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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 7)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(7) by James Dashner
  • “I wish I knew.” Alec pulled at the door harder, yanking on the handle, still to no avail. “But those people sure dropped like flies once those suckers stuck in ’em.” He turned away from the door with a frustrated look, then put his hands on his hips like an old lady.

    “Dropped like flies,” Mark repeated quietly. “One of them happened to be Darnell. You think he’s okay?”

    Alec shot him a look that said You’re smarter than that. And Mark knew it was true. His heart sank a little. Everything had been such a mad rush since the Berg had arrived that it registered only now: Darnell was probably dead.

    “Why are we up here?” Mark asked.

    Alec pointed a finger at him. “Because it’s what you do when someone comes to your house and attacks your people. You fight back. I’m not going to let these bloodsuckers get away with that crap.”

    Mark thought about Darnell, about all those people hurt and confused, and he realized that Alec was right. “Okay. I’m in. So what do we do?”

    “First, we’ve got to get this blasted door open. Help me look, see if we can find something to make that happen.”

    Mark wandered around the room, though the light was pitiful. “Why are we just hovering right now anyway?”

    “You sure like to ask questions I got no way of answering. Just peel those eyeballs and get searching.”

    “Okay, okay.”

    At first Mark only saw junk and more junk. Spare parts, tools, boxes full of supplies—everything from soap to toilet paper. Then he saw something strapped against the wall that he knew Alec would like: a sledgehammer.

    “Hey, over here!” Mark shouted. He lifted the thing out of the straps, weighing it in his hands. “It’s nice and heavy—perfect for you to beat the door down with your gargantuan soldier arms.”

    “Not as strong as they used to be.”

    The old bear grinned, the faint light glinting in his eyes, as he took the wooden shaft of the hammer. He marched over to the sealed door and started whacking at it. The thing had no chance, but Mark figured it might take a good minute or two of work to break it down. He just hoped that when it opened there wasn’t an army of green-suited thugs waiting on the other side.

    Clang. Clang. Clang. Alec kept at it, the dents getting bigger.

    Mark poked around more, hoping to find some kind of weapon for when that door finally came open. At least Alec had a huge sledgehammer to swing. Something in the darkest corner of the room caught Mark’s eye, a section full of hard-cased boxes maybe two feet long and a foot high and deep that looked like they were made to protect something important. Some were open and empty; others were sealed.

    He hurried over and strained his eyes to see, but it was too dark to make anything out. He picked up one of the sealed boxes—it was lighter than he would’ve guessed—and moved back into the light, then set the box down on the metal grate of the floor. Leaning over, he finally got a good look.

    There was a warning symbol plastered across the top, the kind that indicated the contents were some sort of biohazard. A label below the symbol said:

    Virus VC321xb47

    Highly Contagious

    24 Darts, Extreme Caution

    Mark suddenly wished he hadn’t touched the thing.

    CHAPTER 7

    Mark straightened up and moved a few feet away. He couldn’t believe he’d handled the box. He might even have opened it if he hadn’t brought it into the light first. For all he knew, those darts had broken during the flight of the Berg. Maybe the virus had even seeped through the small cracks in the container. Not to mention there were open boxes on the shelves, though they appeared to be empty.

    He wiped his hands on his pants, stepped away even farther.

    Clang. Clang. Clang.

    Alec stopped, breathing heavily. “One or two more whacks and I think this baby will bust open. We need to be ready. Find any weapons?”

    Mark felt sick. As if microscopic bugs had leapt from the box to his skin and were burrowing their way to his blood even as he stood there. “No, just a box holding darts filled with a deadly virus. Maybe we can throw some at them?” It was meant as a joke but somehow made him feel even worse as the words came out.

    “What? A virus?” Alec repeated in a doubtful tone. He walked over and peered down at the box on the floor. “I’ll be … So that’s what they were shooting at us? Who are these people?”

    Mark panicked. “What if they’re waiting on the other side of that door?” he asked. “Waiting to put darts in our necks? What are we even doing up here?” He could hear the rising alarm in his own voice and was ashamed of it.

    “Calm down, boy. We’ve been in a lot tougher situations than this,” Alec answered. “Just find something—anything—you can get your hands on and bang away at somebody’s head if they come charging. You wanna let these people get away with dart-gunning some of our friends? We’re up here now. There’s no turning back.”

    The fight in Alec’s voice made Mark feel better, more sure of himself.

    “Okay. I’ll look.”

    “Hurry!”

    Mark had seen a wrench strapped to the wall near the sledgehammer. He ran over and grabbed it. He’d been hoping a real weapon might reveal itself, but the foot-long piece of metal would have to do.

    Alec had the sledgehammer in his hands, ready to slam it against the beaten-up handle of the door. “You’re right that they might fire at us as soon as this pops open. Let’s not charge through like a couple of dumb gorillas. Get over there and wait for my command.”

    Mark did as he was told, pressing his back against the wall on the other side of the door, holding the wrench tightly. “I’m ready.” Fear pulsed within him.

    “All right, then.”

    Alec lifted the sledgehammer high, then brought it crashing down against the handle. It took two more hits for the whole thing to finally break off with a crunch. One more swing and the door swung open, shooting outward and slamming into the wall on the other side. Almost immediately three darts cut through the air, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, clanging off the far wall. Then there was the sound of something clattering against the floor, followed by footsteps running away. Just one person.

    Alec held up a hand as if he thought Mark would go charging after the guy. Then he peeked around the edge of the doorframe.

    “All clear. And the rat must’ve run out of darts, because he threw his gun on the ground. I’m beginning to think this Berg only has a few people on it. Come on, let’s go catch that weasel.”

    Alec leaned out into the open a bit farther, sweeping his gaze back and forth one last time. Then he moved into the dimly lit area beyond. Mark took a deep breath and followed him into the hallway, kicking the dart gun away in disgust. As it clattered across the room and hit a wall, he pictured Darnell, that dart sticking straight out of his shoulder. Mark wished he had more than a wrench in his hands.

    Alec held the sledgehammer in both fists, cocked at an angle as he crept through the narrow hallway. It was slightly curved, as if it followed the circular outer edge of the craft. Glowing panels like the one they’d seen in the hatch room were spaced about ten feet apart, providing the only light. They passed several doors, but each was locked when Alec tried them.

    Mark battled his nerves as they walked, trying to be ready if anything jumped out at him. He was just about to ask Alec about the layout of a Berg—he remembered that the man had once been a pilot—when he heard a door slam up ahead, then more footsteps.

    “Go!” Alec yelled.

    Mark’s heart lurched and he broke into a sprint, following Alec down the curved passage. Mark could only catch a glimpse of a running shadow up ahead, but it looked like someone in one of the green suits they’d seen earlier, without the headgear. The person yelled something, but the words were indecipherable as they echoed off the walls of the hallway. It was definitely a man. Most likely the one who’d shot at them.

    Engines revved all around them and the Berg jerked into motion, blasting forward in a rush of power. Mark lost his balance and crashed into a wall, bounced off, then tripped over Alec, who was sprawled on the floor. The two of them scrambled to their feet, grabbed their weapons.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire