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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Fever Code (Chapter 31)     
  • The Fever Code(Maze Runner Prequel #0.6)(31) by James Dashner
  • They obviously weren’t telling him everything. Of course they weren’t—he wasn’t a naïve idiot. But sometimes it seemed like they told him nothing, like they were playing him like everyone else. Like he was just another subject. Who knew what kind of horrors were in store for those sent to the two mazes. The Grievers, this thing growing in the R&D vat…

    He sighed as Newt pressed against the wall and popped out a large panel. It revealed a small closet, mostly dark, with a door just a few feet away that led into the large barracks room. The door of the closet was ajar, and through the opening, Thomas could see bunk beds lined up along the walls.

    “What if they freak out?” Thomas whispered. “I don’t want forty girls attacking me at once.”

    “I thought you went for that sort of thing,” Newt whispered back. Thomas could barely see him, but he knew his friend was smiling.

    Thomas shook his head and nudged Newt toward the opening, then followed him through to the other side of the closet. They peered through the door to Group B. The soft sighs of sleep were broken here and there by a sharp snore or the creaks of springs as bodies repositioned.

    Thomas waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. He was scanning the room of bunks when a figure suddenly appeared in front of him. He stifled a yelp and stumbled backward. The girl followed him into the shadows of the closet.

    “What do you want?” she whispered fiercely. “Who are you?”

    Thomas finally recovered. “Sorry to sneak in like this—we’re from Group A. We’re here so Newt can say goodbye to his sister before the Maze Trials begin.” He couldn’t see Newt’s face because of the darkness, but he imagined the boy laughing at him for being so startled.

    “You could’ve given us a warning,” the girl replied, “before creeping in like kidnappers. What are your names? Well, your name, if he’s Newt. We know all about Newt. Sonya is one of my best friends.”

    “I’m Thomas.”

    “Oh.” She sounded disappointed. Or annoyed. Her group had probably heard just as much about him and Teresa as his friends had about Aris and Rachel. WICKED seemed to have spread the word. “My name’s Miyoko. Let me get Sonya.”

    She slipped off into the barracks room, a shadow among shadows.

    “I hope they’re on our side,” Newt said. “That girl’d take down half of us, yeah?”

    Thomas didn’t answer; the darkness of the closet suddenly felt menacing. He knew that WICKED had the subjects separated into groups of girls and boys for various reasons. It had to do with how they were going to run out the Variables later in the trials. But he also knew there was more going on, and he didn’t like it.

    Miyoko reappeared, this time with another girl right next to her. She was a blur as she ran past Thomas, streaking through the door and straight at Newt. They embraced in an unstable hug, stumbling back in the dark little room.

    “Here,” Miyoko said, gently pushing Thomas out of the way so she could swing the closet door closed. Then she turned on a light that seemed as bright as two suns. He squinted and held a hand up to his eyes, temporarily blinded.

    Newt was crying, and Thomas didn’t need vision to know it. The boy sobbed, the sounds muffled by his sister’s neck or shoulder. As Thomas’s sight returned, he saw that both of them had tears streaming down their faces, and they were hugging each other fiercely. He didn’t know how long it had been since the last time they’d seen each other, or if they were able to communicate somehow. But his heart hurt watching them.

    “Come on,” Miyoko said to Thomas, grabbing his arm. “Let’s give them some—”

    “I hate them,” Newt said loudly through his sniffles. He pulled back from his sister and wiped his cheeks. “I hate every one of them! How can they do this? How can they steal us from our homes and keep us separate like this? It’s not right!” He yelled the last word, and Miyoko winced, eyeing the door.

    “No, no, no,” Sonya said in a soothing tone. She put her hands on both sides of her brother’s face, looking straight into his eyes. “Don’t say that. You’re looking at it all wrong. We’ve got it better than ninety-nine percent of kids out there. They saved us, big brother. What are the odds we’d be alive if they’d left us out there?” She pulled Newt back into a hug.

    “But why do they keep us separate?” he asked, and the sadness in his voice broke Thomas’s heart. “Why all the tests and the games and the cruelty? I hate them, I don’t care what you say.”

    “It’ll all be over someday,” the younger girl whispered. “Remember, you’re not immune. One day we’ll be able to make you safe and then we’ll be back together. Come on. You’re my big brother. You’re supposed to be the one comforting me.”

    “I love you, Lizzy,” he replied, squeezing her hard. “I love you so much.” He leaned back and looked at her.

    She smiled and Newt shook his head, pulling her back into a strong hug, and Thomas had a feeling that was about the best things would get for a while.

    229.11.12 | 7:31 a.m.

    They were days away from insertion. Days. Thomas could barely sleep. He and Teresa connected via telepathy at bedtime each night, but often they just lingered in silence, without much to say. The mere presence of the other person, somehow there, was always a comfort, though. Aside from his mother, whom he would always love, Teresa had become the closest thing to family—the closest thing to what Newt had with Lizzy—Thomas could ever imagine.

    The last thing he remembered before the knock that woke him up that morning was Teresa humming to herself. She seemed to do it without thinking. The vibration and tone and feel of it traveled through their connection, and it had sent him off to a deep sleep like he hadn’t enjoyed in quite some time.

    He groggily got up from bed and opened the door. Dr. Paige was there, and she looked worried.

    “Sorry,” Thomas said, rubbing his eyes. “I slept in. But trust me, I needed it.” They’d been working themselves to the bone to get ready for the Maze Trials.

    “It’s okay,” she replied. She seemed distracted. “Chancellor Anderson wants to meet with you and Teresa really fast this morning. Aris and Rachel will be there, too. It’s urgent. Hurry and get dressed. You can have breakfast after the meeting.”

    Thomas realized then that she was a little disheveled, her face pale, and paused before answering.

    “I mean it, Thomas!” she snapped. “Hurry.”

    “Okay, okay. I’ll be ready in five minutes.”

    “Make it three.”

    It was the same conference room in which he’d seen Aris and Rachel for the first time a few months ago. That last time the room was filled with people. This time around, only three people were in attendance besides Thomas and the three other “elite” candidates. Chancellor Anderson, the security officer, Ramirez, and Dr. Paige. They sat on one side of the table, and Thomas, Teresa, Aris, and Rachel sat across from them on the other. No one in the room looked very happy.

    “Thanks for coming,” Anderson began. They always started these things with statements like that—as if Thomas or his friends had a choice in the matter. “I’m afraid I have some sobering news. And I’m not going to beat around the bush—I’m going to just come out and say it.”

    Instead, he did the opposite. He went silent, trading looks with Ramirez and Paige. Thomas watched this until it almost became comical. But the dread in Anderson’s voice had been real, and heavy.

    “Then just say it,” Aris said.

    Anderson nodded stiffly. “We think…we believe that we might have an outbreak on our hands.” He sat back in his chair and let out a weary breath. Looked again to Dr. Paige.

    “An outbreak,” Teresa repeated. “Of the Flare?”

    “Paige, say something,” Anderson grumbled.

    Dr. Paige folded her hands on the table and looked at the teenagers. “Yes, the Flare. As you can imagine, none of the adults here are immune, so we’ve taken extreme caution to ensure our safety from the virus. A few months ago, however, we began to worry that we’d had a breach, even though none of our staff exhibited symptoms or tested positive.”

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