Eventually, Thomas and Minho got themselves up and went to sit on a couch in the common area while Brenda helped Jorge in the cockpit.
With time to think, the full reality of what had happened hit Thomas like a falling boulder. Ever since Thomas had entered the Maze, Newt had been there for him. Thomas hadn’t realized just how much of a friend he’d become until now. His heart hurt.
He tried to remind himself that Newt wasn’t dead. But in some ways this was worse. In most ways. He’d fall en down the slope of insanity, and he was surrounded by bloodthirsty Cranks. And the prospect of never seeing him again was almost unbearable.
Minho finally spoke in a lifeless voice. “Why did he do that? Why wouldn’t he come back with us? Why would he point that weapon at my face?”
“He never would’ve pulled the trigger,” Thomas offered, though he doubted it was the truth.
Minho shook his head. “You saw his eyes when they changed. Complete lunacy. I’d be fried if I’d kept pushing. He’s crazy, man. He’s gone wacker from top to bottom.”
“Maybe it’s a good thing.”
“Come again?” Minho asked as he turned to Thomas.
“Maybe when their minds go, they’re not themselves anymore. Maybe the Newt we know is gone and he’s not aware of what’s happening to him. So really, he’s not suffering.” Minho almost looked offended by the notion. “Nice try, slinthead, but I don’t believe it. I think he’ll always be there just enough to be screaming on the inside, deranged and suffering every shuck second of it.
Tormented like a dude buried alive.”
That image made Thomas not want to talk anymore, and they fell silent again. Thomas stared at the same spot on the floor, feeling the full dread of Newt’s fate, until the Berg landed with a thump back at the Denver airport.
Thomas rubbed his face with both hands. “I guess we’re here.”
“I think I understand WICKED a little more now,” Minho said absently. “After seeing those eyes up close.
Seeing the madness. It’s not the same when it’s someone you’ve known for so long. I’ve watched plenty of friends die, but I can’t imagine anything worse. The Flare, man. If we could find a cure for that …” He didn’t finish the sentence, but Thomas knew what he was thinking. Thomas closed his eyes for a second—nothing about this was black-and-white. It never would be.
Jorge and Brenda joined them after they’d sat awhile in silence.
“I’m sorry,” Brenda murmured.
Minho grunted something; Thomas nodded and gave her a long look, trying to let her know with his eyes how terrible he felt. Jorge just sat there, staring at the floor.
Brenda cleared her throat. “I know it’s hard, but we need to think about what we’re going to do next.” Minho flew to his feet and pointed at her. “You can think all you want about whatever shuck thing you want, Ms. Brenda. We just left our friend with a bunch of psychos.” He stormed out of the room.
Brenda’s eyes fell on Thomas. “Sorry.”
He shrugged. “It’s okay. He was with Newt for two years before I showed up in the Maze. It’ll take him some time.”
“We’re really spent, muchachos,” Jorge said. “Maybe we should take a couple of days and rest. Think it all through.”
“Yeah,” Thomas murmured.
Brenda leaned toward him and squeezed his hand. “We’ll figure something out.”
“There’s only one place to start,” Thomas replied. “Gally’s.”
“Maybe you’re right.” She squeezed his hand once more, then let go and stood up. “Come on, Jorge.
Let’s make something to eat.”
The two of them let Thomas be alone with his sorrow.
After a dreadful meal during which no one spoke more than a couple of meaningless words at a time, the four of them went their separate ways. Thomas couldn’t stop thinking about Newt as he wandered the Berg aimlessly. His heart sank when he thought about what their lost friend’s life was going to become, what little left of it he had.
Thomas stood dazed for a moment, then ran to the bathroom and locked the door. The note! In all the chaos of the Crank Palace, he’d completely forgotten about it. Newt had said Thomas would know when the time came to read it. And he should’ve done it before they’d left him in that rancid place. If the time hadn’t been right then, when would it have ever been?
He pulled the envelope out of his pocket and ripped it open, then took out the slip of paper. The soft lights that ringed the mirror lit up the message in a warm glow. It was two short sentences: Kill me. If you’ve ever been my friend, kill me.
Thomas read it over and over, wishing the words would change. To think that his friend had been so scared that he’d had the foresight to write those words made him sick to his stomach. And he remembered how angry Newt had been at Thomas specifically when they’d found him in the bowling all ey. He’d just wanted to avoid the inevitable fate of becoming a Crank.
And Thomas had failed him.
|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|