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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 48)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(48) by James Dashner
  • Mark quickly scrambled away from her. “Go ahead, do it!”

    But Alec didn’t. He calmly walked up to stand beside Mark, the end of his weapon pointed at the suffering woman. “It’d be a waste. Let’s save it for bigger game.”

    “But what if she follows us? Goes and gets her friends? Ruins our chance at surprising them up ahead?”

    Alec gave her a long look, then raised his eyes to Mark. “If it makes you feel better, then you do it.” He turned and started walking toward the next house, scanning the area for potential enemies.

    Mark went over to where he’d dropped his Transvice and backpack in the melee of fighting off the crazy woman. He didn’t take his eyes off her as he picked both items up, slinging the pack onto his shoulders and tightening the straps, then hefting the weapon in both hands once they were free. He aimed it at the lady and walked closer until he was just a few feet away. Still she lay curled up in the fetal position, whimpering and moaning, rocking back and forth. Mark found that he felt no pity, no sorrow. She was past being human, had lost every ounce of sanity, and that wasn’t his fault. And for all he knew, she had friends nearby, or was just playing weak so that they’d walk away and leave her alone.

    No. There wasn’t time for pity anymore.

    He took another step back, firmly pressed the butt of the weapon against his chest, aimed a little more precisely and pulled the trigger. A buzz and hum filled the air; then the Transvice recoiled and shot out a beam of white light that sliced into the woman’s body. She didn’t have time to scream before her body turned into a rippling wave of gray and exploded into a fine mist, vanishing in an instant.

    Mark had stumbled two steps backward, but he was just glad he hadn’t fallen down. He stared at the empty space on the ground where the woman had been lying, then finally looked up to see that Alec had stopped and was facing him, eyeing him with an unreadable expression on his face. But there seemed to be a mix of shock and unmistakable pride in there somewhere.

    “Our friends,” Mark said, sure that he’d never heard such a bitter voice escape his own lips before. “That’s all we can think about.”

    He lifted the weapon, nestled it in the crook between his neck and shoulder and held it there with one hand while dropping the other to rest at his side. Then he calmly and quietly walked toward Alec.

    The old soldier waited for him and didn’t say a word. They moved on to the next house.

    CHAPTER 53

    Mark began to hear the chaos after passing two more houses. Screams and laughter and what sounded like metal beating on metal. The screams were the most chilling, and he didn’t know if he was prepared to see their source. He tried not to think about the fact that he might end up just as sick as the people he could hear. He might have already started the journey there.

    After dodging and weaving past several more houses, he and Alec finally reached the street they’d seen from the sky.

    Alec held up his hand to stop Mark behind the last house on the block. It faced the road yet still provided some protection from being seen. They stood in the shade of a half-crumbled awning.

    “Okay,” Alec said, slipping off his backpack. “This is it. Let’s get ourselves fed and watered up. Then we’re going in hot and heavy.”

    Mark was surprised at how little fear he felt, at least at that moment. Maybe it was because they were taking a short break and the situation didn’t seem real yet. But if anything, it’d been building up for so long he was just anxious to get out there and let what happened happen. His head was throbbing again badly, and he knew somehow that it was only going to get worse. He couldn’t afford to waste time.

    They sat down and ate some of the dried, packaged food scavenged from the Berg. Mark enjoyed every swallow of the water from his canteen. He had the fleeting thought that it could be the last time he ever drank the stuff. He shook his head. The morbid thoughts were becoming harder and harder to push from his mind. He crammed the last couple of bites into his mouth and stood up.

    “I can’t take it anymore,” he said. He reached down, picked up his backpack and slung it onto his shoulders. “Let’s get out there and find our friends.”

    Alec gave him a sharp look.

    “I just meant with all the waiting.… I can’t take it.” His head ached but he tried hard to ignore it. “Come on. Let’s do this.”

    Alec stood up and got himself packed and prepared. Once he was done, the two of them hoisted their weapons into their hands, ready for battle.

    “Remember,” Alec said, “there might be no defense against these Transvices. But that doesn’t mean anything if we get the damn things taken from us. Do not, I repeat, do not let anyone get close enough to get it out of your hands. And keep the strap over your shoulder. That’s our number one priority—keeping these babies for ourselves.”

    Mark gripped his tightly, as if someone were going to try to take it from him right then and there, and nodded. “Don’t worry. I won’t let anyone get close.”

    Alec put out his hand. “We’re going to make it through this, but just in case …”

    Mark shook the man’s hand, squeezing it. “Thanks for the billion times you saved my life.”

    “It’s been an honor serving with you, kid. Maybe today you’ll save mine a couple more times.”

    “I’ll do my best.”

    They hefted their weapons and turned the corner of the house. Alec looked at Mark and nodded, then burst into a full-on sprint. Mark followed his lead and ran behind him into the street.

    The main pack of infected were farther down the road, but there were enough people nearby for the two to be wary. One woman sat square in the middle of the road, clapping her hands in a rhythmic pattern. A few feet away from her, two men were fighting over what looked like a dead rat. Another guy was standing on the corner, singing at the top of his lungs.

    Mark and Alec crossed the street and headed toward the first home. Like most of the ruins in the wealthy neighborhood, it was huge and half burned down. What remained had rotted. Mark followed Alec closely, stopping at the side of the house. They inched up against the wall and caught their breath. No one seemed to have noticed them yet. Of course, many hadn’t even looked up when they’d been in the Berg right over their heads, thrusters burning louder than anything Mark could imagine.

    “Okay,” Alec said. “When I saw them, Lana and the others were being led to a house down there.” He nodded toward the street to the right. “But I think we should search each one to be sure. If they’ve been moved, I’d rather not miss them. If we can avoid the main pack of wackos up the street, all the better.”

    “Might as well get started, then,” Mark replied. “Right here.”

    Alec nodded. “Come on.”

    They slipped out from the protection of the wall and headed for the front door—only to run straight into a man standing in front of the entrance. He was dressed in tattered clothing and his face was dirty, a red gash taking up most of his cheek.

    “Get out of the way,” Alec barked. “Step away from the door and into the yard or you’ll be dead in five seconds.”

    The man gave them a blank look. Then he raised his eyebrows once and did as he was told, stepping calmly off the porch and walking—slowly—onto the weedy, rocky front yard. And he kept walking, without a backward glance, until he reached the sidewalk, where he turned to the right and headed for the activity down the road.

    Alec shook his head. “Be ready in case someone jumps out at us.”

    Mark planted his feet and aimed his weapon.

    Alec held his Transvice with one hand and reached out with the other, grabbing the door and pulling it open. He took a step back as it swung wide, giving Mark a clear shot if he needed it. But the place was empty.

    “You go first so I can watch your back,” Alec said, waving his arm for Mark to enter.

    “Or watch me get eaten before you do.”

    “Trust me on this one, kid. It’s better for you if I’m back here. Now get moving.”

    A surge of excitement was pumping through Mark’s body. Fear no longer tugged at him; he was itching to do something. He gave Alec a curt nod and stepped up to the porch and entered the house, sweeping his weapon left and right as he searched the room. Everything was hot and dusty and dark, sunlight visible only through holes in the walls. The upstairs seemed much lighter, though.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire