The Death Cure Page 0,2


The man stood from his chair and leaned forward on the desk. The veins in his neck bulged in taut cords. He slowly sat back down, took several deep breaths. “You would think that almost four weeks in this white box might humble a boy. But you seem more arrogant than ever.”

“So are you going to tell me that I’m not crazy, then? Don’t have the Flare, never did?” Thomas couldn’t help himself. The anger was rising in him until he felt like he was going to explode. But he forced a calmness into his voice. “That’s what kept me sane through all this—deep down I know you lied to Teresa, that this is just another one of your tests. So where do I go next? Gonna send me to the shuck moon? Make me swim across the ocean in my undies?” He smiled for effect.

The Rat Man had been staring at Thomas with blank eyes throughout his rant. “Are you finished?”

“No, I’m not finished.” He’d been waiting for an opportunity to speak for days and days, but now that it had finally come, his mind went empty. He’d forgotten all the scenarios he’d played out in his mind. “I … want you to tell me everything. Now.”

“Oh, Thomas.” The Rat Man said it quietly, as if delivering sad news to a small child. “We didn’t lie to you. You do have the Flare.”

Thomas was taken aback; a chill cut through the heat of his rage. Was Rat Man lying even now? he wondered. But he shrugged, as if the news were something he’d suspected all along. “Well, I haven’t started going crazy yet.” At a certain point—after all that time crossing the Scorch, being with Brenda, surrounded by Cranks—he’d come to terms with the fact that he’d catch the virus eventually. But he told himself that for now he was still okay. Still sane. And that was all that mattered at the moment.

Rat Man sighed. “You don’t understand. You don’t understand what I came in here to tell you.”

“Why would I believe a word that comes out of your mouth? How could you possibly expect me to?”

Thomas realized that he’d stood up, though he had no memory of doing so. His chest lurched with heavy breaths. He had to get control of himself. Rat Man’s stare was cold, his eyes black pits. Regardless of whether this man was lying to him, Thomas knew he was going to have to hear him out if he ever wanted to leave this white room. He forced his breathing to slow. He waited.

After several seconds of silence, his visitor continued. “I know we’ve lied to you. Often. We’ve done some awful things to you and your friends. But it was all part of a plan that you not only agreed to, but helped set in place. We’ve had to take it all a little farther than we’d hoped in the beginning—there’s no doubt about that. However, everything has stayed true to the spirit of what the Creators envisioned—what you envisioned in their place after they were … purged.”

Thomas slowly shook his head; he knew he’d been involved with these people once, somehow, but the concept of putting anyone through what he’d gone through was incomprehensible. “You didn’t answer me. How can you possibly expect me to believe anything you say?” He recalled more than he let on, of course. Though the window to his past was caked with grime, revealing little more than splotchy glimpses, he knew he’d worked with WICKED. He knew Teresa had, too, and that they’d helped create the Maze. There’d been other flashes of memory.

“Because, Thomas, there’s no value in keeping you in the dark,” Rat Man said. “Not anymore.”

Thomas felt a sudden weariness, as if all the strength had seeped out of him, leaving him with nothing. He sank to the floor with a heavy sigh. He shook his head. “I don’t even know what that means.” What was the point of even having a conversation when words couldn’t be trusted?

Rat Man kept talking, but his tone changed; it became less detached and clinical and more professorial. “You are obviously well aware that we have a horrible disease eating the minds of humans worldwide. Everything we’ve done up till now has been calculated for one purpose and one purpose only: to analyze your brain patterns and build a blueprint from them. The goal is to use this blueprint to develop a cure for the Flare. The lives lost,