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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 20)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(20) by James Dashner
  • Lana picks up the line of conversation. “We just need to get through it. Walk fast, but don’t look like you know where you’re going. We can’t afford to carry anything—empty your arms and pockets or we might get attacked. We’ll just have to hope we can find things in the Lincoln Building.”

    A few of them have been carrying packets of the food Trina found earlier. They dump them on the ground. The act seems to suck some of the life out of Trina.

    “We’ll go through this door,” Alec says as he looks at his phone—the battery has to be close to dying. “And then jump onto the tracks. If we stay off the concourse maybe we’ll come across fewer people. Straight for about half a mile; then we can enter the doors of the stairwell for the Lincoln Building. That sucker goes all the way up to the ninetieth floor. It’s our only shot.”

    Mark takes a quick look around and sees that the others are fidgety and nervous. The Toad is hopping up and down, which seems ridiculously appropriate.

    “Let’s go,” Alec says. “Stay close together, tight. Defend each other to the death.”

    Trina groans at that, and Mark really wishes the man hadn’t said it.

    “Go, go, go!” Lana shouts, whether from frustration or to psych them up, Mark may never know.

    Alec opens the door and walks through. The others follow as a blast of heat surges past and washes over them. Mark feels as if the oxygen is being burned out of his chest; he fights for each breath until he gets used to it.

    He enters the larger tunnel on Trina’s heels. They’re on a narrow ledge a few feet above the actual tracks for the trains—Alec and Lana have already jumped down, are reaching up to help the others. One by one they take hands, leap off the edge, land with a thump and a jolt to the legs. Mark looks up. Light is spilling in from the stairs that eventually lead up to the devastated world above them. He studies the people milling about on the landing across from where he stands, every one of them with their gaze locked on the new arrivals.

    What Mark sees up there makes his heart want to stop.

    The place is packed. At least half of the crowd is wounded in some way. Cuts and slashes. Terrible burns. There are people lying on the ground screaming. Children of all ages, many of them hurt, too. That’s what breaks Mark inside the most. Two men are fighting brutally in one spot, pounding each other, scratching and clawing. No one even makes a move to break them up. There’s a lady slumped on the edge of the landing and her face is gone, replaced by melted skin and blood. Mark feels as if he’s been given a glimpse into hell.

    “Walk,” Alec orders once everyone is down on the tracks.

    They do, staying as close together as possible. Mark has Trina on his left, the boy named Baxter on his right. The kid looks terrified and Mark wants to say something to help him feel better but can’t find the words. They’d be empty anyway. Alec and Lana are right in front of Mark, their body language daring anyone to be stupid enough to confront them.

    They’ve made it halfway across the main section of the concourse when two men and a lady jump down onto the tracks and stand directly in their path, forcing them to stop. The strangers are dirty but look unhurt. Physically, anyway. Their eyes are haunted by things they’ve seen.

    “And where do you think you’re going?” the woman asks.

    “Yeah,” one of her friends adds. “You seem mighty important. You know about some place to go that we don’t?”

    The other man steps up closer to Alec. “Not sure if you’ve noticed or not, but the sun decided to belch all over us. People are dead, sir. Lots of people. And I don’t like how you think you can just march through here and pretend everything’s okay.”

    A few other people are jumping down from the landing, congregating behind the first three strangers. Blocking their path.

    “Let’s see if they have any food!” someone shouts.

    Alec rears back and punches the man standing in front of him. The guy’s head snaps back and blood sprays from his nose; he collapses to the ground. It’s so sudden and shocking that no one moves for a second. Then several people charge into Mark’s group, screaming and shouting.

    Chaos ensues. Fists are flying, feet kicking, fingers grasping hair and yanking. Mark is punched in the face just as he sees Trina yanked away by a man. Rage explodes inside of Mark and he fights back at whoever hit him, swinging his arms wildly until he connects twice. Then he pushes the guy away to see a man on top of Trina—he’s struggling with her on the ground, working to get control of her arms as she desperately tries to fight him off.

    Mark flies in, throwing his body at the man. They tumble off Trina and roll onto the ground. The man punches Mark and Mark punches back, barely feeling where he’s been hit. Then they’re in a tangle, squirming, arms flailing, kicking. Mark breaks free, crawls away, checks to see that Trina is okay. She’s gotten up, runs over and kicks at her attacker’s face but slips when she does it, lands on her back. The stranger goes after her, but Mark’s on him again, diving shoulder-first into his gut. The man grunts and curls into a ball as Mark climbs to his feet, grabs Trina by the hand. They both push out of the crowd, then look to see what’s going on with the others.

    Everyone’s still fighting, but at least no one else has joined in from the landing above. Mark sees the Toad punch a man; Alec and Lana are fighting a man and a woman off of Misty and Baxter. Two other people run away from their group. It might almost be over.

    That’s when it happens.

    There’s a rumbling sound that is low at first but begins to build in volume. The tunnel trembles slightly. All the fighting stops immediately; people get to their feet, look around. Mark’s doing the same, trying to find the source of the noise. He’s still holding Trina’s hand.

    “What is that?” she shouts.

    Mark shakes his head, keeps sweeping his gaze around the tunnel. The floor vibrates below his feet and the rumbling sound gets louder, becomes an outright roar. His eyes fall upon the stairs that lead up from the subtrans concourse just as the screams erupt—countless, countless screams and the blur of panicked movement in the crowd.

    A monstrous wall of filthy water is pouring down the wide steps.

    CHAPTER 21

    Mark woke up. Not with a scream or a shout, and he didn’t bolt upright or gasp or anything as dramatic as that. He just opened his eyes, and realized right away that they were moist with tears and his face was wet. The sun had come up, shining brightly through the trees.

    The wall of water.

    He’d never, never forget what it had been like to see it rushing down those stairs like some kind of living beast. And the horror of watching it sweep away the first people at the bottom.

    “Are you okay?”

    Trina. Great.

    He quickly wiped at his face and turned toward her, hoping that somehow she didn’t know he’d been bawling his eyes out while sleeping. But one glance at her killed that hope. She looked like a concerned parent.

    “Um, hey,” he murmured. He felt so awkward. “Good morning. How’s it going?”

    “Mark, I’m not an idiot. Tell me what’s wrong.”

    He looked at her, trying to communicate with his eyes that he didn’t want to talk about it. Then he saw Deedee, leaning against a tree a few feet away, peeling the bark off a twig. Her face wasn’t necessarily happy, but at least that look of utter gloom was gone. That was a start.

    “Mark?”

    He turned back to Trina. “I just … I had a bad dream.”

    “About what?”

    “You know what.”

    She frowned. “But what part of it? It might help to talk about it.”

    “I don’t think so.” Mark sighed, then realized he wasn’t being very nice. She was just trying to help him feel better. “It was right before the water rushed in at that concourse. When we fought off those wannabe gangsters. I woke up just as the bad part began.” The bad part. Like everything before that was a picnic in the park with Grandma.

    Trina’s gaze fell to the ground. “I wish you could stop having those dreams. We made it, and that’s all that matters. Somehow you need to let go of the past.” An apologetic expression came over her face. “I mean, easier said than done. I guess I just wish you could let go of the past. That’s all.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire