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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 51)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(51) by James Dashner
  • And now she was gone.

    Alec’s expression cleared in a few seconds, but it felt like a lifetime to Mark. He’d never seen his friend so sad before.

    Suddenly Alec was all business again. He pointed at the house in front of them. “That’s where they dragged her out. And that’s where we’re going in. I’m sure Trina and the kid are in there right now.”

    Mark turned to look. A mansion by any account, three stories and all gables and massive windows—many of them broken now—and fancy brickwork. But with a scorched roof and filthy walls and a weed-choked, yellow lawn, it looked ancient. Mark was terrified at what they might find inside it.

    And people were gathering around them.

    Less than a minute had passed since they’d vaporized their friend and the violent thugs attacking her, but the crowd milling about in the yard and street seemed to have doubled in size. Men and women, children. Most of them marked with bruises and scratches, some with worse. A man with a huge section of his shoulder missing was slowly ambling toward them; it looked like someone had taken an axe to him in a fit of rage. There was a woman with an entire arm gone, the joint a bloody mess. Most disturbing of all, there were a couple of kids with brutal injuries, and they didn’t even seem to know they were hurt.

    Without fail, the people started to inch closer, surrounding Mark and Alec. Tattered and grimy clothes, dirty hair, hollow gazes—the crowd’s attention was entirely fixed on the two newcomers.

    Alec started walking slowly toward the front door of the large house. Mark mimicked his wary movements, as if any sudden action would trigger the budding insanity in those who watched their every step. They inched closer, weapons held firm. Mark wasn’t taking even the slightest chance anymore. If someone came at him, they were getting shot.

    The crowd pulled in tighter around Mark and Alec, gathering like spectators at a parade. There had to be dozens of them now, maybe over a hundred. Then several men broke from the larger group and cut off the path to the front door. As soon as they did it, others followed suit, completely surrounding Mark and Alec now, a tightening noose.

    “I don’t know if you people can understand me,” Alec bellowed. “But this is a one-time offer. Get out of our way or we start shooting.”

    “We’ve got friends in this house,” Mark added. “And we’re not leaving without them.” He raised his Transvice just for show.

    The looks on the faces all around him were changing. That blank indifference was clearing. Eyes were narrowing, foreheads furrowing, lips curling up in slight snarls. A couple of women actually hissed at them, and a kid gnashed his teeth like some wild animal.

    “Get out of our way!” Alec yelled.

    The crowd surged in a few inches, pressing closer, tightening their circle. Mark felt that familiar break inside of him again, as if he was losing control. A rush of something like hatred burned through him.

    “Forget this,” he muttered.

    He aimed his Transvice at the closest man between him and the front door and pulled the trigger. A blinding stream of white light shot from the weapon and into the man’s chest, quickly turning him into a wall of gray, then an explosion of particles that disappeared. Mark didn’t hesitate. He immediately aimed at the next man, pulled the trigger, watched him turn to vapor. Next to him was a woman. Three seconds later she was no longer there.

    He’d half expected Alec to stop him. But the former soldier wasted no time. The woman had barely disassembled when Alec was firing away as well. They concentrated on clearing a path to the house, slowly sweeping their weapons back and forth as they picked the people off one by one. Flashes of light filled the air as their Transvices heated up, unleashing a wave of destruction. All without a single drop of blood.

    They’d eliminated about a dozen people, cutting through half the crowd standing in front of them, when the rest of the infected seemed to finally catch on to what was happening. A violent scream filled the air, a piercing, horrible sound, and suddenly every last person there was charging forward, rushing at the two men with their death-dealing weapons.

    Mark moved his weapon left to right, pulling the trigger in short bursts, not even bothering to aim. Streaks of white connected with a few women. One stray shot hit a small boy, vaporized him. Still they barreled toward him at full speed. Mark turned to face the people behind him. He fired again, then gripped the Transvice and swung it up to smash its butt end into a man’s face, sending him sprawling, shrieking in pain.

    Mark stumbled backward but caught his balance. There were people all around him, hissing, baring their teeth, dancing about on their feet, all wild eyes and hysterical laughter. Mark held the Transvice tightly against his chest again and fired randomly, turning in a slow circle as he vaporized whoever was closest. Then he swept the weapon back the other way, all the while careful of where Alec stood.

    The next few moments were complete madness. Mark felt a hitch of panic. He kept firing, swinging left, then right. He elbowed and shoved and broke through and fired and started all over again, pushing his way ever closer to the house. He killed at least ten more people before he was suddenly tripping over the steps of the porch.

    He fell, twisted the Transvice around and fired it directly into the chest of a man who’d leaped into the air toward him. The gray mist washed over Mark’s face and disappeared. He spotted Alec a few feet away, jamming the end of his weapon into a woman’s face; Alec then broke into a run, jumping onto the steps and passing Mark, heading for the door.

    Mark got off one more shot before he began to crawl backward up the stairs. At the top he got to his feet and reached the door just as Alec was stepping through. He ran past Alec into the house and his friend slammed the door. Alec had barely tripped the lock before the thump of bodies hitting it sounded from the other side. Mark doubted it would hold for long.

    Then they were running. Down a hallway, a right turn, another hallway. Two people came at them—they’d been guarding a door. Alec got both of them with shots from his Transvice. Mark slipped past him, opened the door—there were steps. A man was at the bottom, pounding his way up, his eyes all fire set in a dirty, scratched face. Mark vaporized him.

    Down the stairway, two at a time. A man and a woman rushed at him with knives, swinging at him before he could bring his weapon up. He smacked them both away and dove toward the floor just as Alec appeared and shot his weapon twice. And then everything grew quiet except for the distant sounds of the people outside, who’d be coming for them soon.

    They were in a basement. A stream of sunlight shone through a narrow window at the top of the wall to Mark’s right. Dust motes danced in the air. And two people were huddled in the corner of the room, looking as frightened as anyone Mark had ever seen.

    Trina and Deedee, clutching each other, arms wrapped around one another’s bruised bodies. Mark ran to them, knelt in front of them, placed his weapon on the ground.

    Deedee was crying and spoke first. “She’s sick,” she said in her trembling, little-girl voice. She squeezed Trina tighter, crying.

    Mark reached out and took Trina’s hand, squeezed it. “It’s okay. We found you. We’re getting you out of here.”

    Trina had been staring at the floor the entire time, but she slowly raised her head and looked at Mark. Her eyes were empty and dark.

    “Who are you?” she asked.

    CHAPTER 57

    The words hit him like a rapid series of thumps to his heart. He tried to convince himself that there were a million reasons she could’ve said what she did. Maybe the room didn’t have enough light; maybe she’d been hit in the head; maybe her vision was blurred. But the reality of it was in those eyes. She had no idea who he was. None.

    “Trina …” He searched for words. “Trina, it’s me. Mark.”

    There was a crash upstairs, something breaking. Then a few thuds. Footsteps sounded from above.

    “We’ve gotta get out,” Alec barked. “Now.”

    Trina had not stopped looking at Mark, her face wrinkled in confusion. Her head was tilted to the side, as if in her mind she was running through the possibilities of who this guy in front of her could be. But there was also fear and panic, something unsettling.

    “Maybe there’s a treatment,” Mark found himself whispering, in some sort of trance. The only person in the world he wanted with him safe and sound … “Maybe—”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire