The Right Arm gave them a newer van. Lawrence drove and the pilot sat in the passenger seat next to him.
She was silent and not very friendly, keeping mostly to herself. Lawrence wasn’t in the greatest of moods, either, probably because he’d gone from being a food distributor in a locked-down facility to serving as designated driver through a city of Cranks. Twice.
The sun had risen, glinting off the buildings of what seemed like an entirely different city from the night before. For some reason the light made the world feel a little safer.
Thomas had been given his pistol back, fully loaded, and he had it stuck in the waist of his jeans. He knew a round of twelve bullets wouldn’t do a whole lot if they got ambushed again, but it went far for his peace of mind.
“Okay, remember the plan,” Lawrence said, finally breaking the silence.
“And what was the plan?” Thomas asked.
“Make it to the hangar without dying.”
It sounded good to Thomas.
They lapsed back into quiet, the only sounds those of the engine and the bumps of the road. Such a moment couldn’t help but force Thomas to think about all the horrible things that could go wrong in the next day or two. He tried hard to shut his mind off, focus on the fall en city passing by outside.
So far he’d only seen a few people here and there, most of them at a distance. He wondered if the majority had stayed up late, scared of what might jump out of the darkness—or whether they had been doing the jumping themselves.
The sun gleamed on the high windows of the skyscrapers—the massively tall buildings seemed to stretch in every direction for eternity. The van drove right through the heart of the city, down a wide road scattered with abandoned cars. Thomas saw a few Cranks hiding in vehicles, peeking out the windows as if they were waiting to spring a trap.
Lawrence turned off after a mile or two, then headed down a long, straight highway that led to one of the gates of the walled city. Barricades edged both sides of the road—probably built in better times to keep the noise of countless cars from disturbing the city residents whose homes were set close to the thoroughfare. It seemed impossible that such a world had ever existed. A world where you weren’t scared for your life every day.
“This’ll take us all the way,” Lawrence said. “The hangar is probably our most protected facility, so all we have to do is make it there. An hour from now we’ll be up in the air, happy and safe.”
“Good that,” Thomas said, though after the night before it sounded far too easy. The pilot remained quiet.
They’d gone about three miles when Lawrence started to slow the vehicle. “What in the world?” he murmured.
Thomas turned his attention back to the road ahead to see what the man was talking about and saw several cars driving in circles.
“I guess I’ll just try to get past them,” Lawrence said, almost talking to himself.
Thomas didn’t respond, knowing that every person in the vehicle understood very well that whatever was going on could only mean trouble.
Lawrence picked up his speed again. “It’ll take us forever to backtrack and try a different way. I’m just going to try to get through.”
“Just don’t do anything stupid,” the pilot snapped. “We certainly won’t get there if we have to walk.” As they approached, Thomas leaned forward in his seat and strained to see what was going on. A crowd of about twenty people were fighting over a big pile of something he couldn’t quite make out, tossing debris and pushing and shoving, throwing punches. Maybe a hundred feet past them were the cars—swerving and spinning out and crashing into each other. It was a miracle no one on the road had been hit yet.
“What are you planning?” Thomas asked. Lawrence hadn’t slowed one bit, and they were almost there.
“You need to stop!” the pilot shouted.
Lawrence ignored the command. “No. I’m going through.”
“You’ll get us killed!”
“We’ll be fine. Just shut up for a second!”
They neared the group of people, still going at each other and whatever was in that huge pile. Thomas slid over to the side of the van, tried to get a better look. The Cranks were ripping apart huge sacks of garbage—pulling out old packages of food and half-rotten meat and scraps of leftovers—but no one was able to hold one thing in their hand before someone tried to steal it. Punches flew and fingers clawed and scratched. One man had a huge gash under his eye, a smear of blood dripping down his face like red tears.
The van swerved with a screech and Thomas turned his attention ahead. The drivers of the cars—old models, their shells dented, most of the paint gone—had stopped, and three of them were lined up facing the oncoming van. Lawrence didn’t slow down. Instead he turned, heading for the larger gap between the car to the right and the one in the middle. Then in a flash the car on the left bolted forward, turning sharply to try to catch the van before it got by.
“Hold on!” Lawrence screamed, then gunned it even faster.
Thomas gripped the seat below him as they shot toward the gap. The two cars lining the gap didn’t move, but the third car was banking and heading straight for them. Thomas saw that they had no chance, almost had time to shout it out, but it was too late.
The front hood of the van had just crossed the threshold of the gap when the third car slammed into the back of its left side. Thomas flew to his left and hit the bar between the two side windows, which shattered with a horrible crunch. Glass flew in all directions and the van spun in circles, its tail end like a whip. Thomas bounced all over, trying to get a grip on anything. The sounds of squealing tires and metal scraping against metal filled the air.
The noise stopped when the van finally hit the cement wall.
Thomas, battered and bruised, was on the floor, on his knees. He pulled himself up in time to see all three vehicles driving off, the sounds of their engines fading as they disappeared down the long, straight road, back the way Thomas and the others had come. He glanced over at Lawrence and the pilot, both of whom were fine.
Then the strangest thing happened. Thomas looked out the window and saw a banged-up Crank staring at him from twenty feet away. It took him a second to register that the Crank was his friend.
|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|