When the van pulled to a stop and Lawrence shut off the engine, silence enveloped Thomas’s world. The only thing he heard was the rush of pumping blood inside his head. He closed his eyes and tried to slow his breathing. Neither of the other two said anything for a couple of minutes, until Lawrence broke the silence.
“They’re out there, surrounding us, waiting for us to get out.” Thomas forced himself to sit up and face the front again. Outside the broken windows, it was totally dark.
“Who?” Brenda asked.
“The boss’s guards. They know this is one of their vans, but they won’t approach us until we get out and show ourselves. They need to confirm who we are—I’d guess we have about twenty weapons aimed at us right now.”
“So what do we do?” Thomas asked, not ready for another confrontation.
“We get out, nice and slow. They’ll recognize me soon enough.” Thomas crawled over the seats. “Do we get out at the same time, or should just one of us go first?”
“I’ll get out first, tell them it’s okay. Wait until I knock on the window to get out,” Lawrence answered.
“I guess,” Thomas sighed.
“It would really suck,” Brenda said, “if we went through all that just to have them shoot us. I’m sure I look like a Crank right about now.”
Lawrence opened his door and Thomas waited, anxious for his cue. The loud rap on the frame of the van startled Thomas, but he was ready.
Brenda eased her door open slowly and stepped out. Thomas followed her, straining to see in the darkness, but the room was pitch-black.
A loud click sounded and the place was instantly flooded with bright white light. Thomas threw his hands up and squeezed his eyes shut, then, shielding himself, squinted to see what was going on. A huge spotlight mounted on a tripod was pointed directly at them. He could just make out the silhouettes of two figures on either side of it. Scanning the rest of the room, he saw that there were at least a dozen other people, all holding various types of weapons, just as Lawrence had said there would be.
“Lawrence, is that you?” a man called out, his voice echoing against concrete walls. It was impossible to tell which person had spoken.
“Yeah, it’s me.”
“What happened to our van, and who are these people? Tell me you didn’t bring infecteds in here.”
“We got jumped by a huge group of Cranks down the all ey a ways. And these guys are Munies—they forced me to bring them to you. They want to see the boss.”
“Why?” the man asked.
The man cut Lawrence off. “No, I want to hear it from them. State your names, why you forced our man to come here and destroy one of the few vehicles we have left. And it better be a good reason.” Thomas and Brenda exchanged a look to see who should talk and Brenda nodded to him.
He returned his gaze to the spotlight, focusing on the person to the right of it. That was his best guess at who’d been doing the talking. “My name is Thomas. This is Brenda. We know Gally—we were with him at WICKED and he told us about the Right Arm and what you guys are doing a few days ago. We were on board to help, but not like this. We just want to know what you’re planning, why you’re kidnapping immune people and locking them up. I thought that was WICKED kind of stuff.” Thomas didn’t know what he’d expected, but the guy started to chuckle. “I think I’ll let you see the boss just so you get the damn idea out of your head that we’d ever do anything like WICKED.” Thomas shrugged. “Fine. Let us see your boss.” The man seemed sincere in his disgust with WICKED.
But it still didn’t make sense why they’d taken all those people.
“You better not be blowing things out your butt, kid,” the guy said. “Lawrence, bring them in. Somebody else check the van for weapons.”
Thomas kept silent as he and Brenda were led up two flights of dingy metal stairs. Then through a weathered wooden door, down a dirty hallway with one lightbulb and wall paper peeling from the walls, then finally to a large space that might’ve been a nice conference room fifty years earlier. Now all it held was a big, scarred table with plastic chairs scattered haphazardly around the room.
Two people sat at the far side of the table. Thomas noticed Gally first, on the right. He looked tired and disheveled, but he managed a slight nod and a small smile—nothing more than an unfortunate wrinkle in the mess that was his face. A huge man was next to him, more fat than muscle, his girth barely contained between the arms of the white plastic chair he sat in.
“This is the headquarters of the Right Arm?” Brenda asked. “Consider me a little discouraged.” Gally answered, his smile gone. “We’ve moved around more times than we can count. But thank you for the compliment.”
“So which one of you is the boss?” Thomas asked.
Gally nodded at his companion. “Don’t be a slinthead—Vince is in charge. And show some respect. He’s risked his life just because he believes that things should be made right in the world.” Thomas held his hands up in a conciliatory gesture. “I didn’t mean anything. The way you acted in your apartment, I thought you might be the guy in charge.”
“Well, I’m not. Vince is.”
“Does Vince know how to talk?” Brenda asked.
“Enough!” the large man yelled in a deep, booming voice. “Our whole city is overrun with Cranks—I don’t have time to sit here and listen to childish spats. What do you people want?” Thomas tried to hide the anger that had lit up inside him. “Just one thing. We want to know why you captured us. Why you’re kidnapping people for WICKED. Gally gave us a lot of hope—we thought we were on the same side. Imagine our surprise when we found out the Right Arm was just as bad as the people they’re supposedly fighting against. How much money were you going to make selling humans?”
“Gally,” the man said in response, as if he hadn’t heard a single word Thomas had said.
“You trust these two?”
Gally refused to meet Thomas’s gaze. “Yeah.” He nodded. “We can.” Vince leaned forward, resting his massive arms on the table. “Then we can’t waste any time. Boy, this is a look-alike operation and we didn’t plan on making a single dime off of anybody. We’re collecting Immunes to mimic WICKED.”
The response surprised Thomas. “Why in the world would you do something like that?”
“We’re going to use them to get inside their headquarters.”
|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|