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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 53)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(53) by James Dashner
  • Trina turned toward Mark. “Lead us up.”

    She still showed no sign of recognition in her eyes, and it stung in his heart once again. He had no idea what was going on or how she’d gotten this sea of maniacs to listen to her command, but he wasn’t going to waste the opportunity. He jumped to his feet and held his Transvice at the ready, without overtly showing it as a threat. He looked at Alec, who seemed as unsettled as Mark had ever seen him, doubt clouding his eyes. He nodded at Mark to go first.

    Mark walked forward to the stairs and turned to Trina and Deedee. “Let’s go up, then. Come on, it’s going to be okay.” He’d never said anything in his life that he believed less.

    They came to him, ready to follow. Trina had Deedee in front of her, gripping the little girl’s shoulders. Alec moved to stand right behind them.

    “Up we go,” the man grumbled. His eyes were darting back and forth at the lines of people on both sides of the stairs. And the way he looked at them said it all—he thought for sure it was some kind of trap. His grip on his Transvice was a little tighter than Mark’s.

    With a deep breath that made him aware of the awful smells of the people around him, Mark turned and faced the stairs again. He took the first step. Every single eye above him was focused on his face. To his right was a woman with stringy hair and bruised cheeks, staring at him with a slight, knowing smile. To his left stood a teenage boy in tattered clothes, scuffed and dirty from head to toe. He also seemed on the verge of laughing. More people waited with similar looks, all eyes on him. All silent and still.

    “Would you get on with it?” Alec whispered from behind.

    Mark took another step. He was worried about rushing up the stairs, as if Trina had put the infected into some kind of trance and that any hurried movement might break the spell. He lifted his foot and went one step higher. Then another. A glance backward showed Trina and Deedee right on his tail, and Alec behind them. The old man shot him a glare that said he was clearly unhappy with how slowly they were moving.

    Mark took another step and then another, the strangers’ stares sending a cold tingling across his skin and down his spine. The smiles were getting bigger and creepier.

    They were two-thirds of the way up when he heard a woman’s voice right behind him.

    “Pretty. So very pretty.”

    He turned to see the lady patting Deedee’s head, almost petting her like an animal at the zoo. The little girl’s face was filled with horror.

    “Such a pretty child,” the woman said. “I could just eat you up. Like a turkey dinner. Yes. So sweet.”

    Mark faced front again, repulsed. There was a bulging feeling in his chest, as if something were trying to escape. He’d just taken another step when a man reached out and poked his shoulder with a finger.

    “Good, strong young boy, you are,” the stranger said. “I bet your mama’s proud, eh?”

    Mark ignored him, went up another step. This time people on either side of him put their hands on his arm—not in a threatening way, just a touch. Another step. A woman moved away from the wall and threw her arms around his neck, squeezed him in a quick and fierce hug. Then she released him and stepped back into her position to the side. A wicked smile distorted her features.

    Revulsion filled Mark. He couldn’t take another minute in that house. He threw caution to the wind and reached behind him, grabbed Deedee’s hand, then started moving faster up the steps. He could hear Alec’s feet pounding as he brought up the rear.

    At first the infected seemed taken unaware, stunned by the sudden burst of motion. Mark made it to the top, across the landing, through the haunted faces that stared at them from both sides—and then he was in the hallway. The house was packed, people everywhere, some of them holding sticks and bats and knives. But there was a clear path down the middle, leading to the front door. Mark didn’t hesitate, started sprinting toward the exit, pulling Deedee along behind him.

    They made it halfway before order collapsed. All of the house occupants seemed to scream at once, and their bodies swarmed in, pressing against Mark and his friends. Mark lost hold of Deedee’s hand and saw her disappear into the crowd, her sweet little cry like that of an angel among demons.

    CHAPTER 59

    Mark lunged after her but lost his balance, slipping and falling. Bodies were on top of him in an instant, clawing and ripping at his clothes. He twisted and swung his elbows, felt both of them connect with bodies, heard screams. Hands were grabbing for his weapon, too many to fight off. He kicked out with his legs, squirmed onto his stomach so he could push himself up. Something hard hit him in the back of the head and he collapsed, his face smacking against the hard tile. Then there was a thin, painful tug on his neck—he realized with horror that it was the strap of his weapon. He was just trying to reach for it when it slipped past his chin and over his head. There were hoots and hollers and cheers.

    His Transvice was gone.

    All the focus in the room shifted to the stolen weapon, leaving Mark a few seconds to scramble back to his feet. The man who’d taken the thing from him was holding it up in the air with both hands and dancing in a slow circle. Those around him leaped up and down, their arms outstretched so they could touch the shiny surface. They were slowly moving away from Mark, and more and more people were pushing in to see the new prize. The mass was heading toward the other end of the hallway, into what looked like the kitchen.

    Mark knew he’d never get the Transvice back. He frantically scanned the room for signs of his friends. Deedee was being handled by three or four people. She was kicking and screaming as they tried to carry her up the stairs. Trina was right behind them, fighting to reach the girl. Alec was battling at least six attackers who seemed bent on getting their own shiny prize. Even as Mark glanced at him, his friend smashed the Transvice’s end into one guy’s face, shot a bolt of white light into another, vaporizing him. But then there was a mad rush against the old man and he fell to the floor, people leaping on top of him.

    Mark had no choice but to go after Trina and Deedee first.

    He ran forward, pushing past people who didn’t quite seem to know what they were supposed to be doing, and leaped onto the ledge running up the outside of the stairs. He knew his only chance was to climb along it. He held on to the railing and inched upward.

    A man swung a fist at him and missed. A woman threw her body at him, oblivious to the possibility of hurting herself. Mark was able to duck and she sailed past, crashing to the floor below. Others tried to push him; some from below swatted at him, grabbed his legs, trying to pull him into the seething mass of bodies. He fought them all off, somehow keeping at least one hand on the wooden railing as he dodged and slapped and kicked away their attempts to stop his progress.

    Finally he made it past the leading charge, past the man and woman who had Deedee in their arms. Mark grabbed the railing with both hands and heaved himself over, landing cleanly on a step almost at the very top of the staircase. The people didn’t stop, kept heading straight toward him. Mark didn’t know what else to do, so he dove forward, wrapping his arms around Deedee and squeezing tightly, letting the momentum of his body pull her free from her captors’ grasps.

    They rolled down the stairs, knocking people left and right until they bounced off the bottom step and onto the floor. He looked up from where he lay wrapped protectively around the little girl and saw Trina barreling her way toward him, pushing others aside, her eyes afire and focused on Deedee.

    Groaning from the pain that racked his body, he somehow got his feet under him and stood up just as Trina reached them. She grabbed Deedee from him, wrapped her arms around her tight. The little girl was sobbing. Their brief reprieve was over, however; people were coming at them from all directions.

    Mark took a quick look around and realized their prospects were grim. The house was in chaos.

    Alec was in the dining room, still fighting off a dozen attackers, firing his weapon when he could. Several of the mob gave up on him when they saw Mark, charging him instead. A surge of people also came from the other direction—from the hallway leading to the kitchen—and they came fast, as if they were fleeing something instead of attacking. More infected stood between Mark and the door, blocking any escape. And each one of them looked ready to kill or be killed.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire