Somehow Thomas kept his balance, despite the entire room quaking from the closest series of explosions yet. Most of the racks collapsed, and objects were launched across the room. He dodged a jagged chunk of wood, then jumped over a round piece of machinery that spun past him.
Gally, who was at Thomas’s side, tripped and fell; Thomas helped him up. They continued charging.
Brenda slipped but caught her balance.
They crashed into the others like the first line of soldiers in an ancient foot battle. Thomas met the Rat Man himself, who was at least half a foot taller than him, wielding his blade; it came down in an arc toward Thomas’s shoulder, but Thomas thrust upward with his stiff cable and connected with the man’s armpit.
Janson screamed and dropped his weapon as a stream of blood gushed from the wound; he clamped his other hand over it and backed away, glaring at Thomas with hate-filled eyes.
To his right and left, everyone was fighting. Thomas’s head was full of the sounds of metal against metal, screams and shouts and grunts. Some had matched up two-on-one; Minho ended up fighting a woman who seemed twice as strong as any of the men. Brenda was on the ground, wrestling a skinny man, trying to knock a machete out of his hand. Thomas saw all this with a quick glance but then returned his attention to his own foe.
“I don’t care if I bleed to death,” Janson said with a grimace. “As long as I die after I get you back up there.”
Another explosion jolted the floor beneath him and Thomas stumbled forward, dropping his scavenged weapon and slamming into Janson’s chest. They both crashed to the ground, and Thomas struggled to push off the man with one hand while swinging as hard as he could with the other. He smashed Janson’s left cheek with his balled fist and watched as the Rat Man’s head snapped to the side, blood spraying from his mouth. Thomas reached back to swing again, but the man arched his body violently, throwing him off; he landed on his back.
Before he could move Janson had jumped on top of him and gotten his legs wrapped around his torso, pinning Thomas’s arms with his knees. Thomas squirmed to get loose as the man rained down blows with his fists, punching Thomas’s unprotected face over and over. Pain flooded him. Then adrenaline surged through his body. He wouldn’t die here. He pushed his feet against the floor and thrust his stomach toward the ceiling.
He only rose a few inches off the ground, but it was enough to free his arms from the man’s knees. He blocked the next punch with both of his forearms, then threw both fists up and at Janson’s face, connected.
The Rat Man lost his balance; Thomas pushed him off, then kicked him by coiling both legs and slamming the bottoms of his feet into Janson’s side, then again, and again, and again. The man’s body inched away with each kick. But when Thomas next pulled back with his legs, Janson suddenly flipped around and came at him, grabbing Thomas’s feet and throwing them to the side. Then he jumped on top of Thomas yet again.
Thomas went nuts; kicking and punching and squirming to get out from under the man. They rolled, each gaining the advantage for only a split second before toppling over again. Fists flew and feet kicked—bullets of pain riddled Thomas’s body; Janson clawed and bit. They continued to roll, beating each other nearly senseless.
Thomas finally got a good angle to slam his elbow into Janson’s nose; it stunned the man, and both of his hands flew to his face. A burst of energy shot through Thomas; he jumped on top of Janson and put his fingers around the man’s neck, began to squeeze. Janson kicked out, flailed his arms, but Thomas held on with feral rage, clutching, leaning forward with all his weight to crush as he constricted his hands tighter and tighter. He felt things snapping and pulling and breaking. Janson’s eyes bulged; his tongue jutted from his mouth.
Someone swatted him on the head with an open palm; he could tell words were being spoken to him but he didn’t hear them. Minho’s face appeared in front of his. He was yelling something. A bloodlust had completely taken Thomas over. He wiped his eyes on his sleeve, focused again on Janson’s face. The man was long gone, still and pale and battered. Thomas looked back at Minho.
“He’s dead!” his friend was yelling. “He’s dead!”
Thomas forced himself to let go, stumbled off of the man, felt Minho lifting him to his feet.
“We put them all out of commission!” Minho shouted in his ear. “We need to go!” Two explosions rocked both sides of the storage room at the same time and the walls themselves collapsed inward, throwing chunks of brick and cement in all directions. Debris rained down on Thomas and Minho. Dust clouded the air and shadowy figures surrounded Thomas, swaying and falling and getting back up again. Thomas was on his feet, moving, heading in the direction of the maintenance room.
Pieces of the ceiling fell, crashing and exploding. The sounds were awful, deafening. The ground shook violently; bombs continued to detonate over and over, seemingly everywhere at once. Thomas fell; Minho jerked him to his feet. A few seconds later Minho fell; Thomas yanked and dragged until they were both running again. Brenda suddenly appeared in front of Thomas, terror in her eyes. He thought he saw Teresa nearby as well, all of them struggling to keep their balance as they moved forward.
A splintering, shattering noise split the air so loudly that Thomas looked back. His eyes drifted upward, where a massive section of the ceiling had torn loose. He watched, hypnotized, as it fell toward him. Teresa appeared in the corner of his vision, her image barely discernible through the clogged air. Her body slammed into his, shoving him toward the maintenance room. His mind emptied as he stumbled backward and fell, just as the huge piece of the building landed on top of Teresa, pinning her body; only her head and an arm jutted out from under its girth.
“Teresa!” Thomas screamed, an unearthly sound that somehow rose above everything else. He scrambled toward her. Blood streaked her face, and her arm looked crushed.
He shouted her name again, and in his mind he saw Chuck, falling to the ground, covered in blood, and Newt’s bulging eyes. Three of the closest friends he’d ever had. And WICKED had taken them all away from him.
“I’m so sorry,” he whispered to her, knowing she couldn’t hear. “I’m so sorry.” Her mouth moved, working to speak, and he leaned in to make out what she was trying to say.
“Me … too,” she whispered. “I only ever … cared for …”
And then Thomas was being dragged to his feet, yanked away from her. He didn’t have the energy or will to fight it. She was gone. His body ached with pain; his heart stung. Brenda and Minho pulled him up, got his feet under him. The three of them lurched forward, pushed ahead. A fire had started burning in a gaping hole left by an explosion—smoke Bill owed and churned with the thick dust. Thomas coughed but only heard roaring in his ears.
Another resounding boom shattered the air; Thomas turned his head as he ran to see the back wall of the storage room exploding, falling to the ground in pieces, flames licking through the open spaces. The remainder of the ceiling above it began to collapse, any support now gone. Every last inch of the building was coming down once and for all.
They reached the door to the maintenance room, squeezed inside just in time to see Gally disappear through the Flat Trans. Everyone else was already gone. Thomas stumbled with his friends across the short aisle between the tables. In seconds they’d be dead. The sounds of things crashing and crumbling behind Thomas grew impossibly louder, cracks and creaks and squeals of metal and the hollow roar of flames. All of it rose to an unimaginable pitch; Thomas refused to look, though he sensed it all coming down, as if it were just feet away, its leading edge breathing against his neck. He pushed Brenda through the Trans. The world was coll apsing around him and Minho.
Together, they jumped into the icy gray wall.
|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|