Thomas could barely breathe. He was coughing, spitting. His heart raced, refused to slow down. He’d landed on the wooden floor of the shed, and now he crawled forward, wanting to get away from the Flat Trans in case any nasty debris came flying through. But he noticed Brenda out of the corner of his eye. She pushed some buttons on a control panel, and then the gray plane winked out of existence, revealing the cedar planks of the shed wall behind it. How did she know how to do that? Thomas wondered.
“You and Minho get out,” she said, an urgency in her voice that Thomas didn’t understand. They were safe now. Weren’t they? “I have to do one last thing.”
Minho had gotten to his feet, and he came over to help Thomas stand. “My shuck brain can’t spend one more second thinking. Just let her do whatever she wants. Come on.”
“Good that,” Thomas said. The two of them then looked at each other for a long moment, catching their breath, somehow reliving in those few seconds all the things they’d gone through, all the death, all the pain.
And mixed in there was relief, that maybe—just maybe—it was all over.
But mostly Thomas felt the pain of loss. Watching Teresa die—to save his life—had been almost too much to bear. Now, staring at the person who’d become his true best friend, he had to fight back the tears.
In that moment, he swore to never tell Minho about what he’d done to Newt.
“Good that for sure, shuck-face,” Minho finally replied. But his trademark smirk was missing. Instead was a look that said to Thomas he understood. And that they’d both carry the sorrow of their loss for the rest of their lives. Then he turned and walked away.
After a long moment, Thomas followed him.
When he set foot outside, he had to stop and stare. They’d come to a place he’d been told didn’t exist anymore. Lush and green and full of vibrant life. He stood at the top of a hill above a field of tall grass and wildflowers. The two hundred or so people they’d rescued wandered the area, some of them actually running and jumping. To his right the hill descended into a vall ey of towering trees that seemed to stretched for miles, ending in a wall of rocky mountains that jutted toward the cloudless blue sky. To his left, the grassy field slowly became scrub brush and then sand. And then the ocean, its waves big and dark and white-tipped as they crashed onto a beach.
Paradise. They’d come to paradise. He could only hope that one day his heart would feel the joy of the place.
He heard the door of the shed close then the whoosh of fire behind him. He turned to see Brenda; she gently pushed him a few steps farther away from the structure, which was already engulfed in flames.
“Just making sure?” he asked.
“Just making sure,” she repeated, and gave him a smile so sincere that he relaxed a little, feeling the tiniest bit comforted. “I’m … sorry about Teresa.”
“Thanks.” It was the only word he could find.
She didn’t say anything else, and Thomas figured there wasn’t much she needed to. They walked over and joined the group of people who’d fought the last battle with Janson and the others, everyone scraped and bruised from top to bottom. He met Frypan’s eyes just like he had Minho’s. Then they all faced the shed and watched as it burned to the ground.
A few hours later, Thomas sat atop a cliff overlooking the ocean, his feet dangling over the edge. The sun had almost dipped below the horizon, which appeared to be glowing with flames. It was one of the most amazing sights he’d ever witnessed.
Minho had already started taking charge down below in the forest where they’d decided to live—
organizing food search parties, a building committee, a security detail. Thomas was glad of it, not wanting another ounce of responsibility to ever rest on his shoulders again. He was tired, body and soul. He hoped that wherever they were, they’d be isolated and safe while the rest of the world figured out how to deal with the Flare, cure or no cure. He knew the process would be long and hard and ugly, and he was one hundred percent positive that he wanted no part of it.
He was done.
Thomas turned to see Brenda. “Hey, there, back. Wanna sit?”
“Why, yes, thank you.” She plopped down next to him. “Reminds me of the sunsets at WICKED, though they never seemed quite so bright.”
“You could say that about a lot of things.” He felt another tremor of emotion as he saw the faces of Chuck and Newt and Teresa in his mind’s eye.
A few minutes went by in silence as they stared at the vanishing light of day, the sky and water going from orange to pink to purple, then dark blue.
“What’re you thinking in that head of yours?” Brenda asked.
“Absolutely nothing. I’m done thinking for a while.” And he meant it. For the first time in his life, he was both free and safe, as costly as the accomplishment had been.
Then Thomas did the only thing he could think of. He reached out and took Brenda’s hand.
She squeezed his in response. “There are over two hundred of us and we’re all immune. It’ll be a good start.”
Thomas looked over at her, suspicious at how sure she sounded—like she knew something he didn’t.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
She leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek, then the lips. “Nothing. Nothing at all.” Thomas put it all out of his mind and pulled her closer as the last wink of the sun’s light vanished below the horizon.
|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|