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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 33)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(33) by James Dashner
  • “Anton,” Alec said. “Listen to me. Is there anyone else we can talk to? And how can we find out about the friends we’re looking for? The girl, two women.”

    The man coughed; then a little more life sprang into his voice. “Those people I work with have started to lose their minds. Do you understand? They’re … not … right. They’ll be down there for hours, planning and scheming. They’re going to Asheville, and they’ll gather an army along the way if they have to. Oh, there’s talk of an antidote there, but that’s a bunch of hooey. In the end, my people will make sure that others don’t get what’s been taken from them: life. And you know what they’ll do after that. You know, don’t you?”

    “What?” Mark and Alec said at the same time.

    Anton got up onto one elbow. The angle of light from the workpad caused one half of his face to be in shadow from the cot, the other in that pale blue glow. The eye on the lighted side looked as if a spark had been lit inside the pupil.

    “They’ll go to Alaska through that Flat Trans in Asheville,” the man said. “They’ll go to where the governments have gathered and make sure the world ends, even though that’s not their intent. They’ll carry on about finding an antidote and taking down the makeshift government. But all they’ll really do is spread the virus once and for all. Make sure they finish what the sun flares started. Fools, every last one of them.”

    Anton collapsed back into a heap on the cot, and a few seconds later the sounds of his snores filled the room.

    CHAPTER 34

    Mark and Alec sat in silence for a long time, listening to the wheezes and hitched breathing of Anton as he slept.

    “I’m not sure we can trust much of what came out of this guy’s mouth,” Alec said after a while. “But I’m troubled, to say the least.”

    “Yeah,” Mark responded flatly. His head was pounding and he felt sick to his stomach. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so tired. But they had to get up, get out of that room, find Trina and the others.

    He didn’t move.

    “Boy, you look like a zombie,” Alec said after twisting to face him. “And I feel like one.”

    “Yeah,” Mark said again.

    “You’re not going to like what I’m about to say, but there’ll be no argument.”

    Mark raised his eyebrows. Even that seemed to take all the energy he had. “And what’s that?”

    “We need to sleep.”

    “But … Trina … Lana …” He suddenly couldn’t remember the little girl’s name. Impossible. His head ached like a storm had erupted inside his skull.

    Alec stood up. “We’re not going to do our friends a bit of good if we can’t function because we’re too tired. We’ll just catch a few winks. Maybe an hour each while the other keeps an eye out. Anton said his coworkers would be in some meeting for hours.” He got up from the bed and walked quickly over to the door to the room, closed it, locked it. “Just to be safe.”

    Mark slumped to his side, then slowly drew his legs up onto the cot. He folded his arms under his head. He wanted to protest but nothing came out.

    Alec started talking again. “I’ll take first watch, so …”

    But Mark fell asleep before he heard any more.

    The dreams came. The memories. More vivid than ever before. As if the depth of his exhaustion had created the perfect canvas for them.

    CHAPTER 35

    There’s that short moment that seems to last a lifetime when Mark sees the wall of water rushing down the steps of the subtrans station, like a stampede of white, frothy horses. He wonders a thousand things. How he got there. What’s happened above them in the city. Is his family dead. What does the future hold. What’s it like to drown.

    All these thoughts storm through his mind in the one second it takes for the water to reach the bottom of the steps. Then someone is grabbing his arm, pulling him in the opposite direction, forcing his head to turn away from the oncoming disaster. He sees Trina, yanking on him as pure terror brightens her eyes in a sick way that snaps him into motion.

    He breaks into an all-out run, this time grabbing her arm, making sure they stay together. Alec and Lana are right ahead of them, moving quickly, passing the thugs who accosted them, a thing that now seems so silly and outrageous it angers Mark all over again. The moment passes; he keeps running down the tunnel, Trina by his side. He shoots a quick glance backward, sees Baxter, Darnell, the Toad, Misty, all keeping up, their eyes painted with the same fear as Trina’s, the same fear that Mark feels himself.

    There’s a great rushing sound in the air that takes Mark back to his family’s visit to Niagara Falls. People are screaming and things are breaking, glass shattering. Alec looks nothing like an old man as he sprints past the far edge of the station landing and slips back into the darkness of the train-sized tunnel. They can’t have much time, and Mark realizes with a jolt of horror that he’s entrusted his entire life to the two people in front of him. That this is it. That he’ll be alive or dead within minutes.

    Someone cries out behind him; then he’s hit hard in the shoulder, and he stumbles. He rights himself, letting go of Trina, who can’t stop her momentum and keeps rushing forward. Mark looks back and sees two things: Misty has fallen to the ground, and a surging pool of water is funneling down the tracks of the subtrans from the station. The deluge of water from the streets above is washing over the landing and spilling into the wide groove of the tunnel, and it’s just a few dozen feet away.

    When it washes over Misty’s body, the flood is already inches deep. She pushes against the ground to get up. Mark is leaning forward to help when Misty suddenly screams and leaps to her feet as if the water carries an electric charge.

    “It’s hot!” she yells as she reaches out and squeezes Mark’s hand.

    They turn and begin running again, water now sloshing across their feet. It soaks through Mark’s shoes and socks, the bottom of his pants, and he feels its warmth, then its full heat. He jumps, like someone who has stepped into a bath with the temperature drawn too high. It’s unnerving, and hot enough to burn his skin.

    The group continues to run down the tunnel, doing their best to slog through the rising river. It’s suddenly two feet high and Mark can’t believe how quickly it’s happened. It moves up past his knees and it’s coming faster now—he has to plant his feet more firmly to prevent them from being swept out from under him. He catches up with Trina, the others only a few feet ahead. They’re not running anymore. They’re struggling, using their whole bodies to push forward step by careful step. The water is almost to Mark’s upper thighs, and he knows the current is about to win the battle against all of them.

    And it burns, scalding his skin. He itches from the pain of it.

    “Right here!” Alec screams. Straining against the dirty, raging river, fighting the current, he’s sloshed his way over to the left. There’s a short set of steps there, an iron railing on both sides. It leads up to a landing and a door. “We need to get up there!”

    Mark is moving in that direction, planting his feet one at a time, reestablishing his position with every step. Trina is doing the same. Lana is already there. Baxter, Misty, Darnell and the Toad are all behind Mark, making their way as well. They can’t last much longer in the current. The roar of the water is deafening, broken only by Alec’s words and the screams from back in the station echoing down the walls of the tunnel. Those noises have decreased dramatically, and Mark knows why. Most of the people are dead.

    As if the thought must be made real, a body bumps into Mark’s knee, then whips past in the river—a woman. Her face is the blue of death, framed by a floating mat of hair. She spins slowly as she rushes deeper into the black tunnel beyond. Then there are more. Some alive, most unmoving—probably dead, Mark realizes. The living are flailing their arms and legs, trying to swim or gain purchase on the ground. Mark has the fleeting thought that they should try to help them, reach for their hands. But it’s too late—they’ll be lucky to get themselves out.

    Alec has reached the stairs, has grabbed the iron railing, takes two steps up. Mark moves another sluggish step forward; the water is up to his waist now. Burning, roasting. Alec leans down and helps Lana up the stairs. Then Trina makes it, grabs his hand. Up she goes. Mark is next. He takes the last tremulous step and he’s suddenly clasping forearms with the old man who keeps saving his life. His body jolts forward as Alec pulls him hard and he’s on the stairs, almost falling forward onto his face. Trina catches him, hugs him.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire