“Maybe they’re not past the Gone yet?” Thomas answered, even though the statement sounded stupid even to him. “Or not in the mood to get run over by a big van?”
“Well, gun it,” Brenda said. “Before they change their mind.” To Thomas’s relief, Lawrence did just that; the van shot forward and he didn’t slow down. The Cranks lining the walls stared at them as they sailed past. Seeing them close up—the scratches and blood and bruises, those maddened eyes—made Thomas shiver again.
They were just approaching the end of the group when several loud pops sounded and the van jolted and swerved to the right. Its front end slammed into the wall of the all ey, pinning two Cranks against it. Thomas stared in horror through the windshield as they screamed in agony and beat bloody fists against the front of the vehicle.
“What the hell?” Lawrence bell owed as he put the van in reverse.
They screeched backward several feet, the vehicle shaking horribly. The two Cranks fell to the ground and were immediately attacked by the ones closest to the front of the van. Thomas quickly looked away, filled with a nauseating terror. On all sides, Cranks started thumping the van with their fists. At the same time, the tires were spinning and squealing, unable to gain traction. The combination of noises was like something from a nightmare.
“What’s wrong?” Brenda yelled.
“They did something to the tires! Or the axels. Something!”
Lawrence kept switching the van from reverse to drive, but each time it only went a few feet. A lady with wild hair approached the window to Thomas’s right. She was holding a huge shovel in both hands, and he watched as she raised it over her head, then swung it down against the window. The glass didn’t give.
“We really need to get out of here!” Thomas shouted. Helpless, he didn’t know what else to say. They’d been stupid to let themselves fall into such an obvious trap.
Lawrence kept shifting and gassing the van, but they merely jerked back and forth. A series of familiar thumps sounded from the roof. Someone was up there. Cranks were attacking all the windows now, with everything from wooden sticks to their own heads. The lady outside Thomas’s window didn’t give up, smacking her shovel into the glass over and over again. Finally, the fifth or sixth time she did it, a hairline crack shot across the window.
The growing panic made Thomas’s throat constrict. “She’s going to smash it!”
“Get us out of here!” Brenda said at the same time.
The van moved a few inches, just enough to make the woman miss with her next swing. But someone slammed a sledgehammer into the windshield from above and a huge spiderweb blossomed like a white flower in the glass.
Again the van jolted backward. The man holding the sledgehammer tumbled onto the front hood before he could slam the glass again and landed in the street. A Crank with a long gash on top of his bald head yanked the tool from the man’s grip and got two more whacks in before a group of other people started fighting him for his weapon. The cracks in the windshield almost completely obscured the view from inside the van. The sound of breaking glass came from the rear; Thomas spun around to see an arm wriggling through a gash in the window, the jagged edges tearing its skin.
Thomas unbuckled his seat belt and squirmed into the back of the van. He grabbed the first thing he found, a long plastic tool with a brush on one end and a sharp edge on the other—a snow pick—and crawled over the middle row of seats; he slammed the thing into the Crank’s arm, then again, then a third time. Screaming, whoever it was pulled their arm out, knocking pieces of glass onto the cement outside.
“You want the Launcher?” Brenda called back to him.
“No!” Thomas shouted. “It’s too big inside the van. Grab the gun!” The van lurched forward, then stopped again; Thomas smacked his face on the back of the middle bench, and pain shot through his cheek and jaw. He turned to see a man and woman tearing away at the remaining glass in the broken window. Blood from their hands oozed down both sides of the hole as it got bigger.
“Here!” Brenda yelled from behind him.
He turned and took the gun from her, then aimed and fired, once, then twice, and the Cranks fell to the ground, any screams of agony drowned out by the awful noise of the squealing tires and overworked engine, the pounding of the Cranks’ attack.
“I think we’re almost loose!” Lawrence shouted. “I don’t know what the hell they did!” Thomas turned to look at him; he was covered in sweat. A hole had appeared at the middle of the spiderweb on the windshield. Cracks completely lined the other windows—almost nothing outside was visible anymore. Brenda held her Launcher, ready to use it if things got completely hopeless.
The van went backward, then forward, then backward again. It seemed to be under a little more control, was shaking less than it had been. Two sets of arms came through the big hole in the back, and Thomas let off two more shots. They heard screams, and a woman’s face—twisted into a hideous scowl, her every tooth edged with grime—appeared at the window.
“Just let us in, boy,” she said, her words barely audible. “All we want is food. Just give us some food. Let me in! ”
She screamed the last few words and pushed her head through the opening as if she actually thought she could fit. Thomas didn’t want to shoot her but held the gun up, readied himself in case she somehow managed to get inside. But when the van bolted forward again, she fell out, leaving the edges of the broken window covered in blood.
Thomas braced himself for the van to go backward again. But after a short, jolting stop, it went forward several more feet, turning in the right direction. Then a few more.
“I think I’ve got it!” Lawrence yelled.
Again forward, this time maybe ten feet. The Cranks followed as best they could—the short moment of silence as they were left behind didn’t last, though. Soon the screams and thumps and bangs began all over again. A man reached through the hole in the back with a long knife, started slashing left and right at anything and nothing. Thomas lifted his gun and fired. How many had he killed? Three? Four? Had he killed them?
With one last long, terrible squeal, the van shot forward and then didn’t stop. It bounced a couple of times as it ran over the Cranks who’d been in their path; then it smoothed out and picked up speed. Thomas looked out the back, saw bodies falling off the roof and onto the street. The remaining Cranks gave chase, but soon they were all left behind.
Thomas collapsed onto the seat, lying on his back, staring up at the dented roof. He sucked in huge, heavy breaths, tried to regain control of his emotions. He was barely aware of Lawrence turning off the one headlight that hadn’t been smashed, making two more turns, then slipping through an open garage door that closed as soon as they cleared it.
|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|