We moved immediately after the decision of Spider to survive. Minho and Doc’ were supporting Damien, while Alvi and Gal were opening the walk, walking next to Spider.
Newt, Nigel and I were at the end of our small group, watching behind us to make sure we were not attacked by any grievers. We were moving as fast as possible, following the guidance of Spider.
When we arrived in front of a dead end for the third time in one hour, Gal’ gabbed Spider by his neck, pushing him against the wall.
“Which fucking little game are you playing?” He shouted at Spider.
Alvi rushed to him to push him back. Gal’ was resisting Alvi, still holding Spider against the wall.
“Open your eyes! He doesn’t know where he is leading us!” Gal’ shouted at Alvi.
“I am not! It is dark here and it’s difficult to remember every little way.” Spider defended himself.
“Shut up!” Screamed Gal’, focusing on Spider.
Alvi used this opportunity to punch Gal in the arm, making him lose grip on Spider.
“What the …” shouted Gal.
“Calm down!” Ordered Alvi, protecting Spider.
“Alvi!” Shouted Gal’.
“No! If you kill him, then we have absolutely nothing!” Shouted Alvi back, losing his temper.
A long scream stopped Gal’ to shout back and froze all of us. Grievers had hear their shouting.
“Fuck! They are back to the maze!” Swore Minho.
“Or they are new ones.” Added Newt.
“Ouh, you always know how to reassure people.” Stated Minho, bitter.
“So…what do we do now?” I asked.
We all looked around. The grievers that we heard didn’t seem that closed. But here, out in the open, we were an easy prey.
“How did you survive your night in the Maze?” Asked me Doc’.
Everyone’s attention focused on me.
“It was different. There were only me. I was able to find a small hiding spot under the ivy, at the bottom of a wall. But I just had enough place for me.” I explained.
A large group of 9 that we were, especially with the big bodies they had and an unconscious, it was out of the question. They all arrived at the same conclusion than me.
“If we can’t go down, let’s go up!” Suggested Newt.
“Up where?” I asked stupidly.
He caught my chin, and gently forced me to look up, at the ivy covering the walls. Some were not going all the way up, stopping at 10 meters higher from us.
“Up there.” Newt added.
“…you’ve got to be kidding me…” I grumbled.
Unfortunately, it was the best, and only option we had.
After few attempts, we were able to make a rope strong enough to bring the unconscious Damien up there, by tying him to Alvi’s back.
We all started to climb. I was feeling the sweat of exhaustion running down my spine. I was so tired that my arms were feeling like stone, and certainly weighted like it.
“Kyah!” I screamed, surprised, when the ivy I was grabbing let go of the wall, making me slide down of few centimetres.
I stopped, pushing my face against the ivy, breathing hard, trying to calm my heart beat. I could feel tears of exhaustion running through my cheeks.
“Take deep breath. It’s ok. I am here.” Said the calming voice of Newt next to me.
“I can’t…” I whined, exhausted.
“You have to.” Newt said simply.
And he was right. A tired laugh escaped my lips.
“As always.” I murmured to myself.
“Hum?” Newt looked at me, questioning.
“Nothing. I can do it, this is a piece of cake!” I lied.
Ignoring my shaking arms, I pulled myself toward the top one more time. I was pushed by the presence of Newt not too far from me. I already regretted to have whined to him like a weak little thing. No way I was giving up.
I focused on the ivy and climbed, centimetres by centimetres. I had no idea where the top was, I was only focusing on the ivy, ignoring the sweat burning my eyes.
Suddenly, the ivy got replaced by the stone of the wall. I was at the top.
With a last effort that took everything from me, I pulled my body to the top of the wall and rolled farther from the edge. I vaguely saw the others doing the same. I rolled on my back and closed my eyes, taking deep breath.
“You made it!” Complimented Newt, rolling next to me.
I didn’t answered him. In the darkness of the night, I reached and grabbed his hand.
I had made it…
We were safe. We were alive. We were together. Nothing else mattered.
This was the last straight clear idea that popped up in my mind before I just fall asleep. Or passed out.
When I woke up, I realized that the night was not as dark as when we made it to the top. The night was finishing. I realized I was all against Newt, feeling his breath on my hair, the warmth of his body surrounding me in a comfortable blanket. Feeling my cheeks grew hot, I tried to focus on something else. That really was not the timing for this little heart attack.
Or was it?
We could die any moment, we were running toward an exit that might as well not exist. What wrong was it to just enjoy these weird and warm feeling every time I was closed to him?
“You’re stupid.” Interrupted a voice.
I tensed. Did I really said what I was thinking aloud?
A disgusted laugh made me realized I hadn’t.
“Shut up Paul.” I answered to the voice, throwing a quick glance behind my shoulder to see him sitting, tied up, in the middle of the sleeping rest of the group.
“Why? Because the truth hurts?” Spider asked.
“No because you are bothering me.” I answered to him.
“I was serious here.” He added.
“…” I ignored him.
“Do you really think that a guinea pig can chose anything in her life? Do you really think you will ever be free?” he asked with anger.
“Well, by example, when I escaped, when I punched you, twice if my memory is correct…hum yes, I had the freedom to make the good choice, I would say.” I answered.
I don’t know at which point, but thanks to everyone at the camp, thanks to Newt especially, I was no scared anymore.
The silence answered me. I had vex him. A satisfied smile stretched my lips and I squeezed even closed to Newt. After all, he was sleeping and I had the freedom to choose to get really close to him, hadn’t I?
“Well said.” Whispered Newt’s voice next to my ear, making me froze on the spot, blood rushing though my face.
Ignoring the sudden tension in my body, Newt hugged me closer to him.
“We should do that more often.” He said, clearly amused of my sudden freeze.
“Hey…don’t make fun of me!” I complained, slapping him gently on his stomach.
He laughed, ignoring me.
I didn’t move, wondering what he had in mind. I waited for long. Newt did nothing at all, except holding me tight against his broad chest, like to ensure himself that I would not leave him.
“Never.” I murmured before falling asleep again, in his strong and warm embrace.
When I woke up, everyone else was already up.
“Time to go, sleeping beauty.” Said Minho, amused.
“Oh shut up.” I grimaced at him, childishly.
I was feeling refreshed from everything thanks to this welcome sleep. I looked for Newt around and found him, talking to Alvi and watching over the maze, below us.
A bit awkward, I stood up and stretched my painful body. We will have to go down to find the exit, that was sure. A moan, grabbed my attention.
“Damien!” I shouted, rushing to the red hair guy, who was painfully waking up.
Doc’ followed right after me, helping Damien to sit down.
“How do you feel?” Doc’ asked him.
“Hum…..where…?” asked a startled Damien.
“We are in the maze. You got hit by the roof when the hut collapsed. Take it easy.” Explained Doc’.
“We had to run to the maze to escape.” Added Nigel.
Damien looked at us, perplex.
“Where are the rest of us?” Damien asked.
A heavy silence answered him. We all tried to avoid to think about that.
“We…are not sure.” I finally answered.
I wanted to believe that some of us made it out alive. I didn’t want to think that the rest of my companions were not alive anymore.
“Oh….” Was the answer of Damien, who clearly understood what I meant.
“How is it? Do you see clearly? Is it blurry?” Asked Doc’ back to work.
“Everything is ok. Except a huge headache and that I would kill for a bit of water, I am ok.” Said Damien, trying to calm Doc’.
I smiled at the scene. I was not the only one thinking that Doc’ was looking to much like a worried ratoon mother, a bit too invasive sometimes.
“Good!” Sighed Doc’.
Alvi passed his gourd to Damien.
“Are we far from the exit?” Alvi asked to Spider.
“…no.” Spider simply answered.
“Ok, time to go everyone!” Said Alvi.
And with that, we made it back into the maze. Even if grievers didn’t seem to avoid the daylight anymore, it still felt better than to run in the middle of the night in every possible direction.
Filled with expectation, we all followed after Spider, toward our exit.
We rapidly arrived in a new portion of the maze. There were less walls, more space. It felt good and terrifying at the same time. I was exhilarated to be able to feel that I could breath, not oppressed by huge walls surroundings me. At the same time, it meant that we were easier targets, not many places to hide if any grievers were to attack us.
I was walking with Newt again.
“What is wrong?” I asked Newt.
He seemed lost in his thoughts.
“What do you mean?” He asked, surprised.
“You seem like you are caring all of the weights of the World on your shoulders right now.” I added.
He smiled at me.
“You can read me, huh?” he commented.
“This is justice! You could read everything from the beginning.” I pouted.
“Not everything.” He murmured.
“Huh?” I asked, unsure of what he said.
“Nothing.” He answered.
We kept walking in silence before he added.
“I know the Maze. I know it by heart. And there is nothing that looks like an exit.” He confessed.
I kept walking in silence for a few minutes.
“Maybe… only one of them can find it?” I tried to answer.
“How?” Asked Minho who was also following our conversation.
“Yes, how?” Asked Gal’ with a subtle threat in his voice and looking at Spider.
“First of all, all of the doors and grievers are connected to the main system. This system is the one researcher use to test you and observe your reactions. In case things turned bad and a scientist had to come to make field research, they created a key. There is a microchip that all the researchers have in them. The doors only open to that.” Spider explained, tired of being threatened by every body.
This was the reasons why they never were able to find the exit, no matter how many times they were running in the maze, or passing in front of the exit. They didn’t have the key.
“How does it work?” asked Newt.
“I am not sure how exactly. They implanted mine when I join the programme 10 years ago, in my hands. It emits a sort of radio signal that is a code to the door system. The grievers have one that put them asleep or can direct them. If a researcher had to be send to the maze, of course, they would cut off the grievers.” Added Spider.
“They can control the grievers?” asked Damien.
“Yes.” Answered Spider.
“So…they can make them go wherever they want to?” asked Minho.
“Yes. But normally, they don’t use this control. It is just in case of extreme urgence.” Added Spider.
There were so many questions to ask. But at this point I only cared about one.
“And how far are they, these doors?” Asked Alvi, reading my mind.
“They are here.” replied Spider, stopping in front of a dead end like any others, pointing at the opposite wall.