The van shot forward, Lawrence’s hands gripped tightly on the wheel. Thomas turned and looked out the back windows—but there was nothing. Somehow, the person on top of the van was hanging on.
Just as Thomas spun back around, a face started creeping down the front windshield, staring at them upside down. It was a woman, her hair whipping in the wind as Lawrence sent the van tearing down the all eyway at breakneck speed. The woman’s eyes met Thomas’s, and then she smiled, showing a set of surprisingly perfect teeth.
“What’s she holding on to?” Thomas yelled.
Lawrence answered, his voice strained. “Who knows. But she can’t last long.” The woman’s eyes stayed locked on Thomas, but she had freed one of her hands and balled it into a fist, then started pounding the window. Thump, thump, thump. Her smile stayed wide, her teeth almost glistening in the lamplight.
“Would you please get rid of her?” Brenda shouted.
“Fine.” Lawrence slammed on the brakes.
The woman flew into the air, shooting forward like a launched grenade, her arms windmilling and her legs splayed, until she crashed to the ground. Thomas winced and squeezed his eyes shut, then strained to get a look at her. Shockingly, she was already moving, shakily getting to her feet. She regained her balance, then turned slowly toward them, the headlights from the van brightly ill uminating every inch of her.
She was no longer smiling, not at all. Instead her lips had curled into a fierce snarl; a big welt reddened the side of her face. Her eyes bore into Thomas once more, and he shivered.
Lawrence gunned the engine, and the Crank looked like she was going to hurl herself in front of the vehicle, as if she could somehow stop it, but at the last second she pulled back and watched them pass.
Thomas couldn’t take his eyes off her, and in his last glimpse, her face melted into a frown and her eyes cleared, as if she’d just realized what she’d done. As if there was something left of the person she used to be.
And seeing that made it worse for Thomas. “She was like a mix of sane and not sane.”
“Just be glad she was the only one,” Lawrence muttered.
Brenda squeezed Thomas’s arm. “It’s hard to look at. I know how it felt for you and Minho to see what’d happened to Newt.”
Thomas didn’t answer, but he put his hand on top of hers.
They reached the end of the all ey, and Lawrence swerved to the right onto a bigger street. small groups of people dotted the area up ahead. A few were struggling as if they were fighting, but most were digging through trash or eating things Thomas couldn’t quite make out. Several haunted, ghostly faces just stood and stared at them with dead eyes as they drove by.
No one in the van said anything, as if they were afraid that speaking would somehow alert the Cranks outside.
“I can’t believe it happened so fast,” Brenda finally said. “You think they were somehow planning to take over Denver? Could they really organize something like that?”
“Hard to know,” Lawrence replied. “There were signs. Locals disappearing, reps from the government disappearing, more and more infecteds being discovered. But it looks like a huge number of them suckers hid out, waiting for the right time to make their move.”
“Yeah,” Brenda said. “It seems like it was a matter of Cranks finally outnumbering healthy people. Once the balance tipped, it tipped all the way over.”
“Who cares how it happened,” Lawrence said. “The only thing that matters is how it is. Look around us.
The place is a nightmare now.” He slowed down to make a tight turn into a long all ey. “Almost there. We need to be more careful now.” He turned off the headlights, then picked up speed again.
As they drove, it became darker and darker, until Thomas couldn’t see anything more than large, formless shadows that he kept imagining would suddenly leap out in front of them. “Maybe you shouldn’t drive so fast.”
“We’ll be fine,” the man replied. “I’ve driven this route a thousand times. I know it like the back of my—” Thomas flew forward and was snapped back by the seat belt. They’d run over something, and it was caught beneath the van—metal, from the sound of it. The van bounced a couple of times, then came to a stop.
“What was that?” Brenda whispered.
“I don’t know,” Lawrence responded in an even quieter voice. “Probably a trash can or something. Scared the crap out of me.”
He inched forward and a loud, scraping screech filled the air. Then came a thump and another crash and everything fell silent.
“Got her loose,” Lawrence murmured, not bothering to hide his relief. He continued, but slowed to a fraction of his earlier speed.
“Maybe you should turn the lights back on?” Thomas suggested, amazed at how fast his heart was beating. “I can’t see a thing out there.”
“Yeah,” Brenda added. “I’m pretty sure anyone out there heard that racket anyway.”
“I guess so.” Lawrence turned them on.
The headlights ill uminated the entire all ey in a spray of bluish-white light that, compared to the previous darkness, seemed brighter than the sun. Thomas squinted at the glare, then opened his eyes fully and a bloom of horror rose up in him. About twenty feet in front of them, at least thirty people had emerged and now stood packed together, completely blocking the road.
Their faces were pale and haggard, scratched and bruised. Ripped, filthy clothes hung from their bodies.
They stood there, every one of them looking into the bright lights as if they weren’t fazed in the least. They were like standing corpses, raised from the dead.
Thomas shivered from the chil that iced his body.
The crowd started to part. They moved in sync, and a large space cleared in the middle as they backed to the sides of the all ey. Then one of them waved an arm, gesturing that the van should go ahead and drive past.
“These are some awfully polite Cranks,” Lawrence whispered.
|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|