The wounded screamed. Rumbles of thunder and the sound of rock fracturing combined to make a horrible chorus as the ground beneath Thomas continued to shake. The Maze was falling apart around them—they had to get out.
“Run!” he yelled at Sonya.
She didn’t hesitate—she turned and disappeared into the corridors of the Maze. The people who’d been standing in her line didn’t need to be told to follow.
Thomas stumbled, regained his balance, ran over to Minho. “Bring up the rear! Teresa, Brenda and I need to get to the head of the pack!”
Minho nodded and gave him a push to get him going. Thomas glanced back in time to see the Homestead split down the middle like a cracked acorn, half of its slipshod structure coll apsing to the ground in a cloud of splintered wood and dust. His gaze swept to the Map Room, its concrete walls already crumbling to pieces.
There was no time to spare. He searched the chaos until he found Teresa. He grabbed his old friend and she followed him to the gap into the Maze. Brenda was there, trying her best with Jorge to facilitate who would go next, to prevent everyone from going at once in a stampede that would surely kill half of them.
Another splintering crack sounded from above; Thomas looked up to see a section of wall falling toward the ground by the fields. It exploded when it hit, luckily with no one underneath. With a sudden jerk of horror he realized that the roof itself would eventually collapse.
“Go!” Brenda yelled at him. “I’m right behind you!”
Teresa grabbed his arm, yanked him forward, and the three of them ran past the jagged left edge of the Door and into the Maze, weaving their way around the crowd of people heading in the same direction.
Thomas had to sprint to catch up with Sonya—he had no idea whether she’d been a Runner in Group B’s Maze or whether she’d remember the layout as well as he did, if it was even the same.
The ground continued to tremble, and lurched with every distant explosion. People stumbled left and right, fell, got back up, kept running. Thomas dodged and ducked as he ran, jumping over a fall en man at one point. Rocks tumbled from the walls. He watched one hit a man in the head, knocking him to the ground.
People bent over his lifeless body, tried to lift him, but there was so much blood that Thomas could tell it was already too late.
Thomas reached Sonya and ran past her, leading everyone turn after turn.
He knew they were getting close. He could only hope that the Maze had been the first place to get hit and the rest of the compound was intact—that they’d still have time if they could just get out. The ground suddenly jumped underneath him and an earsplitting crack pierced the air. He fell face-first, scrambled to get up. A hundred feet or so in front of him, a section of the stone floor had shifted upward. As he watched, half of it exploded, sending a rain of rocks and dust in all directions.
He didn’t stop. There was a narrow space between the protruding ground and the wall, and he ran through it, Teresa and Brenda on his heels. But he knew the bottleneck would slow things down.
“Hurry!” he yelled over his shoulder. He slowed to watch and could see the desperation in everyone’s eyes.
Sonya exited the gap, then paused to help funnel the others through, grabbing hands, pulling and pushing.
It went faster than Thomas could’ve hoped, and he continued toward the Cliff at full speed.
Through the Maze he went, the world shaking, stone crumbling and falling all around them, people screaming and crying. There was nothing he could do but lead the survivors onward. A left and then a right.
Another right. Then they were into the long corridor that ended at the Cliff. Beyond its edge, he could see the gray ceiling end at the black walls, the round hole of the exit—and a large crack shooting up and across the once-false sky.
He turned to Sonya and the others. “Hurry! Move!”
As they approached, Thomas got a full view of the terror. Faces white and twisted in fear, people falling to the ground, getting back up. He saw a boy who couldn’t have been more than ten, half dragging a lady until she finally got her feet underneath her. A boulder the size of a small car toppled from high off the wall and struck an older man, throwing him several yards before he hit the ground and collapsed in a heap. Thomas was horror-struck but kept running, all the while yelling encouragement to everyone around him.
Finally he reached the Cliff. The two boards were firmly in place, and Sonya gestured to Teresa to cross the makeshift bridge and go through the old Griever hole. Then Brenda crossed with a line of people trailing her.
Thomas waited on the edge of the Cliff, waving people on. It was agonizing work, almost unbearable, to see the people so slowly making their way out of the Maze when the whole place seemed ready to collapse on itself at any second. One by one they ran across the boards and dropped into the hole. Thomas wondered if Teresa was sending them down the chute instead of the ladder to make it go more quickly.
“You go!” Sonya yelled to Thomas. “They need to know what to do once they’re down there.” Thomas nodded, though he felt horrible for leaving—he’d done the same thing the first time he’d escaped, abandoning the Gladers to fight while he’d punched in the code. But he knew she was right. He took one last look at the quaking Maze—chunks of the ceiling torn loose and stone jutting from the ground where it had once been smooth. He didn’t know how they’d all make it, and his heart ached for Minho, Frypan, the others.
He squeezed into the flow of people and crossed the boards to the hole, then swerved away from the crowd at the chute and ran to the ladder. He picked his way down the rungs as quickly as he could and was relieved to see at the bottom that the damage hadn’t reached that section yet. Teresa was there, helping people get up after they landed and telling them which direction to head.
“I’ll do this!” he yelled to her. “Get to the front of the pack!” He pointed through the double doors.
She was about to answer when she caught sight of something behind him. Her eyes widened in fear, and Thomas spun around.
Several of the dusty Griever pods were opening, their top halves lifting upward on hinges like the lids of coffins.
|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|