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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 13)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(13) by James Dashner
  • Trina’s and Alec’s eyes said it all. They couldn’t risk being anywhere close to his body.

    “Take us to Lana and the others,” Alec said to Trina. “Then we go.”

    As they searched the town for their friends, Mark worried about people trying to join them. But fear had struck deep, and no one dared venture out of their home. The village was eerily quiet, but he could feel the eyes following him down the alleys and paths. It didn’t surprise him, the more he thought about it. The world had punished everyone enough—why should they risk bringing anything more upon themselves?

    They collected Misty and the Toad from the second floor of a log cabin on the outskirts of town, across the village from the Leaner and its bodies. Trina wasn’t sure where Lana would be. They found her about an hour after they set out, sleeping behind some bushes by the river. She was upset that they’d found her sleeping, but she’d worn herself out. As soon as Mark and Alec had boarded the Berg and disappeared in the woods, she’d taken charge. Quarantining people and getting the bodies in one place—she said they’d been sure to wear gloves and masks—and helping deliver food from house to house. No one in the settlement knew exactly what had happened, but Lana had insisted from the start that care needed to be taken in case they were dealing with something contagious.

    “I’m not sick,” she concluded as they readied to leave the stream and go back to the village. “It happened so quickly—and the ones who got sick afterward have already died. I think I’d have symptoms by now.”

    “How fast?” Mark asked her. “How fast did it take effect?”

    “All but Darnell were dead within twelve hours,” she replied. “They woke up and showed symptoms within two or three. I really think if anyone is still alive and symptom-free right now, they’re clear.”

    Mark took in their group: The Toad, fidgeting nervously. Misty, looking at the ground. Alec and Lana, staring at each other intently in what appeared to be a silent conversation. And Trina, looking at Mark. Her eyes said it all—they were going to live through this just like they’d lived through everything else.

    They were back at the Shack an hour later, filling backpacks with as much food and supplies as they could carry. As they worked, they kept their distance from each other. Caution seemed to come naturally now. Mark washed his hands at least three times during the packing frenzy.

    They had just finished up, each of them with a loaded pack on his or her back, when Misty groaned. Mark turned to agree with her—the packs were heavy—but when he saw her face, his stomach sank.

    She was pale and leaning on a table with both hands. Mark was stunned—the last time he’d looked at her, she was fine. But then her legs gave out and she collapsed to one knee. She touched the side of her face, tentatively, almost as if she was worried about what she’d feel there.

    “My … head hurts,” she whispered.

    CHAPTER 13

    “Everyone get out of here!” Lana yelled. “Out! Now!”

    Mark was speechless. Everything in him wanted to do the opposite of what she’d just ordered. He wanted to help his friend.

    “Get outside. Then we can talk!” Lana insisted. She pointed to the door.

    “Go,” Misty said weakly. “Do what she says.”

    Mark and Trina exchanged a look, but she only hesitated a second before marching out the door. Alec was right on her heels, then Lana.

    Mark turned to leave but then noticed that the Toad hadn’t moved.

    “Hey … come on, man. Let’s just go out there and talk about this. Misty, tell him.”

    “He’s right, Toadie,” she said. She’d slipped her backpack to the floor and sat down next to it. Mark couldn’t believe how quickly she’d gone from totally fine to literally on the ground, too weak to stand. “Go and let me figure this thing out. Maybe I just ate something weird.” But Mark could tell she didn’t believe that.

    “We can’t just keep abandoning people,” the Toad said, glaring at Mark.

    “Who cares what you do if it makes you end up dead!” Misty countered. “How would you feel if it was reversed? You’d want me to leave. Now go!” That seemed to drain a good chunk of her energy—she slumped and almost lay down.

    “Come on,” Mark said. “We’re not abandoning her. We’re just going outside to talk.”

    The Toad stomped out of the Shack, muttering under his breath the whole way. “This is all so messed up. Totally messed up.”

    Mark looked at Misty, but she was staring at the floor, taking long, deep breaths. “Sorry” was all he could get out. Then he joined the others.

    They decided to give her one hour. They’d see what happened. See if she got better or worse.

    Or if she stayed the same.

    It was a maddening hour. Mark was unable to sit still. He paced outside the Shack, worried on so many levels. The thought that a virus might be slinking its way through his system … it was unbearable. And Trina’s, too. He wanted to know. Now. It was so overwhelming that he found himself forgetting that Misty could very well have it and die soon.

    “I think we need to readjust our outlook here,” Lana said toward the end of their allotted time. Misty hadn’t improved or gotten worse—she still lay on the floor in the Shack, breathing evenly. Not moving at all. Not speaking.

    “What do you mean?” Mark asked. He was grateful the silence had been broken.

    “Darnell and Misty prove that whatever this is doesn’t necessarily take effect right away.”

    Alec spoke up. “I think we should use the time we have. We should hike to that place on the map. And we need to do it as soon as possible.” He lowered his voice and added, “I’m sorry, but we have to get out of here, and what better place to go than where we can learn what’s going on? Whatever was in those darts caused this—we need to go where the darts came from. Maybe there’s something—some medicine that can cure this sickness. Who knows?”

    It all came out sounding a little cold. Harsh. But Mark couldn’t disagree with him. He felt like he had to get away from here, if nothing else.

    “We can’t leave Misty,” Trina said. But even her statement had no strength behind it.

    “We don’t have a choice,” Alec countered.

    Lana stood from where she’d been sitting against a wall and brushed off her pants. “We don’t have to bear the guilt of this,” she murmured. “Let’s ask Misty. She deserves that. And we’ll do whatever she decides.”

    Mark raised his eyebrows and looked around at the others, who were doing the same.

    Lana took that as agreement and walked to the open door of the Shack. Without going in, she knocked on the frame and spoke in a loud voice. “Misty? How’s it going in there?”

    Mark was perched on the ground where he could see inside. Misty was on her back but slowly turned to look at them.

    “You guys need to go,” she said weakly. “Something is seriously wrong with my head. It feels like bugs are up there, eating away at my brain.” She took several deep breaths, as if saying just that much had sapped her strength.

    “But, honey, how can we leave you here?” Lana asked.

    “Don’t make me talk anymore. Just go.” Another deep breath. Mark could see the pain in her eyes.

    Lana turned toward the others. “Misty says we need to go.”

    Mark knew they’d become hardened—they’d had to, to survive the world since the sun flares struck. But this was the first time they were faced with leaving someone who still seemed so alive. Misty’s decision or not, he thought the guilt would eat away at him.

    When he looked at Trina his resolve hardened. Still, he let Alec be the bad guy.

    The former soldier had gotten to his feet and slung his backpack onto his shoulders. “The best way to honor Misty right now is to get moving and learn something that could end up helping.”

    Mark nodded and followed suit, cinching tight the straps of his pack. Trina hesitated, then stepped up to the doorway, faced Misty.

    “Misty …,” she began, but no more words came.

    “Go!” the girl shouted, almost making Trina stumble backward. “Go before the things in my brain jump out and bite you. Go! Go!” She’d risen to rest on her elbows and screamed with such ferocity that Mark thought she might’ve hurt herself. Might have realized that she was about to face the horror that Darnell had gone through.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire