Minho led the way this time, his shoulders squared as he ran, every inch of him showing the pride he’d felt for those two years when he’d ruled the corridors of the Maze. Thomas was right behind him, craning his neck to see the walls of ivy majestically rising toward the gray ceiling. It was a strange feeling, being back in there after everything they’d been through since their escape.
No one said much as they ran toward the Glade. Thomas wondered what Brenda and Jorge must think of the Maze—he knew it had to seem enormous. A beetle blade could never translate size like this back to the observation rooms. And he could only imagine all the bad memories crashing back into Gally’s brain.
They turned the final corner that led to the wide corridor outside the East Door of the Glade. When Thomas came to the section of wall where he’d tied Alby up in the ivy, he looked at the spot, could see the mangled mess of the vines. All that effort to save the former leader of the Gladers, only to see him die a few days later, his mind never fully recovered from the Changing.
A surge of anger burned like liquid heat in Thomas’s veins.
They reached the huge gap in the walls that made up the East Door, and Thomas caught his breath and slowed. There were hundreds of people milling about the Glade. He was horrified that there were even a few babies and small children scattered among the crowd. It took a moment for the murmurs to spread across the sea of Immunes, but within seconds every eye was trained on the new arrivals and utter silence fell upon the Glade.
“Did you know there were this many?” Minho asked Thomas.
There were people everywhere—certainly more than the Gladers had ever numbered. But what stole Thomas’s words was seeing the Glade itself again. The crooked building they called the Homestead; the pathetic copse of trees; the Bloodhouse barn; the fields, now only hardened weeds. The charred Map Room, its metal door blackened and still hanging ajar. He could even see the Slammer from where he stood. A bubble of emotion threatened to burst inside him.
“Hey, daydreamer,” Minho said, snapping his fingers. “I asked you a question.”
“Huh? Oh … There’s so many—they make the place look smaller than it ever did when we were here.” It didn’t take long before their friends spotted them. Frypan. Clint, the Med-jack. Sonya and some other girls from Group B. They all came running, and there was a short burst of reunions and hugs.
Frypan swatted Thomas on the arm. “Can you believe they put me back in this place? They wouldn’t even let me cook, just sent us a bunch of packaged food in the Box three times a day. Kitchen doesn’t even work
—no electricity, nothing.”
Thomas laughed, the anger easing. “You think you were a lousy cook for fifty guys? Try feeding this army.”
“Funny man, Thomas. You are a funny man. I’m glad to see you.” Then his eyes got big. “Gally? Gally’s here? Gally’s alive?”
“Nice to see you, too,” the boy responded dryly.
Thomas patted Frypan on the back. “Long story. He’s a good guy now.” Gally scoffed but didn’t respond.
Minho stepped up to them. “All right, happy time is over. How in the world are we going to do this, dude?”
“Shouldn’t be too bad,” Thomas said. He actually hated the idea of trying to funnel all these people not only through the Maze itself, but then all the way through the WICKED complex to the Flat Trans. Still, it had to be done.
“Don’t feed me that klunk,” Minho said. “Your eyes don’t lie.” Thomas smiled. “Well, we’ve certainly got a lot of people to fight with us.”
“Have you looked at these poor saps?” Minho asked, sounding disgusted. “Half of ’em are younger than us, and the other half look like they haven’t so much as arm wrestled before, much less had a fistfight.”
“Sometimes numbers are all that matters,” Thomas responded.
He spotted Teresa and called her over, then found Brenda.
“What’s the plan?” Teresa asked.
If Teresa was really with them, this was when Thomas needed her—and all the memories she’d had returned.
“Okay, let’s split them into groups,” he said to everyone. “There’s gotta be four or five hundred people, so … groups of fifty. Then have one Glader or Group B person be in charge of them. Teresa, do you know how to get to this maintenance room?”
He showed her the map and she nodded after examining it.
Thomas continued. “Then I’ll help move people along as you and Brenda lead the way. Everyone else guide one of the groups. Except Minho, Jorge, and Gally. I think you guys should cover the rear.”
“Sounds good to me,” Minho said, shrugging. Impossibly, he looked bored.
“Whatever you say, muchacho,” Jorge added. Gally just nodded.
They spent the next twenty minutes dividing everyone into groups and getting them into long lines. They paid special attention to keeping the groups even in terms of age and strength. The Immunes had no problem following orders once they realized the new arrivals had come to help rescue them.
Once they were organized into groups, Thomas and his friends lined up in front of the East Door. Thomas waved his hands to get everyone’s attention.
“Listen up!” Thomas began. “WICKED is planning to use you for science. Your bodies—your brains.
They’ve been studying people for years, collecting data to develop a cure for the Flare. Now they want to use you as well, but you deserve more than a life as lab rats. You are—we all are—the future, and the future isn’t going to happen the way WICKED wants it to. That’s why we’re here. To get you out of this place. We’ll be going through a bunch of buildings to find a Flat Trans that’ll take us somewhere safe. If we’re attacked, we’re going to have to fight. Stick with your groups, and the strongest need to do whatever it takes to protect the—”
Thomas’s last words were cut off by a violent crack—like the sound of stone splintering. And then, nothing. Only an echo bouncing off the enormous walls.
“What was that?” Minho yelled, searching the sky for the source.
Thomas inspected the Glade, the walls of the Maze rising up behind him, but nothing was out of place. He was just about to speak when another crack sounded, then another. A thunderous din of rumbling crossed the Glade, beginning low and increasing in depth and volume. The ground started to tremble, and it seemed as if the world was going to fall apart.
People turned in circles, looking for the source of the noise, and Thomas could tell panic was spreading.
He’d lose control soon. The ground shook more violently; the sounds amplified—thunder and grinding rock
—and now screams erupted from the mass of people standing in front of him.
Suddenly it dawned on Thomas. “The explosives.”
“What?” Minho shouted at him.
Thomas looked at his friend. “The Right Arm!”
A deafening roar shook the Glade, and Thomas spun around to look up. A large portion of the wall to the left of the East Door had broken loose, great chunks of stone flying everywhere. A huge section seemed to hover at an impossible angle, and then it fell, toppling toward the ground.
Thomas didn’t have time to shout a warning before the massive piece of rock landed on a group of people, crushing them as it broke in half. He stood for a moment, speechless as blood oozed out from the edges and pooled on the stone floor.
|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|