Lost in the dark haze of drugs, Thomas dreamed.
He is fifteen years old, sitting on a bed. The room is dark except for the amber glow of a lamp on the desk.
Teresa is there—she has pulled a chair out and is sitting close to him. Her face is haunted—a mask of misery.
“We had to do this,” she says quietly.
Thomas is there but isn’t there. He doesn’t remember the details of what happened, but he knows his insides feel like rot and filth. He and Teresa have done something horrible, but his dreaming self can’t quite grasp what it was. A ghastly thing that is no less repulsive because they were told to do it by the people they did it to.
“We had to do it,” she repeats.
“I know,” Thomas responds in a voice that sounds as dead as dust.
Two words pop into his head: the Purge. The wall blocking him from the memory thins for a moment and a dreadful fact looms on the other side.
Teresa starts talking again. “They wanted it to end this way, Tom. Better to die than spend years going crazier and crazier. They’re gone now. We had no choice, and no better way to make it happen. It’s done and that’s that. We need to get the new people trained and keep the Trials going. We’ve come too far to let it fall apart.”
For a moment Thomas hates her, but it’s fleeting. He knows she’s trying to be strong. “That doesn’t mean I have to like it.” And he doesn’t. He has never hated himself with such intensity before.
Teresa nods but says nothing.
The dreaming Thomas tries to invade the mind of his younger self, explore the memories in that unfettered space. The original Creators, Flare-infected, purged and dead. Countless volunteers to take their place. The two ongoing Maze Trials, running strong over a year in, with more results every day. The slowly but surely building blueprint. Training for the replacements.
It’s all there for the taking. For the remembering. But then he changes his mind, turns his back on it all.
The past is the past. There is only the future now.
He sinks into a dark oblivion.
Thomas woke up groggy and with a dull ache behind his eyes. The dream still throbbed in his skull like a pulse, though its details had grown fuzzy. He knew enough about the Purge, about its being the shift from the original Creators to their replacements. He and Teresa had had to exterminate the entire staff after an outbreak—they’d had no choice, were the only ones left who were immune. He swore to never think about it again.
Minho was sitting in a chair nearby, his head lolling as he snored in fitful sleep.
“Minho,” Thomas whispered. “Hey. Minho. Wake up.”
“Huh?” Minho opened his eyes slowly and coughed. “What? What’s going on?”
“Nothing. I just want to know what happened. Did Hans get the thing switched off? Are we fixed?” Minho nodded through a big yawn. “Yeah—both of us. At least, he said he did. Man, you wigged out big-time. You remember all that?”
“Of course I do.” A wave of embarrassment made his face flush hot. “But it was like I was paralyzed or something. I kept trying, but I couldn’t stop whatever was controlling me.”
“Dude, you tried to slice my you-know-whats off!”
Thomas laughed, something he hadn’t done in a long time. He welcomed it happily. “Too bad I didn’t.
Could’ve saved the world from future little Minhos.”
“Just remember you owe me one.”
“Good that.” He owed them all.
Brenda, Jorge, and Hans walked in, all three of them looking serious, and the smile fell from Thomas’s face.
“Gally stop by and give you guys another pep talk?” Thomas asked, forcing a lighthearted tone to his voice. “You look downright depressed.”
“When did you get so cheerful, muchacho?” Jorge responded. “A few hours ago you were stabbing at us with a knife.”
Thomas opened his mouth to apologize—to explain—but Hans shushed him. He leaned over the bed and flashed a little light into both of Thomas’s eyes. “Looks like your head’s clearing up pretty well. The pain should be gone soon—your operation was a little worse because of that fail-safe.” Thomas turned his attention to Brenda. “Is it fixed?”
“It worked,” she said. “Judging from the fact that you’re not trying to kill us anymore, it’s deactivated.
“Well, you shouldn’t be able to talk to or hear from Teresa or Aris again.” Thomas might’ve felt a pang of sadness at that even the day before, but now he felt only relief. “Suits me fine. Any sign of trouble yet?”
She shook her head. “No, but they can’t take any chances—Hans and his wife are going to leave, but he wanted to tell you something first.”
Hans had stepped back to stand by the wall, probably to give them a little space. He came forward now, his eyes downcast. “I wish I could go with you and help, but I have a wife, and she’s my family. She’s my first concern. I wanted to wish you luck. I hope you can do what I don’t have the courage to try.” Thomas nodded. The change in the man’s attitude was marked—maybe the recent incident had reminded him of what WICKED was capable of. “Thanks. And if we can stop WICKED, we’ll come back for you.”
“We’ll see about that,” Hans murmured. “We’ll see about a lot of things.” Hans turned and walked back to his position by the wall. Thomas was sure that the man carried around many dark memories in his mind.
“What next?” Brenda asked.
Thomas knew they didn’t have time to rest. And his mind was set on what they needed to do. “We find our other friends, convince them to join us. Then we go back to Gally. The only thing I’ve accomplished in life is to help set up an experiment that failed and tormented a bunch of kids. It’s time to add something else to that list. We’re going to stop the entire operation before they do it to new Immunes all over again.” Jorge spoke for the first time in a while. “We? What’re you saying, hermano?” Thomas shifted his gaze to the man, his resolve solidifying. “We have to help the Right Arm.” No one said anything.
“Okay,” Minho finally said. “But first let’s get something to eat.”
|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|