• Home
  • Directory
  • Popular
  • Authors
  • Series
  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 60)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(60) by James Dashner
  • The guy began to choke, his grayish-purple tongue sticking out between his chapped lips. Mark’s right elbow shuddered in pain, trembling as if the tendons and bone and tissue were coming apart. He tightened his fingers around the man’s throat. The guy coughed and spat, his eyes bulging. His grip on Mark began to loosen, and as soon as it did, Mark acted.

    With a shout of rage he pushed the man’s body outward, snapping his arm straight and shoving him directly into the path of the thruster’s blue flames, watching as the man’s head and shoulders were consumed by the fire, disintegrating before he could even scream. What remained of his body plummeted toward the city below, swept out of Mark’s vision as the Berg sped forward.

    Madness crept through Mark’s muscles. Lights danced before his eyes. Anger howled within him. He knew that his life was almost forfeit. But there was one last thing he had to do.

    He started climbing back up the outer face of the monstrous Berg.

    CHAPTER 67

    No one helped him through the window. Every inch of his body ached and his muscles were rubber, but somehow he managed to make it on his own, falling to the floor of the cockpit in a heap. Alec sat hunched over the controls, his face slack and his eyes empty. Trina sat in the corner, Deedee huddled in her lap. Both of them looked at him, but their expressions were unreadable.

    “Flat Trans,” Mark blurted out. Sparkles and flashes of light continued to cross his field of vision, and he could barely contain the unstable emotions that churned within him. “Bruce said the PFC had a Flat Trans in Asheville. We have to find it.”

    Alec’s head snapped up and he glared at Mark. But then something softened in his gaze. “I think I know where to find it.” As lifeless a thing as had ever come out of his mouth.

    Mark felt the Berg descending. He leaned his head against the wall and closed his eyes, for a moment wanting nothing but to fall asleep and never wake up again, or to do the opposite and kneel, bashing his head against the floor until it was over. But there was still that small sliver of clarity in his mind. He held on to it like a man clinging to a root on the side of a sheer cliff.

    Eyes open again. With a grunt, he forced himself to his feet, leaning against the window. The small city of Asheville lay spread out before them. Walls had been constructed out of wood, scrap metal, cars, anything big and strong enough to protect what was inside: a mostly burned-out urban center. He saw a mass of people at a breach in one wall. Climbing over it. Surging into the town.

    A man was waving them on with a red flag tied to a stick. It was Bruce, the man who’d given the speech back at the bunker. They’d come for the Flat Trans, too, just like he’d promised his coworkers. And by the looks of it, countless others who’d been infected had joined him—there were hundreds scaling the broken wall.

    The Berg flew past them, over street after empty street. And then there was a small building with double doors hanging wide open. A hand-painted sign said PFC PERSONNEL ONLY. A few people were lined up to go inside. They seemed calm and collected. Mark hated them for it and had a fleeting moment where he itched to find the Transvice to start firing away.

    “That’s … it,” Alec muttered.

    And Mark knew what he meant. If there really was a Flat Trans device, it would be there. The few people entering the building had to be the last of the PFC workers, fleeing the East once and for all. Leaving it to be claimed by madness and death. They looked up at the Berg with something like terror in their eyes, then, as one, they disappeared inside.

    Mark fumbled around in a cabinet until he found some old-school paper and a pencil, stored there for power-loss emergencies. With a messy hand, he scrawled the message he’d been thinking about, then turned toward Alec. “Land,” he breathed. His lungs felt full of fire instead of air. “Hurry.” He folded the note and shoved it in his back pocket.

    Alec’s every movement was strained, his muscles tense, veins like ropes under his skin. He was flushed and sweaty. Trembling. But a few moments later the Berg landed with a surprisingly soft thump, just outside the entrance to the PFC building.

    “Open the hatch.” Mark was already on the move, the world a haze around him. He grabbed Deedee out of Trina’s lap far more roughly than he meant to, ignoring the little girl’s cries of protest. Holding her in his arms, he moved toward the exit, Trina on his tail. She hadn’t said a word or lifted a finger to stop him.

    At the cockpit’s door, Mark paused. “You know … what to do … when I’m done,” he said to Alec, words a struggle now. “If it’s there or not, you know what to do.” Without waiting for a response, he marched into the hallway.

    Deedee calmed as he headed for the cargo room and the exit beyond that. Her arms tightened around his neck and she buried her face into his shoulder. As if understanding had dawned, even for her, that the end was here. Spots swam before Mark’s eyes, flashing lights. His heart wouldn’t stop racing, and it felt as if the organ pumped acid through his veins. Trina, silent, kept up with him.

    Into the cargo room. Down the ramp of the hatch door, into the brightness of day. They’d barely stepped off of it when squeals pierced the air and the slab of metal began to close. Alec lifted the Berg off the ground, blue thrusters roaring. Mark was barely holding onto his mind, but he felt a sudden, unbearable sadness. He’d never see the old bear again.

    The sun sweltered in the sky. There was a rising rumble of shouts and whistles and marching. Groups of the infected were approaching from all directions. Far off, through the display of lights flashing before his eyes, Mark thought he could see Bruce and his red flag leading his own charge. If these people got to the Flat Trans before someone shut it down or destroyed it …

    “Come on,” he grunted to Trina.

    The wind from the ascending Berg blew across them as he ran over to the entrance of the building, its doors still open. Deedee clung to him and Trina was right by his side. They went through the entrance into a wide room with no furniture. Only a strange object right in the center—two metallic rods, standing tall, with a shimmering wall of gray stretched in between them. It appeared to be moving and sparkling, yet still and serene at the same time. It hurt Mark’s eyes to stare at it.

    A man and a woman were standing next to it, looking back at Mark and his friends with fear in their eyes. They were already moving toward the grayness.

    “Wait!” Mark yelled.

    They didn’t respond, didn’t stop. The two strangers leaped into the abyss and vanished from sight. On instinct, Mark sprinted to the other side of the gray wall, yet there was nothing there.

    A Flat Trans. For the first time in his life, he’d actually seen someone travel through a Flat Trans. The noise of the approaching crowds outside seemed to tick up a notch, and Mark knew he was out of time. In so many ways.

    He walked back over to the proper side of the Flat Trans and kneeled right before it, gently placing Deedee on her feet. It took every last ounce of his effort to remain calm and keep his swirling emotions and anger and madness at bay. Trina knelt as well, though she said nothing.

    “Listen to me,” Mark said to the girl. He stopped, closed his eyes for a second, fought off the darkness that tried to consume him. Only a little longer, he told himself. “I need … you to be really brave for me now, okay? There’re people on the other side of this magic wall that … are going to help you. And you’re going to help them. You’re going to help them do … something really important. There’s … something special about you.”

    He didn’t know what he expected. For Deedee to protest, to cry, to run away. But instead she looked him in the eye and nodded. Mark’s head wasn’t clear enough to understand how she could be so brave. She was special.

    He’d almost forgotten about the note he’d scribbled earlier. He pulled it out of his back pocket, read it one more time, his hand shaking.

    She’s immune to the Flare.

    Use her.

    Do it before the crazy people find you.

    He gently reached out for Deedee’s hand and scrunched the paper up into her palm. Closed her fingers around it. Squeezed her hand with both of his. The shouts and calls from outside grew to a crescendo. Mark spotted Bruce charging the door, a mass of people behind him. Mark’s entire body washed with sadness. He nodded at the Flat Trans. Deedee nodded back.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire