The Death Cure by James Dashner

Page 34


  “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.


  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 collapsing 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 fallen 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 the
y’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.


  “Listen to me!” Teresa screamed. She grabbed him by the shoulders and turned him around to look him in the face. “On the tail end of the Grievers”—she pointed at the closest pod—“what the Creators called the barrel—inside the blubber, there’s a switch, like a handle. You have to reach through the skin and pull it out. If you can do it, the things will die. ”

  Thomas nodded. “Okay. You keep people going!”

  The tops of the pods continued to open as Thomas sprinted to the closest one. The lid was halfway up when he reached it, and he strained to look inside. The Griever’s huge, sluglike body was trembling and twisting, sucking up moisture and fuel from tubes connected to its sides.

  Thomas ran to its far end and pulled himself up on the lip of the container, then stretched over and leaned down to the Griever inside. He slammed his hand through the moist skin to find what Teresa had described. He grunted with the effort, pushed until he found a hard handle, then yanked on it with all his strength. The whole thing tore loose and the Griever fell into a limp mass of jelly at the bottom of the pod.

  He threw the handle to the floor and ran to the next pod, where the lid was lowering to the ground. It took him only a few seconds to pull himself up and over the side, bury his hand in the fatty flesh and yank out the handle.

  As he ran to the next pod, Thomas risked a quick glance up at Teresa. She was still helping people from the floor after they slid down the chute and sending them through the doors. They were coming fast, landing on top of each other. Sonya was there, then Frypan, then Gally. Minho came flying through even as he watched. Thomas reached the pod, the lid now completely open, the tubes connecting the Griever to the container detaching themselves one by one. He pulled himself up and over, slammed his hand into the thing’s skin and ripped out the handle.

  Thomas dropped to the ground and turned to the fourth pod, but the Griever was moving, its front end slipping up and over the edge of the open pod, appendages bursting out of the skin to help it maneuver. Thomas barely reached it in time, jumped up and heaved himself over the side of the pod. He pushed his hand inside the blubbery skin, grabbed the handle. A pair of scissoring blades swiped at his head; he ducked as he wrenched the piece out of the creature’s body and it died, its mass pulling it back into the coffinlike container.
Previous Page Next Page
Should you have any enquiry, please contact us via [email protected]