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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 39)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(39) by James Dashner
  • It registered with Mark who these two people were. The pilots. He’d heard them speaking earlier.

    “Sorry, man,” Mark said. The sense of surreality had turned into an odd flutter in his chest, making him feel almost outside himself. His head thumped with pain. “I’m afraid I can’t let you on without proper identification.”

    The man looked a little taken aback. His partner was farther away, right on the edge of the door, crawling to get in before it closed. Something had snapped inside of Mark. He didn’t understand what it was, but something felt different, and there was no way he was going to let these people on board.

    Mark gripped the man’s shirt and kicked out viciously with his left foot at the woman. He planted it right in her midsection; she yelped and jolted backward, flailed to grab hold of her partner. But it was too late. She tumbled and fell off the rising ledge, her head smacking the other pilot’s knee. Mark heard her crumple on the ground of the chamber.

    The hatch door was almost closed now, a five-foot gap at most, moving painfully slowly. The man had leaned over the edge of the door to see if his friend was okay, but he turned now to face Mark again, full of rage. Mark felt rage, too. Like nothing he’d ever felt before. Like a storm erupting within.

    He reached out and grabbed his foe’s shirt, squeezed it in his fist, then growled two words that somehow calmed the storm within him.

    “Your turn.”

    CHAPTER 42

    “You’re going to die,” the man wheezed back through an angry breath. “You’re going to die right now.”

    “No,” Mark answered. “I’m not.”

    He balled his hand into a fist and smashed it into the pilot’s cheek. The man cried out, then threw his hands forward, grabbing at Mark’s hair and face and clothes. He finally caught Mark’s shirt and his shoulder and yanked him into a wrestler’s hold. They rolled against the hatch door. A metal ridge cut into Mark’s back as the pilot pressed on him from above, leaning forward with his forearm dug into Mark’s neck, cutting off the air to his windpipe.

    “You messed with the wrong man today,” the pilot said in a low, vicious voice. “I’ve had enough people tick me off without you trying to steal my ship. I’m going to take my anger out on you, boy. And I’m going to do it over a very long period of time. Do you understand?”

    He eased back on his arm and Mark sucked in a breath, filling his lungs. Then the pilot grabbed him by the shirt and sat up, putting all his weight on Mark’s stomach. The man reached high and swung down with a fist, hitting Mark square in the jaw. It felt as if something cracked in his face. The pilot punched him again and the pain doubled. Mark closed his eyes, tried to tamp down the rage that was building inside him like a nuclear reaction. How much could he take in one day?

    “Better not let that door close for good, now,” the man said, clearly confident that he’d already won the battle. “As much as it’d be fun to hold your head out there and watch it get squeezed like a grape, I think I’d rather take a little more time.”

    He slipped off Mark’s body and got to his feet, then walked over to the controls and pressed something. There was a lurch that Mark felt in his back, then a squeal, then the continued slow wrenching sound as the door started opening once again. He could see the chamber growing lighter than ever. The landing pad must’ve fully rotated and was now sinking into the ground. In a few minutes they’d be open to the entire horde of Bruce’s people, open to them charging aboard and ending it all.

    Fighting the urge to move, Mark waited, letting the fury inside him continue to grow.

    The pilot stepped up to Mark, then reached down and grabbed his feet, lifted them with a grunt. “Come on, now. Let’s get you in a good position.” He started to swing Mark’s body around as he walked sideways deeper into the cargo room of the Berg. “I’ll make sure you’re nice and comfy before—”

    Mark sprang to life, screaming and kicking out as he twisted himself to jerk free from the pilot’s grip. The man stumbled backward until his back hit the wall next to the reopening ramp door. Mark scrambled to stand up as he lunged forward, finally slamming his shoulder into the man’s gut. The man doubled over and wrapped his arms around Mark’s back, both of them crashing to the floor. They rolled and tumbled, all swinging arms and punching fists. Mark tried to knee him in the groin, but the man blocked him, then swung up and connected with Mark’s chin.

    Mark’s head snapped back and he fell off the pilot, who leaped forward, getting on top of him once again. But Mark never stopped moving, using his momentum to spin backward and throw the man off. Then he stood up and ran to the controls, realizing with a shock of horror that the ramp door had already lowered several feet. People might swarm aboard when it was fully open, for all he knew.

    He quickly pushed the retract button and the door squealed, then started closing again. He was just turning back around to face his foe when the man tackled him, their bodies crashing onto the large slab of the ramp. They slid a few feet, almost to the very edge again. Mark twisted his body and grabbed the pilot’s shirt with both hands, trying to fling him off and through the gap of the door, but the man put his feet down and was able to push himself back on top of Mark.

    They struggled against each other, punching and kicking. Mark was tired and hungry and weak, but he fought on, fueled by adrenaline alone. He imagined Trina out there somewhere, being held by the bonfire people, probably even crazier with another day gone and the debacle of the forest fire. He had to live. He had to find her. He couldn’t let this man stand in his way. That ball of spinning rage—the churning reactor of heat and fire and pain that had been building and building within his chest—finally exploded once and for all.

    He lurched with a strength he didn’t know he had, throwing the pilot off his body. He was on top of the man before he could right himself, pushing him down onto his back, punching him. Hard. There was blood. The horrific sound of things crunching. Mark felt disconnected from his own body—he almost couldn’t see straight. Tiny bright lights danced before his eyes, his body trembled and he felt the blood boiling in his veins.

    He was aware on some level that the ramp door was almost closed. On some level he noticed the walls of the chamber, people screaming and yelling, readying to attack the Berg. But Mark had lost all control.

    He looked down, was surprised to see himself dragging the guy’s body to the edge of the ramp, shoving him halfway out so that the man’s head and shoulders hung over the lip of the ramp into open air. He’d tried to free himself from Mark’s grip, but Mark didn’t let him. He reached out and punched the man again. The pilot yelled and squirmed violently, obviously aware of what Mark intended.

    Maybe even more aware than Mark himself. He held on, kept the man in position—half in, half out. Something had changed for Mark. His thoughts were purely focused on the man in his grip and on making him pay for everything. The anger was like a fog that had filled his head. And he couldn’t stop himself.

    Something had snapped.

    The ramp door closed on the pilot’s chest. Squeezed him as it strained to come fully closed. The screams that erupted from the man were horrific and pierced Mark to the core, jolting him out of the red-hot rage into which he’d sunk. As if he was seeing for the first time, he realized what he was doing. Torturing another human being. The sound of the man’s sternum and ribs breaking, the squeal of the door’s hinges as they continued to stress over the obstacle keeping the door open—Mark felt a rush of horror at himself.

    He pushed on the pilot’s body, but it was wedged tight in the narrowing gap. His screams seemed to vibrate the metal of the Berg, shake the entire thing through and through. Mark scrambled around and got onto his back, pressed his elbows against the ramp, then, with all his strength, kicked out with both feet, connecting against the man’s middle. He budged a few inches more. Mark yelled as he kicked and kicked and kicked, pushing the body away from him, trying to end the man’s misery.

    With a final kick, Mark knocked the pilot free. The man disappeared through the gap and the ramp door slammed shut.

    CHAPTER 43

    A deep and unnerving silence filled the cargo room, along with an almost complete darkness. The silence was interrupted seconds later by the grind of a motor, and then the Berg was moving on the tracks, jerking back to the central chamber.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire