• Home
  • Directory
  • Popular
  • Authors
  • Series
  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Fever Code (Chapter 33)     
  • The Fever Code(Maze Runner Prequel #0.6)(33) by James Dashner
  • “Guys, come on,” Teresa said, finally finding her voice. “We’re no different from anyone else—we just do what they ask.”

    “Say whatever makes you feel better,” Alby answered. He folded his arms and leaned against the wall, looked the other way. They were understandably on edge.

    And then the truth was clear as day. Thomas’s friends were being sent into the maze and he wasn’t. He didn’t know if he’d ever be sent in. He was different from his friends, and no one could ignore it anymore. They stood, backs against the wall, some glaring at him as if he’d known about this the whole time. As if he’d been lying to them. Even Newt, down at the end of the line, looked at Thomas, anger twisting his face.

    Thomas was absolutely crushed.

    Minho hadn’t said anything, but the fierce, coiled-snake look had returned. Anger, fear, anxiety about what this new change meant—Thomas understood how they felt. And he was the perfect one to blame.

    Minho flung Teresa’s hand off his shoulder. “Alby’s right,” he said. “I’ve tried and tried to give you guys the benefit of the doubt. Figured you were going to be able to help us. But now it’s obvious what you were doing. You’ve been helping them the whole time. It’s all been about getting ready to do this to us, hasn’t it!” He pounded his chest twice as he emphasized the words.

    “Minho, listen—” Teresa began.

    “Get out of my face!” Minho yelled.

    The world was falling apart, and Thomas could think of nothing to say. Alby, Minho, Newt. Until five minutes ago he’d considered them his best friends, and just assumed they understood his mind and heart. And now it had all collapsed and here he was, standing in front of them like a complete idiot. Anything he said sounded like a lie, even to himself.

    Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed someone approaching down the hall. He looked and saw it was Gally. He’d left his place in line and his face was aflame with anger. Two nurses followed him, trying to catch up to him before he reached Thomas.

    “Thomas!” the boy yelled, picking up his pace, only now that he was closer Thomas could see that his expression wasn’t anger—it was fear. “You have to help us! Can’t you help us?” Two orderlies grabbed the boy before he could get closer, holding him back. “We know you have some power with them. Help us!” He sounded desperate and struggled to keep his eyes on Thomas as orderlies roughly turned him around and dragged him into an exam room.

    Thomas felt powerless. He looked down the line of boys who had been his friends, and his heart broke over and over. Minho, Alby, Newt—their eyes brimming with resentment. How had everything crashed so suddenly?

    He had to say something, quickly. His chance would be over soon. He had to fix this! They had to know that they were all wrong, that he and Teresa weren’t working with WICKED, really. They would help them, even go into the maze themselves if they had to. He had to speak, now!

    Thomas opened his mouth, ready to spill out his words, his pleas, his apologies.

    But something happened. Something deep inside his brain clicked and it felt as if a hand reached within his actual body and began to manipulate him, play with his nerves, his thoughts, his everything. As if possessed by an evil spirit, he lost complete control—lost it to someone or something else. He spoke words against his will.

    “I’m sorry,” he said, the tone and pitch of it sounding as foreign as if it came from another person altogether. “There’s nothing I can do.”

    And then he watched, frozen, helpless, screaming on the inside, as they took his friends away.

    229.11.23 | 10:28 a.m.

    The very next day, Dr. Paige arrived right on schedule. Thomas had been awake all night thinking about what had happened, becoming angrier and angrier. By the time his alarm went off he was ready to unleash it all on her. But when he opened the door and saw the doctor’s face, he wilted. What had happened to him made him feel half crazy, and he was scared to bring it up.

    “Don’t say a word, Thomas,” she said. “There are reasons for things that you don’t understand. Also know that I’m not the final say on any decision. But I did get you one victory today. How would you like the day off? You can spend it observing your friends in the maze. I feel like you deserve that much.”

    Thomas’s spirit rose, then sank. “The only reason you guys want me to do that is so you can observe me observing them.”

    She sighed. “Do you want to do it or not?”

    He swallowed his pride. “Yeah.”

    Dr. Paige led Thomas to the observation room in which he’d seen Minho tormented by a Griever once upon a time. This time the monitors showed various glimpses into the massive green space at the center of the maze—where most of his friends now resided. Dr. Paige showed him to a chair at the control deck, and he sat down, already glued to the various scenes playing out across the many monitors. Without saying another word, she left him, softly closing the door.

    Thomas leaned forward.

    He watched.

    They’d had one night in their new home, though none of them had seen the actual maze yet. WICKED had yet to open the doors that led to the maze, saving that for the next day.

    Thomas watched the boys wander about the large courtyard nestled within the giant walls of the maze itself. Their faces said it all. Their eyes said it all, often visible when a beetle blade could get close enough. They had no idea where they were. They looked disoriented—and the more Thomas watched, the more something felt wrong. Everyone had peeled off, and really seemed to be on their own.

    He zeroed in on two of the boys he didn’t know very well, who were just crossing each other’s paths.

    “Hey,” one of them said in a shaky voice. “Do you know where we are? How we got here?”

    The other boy shook his head, looking on the verge of tears. “I don’t…I don’t even know…” He didn’t finish, but turned and walked briskly away.

    Similar things were happening elsewhere. Most of the boys avoided each other, but when they did interact, it seemed as if they were acting like strangers. As if they didn’t know who anyone else was. Or even who they were themselves. A few names were thrown about, but even those were said with uncertainty.

    Those masks. That was what the masks had been for. WICKED had done something terrible to their memories. Something to do with their implants, probably.

    If that was the case, if this was something permanent, Thomas couldn’t imagine anything more horrible. It was all they had, their memories. He thought back to when Randall had taken away his name—it had felt like losing part of his soul. And this was far, far worse. How deep did it go? Was it possibly temporary?

    He found Minho walking briskly along the walls, studying every inch of the structure. He could have been doing it for hours, since before the false sun came up. He was scared—that much was obvious. Losing your memories, combined with being thrown into a stone prison—that had to fill you with a panic beyond what most could imagine. He walked and walked and walked, down one expansive wall to the next, then the next, then the next. It couldn’t have been lost on him that he was going in circles.

    On another feed, Alby sat near the copse of trees, his back against one of the skeletal pines. He was so still, he looked almost lifeless. He looked broken, and it killed Thomas. This young man, whom Thomas knew as fierce and determined, always ready to tackle what came at him. WICKED had been able to turn him into nothing more than a shell.

    Newt was one of the wanderers. Aimlessly walking back and forth, from the barn to the fields to the small structure that was meant to be their home. It was nothing more than a shack, really. He had the same empty look in his eyes as Alby. Newt walked slowly to his old friend, as if he were approaching a complete stranger. Thomas pushed a button to get the audio feed from that monitor.

    “Do you know where we are?” Newt asked.

    Alby looked up sharply. “No, I don’t know where we are,” he snapped, as if Newt had asked him a hundred times and he was sick of hearing it.

    “Well, bloody hell, neither do I.”

    “Yeah, I think we all get that.”

    They stared at each other for a long moment, neither dropping his gaze. Finally Newt said, “At least I know my name—it’s Newt. And you?”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire