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The Scorch Trials of Jorge

By Gerda Jongsma

Adventure / Humor

The explosion

Jorge stood by the door and waited until every Glader had followed Brenda outside. Just like before, when he had entered through the hole in the ceiling, he was taking everyone in as they left the building and stepped into the sunlight. That guy Minho was someone he had to keep an eye on. Even Minho himself didn't always seem to be able to control his temper. Thomas, however, knew his boundaries very well. Maybe too well. That could make him the most dangerous of all.

He followed the crowd when the last Glader was out the door, taking up the rear and spying at sudden movements. There were a lot of Cranks in this place, all of them further gone than Brenda and he were. Okay, maybe that wasn't the best comparison, since both Brenda and he were immune and were only in this place to oversee the arrival of group A. Thomas and the rest of the Gladers, however, probably thought that he was also pretty far gone with his talk of delicious eyeballs and such. Jorge grinned softly. It was best to let them think that. Still, the Cranks who could be eying them right now were way worse than his so-called followers, Barkley and the others. And that said something, because Jorge knew that Barkley would jump on the chance to betray him and take the leadership for himself.

A sound made him double check the surroundings. His hand clutched the knife in his pants pocket, but relaxed when he saw just one Crank disappearing in another building. Probably someone who was also hiding from the ones passed Gone. Brenda and the others had already reached the old Subway station. Jorge squinted his brown eyes in the sunlight, examined the empty streets one more time and then stepped down the stairs too. Once accustomed to the darkness of the tunnel, he saw Brenda passing out food to the Gladers. She gave a can to him as well.

"Thanks." His voice sounded deep and echoed through the hallway.

"What's the plan?" Brenda asked under her breath, not wanting to call attention to their conversation. Luckily, the Gladers were too busy eating like they hadn't eaten in days.

"We get them out of the city. Keep pretending to be Cranks and that we're doing this because we want the cure," Jorge whispered back. "And keep an eye on..." He noticed Minho looking suspiciously at them and stopped talking for a second. "You know who. I'll keep watch here."

"Got it."

Jorge watched as Brenda returned to Thomas and opened his can of food absentmindedly. He knew what his mission was, but he didn't know their names or any other information of them beforehand, nothing besides what Thomas had just told him – when he had given him ten minutes to convince him why he shouldn't kill them. Not that he would have. Not unless he wanted to be stuck here for all eternity. That was just tough talk from his side. He shook himself from the train of thought and focused on the closest exit. A bad feeling suddenly took possession of him. While keeping himself in the shadow, he went to stand in the entrance and tried to pinpoint in which form the danger would present itself, but couldn't find the source of it. Still, he couldn't shake the feeling that things were about to go awry. Jorge had learned from experience that you should not ignore these hunches, so he quickly walked to Brenda. He read from her expression that she knew something was wrong.

"No matter what happens, stick with Thomas," Jorge whispered to Brenda. She just nodded. They both knew why. Thomas's name had been plastered all over this city on plaques saying that he was the true leader.

He removed himself from Brenda and Thomas and was just about to go outside, when the world came tumbling down. At least, that was how it felt to him. Some kind of explosion on the stairwell blew him away and he landed a few meters farther on the ground. It vibrated in his ears, the following sounds coming across muffled. Nevertheless, the view in front of him spoke loudly enough. Parts of the ceiling began to fall, the structure was at the point of breaking and crumbling down. Hastily, Jorge scrambled on his feet. He had to grab the wall next to him for some support when another part of the building came down.

"Come on!" he called to the others and waved them over, not able to hear himself say it. He just had to trust that the words did in fact come out of his mouth. There just wasn't any time for anything else.

Without waiting for response, he ran right into the cloud of dust and towards the ceiling that threatened to fall. He then quickly turned left, into a branching hallway he knew would lead to another exit not too far away. An even harder crash, still sounding dull in his ears, made him jump and turn around. The entire section of the roof lay in pieces on the ground, preventing them from going back. A crack in the ceiling started to run in their way, indicating that there could be more damage coming. It wouldn't be safe to stand here longer than necessary.

"We gotta keep moving!" Just barely he heard himself speak, but at least he knew now that there were indeed sounds leaving his mouth. Jorge signaled the others to hurry and saw that nobody seemed to be gravely injured, just out of breath and covered in dust. "Let's go-go-go!"

Wait a second. He looked better at the people who made it into this hallway. All of them were guys. Not one girl. Where was Brenda? He cast a worried look at the pile of debris and could only hope she wasn't laying underneath it. Then he noticed Thomas was missing too. She must have run in the other direction, along with that boy. She must have. Jorge kept telling himself that while he forced himself to turn away and to start running, so he could catch up with the group. Brenda was alive. She just had to be.

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