared of this guy—been terrified of him. The images of Jorge fighting Minho inside that wreck of a building in the Scorch would never leave his mind. But eventually, like Brenda, Jorge had realized that he and the Gladers were on the same side.
Jorge squeezed his eyes shut and opened them a few more times, then started talking. “I don’t know how they did it, but they took over the compound, got rid of the guards, stole a Berg, flew out of here with another pilot. I was an idiot and tried to get them to wait until I could find out more about what’s going on. Now my head’s paying for it.”
“Who?” Brenda asked. “Who are you talking about? Who left?”
For some reason Jorge looked up at Thomas when he answered. “That Teresa chick. Her and the rest of the subjects. Well, all of them except you muchachos.”
|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|