The Death Cure Page 0,1

always did this—after eating breakfast, after exercising. Hoping against hope that the door would open—actually open, all the way—the whole door, not just the little slot on the bottom through which they slid his meals.

He’d already tried countless times to get the door open himself. And the desk drawers were empty, nothing there but the smell of mildew and cedar. He looked every morning, just in case something might’ve magically appeared while he slept. Those things happened sometimes when you were dealing with WICKED.

And so he sat, staring at that door. Waiting. White walls and silence. The smell of his own body. Left to think about his friends—Minho, Newt, Frypan, the other few Gladers still alive. Brenda and Jorge, who’d vanished from sight after their rescue on the giant Berg. Harriet and Sonya, the other girls from Group B, Aris. About Brenda and her warning to him after he’d woken up in the white room the first time. How had she spoken in his mind? Was she on his side or not?

But most of all, he thought about Teresa. He couldn’t get her out of his head, even though he hated her a little more with every passing moment. Her last words to him had been WICKED is good, and right or wrong, to Thomas she’d come to represent all the terrible things that had happened. Every time he thought of her, rage boiled inside him.

Maybe all that anger was the last string tethering him to sanity as he waited.

Eat. Sleep. Exercise. Thirst for revenge. That was what he did for three more days. Alone.

On the twenty-sixth day, the door opened.


Thomas had imagined it happening, countless times. What he would do, what he would say. How he’d rush forward and tackle anyone who came in, make a run for it, flee, escape. But those thoughts were almost for amusement more than anything. He knew that WICKED wouldn’t let something like that happen. No, he’d need to plan out every detail before he made his move.

When it did happen—when that door popped open with a slight puffing sound and began to swing wide—Thomas was surprised at his own reaction: he did nothing. Something told him an invisible barrier had appeared between him and the desk—like back in the dorms after the Maze. The time for action hadn’t arrived. Not yet.

He felt only the slightest hint of surprise when the Rat Man walked in—the guy who’d told the Gladers about the last trial they’d been forced on, through the Scorch. Same long nose, same weasel-like eyes; that greasy hair, combed over an obvious bald spot that took up half his head. Same ridiculous white suit. He looked paler than the last time Thomas had seen him, though, and he was holding a thick folder filled with dozens of crinkled and messily stacked papers in the crook of one elbow and dragging a straight-backed chair.

“Good morning, Thomas,” he said with a stiff nod. Without waiting for a response, he pulled the door shut, set the chair behind the desk and took a seat. He placed the folder in front of him, opened it and started flipping through the pages. When he found what he’d been looking for he stopped and rested his hands on top. Then he flashed a pathetic grin, his eyes settling on Thomas.

When Thomas finally spoke, he realized that he hadn’t done so in weeks, and his voice came out like a croak. “It’ll only be a good morning if you let me out.”

Not even a flicker of change passed over the man’s expression. “Yes, yes, I know. No need to worry—you’re going to be hearing plenty of positive news today. Trust me.”

Thomas thought about that, ashamed that he let it lift his hopes, even for a second. He should know better by now. “Positive news? Didn’t you choose us because you thought we were intelligent?”

Rat Man remained silent for several seconds before he responded. “Intelligent, yes. Among more important reasons.” He paused and studied Thomas before continuing. “Do you think we enjoy all this? You think we enjoy watching you suffer? It’s all been for a purpose, and very soon it will make sense to you.” The intensity of his voice had built until he’d practically shouted that last word, his face now red.

“Whoa,” Thomas said, feeling bolder by the minute. “Slim it nice and calm there, old fella. You look three steps away from a heart attack.” It felt good to let such words flow out of