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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 52)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(52) by James Dashner
  • “Mark!” Alec yelled. “Get them up! Now!”

    He looked back to see his friend at the bottom of the stairs, weapon raised to shoot whoever dared try to come down first. There was more noise above them: People running and shouting. Things breaking. Then Mark caught a blur of movement out the window, a pair of feet that were there, then gone.

    “We’ll figure everything out,” he said, returning his attention to the two girls. “Come on, we need to get out of here.”

    The rising volume of noise threatened to push his panic over the edge, but he knew he was treading on fragile ground with Trina. He had no idea how she might react if he tried to rush her.

    “Deedee?” he said as gently as he could. He picked up the Transvice and rested the strap on his shoulder. “Come here, Deedee. Take my hand and stand up.”

    A loud bang cut through the air, coming from the stairs. Someone had just thrown a door open and slammed it against the wall. The shouts had reached a hysterical pitch. Mark heard the distinct power surge and zing of Alec’s Transvice going off, heard the shocked gasps coming from above as people saw one of their comrades disappear in a flash of gray mist. Mark imagined the scene, all while holding his hand out and trying to look calm for Deedee.

    The girl just stared at him for an agonizing few seconds, a thousand thoughts going through her head, by the looks of it. Mark didn’t let himself move, just kept smiling and holding that hand out. Finally she reached out and took it, let him pull her up. Without letting go, he leaned in and slipped his other arm under Trina’s back, got a firm grip. He used all the strength he had left to lift her off the ground and set her on her feet.

    She didn’t resist, but Mark was worried she might topple over if he let go. “Who are you?” she repeated. “Are you here to save us?”

    “I’m your best friend of all time,” he answered, trying not to let her words sting. “These people stole you from me, and now I’m going to get you back to safety. Home sweet home and all that.”

    “Please,” she said. “Please don’t let them hurt me again.”

    An abyss yawned in his chest, threatening to swallow his heart. “That’s why I’m here. I just need you to walk, okay? Walk and stay close to me.”

    More sounds from up above: a scream, a window shattering. Then footsteps on the stairs. Alec fired off another shot.

    Trina shifted and put all her weight on her own two feet. “Okay. I’m okay. I’ll do anything to get out of here.”

    “That’s my girl.” Mark reluctantly slid his arm from her back and then focused on Deedee, bending over to look into her eyes. “This is going to be really scary, okay? But then it’ll be over. Stay close to—”

    “I’ll be fine,” she said, cutting him off. A sudden fire burned in her eyes that made her seem ten years older. “Let’s go.”

    Mark felt a small smile on his lips. “Perfect. Let’s do it.”

    He took her hand and put it in Trina’s and squeezed them together. Then he grabbed his Transvice and positioned it firmly against his chest, ready to shoot.

    “Stay right behind me,” he said, looking at each of them in turn to get confirmation that they understood. Trina seemed a little more lucid now, clarity coming back into her eyes. “Right behind me.”

    He gripped his weapon, rested his finger on the trigger, then turned to face the foot of the stairs, where Alec maintained his position.

    Mark had taken two steps toward Alec, Deedee and Trina right on his heels, when the window to their left suddenly exploded inward, a chunk of brick crashing to the floor in a shower of glass. Deedee screamed and Trina jumped forward, stumbling into Mark’s back. Mark lurched forward but caught himself before he fell. He pointed his Transvice at the broken window, where a man’s arm had snaked through the narrow gap and was groping along the walls.

    Mark fired a burst from his weapon. The first bolt of white heat missed, drilling a hole in the wall that sent up a strange cloud of dust. He tried again and this time hit home. The arm dissolved into a gray mass, then whiffed out of existence. Two more people appeared where the man had been, but Mark could tell the strip of window was too small for a person to crawl through. He turned away and moved once again toward the staircase, where Alec stood firm. He took a shot at someone above even as Mark looked at him.

    “Got no choice but to make our way up there,” the man growled without taking his eyes off the door. “More of these psychos are probably arriving by the minute outside.”

    “We’re ready,” Mark replied, even though he had no clue how they were going to get their group of four through the horde of Flare-infected maniacs. “Maybe we should put the girls in between us.”

    “Exactly. I’ll go first, you take up the rear this time. It’s gonna be ugly pushing through these wackos.”

    Mark nodded and took a step back. Trina seemed more and more with it, though she hadn’t yet given any sign that she remembered him. She grabbed Deedee’s hand and guided her to stand right beside Alec. The man winked at the little girl, then started up the stairs. Trina followed with Deedee in tow. Mark went up backward, just in case someone figured out another way to get into the basement.

    Step by step, they ascended toward the chaos waiting above.

    “Get out of our way!” Alec yelled. “I start shooting in three seconds!”

    The roar of activity increased, a cacophony of shouts and whistles and jeers and laughing. Mark abandoned the idea of guarding their rear and looked up to see five or six faces packed together at the door, waiting for them, wild-eyed and seemingly hungry for violence. He felt such a burgeoning fear in his chest that it was hard to breathe. But he knew that if they could just get outside somehow, they stood a fighting chance.

    “Time’s up!” Alec roared. Then he let out three quick blasts from his Transvice. Two women and a man were whisked away into neverland.

    Suddenly everyone surged forward, screaming and yelling, pushing through the door in a mass of bodies. Alec got off another couple of shots, but then it was too much. Soon he had ten people on top of him, jumping and leaping and clawing.

    Alec fell backward into Trina and Deedee, who crashed into Mark. The entire group tumbled down the stairs in a tangle of arms and legs. And the infected came charging after them.

    CHAPTER 58

    Mark’s head slammed against a step, then the wall, then the floor. All while feet kicked and hands slapped and elbows jabbed at him. The world had turned into spinning, pain-filled madness. When everything stilled, Trina and Alec were on his chest and Deedee was on his legs, squirming to get up. Alec awkwardly tried to lift his Transvice to get off a shot but was suddenly tackled by a man who jumped from the fourth step up and smashed into his body, sending him flying off Mark.

    Trina was reaching for Deedee; she grabbed her and pulled her into a fierce hug, leaping out of the fray just as more people rained down from above. Soon they were on top of Mark, a dozen or more, punching and kicking and seemingly trying to rip him apart. Mark was at a loss, all plans out the window, relying on sheer desperation. He twisted his body and tried to spin out of the mass, gripping the Transvice with both hands to swing it left and right to get people away from him.

    Trina yelled in a loud, piercing voice, “Stop it! Everyone stop and listen to me!”

    Her words sliced through the air and the cries and shouts and grunts coming from everyone in the tangled mass of bodies lining the stairs from top to bottom went silent. All movement stopped. Mark was stunned at the abrupt change—he scrambled out from underneath a couple of people who were staring at Trina, almost transfixed. His back hit the wall across from the lowest step. Trina was to his left, still clutching Deedee in her arms; to his right, Alec had freed himself, too.

    All eyes were on Trina, as if she had some magical, hypnotic power. The silence in the basement was broken only by the breathing of the occupants.

    “You all need to listen to me,” she said more quietly. There was a wildness in her eyes. “I’m one of you now. These men have come to help us. But you need to let us go so they can do that.”

    This set off a chorus of mumbling and muttering throughout the crowd. Mark watched in sick fascination as they got to their feet, frantically whispering to each other, seeming to obey. The people were bloody and filthy, but they started to act in an organized fashion. Soon they were lined up on both sides of the stairs, leaving a clear path up the middle. Mark could tell that those at the top were communicating with other people in the house, spreading the word. It was all done with something like reverence.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire