It was a smooth ride, but it seemed to last forever. And so much time to think about things wasn’t exactly what Thomas needed—especially without being able to see. He was nauseated by the time they finally stopped.
When the side door of the van opened, Thomas instinctively reached up to take off his hood.
“Don’t do it,” the lead guy snapped. “Don’t you dare take those off until we tell you to. Now get out, nice and slow. Do us a favor and keep yourselves alive.”
“You sure are a tough shank,” Thomas heard Minho say. “Easy to do when you’ve got six people with guns. Why don’t you—”
He was cut off by the thump of a hard punch, followed by a loud grunt.
Hands grabbed Thomas and pulled him out of the van so roughly that he almost fell down. Once he got his balance, the person yanked again and started leading him away; Thomas was barely able to keep his feet under himself.
He kept quiet as he was led down a set of stairs and then down a long hallway. They stopped, and he heard the swipe of a key card, the click of a lock, then the creak of a door opening. As it did, the murmurs of hushed voices filled the air, as if dozens of people were waiting inside.
The woman gave him a push and he stumbled a few steps forward. He immediately reached up and yanked the hood off his head, just as the door closed behind him.
He and the others stood in a huge room filled with people, most of them sitting on the floor. Dull lights in the ceiling ill uminated the few dozen faces that stared back at them, some of them dirty, most of them scratched or bruised.
A woman came forward, her face twisted by fear and anxiety. “What’s it like out there?” she asked.
“We’ve been in here for a few hours, and things were falling apart. Has it gotten worse?” More people started to approach their group as Thomas answered. “We were outside the city—they got us at the gates. What do you mean things were falling apart? What happened?” She looked at the floor. “The government declared a state of emergency, without any kind of warning.
Then the police, the cop machines, the Flare testers—they all disappeared. All at once, it seemed. We got snagged by these people trying to get work at the city building. There wasn’t even time to figure out what was happening or why.”
“We were guards over at the Crank Palace,” another man said. “Others like us had been disappearing left and right, so we finally gave up and came to Denver a few days ago. We got nabbed at the airport, too.”
“How’d everything get so bad, so suddenly?” Brenda asked. “We were here three days ago.” The man let out a sharp, bitter laugh. “The whole city is full of idiots thinking they’ve been containing the virus. It’s been a long and slow rumble, but it’s all finally exploded in our faces. The world has no chance—
the virus is too strong. Some of us have seen this coming for a long time.” Thomas’s gaze wandered back to the group of people approaching. He froze when he saw Aris.
“Minho, look,” he said, elbowing him and pointing.
The boy from Group B had already broken into a grin and was jogging over. Behind him, Thomas could see a couple of girls who had been in Aris’s Maze group. Whoever these people were who had taken them, they were good at their job.
Aris reached Thomas and stood in front of him as if he were about to give him a hug, then held out a hand instead. Thomas shook it.
“Glad you guys are okay,” the boy said.
“You too.” Seeing Aris’s familiar face made Thomas realize that any bitterness he’d felt about what had happened between them in the Scorch was gone. “Where is everyone?” Aris’s face darkened. “Most of them aren’t with us anymore. They got taken by another group.” Before Thomas could process what he’d said, Teresa appeared. Thomas had to clear his throat to get rid of the lump that had suddenly formed there. “Teresa?” He felt such a flurry of conflicted emotions he could barely get the word out.
“Hey, Tom.” She stepped close to him, her eyes sad. “I’m so glad you’re okay.” Her eyes moistened with tears.
“Yeah, you too.” Part of him hated her; part of him had missed her. He wanted to scream at her for leaving them behind at WICKED.
“Where did you guys go?” she asked. “How did you get all the way to Denver?” Thomas was confused. “What do you mean, where did we go?”
She stared at him for a few seconds. “We’ve got a lot to talk about.” Thomas squinted. “What’re you up to now?”
“I’m not up to …” Defiance gripped her voice. “There’s obviously been some miscommunication. Look, most of our group was captured by different bounty hunters yesterday—they’ve probably already been taken back and sold to WICKED. Including Frypan. I’m sorry.”
An image of the cook popped into Thomas’s head. He didn’t know if he could handle losing yet another friend.
Minho leaned in to speak. “I can see you’re as cheerful as always. So glad to be back in your sunshiny presence.”
Teresa completely ignored him. “Tom, they’ll be moving us soon. Please come talk to me. In private.
Thomas hated the fact that he wanted to, and he tried to hide his eagerness. “The Rat Man already gave me his big speech. Please tell me you don’t agree with him and think I should go back to WICKED.”
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about.” She paused, as if battling her pride. “Please.” Thomas stared at her for a long moment, not sure how he felt. Brenda was just a few feet away, and it was clear she wasn’t happy to see Teresa.
“Well?” Teresa asked. She motioned to their surroundings. “Not a lot to do in here but wait around. Are you too busy to talk to me?”
Thomas had to stop himself from rolling his eyes. He pointed to a couple of empty chairs in the corner of the large room. “Let’s go, but make it quick.”
|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|