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It was Gally.


Gally’s eyes raged with lunacy; his clothes were torn and filthy. He dropped to his knees and stayed there, his chest heaving with deep, sucking breaths. He looked about the room like a rabid dog searching for someone to bite. No one said a word. It was as if they all believed as Thomas did—that Gally was only a figment of their imagination.

“They’ll kill you!” Gally screamed, spittle flying everywhere. “The Grievers will kill you all—one every night till it’s over!”

Thomas watched, speechless, as Gally staggered to his feet and walked forward, dragging his right leg with a heavy limp. No one in the room moved a muscle as they watched, obviously too stunned to do anything. Even Newt stood mouth agape. Thomas was almost more afraid of their surprise visitor than he was of the Grievers just outside the window.

Gally stopped, standing just a few feet in front of Thomas and Newt; he pointed at Thomas with a bloody finger. “You,” he said with a sneer so pronounced it went past comical to flat-out disturbing. “It’s all your fault!” Without warning he swung his left hand, forming it into a fist as it came around and crashed into Thomas’s ear. Crying out, Thomas crumpled to the ground, more taken by surprise than pain. He scrambled to his feet as soon as he’d hit the floor.

Newt had finally snapped out of his daze and pushed Gally away. Gally stumbled backward and crashed into the desk by the window. The lamp scooted off the side and broke into pieces on the ground. Thomas assumed Gally would retaliate, but he straightened instead, taking everyone in with his mad gaze.

“It can’t be solved,” he said, his voice now quiet and distant, spooky. “The shuck Maze’ll kill all you shanks…. The Grievers’ll kill you … one every night till it’s over…. I … It’s better this way….” His eyes fell to the floor. “They’ll only kill you one a night … their stupid Variables …”

Thomas listened in awe, trying to suppress his fear so he could memorize everything the crazed boy said.

Newt took a step forward. “Gally, shut your bloody hole—there’s a Griever right out the window. Just sit on your butt and be quiet—maybe it’ll go away.”

Gally looked up, his eyes narrowing. “You don’t get it, Newt. You’re too stupid—you’ve always been too stupid. There’s no way out—there’s no way to win! They’re gonna kill you, all of you—one by one!”

Screaming the last word, Gally threw his body toward the window and started tearing at the wooden boards like a wild animal trying to escape a cage. Before Thomas or anyone else could react, he’d already ripped one board free; he threw it to the ground.

“No!” Newt yelled, running forward. Thomas followed to help, in utter disbelief at what was happening.

Gally ripped off the second board just as Newt reached him. He swung it backward with both hands and connected with Newt’s head, sent him sprawling across the bed as a small spray of blood sprinkled the sheets. Thomas pulled up short, readying himself for a fight.

“Gally!” Thomas yelled. “What’re you doing!”

The boy spat on the ground, panting like a winded dog. “You shut your shuck-face, Thomas. You shut up! I know who you are, but I don’t care anymore. I can only do what’s right.”

Thomas felt as if his feet were rooted to the ground. He was completely baffled by what Gally was saying. He watched the boy reach back and rip loose the final wooden board. The instant the discarded slab hit the floor of the room, the glass of the window exploded inward like a swarm of crystal wasps. Thomas covered his face and fell to the floor, kicking his legs out to scoot his body as far away as possible. When he bumped into the bed, he gathered himself and looked up, ready to face his world coming to an end.

A Griever’s pulsating, bulbous body had squirmed halfway through the destroyed window, metallic arms with pincers snapping and clawing in all directions. Thomas was so terrified, he barely registered that everyone else in the room had fled to the hallway—all except Newt, who lay unconscious on the bed.

Frozen, Thomas watched as one of the Griever’s long arms reached for the lifeless body. That was all it took to break him from his fear. He scrambled to his feet, searched the floor around him for a weapon. All he saw were knives—they couldn’t help him now. Panic exploded within him, consumed him.

Then Gally was speaking again; the Griever pulled back its arm, as if it needed the thing to be able to observe and listen. But its body kept churning, trying to squeeze its way inside.

“No one ever understood!” the boy screamed over the horrible noise of the creature, crunching its way deeper into the Homestead, ripping the wall to pieces. “No one ever understood what I saw, what the Changing did to me! Don’t go back to the real world, Thomas! You don’t … want … to remember!”

Gally gave Thomas a long, haunted look, his eyes full of terror; then he turned and dove onto the writhing body of the Griever. Thomas yelled out as he watched every extended arm of the monster immediately retract and clasp onto Gally’s arms and legs, making escape or rescue impossible. The boy’s body sank several inches into the creature’s squishy flesh, making a horrific squelching sound. Then, with surprising speed, the Griever pushed itself back outside the shattered frame of the window and began descending toward the ground below.

Thomas ran to the jagged, gaping hole, looked down just in time to see the Griever land and start scooting across the Glade, Gally’s body appearing and disappearing as the thing rolled. The lights of the monster shone brightly, casting an eerie yellow glow across the stone of the open West Door, where the Griever exited into the depths of the Maze. Then, seconds later, several other monsters followed close behind their companion, whirring and clicking as if celebrating their victory.

Thomas was sickened to the verge of throwing up. He began to back away from the window, but something outside caught his eye. He quickly leaned out of the building to get a better look. A lone shape was sprinting across the courtyard of the Glade toward the exit through which Gally had just been taken.

Despite the poor light, Thomas realized who it was immediately. He screamed—yelled at him to stop—but it was too late.

Minho, running full speed, disappeared into the Maze.


Lights blazed throughout the Homestead. Gladers ran about, everyone talking at once. A couple of boys cried in a corner. Chaos ruled.

Thomas ignored all of it.

He ran into the hallway, then leaped down the stairs three at a time. He pushed his way through a crowd in the foyer, tore out of the Homestead and toward the West Door, sprinting. He pulled up just short of the threshold of the Maze, his instincts forcing him to think twice about entering. Newt called to him from behind, delaying the decision.

“Minho followed it out there!” Thomas yelled when Newt caught up to him, a small towel pressed against the wound on his head. A patchy spot of blood had already seeped through the white material.

“I saw,” Newt said, pulling the towel away to look at it; he grimaced and put it back. “Shuck it, that hurts like a mother. Minho must’ve finally fried his last bit of brain cells—not to mention Gally. Always knew he was crazy.”

Thomas could only worry about Minho. “I’m going after him.”

“Time to be a bloody hero again?”

Thomas looked at Newt sharply, hurt by the rebuke. “You think I do things to impress you shanks? Please. All I care about is getting out of here.”

“Yeah, well, you’re a regular toughie. But right now we’ve got worse problems.”

“What?” Thomas knew if he wanted to catch up with Minho he had no time for this.

“Somebody—” Newt began.

“There he is!” Thomas shouted. Minho had just turned a corner up ahead and was coming straight for them. Thomas cupped his hands. “What were you doing, idiot!”

Minho waited until he made it back through the Door, then bent over, hands on his knees, and sucked in a few breaths before answering. “I just … wanted to … make sure.”

“Make sure of what?” Newt asked. “Lotta good you’d be, taken with Gally.”

Minho straightened and put his hands on his hips, still breathing heavily. “Slim it, boys! I just wanted to see if they went toward the Cliff. Toward the Griever Hole.”

“And?” Thomas said.

“Bingo.” Minho wiped sweat from his forehead.

“I just can’t believe it,” Newt said, almost whispering. “What a night.”

Thomas’s thoughts tried to drift toward the Hole and what it all meant, but he couldn’t shake the thought of what Newt had been about to say before they saw Minho return. “What were you about to tell me?” he asked. “You said we had worse—”

“Yeah.” Newt pointed his thumb over his shoulder. “You can still see the buggin’ smoke.”

Thomas looked in that direction. The heavy metal door of the Map Room was slightly ajar, a wispy trail of black smoke drifting out and into the gray sky.

“Somebody burned the Map trunks,” Newt said. “Every last one of ’em.”

For some reason, Thomas didn’t care about the Maps that much—they seemed pointless anyway. He stood outside the window of the Slammer, having left Newt and Minho when they went to investigate the sabotage of the Map Room. Thomas had noticed them exchange an odd look before they split up, almost as if communicating some secret with their eyes. But Thomas could think of only one thing.

“Teresa?” he asked.

Her face appeared, hands rubbing her eyes. “Was anybody killed?” she asked, somewhat groggy.

“Were you sleeping?” Thomas asked. He was relieved to see that she appeared okay, felt himself relax.

“I was,” she responded. “Until I heard something shred the Homestead to bits. What happened?”

Thomas shook his head in disbelief. “I don’t know how you could’ve slept through the sound of all those Grievers out here.”

“You try coming out of a coma sometime. See how you do.” Now answer my question, she said inside his head.

Thomas blinked, momentarily surprised by the voice since she hadn’t done it in a while. “Cut that junk out.”

“Just tell me what happened.”

Thomas sighed; it was such a long story, and he didn’t feel like telling the whole thing. “You don’t know Gally, but he’s a psycho kid who ran away. He showed up, jumped on a Griever, and they all took off into the Maze. It was really weird.” He still couldn’t believe it had actually happened.

“Which is saying a lot,” Teresa said.

“Yeah.” He looked behind him, hoping to see Alby somewhere. Surely he’d let Teresa out now. Gladers were scattered all over the complex, but there was no sign of their leader. He turned back to Teresa. “I just don’t get it. Why would the Grievers have left after getting Gally? He said something about them killing us one a night until we were all dead—he said it at least twice.”