"You did this somehow," Michelle said tightly. "Ever since you came, everything's been going wrong. First the sun going, then the shuck walls not closing."
"I triggered something." Aris said calmly. "Not on purpose, I swear. The Ending, whatever that means." Amy glanced at her companions.
"Take him to the Slammer."
"What?!" Rachel leaped to her feet. "He didn't do anything wrong."
"He admitted it himself." Esther snapped at Rachel.
"You're lucky you're not going with him, Rachel," Amy retorted. "And he's lucky we won't kill him. That's what all of the other girls want, and it's all I could do to prevent it. Sonya, guard him. Make sure no one tries to kill him, and make sure he doesn't get out. Stay in there with him, or else you'll be stung or killed."
Sonya nodded gravely and offered Aris a hand, helping him to his feet. Then she took his arm and marched him to the Slammer. It broke Rachel's heart, watching how willingly he went.
Come see me. Aris's voice rang in her head.
I will. She promised. At least you'll be safe.
He didn't respond.
The next half-hour was a mass of confusion and fear. The Builders were ordered to set up barricades at each wall. Amy had instructed them to make the barricades out of mud, which would dry quickly and be extremely sturdy. To speed up the process, she had the Track-hoes help. But Rachel knew that wouldn't hold very long against the Grievers.
She helped the Runners pass out flashlights and move all of the sleeping bags into the Homestead, assigning everyone a room. It was cramped, but the best they could do. Once she bumped into Amy.
"You have to let Aris-the boy-go."
"Ah." Amelia rolled her eyes. "It's great to know you two are friends. Don't waste my time, Rachel."
"Wait!" Rachel caught her arm. "I think this is some kind of test. An experiment."
"So that's going to make me let your shuck friend Aris out? We've figured that out. The writing on the walls in the Maze. World In Catastrophe Experiment Department. Duh. If anything, he's safer than us." Rachel nodded, sensing a compromise.
"I think we should start-"
"I know. Stay out in the Maze a whole night." Amy nodded. "We'll do that Rachel. But first, we have to make it to the sunrise."
Rachel entered the Homestead last, Michelle quickly pulling her in as the first bone-chilling Griever's wail broke though the eerie silence.
The night had begun.