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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 58)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(58) by James Dashner
  • He saw Trina and Deedee standing up, pressed against the wall, watching helplessly. Mark knew the old Trina would’ve joined in and helped somehow. She would have attacked the woman and probably beaten her senseless. But this new Trina, this sick Trina, just stood there like a frightened little girl. Clutching Deedee in her arms.

    Mark grunted and kept fighting the woman. He heard a groan, looked over to see the man he’d knocked out crawling to his hands and knees. The guy’s eyes were glued on Mark, full of hatred and madness. He bared his teeth and growled.

    The man came at him on all fours, as if he had transformed into some kind of rabid animal. He pushed off the ground and leaped into the struggle between Mark and the woman like a lion attacking its prey. He crashed into the woman and the two were suddenly locked in an embrace. They fell off Mark, rolling across the floor as if playing some kind of game. Mark was still gasping for breath but he turned onto his side, then his stomach. Got his knees under him. His elbows. Pushed up. He leaned against a cot and finally was able to stand.

    He calmly aimed the Transvice at the man, then the woman, taking two clean shots. The noise shook the air like thunder, and the people were no more.

    Mark heard his own breathing, heavy and strained. He glanced wearily over at Trina and Deedee, still huddled against the wall. It was close as to which of them looked more terrified.

    “Sorry you had to see that,” Mark mumbled, unable to find anything else to say. “Come on. Let’s get to the cockpit. We’re taking …” He’d almost said taking Deedee, but he’d caught himself. He didn’t know how Trina might respond. “We’re going somewhere safe,” he finished.

    A burst of deep laughing seemed to come from everywhere at once, the same horrible sound as before. It was followed by a hitched series of coughs that eased back into the haunted fit of giggling. To Mark, nothing sounded more as though it belonged inside a mental hospital, and goose bumps broke out across his skin despite the heat. Trina was staring at the floor, her gaze so empty that Mark felt another pang of loss. He stepped closer to the girls and reached out a hand. The man hidden in the rafters continued to chuckle.

    “We can do this,” he said. “All you have to do is take my hand and walk with me. It won’t be long before we’re all … safe.” He didn’t mean to falter on the last word.

    Deedee raised her scarred arm and squeezed his middle finger, held on to it. This seemed to trigger some reaction in Trina, and she shifted away from the wall and put her weight fully on her feet. Her eyes didn’t stray from that spot on the floor, and she was still clutching Deedee’s shoulders with both hands. But it looked like she’d follow.

    “Good,” Mark whispered. “We’re going to ignore that poor guy up there and walk nice and calm to the cockpit. Let’s go.”

    He turned and started moving before anything changed in Trina’s countenance. Tugging on Deedee’s hand, he walked quickly toward the door of the barracks. A glance behind him showed Trina still attached to the girl as if they’d been glued together. There was the pitter-patter of footsteps above them, which almost made him stop, but he steeled his nerves and kept going.

    They went through the door and into the hallway—they had nowhere else to go. It was even darker out there, the emergency lights just a pale glowing line running along the upper edges of the walls. After quick looks left and right, Mark headed off in the direction of the cockpit. He’d barely taken a step when there was a burst of sound and movement.

    And then a thud directly above him. A fit of laughter. The sudden appearance of a man’s face and arms, hanging upside down right in front of him. A cry escaped Mark’s lips before he could help it, and shock froze him solid.

    In his stupor, he was unable to react in time—the man reached out and tore the Transvice out of his hands, breaking the strap in the process. Mark grabbed for it, but the stranger had been as quick as a striking snake.

    Then he disappeared back into the rafters above, laughing all the while. His thumping footsteps and cackles faded as he ran to another part of the ship.

    CHAPTER 65

    Mark didn’t think he could get up to the ceiling and climb after the man—and he could be hiding anywhere, with instant and certain death pointed right at whoever came his way.

    “I can’t believe it,” he whispered. How could he have let the guy rip the thing out of his hands like that? It’d happened twice in less than a day. And now there was a crazy person in the ship somewhere with the most dangerous handheld weapon ever invented.

    “Come on,” he said tightly, then pulled Deedee and Trina along behind him as he started running down the hall. He looked up every few seconds, wondering if the man would suddenly appear, hanging down from the ceiling, ready to shoot. He also strained to listen for any sound other than the pounding of their own footsteps.

    When they reached the cockpit the first thing Mark noticed was Alec slumped over the controls, his head buried in his arms.

    “Alec!” Mark let go of Deedee’s hand and rushed toward the man. But Alec shot straight up before Mark reached him, startling him so much he almost skidded across the floor. “Whoa. You okay?”

    He didn’t look it. His eyes were puffy and bloodshot, his skin pale and sweaty. “I’m … I’m … hanging … in there.”

    “You’re the only one who knows how to fly this thing.” Mark felt terrible for saying it—selfish. But he looked out the windows and saw the foothills above Asheville slowly moving past below them. “I mean … I don’t …”

    “Save your breath, kid. I know the stakes. I’m trying to find where the PFC is headquartered in the city. I just needed a rest.”

    Mark broke the news. “There’s a crazy dude on the ship. He stole the Transvice.”

    Alec didn’t say anything. Merely screwed up his face, which had become alarmingly flushed. He looked as if he might literally burst at any second.

    “Calm down,” Mark said slowly. “I’ll get it back. You just find the place.”

    “I … will,” the older man said through clenched teeth. “I need … to show you some of the controls soon.”

    “I’m scared,” Deedee said, standing there with her hand in Trina’s.

    Mark saw that her eyes were focused on the windows—the poor thing had probably never been in a Berg before. He expected Trina to comfort the girl, but she did nothing. Just stood staring blankly at the floor again.

    “Look, it’s going to be okay,” Mark said, squatting down to Deedee’s height. He’d barely done it when the ship bounced in a pocket of air. Deedee screamed again, and this time she tore her hand free from Trina and ran, bolting out of the cockpit before anyone could grab her.

    “Hey!” Mark shouted, already on the move. A flash of her being vaporized almost stilled his heart. He sprinted after the girl, just catching sight of her rounding the bend of the hallway outside the cockpit. In the direction of the cargo room. “Come back!”

    But she was gone. Mark sped after her, but he’d only gone a few frantic steps when he caught sight of her again, standing completely still, staring at something in front of her. Mark didn’t stop until he reached Deedee’s side and saw what had her attention.

    The infected man who’d stolen the Transvice was just outside the door to the cargo room, the weapon clutched in his hands. And he had it aimed at Deedee.

    “Please,” Mark whispered over the thumping of his icy heart. “Please don’t.” He held out a hand toward the man, put the other on Deedee’s shoulder. “I’m begging you. She’s only—”

    “I know who she is!” the stranger shouted, a line of spit hitting his chin. His arms trembled and his knees shook. Matted dark hair hung down from his filthy head, framing a pale, scratched face that shone with sweat. He leaned up against the frame of the door as if he needed it to stand. “Sweet little girl? That’s probably what you think she is?”

    “What are you talking about?” Mark wondered how he was supposed to talk to someone this far past reason.

    The man was obviously beyond any hope. His eyes said it all. “Brought the demons, she did.” He stabbed the Transvice in the air to emphasize his point. “I was in the village with her. They came down on us like the flares themselves, lightning and rain of poison. Left us to die or worse, and look at her now! Even though she was hit. All fine and cute! Laughing at us all for what she’s done.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire