Newt stood and watched as Gally approached the Name Wall with
the wooden hammer and the knife. He stayed as the other Brit began scrubbing
lines through all those who had been lost last night. He was still there as
Gally scratched the line through Alby’s name, marking him as gone.
Minho came up beside his Brit and slipped a hand into Newt’s, squeezing to give reassurance.
Both watched as Theresa was brought, struggling, from the Pit; while Thomas was dragged by two other Gladers, one of whom was also holding a wooden staff.
Gally crossed from the Name Wall to the two upright posts in front of the Doors: the entrance to the Maze. Newt and Minho shuffled closer, following Thomas and Theresa as they were led to the posts. At Gally’s command, Thomas was dropped to the ground.
‘’This is such a waste’’ Gally stated, glancing at Theresa; who looked worse for wear.
The other Gladers gathered quickly before the Doors, as if sensing something was about to happen.
‘’Gally’’ Winston called causing the other Brit to look up. ‘’It doesn’t feel right, man’’
‘’Yeah, what if Thomas is right’’ Jeff chimed in. ‘’Maybe he can lead us home’’
Gally took a couple of steps towards the pair. ‘’We are home. Okay?’’ He took a few more paces before speaking, gesturing towards the Name Wall as he did. ‘’I don’t wanna have to cross any more names off that wall’’
He looked like he was about to say more but Theresa spoke up. ‘’You really think banishing us is gonna solve anything?’’ Gally turned to look at her.
‘’No’’ Newt squeezed Minho’s hand as the realisation hit him. ‘’But this isn’t a banishing’’ Gally continued. ‘’It’s an offering’’
‘’What?!’’ Theresa protested as she was shoved against the post and tied up. ‘’What are you-?’’ She cut herself off. ‘’Gally! What are you doing?!’’
The Brit turned from where he’d started to walk away. He was enraged as he stalked back towards Theresa. ‘’You really think I’m gonna let Thomas back into the Maze after what he’s done?!’’ He gestured to the destruction of the Glade around them, before turning to address the other Gladers. ‘’Look around you! Look at our Glade!’’ The other Gladers turned as Newt squeezed Minho’s hand once more before pulling away and taking a few steps to the right while the Asian moved forwards.
‘’Once the Grievers get what they came here for’’ Gally continued as Newt noticed Chuck arriving; laden with supplies. ‘’Everything goes back to the way it was’’
‘’Are you listening to this?’’ Theresa piped up, incredulous. ‘’Why are you all just standing there? He’s crazy’’
‘’You shut up!’’ Gally exclaimed but Theresa was undeterred.
‘’If you stay here, the Grievers are going to come back’’ A couple of the boys shot each other worried glances. ‘’They’re gonna come back and they’re gonna keep coming back until you’re all dead!’’
‘’Shut up!’’ Gally yelled before turning to the two Gladers watching over Thomas. ‘’Tie him up!’’ When they didn’t move, he shouted again. ‘’D’you hear me? I said tie him up!’’ Finally, they moved; lifting Thomas’ limp body from the ground.
As they got him to his knees, Thomas moved; elbowing one in the stomach and grabbing the other’s staff, using it to knock the Glader to the ground. As others went to restrain Thomas, Newt and Minho moved; the Brit using the hilt of his blade to hit the boys in the back of the neck. Theresa kicked her own captor in the crotch as Frypan went to cut her down.
When Newt turned to look, Minho had his blade to Gally’s throat. The Asian backed away, blade raised, to stand by Newt’s side; slipping his right hand into the Brit’s left. Chuck joined the small group before the Doors, running over with the supplies.
Gally drew himself up before speaking. ‘’Full of surprises, aren’t ya?’’
Thomas replied: ‘’You don’t have to come with us but we are leaving’’ He raised his voice to address the other Gladers. ‘’Anyone else who wants to come, now’s your last chance’’
‘’Don’t listen to him’’ Gally stated. ‘’He’s just tryin’a scare ya’’
‘’No, I’m not tryin’a scare you; you’re already scared’’ Thomas answered. ‘’Alright? I’m scared’’ There was a short pause as the boys shifted and Minho grasped Newt’s hand tighter.
‘’But I’d rather risk my life out there’’ Thomas nodded towards the Maze. ‘’Than spending the rest of it in here’’ Thomas’ speech seemed to have a large impact, as many of the boys shifted; edging towards the Doors.
‘’We don’t belong here’’ Thomas continued. ‘’This place?Isn’t our home. We were put here. We were trapped here. At least out there we have a choice’’ He paused. ‘’But we can make it outta here. I know that’’
Newt watched as Winston walked forward to join their group; then Jeff, who shot a ‘’sorry’’ at Gally; then more, until their group was larger than Gally’s.
‘’Gally, it’s over’’ Thomas spoke, as the other Brit looked around in despair. ‘’Just come with us’’
Gally looked up, glancing at each of the Gladers before the Doors in turn, until his gaze finally settled on Newt and Minho’s still-clasped hands. Then, he seemed to come to a decision. ‘’Good luck against the Grievers’’ He said, voice sounding resigned.
At that, the Gladers began jogging into the Maze; Minho leading Newt by their clasped hands, and Thomas bringing up the rear. Newt glanced back at the Glade one last time before they turned the first corner; saying goodbye to the place he had called home for three years.
As they ran through the Maze, Minho let go of Newt’s hand so that he could run at the front of the group and give directions. Newt, due to his injured leg, was forced to run at the back.
The Brit mourned the loss of contact but knew it was logical so didn’t question the action.
When they reached the Blades a little while later, Thomas yelled back: ‘’Keep it up guys! We’re almost there!’’
Newt hobbled on as the sun sunk lower in the sky; and day began to give way to night.
A minute or so later, Thomas stopped against a wall; the rest of the Gladers following. Newt finally caught up with Minho and was pulled into a fierce embrace as Thomas peered around the corner.
‘’I love you’’ Minho whispered into Newt’s ear. ‘’If we don’t make it through this, just remember that: I love you’’
Tears welled in Newt’s eyes as he replied: ‘’I love you too. And I shall keep telling you that every day for the rest of our lives. The journey doesn’t stop here, Min. We’ll live’’
‘’But if we don’t-’’ Newt cut him off firmly.
At that point, Thomas turned back and Minho let go; settling instead for keeping an arm around Newt’s waist.
‘’Is there a Griever?’’ Chuck asked.
‘’Yeah’’ Thomas answered gravely.
‘’Shit’’ Chuck whispered; his sentiment was echoed by the other Gladers. Minho reached back and unhooked the metal canister that had been inside the Griever, holding it out to Chuck. ‘’Here, you take this, Chuck. Stay behind us’’ Chuck took the canister and gripped it tightly. The young boy looked extremely worried as Thomas placed a consoling hand on his shoulder.
‘’It’s okay’’ Theresa chimed in, tying back her long black hair. ‘’Just stay with me’’
‘’Once we’re through, it’ll activate’’ Thomas began. ‘’And the door will open. Alright? We stay close, we stick together. We get through this. We get out now, or we die trying’’
Everyone shifted, some nodding in agreement. ‘’Ready?’’ Thomas inquired. Minho gave Newt’s waist one last squeeze before he let go, pulling out his knife and gripping the wooden staff tighter.
Thomas began backing up before yelling: ‘’Let’s go!’’ and turning to run. The rag-tag group of Gladers followed after on to a raised walkway with a large drop either side.
The Griever, having spotted them, turned swinging its tail and screeching. It rushed towards the teens as they charged towards it, and the sealed door behind.
The two sides collided violently; with the Gladers’ spears thrust into the Grievers face.
The beast reared up and lifted its tail to strike. The Gladers kept thrusting with their spears as Thomas yelled: ‘’push it!’’ As one, the teens forced the Griever back towards the edge of the walkway; as its tail thrashed around violently.
The Griever grasped an unfortunate Glader with the claw end of its tail, tossing the boy into the abyss and startling the remaining teens.
As the Gladers retreated slightly, the Griever struck with its legs. One aimed for Theresa who dodged and attacked the mechanical leg with her blade.
This forced the leg at Chuck’s hand, knocking the Griever cylinder from his grasp. The metal shape slid towards the edge of the walkway, teetering. Chuck lunged after it; catching the cylinder just as it slipped down.
Newt heard Theresa shout something at Chuck but was ultimately too caught up in the battle to pay proper attention.
He did, however, notice when Chuck and Theresa sprinted back to the group followed by a second Griever, just as they thrust the first over the edge. A third beast clambered up on to the walkway at the same moment, setting its sights on the Gladers.
Thomas turned to Chuck and Theresa as Chuck screamed: ‘’THEY’RE COMING!’’ sprinting for the hidden door with the key.
Newt watched as Minho led the other Gladers in the attack on the two new Grievers, thrusting his spear at the beasts. As the battle raged, Thomas shouted continuous encouragement designed to keep the other teens focused.
Newt heard a sound not unlike the noise of the Doors opening in the Glade before Chuck exclaimed: ‘’It worked!’’
Thomas turned and yelled: ‘’Resa, go!’’ before turning his attention back to the Grievers. The rest of the Gladers slowly backed towards the Hole as the Grievers advanced; Newt at the back and nearest the Hole, Minho at the front and nearest the Grievers.
As they passed the entrance to the narrow corridor that the key unlocked, another Glader was snatched by the Grievers. Newt was forced by the limited space to move forward into the gap between Minho and another Glader.
Theresa’s cry of ‘’Thomas!’’ captured the attention of Newt, who knew the battle with the Grievers was already lost. The boy in question turned as Theresa yelled: ‘’There’s a code!Eight numbers!’’
Thomas muttered to himself: ‘’Eight sections of the Maze’’ before turning to Minho. ‘’Hey, Minho! What’s the sequence?!’’
Newt nudged Minho at his side, thrusting his spear at the Griever. The Asian shouted in reply: ‘’What?!’’
‘’The sections of the Maze’’ Thomas clarified. ‘’What’s the sequence?!’’
Minho pressed his back to Newt’s as he yelled back to Theresa and Chuck: ‘’Seven! One! Five! Two!’’ He paused to think as Newt looked up in horror.
‘’STOP!’’ The Brit yelled, putting out an arm to drag Minho to him but he wasn’t quick enough. The Griever fell down the narrow chute and landed directly on top of a distracted Minho, throwing Newt backwards.
‘’MINHO!’’ The blonde screamed, scrambling to his feet, using the nearby wall for support.
Minho had managed to use his spear to block the Griever from eating his face, but was struggling to maintain his position. ‘’GET IT OFF ME!’’ He shrieked. Newt stumbled forward but Jeff beat him to it. The Med-Jack raised his spear and brought it down into the fleshy head of the Griever. The beast thrashed and shuffled away from Minho, giving the Asian enough time to scramble out from beneath the creature.
‘’JEFF!’’ Screamed Winston as the Med-Jack was carried away by the Griever. Another Glader threw an arm around Winston’s shoulders to restrain him from going after Jeff.
Minho fell into place at Newt’s side, wrapping an arm around his boyfriend’s waist and half-dragging him towards the Hole.
‘’Minho! The sequence, c’mon!’’ Chuck yelled as the other Gladers clambered up into the Hole, Minho pushing Newt behind him. ‘’Six! Four! Eight! Three! Got it?!’’
The Grievers were too close now, almost climbing into the Hole after them. Minho and Thomas, at the front, tried to fend them off with the spears but the beast continued to advance.
Suddenly, as Theresa plugged in the last number, a grinding sound echoed down the narrow corridor and the three stone panels that had lifted to allow them entrance, lowered once more; trapping two Grievers and squishing another.
The Gladers had a moment to celebrate, where Newt fell into Minho’s tight embrace, before the doors to the Hole swished shut, plunging them into complete darkness.
A moment later, there was a grating sound of metal-on-metal as Theresa pushed open the metal door and a sliver of light fell upon the Gladers, illuminating their frightened faces.
Minho pulled back from Newt’s embrace, sliding a hand down the Brit’s arm to intertwine their fingers.
Theresa stepped forward and pushed the door until it swung open with a squeak. Newt gripped Minho’s hand tightly, not wanting to lose his boyfriend.
Warily, Theresa crossed the threshold, the other Gladers following, with Minho and Newt at the back just in front of Thomas. They all emerged into what looked like a maintenance corridor lit by strips of artificial lighting.
The teens shot each other confused looks as they glanced up and down this new area; it seemed to go on forever in both directions. Finally, their gaze rested on Thomas, who shrugged and picked a direction in which to begin walking.
After a short while of walking down the seemingly endless corridor, the small group of Gladers reached another door set into the wall of the corridor on the opposite side to the one they’d come in through. Above this new door, there was an illuminated ‘EXIT’ sign.
‘’Seriously?’’ Frypan remarked as he noticed the sign. Newt cracked a small smile and squeezed Minho’s hand. The Asian squeezed back.
Slowly, Thomas stepped forward and placed his hand on the door handle, glancing back at the other teens before opening the door.
As the door was pushed open, it revealed a destroyed corridor with numerous bodies littering the floor. An alarm echoed from the room beyond, breaking the silence.
Warily, Thomas advanced through into the hall and the other Gladers followed; Theresa and Chuck going first, with Newt and Minho close behind.
About halfway down the short hall there was a viewing window which showed two bodies covered with sheets resting on examination tables. Minho paused at the window in horror. Newt, noticing his boyfriend’s distress, gently tugged the Asian away with their still-joined hands, muttering a soft ‘’c’mon’’ in his ear.
Just before the glass doors at the end of the hall, there was a dead soldier with a revolver in his hand. Minho carefully used his foot to slide the gun away from the body, just in case.
‘’What happened here?’’ Winston questioned softly as they passed through the smashed pane on one of the doors and into the darkened room on the other side.
Newt stumbled on the raised threshold of the door and Minho released his hand to catch the Brit round the waist, steadying him. Newt shot his boyfriend a grateful smile as they edged further into the room.
Beyond the doors, there was a raised platform surrounded by chairs and vertical glass screens: a work station. Off to one side, there was what looked like a conference room.
The Gladers spread out to examine their new surroundings. Newt and Minho crossed to a bank of computer screens that were still displaying data. After glancing at the screens, Newt stated: ‘’So they were watchin’ us’’ Minho squeezed his Brit’s waist as Newt continued, sounding betrayed. ‘’This whole time’’
Minho gently guided Newt away from the screens and towards the centre of the room where Thomas was standing at one of the stations. Newt watched as the Greenie bent forward to touch his finger to the glowing red dot on the panel.
Instantly, a large screen on the wall opposite the doors came to life. The Gladers gathered round in a loose semicircle, Minho still gripping Newt’s waist.
The screen flickered before showing a blonde woman in a white blazer. ‘’Hello’’ She spoke, while in the background people in white lab coats rushed around with purpose.
‘’My name is Doctor Ava Paige’’ The women – Dr Paige – continued. ‘’I’m Director of Operations at the World Catastrophe Killzone Department’’
‘’Wicked’’ Newt whispered in realisation.
‘’If you’re watching this’’ Dr Paige continued. ‘’That means you’ve successfully completed the Maze Trials’’ The Gladers shot each other confused looks. ‘’I wish I could be there in person to congratulate you’’ She paused as an alarm sounded on screen and the people in the background moved towards the doors.
‘’But circumstances seemed to have prevented it. I’m sure by now you must all be very confused’’ Minho scoffed. ‘’Angry.Frightened. I can only assure you that everything that’s happened to you, everything we’ve done to you, it was all done for a reason.
‘’You won’t remember but the Sun has scorched our world’’ The screen switched to show pictures of what Dr Paige was describing. Minho’s arm tightened as Newt’s own arm rose to encircle Minho’s chest area. ‘’Billions of lives lost to fire, famine, suffering on a global scale. The Fallout was unimaginable, what came after was worse’’ Dr Paige reappeared on screen. ‘’We called it the Flare’’ Pictures of a terrible disease passed one after the other, each more horrifying than the last. Newt, unable to look any longer, buried his face in Minho’s neck as the Asian cradled his boyfriend in his arms.
Dr Paige continued: ‘’A deadly virus that attacks the brain. Violent.Unpredictable. Incurable, or so we thought’’ Newt raised his head to watch the screen out of the corner of his eye; Dr Paige had reappeared.
‘’In time a new generation emerged that could survive the virus. Suddenly, there was a reason to hope for a cure’’ She paused; the people in the background were still hurrying around, now looking more panicked. ‘’But finding it would not be easy. The young would have to be tested, even sacrificed, inside harsh environments where their brain activity could be studied. All in an effort to understand what makes them different. What makes you different’’ Minho gripped Newt’s hip tightly at the revelation as gasps rang out from some of the other Gladers.
‘’You may not realise it’’ Dr Paige continued. ‘’But you’re very important. Unfortunately your Trials have only just begun’’ In the background sparks flew as muffled gunshots sounded and a man in a lab coat fell to the ground. ‘’As you’ll no doubt soon discover, not everyone agrees with our methods’’ More people fell.
‘’Progress is slow. People are scared’’ Soldiers in combat gear emerged in the background, shooting all they could see. ‘’It may be too late for us’’ Dr Paige looked grim as she uttered the words, not breaking eye-contact with the camera. ‘’For me.But not for you. The outside world awaits’’ Behind Dr Paige, the soldiers shot at the glass, crystallising it and blocking the view beyond.
‘’Remember’’ Dr Paige raised a revolver to her temple. ‘’Wicked is good’’ A soldier used the butt of his gun to smash the glass pane behind Dr Paige just as she pulled the trigger. Newt flinched, burying his face in Minho’s neck once more. The Asian ran a soothing hand down his boyfriend’s back, pressing tender kisses to the blonde’s hair.
Thomas then pushed past the couple, moving towards the conference room Newt had noticed in the corner. When Newt looked, her saw the lifeless body of Dr Paige still lying on the floor. The Brit reluctantly removed himself from Minho’s embrace, linking their fingers together once more.
Slowly, the group of teens shuffled towards Dr Paige’s body as if needing to see the truthfor themselves.
They were all severely startled when a pair of heavy blast doors slid open with a beep to their right. The teens stood and stared down the dim corridor beyond, contemplating what lay on the other side.
‘’Is it over?’’ Chuck questioned from Thomas’ left, looking towards the brown-haired teen.
‘’She said we were important’’ Newt stated, squeezing Minho’s hand. ‘’Well, what are we supposed to do now?’’ Minho squeezed back, looking towards Thomas.
‘’I don’t know’’ The Greenie murmured. His voice gained strength: ‘’But let’s get outta here’’
They all started to step forward when: ‘’No’’ a familiar voice stated firmly from behind them.
They spun around to face Gally.
‘’Gally?’’ Thomas asked, edging towards the other Glader. Minho used his hold on Newt to shove the Brit behind himself, using his own body as a shield.
‘’Don’t!’’ Theresa exclaimed, putting a restraining hand on Thomas’ shoulder. ‘’He’s been stung’’
Newt properly looked at Gally then; and saw the familiar blue eyes clouded over with insanity. He also saw the puncture wound on the right side of Gally’s neck and the neon blue poison spreading out woods in tendrils through the boy’s veins.
As they watched, Gally dropped another Griever cylinder from his left hand. His right held the revolver from the soldier in the hall.
‘’We can’t leave’’ He spoke solemnly, his hand shaking with the gun, finger poised on the trigger.
‘’We did’’ Thomas tried to reason. ‘’Gally, we’re out. We’re free’’
‘’Free?’’ Gally questioned. He scoffed. ‘’You think we’re free out there?’’ He gestured behind the group to the blast doors and dim tunnel. Chuck shifted on Thomas’ left, stepping up beside Minho.
‘’No’’ Gally continued, shaking his head. ‘’No. There’s no escape from this place’’ He raised the gun, looking close to tears. As one, the other Gladers took a step back, away from the gun.
‘’Gally, listen to me’’ Thomas spoke. ‘’You’re not thinkin’ straight’’ Newt saw Minho’s grip on his spear flex, preparing to throw.
‘’You’re not’’ Thomas reiterated. ‘’Now we can help you, just put down the gun’’
‘’I belong to the Maze’’ Gally stated.
‘’Just put down the gun’’ Thomas cajoled.
‘’We all do’’
What happened next was a blur. Gally pulled the trigger; Chuck jumped in front of Thomas; and Minho threw his spear: not necessarily in that order.
The wood pierced Gally’s heart. He gasped for breath as he sank to his knees.There was a clatter as Gally dropped the gun and fell prone to the floor. Minho gravitated to Newt’s side, immediately hooking and arm around the Brit’s waist.
The Gladers watched in shock as the life left Gally’s body.
At that moment, Chuck staggered backwards. ‘’Thomas’’ He muttered into the silence. Newt pulled away from Minho to watch the red seep steadily outward on Chuck’s white shirt from a single point in the young boy’s chest. Thomas caught the boy as he keeled over, no longer able to support his own weight.
Thomas was frantic as he ran his hands over Chuck’s upper body and face, muttering the young boy’s name over and over.
‘’Shit. Shit’’ He whispered as Minho secured an arm around Newt’s waist once more.
The other Gladers stared in horror at the dying boy in Thomas’ arms.
‘’Look at me, look at me. You’re gonna be okay’’ Thomas babbled at Chuck. ‘’Oh shit. Chuck look at me alright?’’
‘’It’s okay’’ Chuck stated, raising an arm to clasp Thomas’ shoulder. ‘’Thomas, listen, Thomas’’ The young boy held up his other hand, enclosed inside it was a wooden figure now stained with blood. Newt felt his eyes start to prick with tears.
‘’No. No, Chuck’’ Thomas exclaimed, shaking his head and covering Chuck’s hand with his own. ‘’You’re gonna give it to them yourself, remember? I told you that’’
‘’Take it’’ Chuck insisted as the tears began to fall down Newt’s cheeks. ‘’Thank you’’ He whispered with his dying breath. ‘’Thank you’’
‘’No, Chuck’’ Thomas murmured as the life left Chuck completely.‘’Chuck?’’ Thomas sniffed, holding back tears. ‘’Chuck? Hey!’’ He shook the young boy’s body as if to rouse him from sleep.
‘’Hey, Chuck! C’mon!’’ Thomas grew more frantic as many of the other Gladers shifted to wipe away tears.
‘’You gotta wake up’’ Thomas pleaded, the tears finally falling down his face. Newt let out a sob and was pulled into Minho’s strong chest, the Asian cradling his boyfriend in his arms. The Brit buried his face in the Runner’s shoulder as Minho carded a hand through his blonde locks, planting kisses to Newt’s temple.
Distantly, Newt was aware of Thomas still pleading with the deceased boy and the other Gladers expressing their grief; but was ultimately too wrapped up in his own mourning to notice.
Suddenly, a bright light was cast over the Gladers from the doors at the other end of the dim hall behind them: outside. Newt pulled away from Minho’s shoulder to look at this new development.
As the Gladers watched, figures emerged from the light and ran towards them.
Newt pulled away from Minho’s embrace completely then, sliding his left hand down the Asian’s arm to interlace their fingers. This would ensure they would never be separated again.
The soldiers; for that’s what they were; began herding the Gladers towards the light. All the while, Thomas was still pleading with Chuck’s dead body. Newt and Minho were jostled into each other as they turned to yell at Thomas; but they did not let go.
They were forced down the corridor with the other Gladers; but they did not let go.
The couple stumbled into the daylight on to sand, glancing back down the corridor behind them where Thomas was being dragged. In front of them was a machine with a large propeller on its roof and another on its tail: a helicopter.
The Gladers were pushed inside the vehicle, Newt curling up against Minho in the far corner opposite the door. Thomas clambered in on the Brit’s other side. A soldier climbed in after him before the door was slid shut.
Minho peppered Newt’s hair with kisses as the blonde clung to him.
The soldier pulled down his facemask to reveal long brown hair tied in a ponytail and a very masculine face. As the helicopter rose into the air, he spoke: ‘’You guys alright? Don’t worry, you’re safe now’’ He picked up a water bottle and took a drink.
Newt turned to Minho. ‘’Safe…’’ He whispered, trailing off in awe. Minho grinned and kissed his Brit passionately. ‘’Yeah’’ He muttered when they broke apart, smiling sappily.
It was then that the helicopter flew over the Maze. The Gladers and strained towards the window to look over their prison. What they saw was not what they expected.
The green Glade was smoking in the centre surrounded by towering stone. The Maze itself was covered by a network of machinery, and was miniscule in comparison to what it felt like inside.
Newt gasped. ‘’What the hell?’’ Minho pressed a kiss to the back of the Brit’s neck.
The Gladers sunk back into their seats as the soldier spoke once more: ‘’Relax, kid. Everything’s gonna change’’
Newt glanced at Minho, who looked just as confused as Newt felt. The Brit swallowed a sense of unease. He had a feeling that they weren’t safe yet…
Back inside the conference room at the Maze, Newt’s theory was being proved correct as an alive Dr Paige addressed a gathered group of individuals.