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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 50)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(50) by James Dashner
  • Mark nodded. He knew the old man was right. But something had torn in his heart at the sight of these kids, and it physically hurt. He didn’t think it would ever mend.

    He turned around to gather his thoughts. All he could do was focus on Trina. He had to save Trina. And Deedee.

    “Okay,” he finally said. “Let’s go.”

    Mark and Alec moved from house to house, searching them from top to bottom.

    It all became a big, hazy blur to Mark. The more he saw, the more numb he grew to the strangeness of the new world. This sickness that had been spread on purpose. In each house, on each block, he saw things that kept topping what he’d thought untoppable. He saw a woman jump off a roof and land, broken, on her front steps. He saw three men drawing circles in the dirt and jumping in and out of them, like kids playing a game. Except something was making them more and more upset and they finally erupted into a crazed brawl. There was a room in one of the homes where twenty or thirty people were lying in a heap in complete silence. Definitely alive, but not moving.

    A woman eating a cat. A man chewing on a rug in the corner of his living room. Two kids throwing rocks at each other as hard as they could, bloodied and bruised from head to toe. Laughing all the while. People standing still in their yards, staring at the sky. Others lying facedown in the dirt, talking to themselves. Mark saw a man bull-rushing a tree, slamming himself into the trunk over and over, as if he thought eventually he’d win some battle and knock the thing down.

    But on they went, quickly searching each and every home as they got closer to what Alec had called the party. The strangest thing, though, was that so far no one had attacked them. Most people actually seemed scared to death of them.

    They were approaching their next house when a scream suddenly tore through the air, somehow louder than all the other sounds combined. It was piercing and raw, ripping its way along the street like a living thing.

    Alec pulled up short, as did Mark, and they both looked in the direction of the noise.

    About five houses down, two men were dragging a woman with black hair by her feet through the front door. Her head smacked the concrete of each step as they descended to the yard.

    “Holy Mother of …,” Alec whispered. “It’s Lana.”

    CHAPTER 55

    Alec didn’t wait for Mark’s response.

    He burst into an all-out sprint, booking into the street, his feet pounding the pavement as he headed for Lana and the strangers now dragging her across the rock-filled yard of the house. He’d reacted so quickly that Mark was far behind. He tried his best to catch up, his backpack bouncing against his shoulders and his weapon threatening to slip out of his sweaty hands.

    Alec was screaming at the men to stop what they were doing. He held up his Transvice, but the thugs didn’t understand the threat, or didn’t care. They continued pulling Lana across the yard until they reached the sidewalk, where they threw her legs down violently. She’d ceased her screaming and Mark wondered if she was still conscious. Still alive.

    Alec stopped a dozen feet from where Lana lay unmoving. He was aiming his weapon, yelling at them all to freeze, when Mark caught up to him. It took him a moment to catch his breath before he could aim his own Transvice.

    There were three men total, and they stood in a circle around Lana’s body, all of them looking down at her. They seemed completely oblivious that people had weapons aimed at them.

    “Step away from her!” Alec shouted.

    Now that they were closer, Mark finally got a good look at their friend. It made his stomach turn. She was battered and bloody and covered in bruises. Much of her hair had been ripped out, and her bloody scalp shown through where it was missing. The last thing Mark noticed was that one of her ears looked like someone had tried to tear it off. The horror of it struck Mark like an anvil to his chest, and the rage he’d grown all too familiar with came boiling back up. These people were monsters, and if they’d done the same things to Trina …

    He stepped toward them, but Alec reached a hand out and stopped him.

    “Just a second,” he said, then returned his attention to Lana’s captors. “I’m not going to repeat myself. Step away from her or I start shooting.”

    But instead of responding, the three men knelt to the ground, their knees touching Lana’s body as they surrounded her. Frantically, she looked back and forth between them.

    “Just do it,” Mark said. “What’re you waiting for?”

    “I don’t have a clear shot!” Alec barked back. “I don’t want to vaporize her!”

    Alec’s words just made Mark angrier. He wasn’t going to stand there and do nothing for one more second.

    “I’ve had enough of this crap,” he muttered, and started walking forward, slapping away Alec’s hand when he tried once again to stop him.

    The men didn’t so much as glance at him as he approached. They were all digging deep in their pockets for something, their bodies turned in a way that blocked most of Mark’s view.

    “Hey!” he shouted, his weapon held out before him. “Get away from her or I’m going to shoot. You won’t know what hit you, believe me!”

    They didn’t hear him, or pretended not to. The next thing that happened was so quick and shocking that it made him stumble, almost fall down. In a blur of motion, one of the men pulled out a switchblade and stabbed Lana. Her screams sent a jolt of horror thudding through Mark’s bones. Then he was rushing forward, slinging his weapon to his back, diving. He leaped and tackled the man closest to him, sending them both rolling away from Lana.

    He heard Alec yelling his name, but somehow he ignored it. His only thought was that he had to disarm this guy quickly enough that he could stop the others. At least get them far enough away from Lana that Alec could take care of them. The man he’d tackled was strong, but Mark had taken him by surprise and was able to pin him to the ground with his knees and snatch the switchblade out of his hands. Without thinking, he stabbed him in the chest and ended it.

    Mark fell off, crashing onto his back and scrambling away. Staring in horror at what he’d just done. But just as quickly, the world around him came back into focus and he jumped to his feet. Alec ran up and swung the butt of his weapon down with both arms, slamming its end into one of the attackers’ heads. He crumpled and slumped to the ground.

    There was a group of people charging in from the other side of the street. Mark had no idea where they’d come from, but there were at least seven or eight of them. All men. All with knives or hammers or screwdrivers, their faces lit up in rage.

    “Watch out!” Mark yelled to Alec.

    But the men weren’t interested in them. Instead they all went after Lana, who was still being attacked by the lone man left of the three who’d originally dragged her outside. Alec took a few stumbling steps backward and Mark ran to stand beside him. As they watched, Mark realized that they were powerless to stop the madness unless they started using the Transvices. He was filled with a sudden doomed uncertainty.

    Alec seemed to suddenly harden, a visible change that spread through his body. His face went still, hard as a rock. He straightened and stood tall. Then, without a word to Mark, he lifted his weapon and aimed it at the group of people attacking Lana.

    He fired a shot. The quick stream of pure white bolted forward and hit the closest man, who’d just been pulling his arm back, a bloodied hammer gripped in his hand. He transformed quickly into that shimmering flag of gray, then exploded into a cloud of mist, whisked away by an unfelt wind. Alec was already firing another burst at the man next to him. Mark knew they couldn’t win this battle, though Lana had been brave and true and strong since the day they’d met back in the tunnels of the subtrans.

    Mark lifted up his own weapon and started firing. He and Alec picked off the attackers one by one: Pull the trigger. On to the next.

    Soon the monsters were gone and only the pitiful, wretched form of their friend lay on the ground. Alec didn’t hesitate for a moment. He aimed and shot one more burst from his Transvice.

    Lana’s suffering ended in a spray of gray mist.

    CHAPTER 56

    Mark’s eyes drifted up from the bloody patch on the ground and fixed on Alec. The man had a look on his face that said a thousand things. But laced through it all was a profound sadness. Though Mark never fully understood what kind of relationship the two veterans had shared, it had been deep and full of history.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire