Nothing but Darkness, Aria opened her eyes, a red light blaring to the right of her, She knew where she was as she placed her blood stained hands on the cool metal bars,
She was in The box, turning around she picked up and crate and smacked the sides, screaming.
"GET ME OUT OF HERE!" she tried to climb to the top, only to fall,
"Aria!" she could hear a faint voice
"ARIA WAKE UP WE GOTTA GO!"
opening her eyes she saw bright blue lights flashing, and red. Minho yanked her off of what appeared to be a pile of cloth, she walked to 2 doors on the side of the helicopter they were in, it slowly landed as men pushed the gladers out
"get a move on!" they yelled, Aria stepped out of the helicopter and looked around,
Miles, and Miles of sand.
"Start running love!" Newt yelled as he passed her up a metal ramp leading into some building, lights every where lit up the place, but no one could see what was beyond the darkness of the scorch,
Aria was yanked up by 2 men in black body armor "let's go!" they yelled,
"Get the hell off me!" Aria roared as she tried to break free, she made it into the building as 2 black doors sealed behind her, The group stood in a grey room, in the middle was an table. filled with food,
Aria moved to the front of the group and stared at the table in shock, "where are we?" she gulped
"You can call this your new home!" a tall man in a grey shirt cheered as he approached them, "Follow me,"
"No one has come out the scorch in a long time," he said passing a group of workers,
"Before we can get you all settled in we need to check some things." Mr.Janson lead the Gladers into a room full off Doctors and machines, some running equipment.
A group of doctors took each glader, "sit down," Aria's doctor smiled. Aria sat down "What are you gonna do?"
"Check to see if you need to be healed of any things. Gotta make sure those wounds don't become infected." The Doctor grabbed a syringe and stuck it in Aria's arm, Aria bit her lip "What was that for?"
The Doctor ignored her question and proceeded to get another syringe ready, "No." Aria said getting up.
Minho was hooked up to a treadmill running, Aria walked over to him
"You need to step back." The Doctor said in a harsh tone.
"I can do what ever the h-"
"Just go Ri-Ri." Minho smiled.
After the Gladers got cleaned up Janson lead them to a room.he turned around at a grey door "Beyond this door lies the beginning of your new lives," Mr.Janson swiped a key card into the giant panel and directed the gladers to their living quarters,Nothing fancy, just a grey room with white bunk beds, "Put these on," he ordered throwing a big bag into the room and shutting the door, Aria approached the bag and pulled out a pile of fresh clothes, then turned around and stared at the bathroom in the corner,
"After that, go meet up with the others," Mr.Janson said before leaving the room
"Others?" Minho said
"What about your Maze?" Thomas asked 2 boys sitting in front of them in some type of cafeteria
"We got rescued, one of their airplanes swooped down and picked up a few of us," one boy David answered
"What about the others?" Minho questioned, "We don't know, we've been here for 2 days." The other boy joe said
"That guys been here for about a week," David pointed to a boy sitting alone in the back of the large cafe, the boy had a gloomy expression, he wore a grey and black jacket, the hood covered most of his face,
"His maze was full of girls," they laughed
"Some guys are lucky like that,"
"Speaking of lucky," David whistled. "Who ever was in a maze with that babe is lucky."
he pointed across the cafeteria,
Newt squinted, and titled his head.
It was Aria,
"Talk about curves in all the right places," the Joe laughed
"We don't appreciate that," Minho glared at them,
"That's Aria, she's from our Maze." Newt grinned
Aria walked over to the 3, she sat next to newt and pushed the food away that was given to her,
"Why the rejection shank?"
"It's not the same unless frypan cooked it,"
"And no more of Gally's secret recipe."
"Who's Gally?" Joe smirked
"He's Dead," Aria looked down at her feet,
She glanced at Thomas and said "He was misunderstood, and did something out of his control."
"No I'm not going over there," a girl giggled behind Aria,
2 girls sat at a table giggling twirling their hair at newt,
Aria was jealous , piercingly jealous. She didn't know why,
She scooted closer to Newt, resting her head on his shoulder and yawning, "I'm so tired," shortly after the 2 girls giggles stopped,
Janson walked in, he stood in front of the giant grey cafeteria. Smiling,
Janson seemed to hold a small clipboard. Aria sat up and crossed her arms, "May I see, Connor, Evelyn, Justin, Peter, Allison." Janson paused
"Squiggy." The whole cafeteria broke out in laughter pointing at Squiggy as he walked to the front, his hair was a messy and a dark orange.
"Franklin, and Abigail. Thank you." Jason said as he exited the room.
"Where are they taking them?" Aria asked as her eyes followed the crowd of clean cut kids.
"No one knows," David laughed "it's to their 'new life'."
Aria bit her lip and crossed her arms "New Life?"
"Yeah," Joe shrugged "Everyday they take 4, none sees the afterwards. It's thought they take them to a new cite."
"A safer one if you will."
"Safer," Minho leaned on the table "What do you mean safer?"
David let out a deep sigh and whispered "The Cranks, these walls can only contain them so much, and the other forces."
"What are Cranks?"
"People infected by the flare." Aria picked at her food
"But what do you mean other forces?" she ask putting down her fork.
David rubbed his hand across his face and looked around "Listen, we don't know they name. But supposedly they HATE the guys here."
Janson walked back in the cafeteria and blew a whistle "Back to your rooms!" he said directing everyone to the door.
"At least hide some food in your pocket." Thomas bit his lip looking at Aria,
"I don't trust them the least bit, i can fend for myself. I brought some food from The Glade."
"Come on guys," Aria walked out with Newt, Minho, and Thomas behind her. Guards stood all through the halls.
One guard pulled Aria to the side, "Let me go." She tried to pull away
"Mr.Janson would like to speak to you, make a sudden move you will be shot." The Guard held a gun to Aria's back,
The others looked back at her as the guard pushed her down the hall and around the corner,
"Where are they taking her?" Aria heard Thomas ask from the corner,
The Guard pushed Aria into a room and shut the door, Aria looked back around to see Janson sitting in a chair.
"Sit down," Janson smiled.
Aria sat down in front of him "I have a few questions." He coughed
"Well so do I."
"What do you remember about W.I.C.K.E.D?"
Aria looked at her feet as she thought of all of the repressed memory's. "I remember they sent me to the Maze,"
"I remember watching my friends die."
"And what do you plan to do?"
"Who say's I need a plan?Who say's I can run in and attack? I might get shot down, but we're all gonna die anyway."
"I see," Janson clicked his pen.
"Who's side are you on?" he asked.
Aria stood up and pushed the chair "I need to get back to my boys."
"What do you mean your boys?" Janson crossed his arms opening the door
"You ask too many questions." Aria walked out,as a guard cuffed her hands, following behind her "I can walk myself."
Aria shook her head and turned a corner, Janson followed her out "If you ever need anything just ask." He winked. She just shook her head and started walking down the hall with her head down when she ran into Minho. "Everything okay?"
"Yeah." she answered
"You and your one word answers are so unsatisfying."
"Sorry Minho, it's just i don't trust these guys."
"You think too much," he smiled
"And Your judgement is blinded," Aria stopped she grabbed his arms "You also have to see something suspicious about this place, I know you do; You're just so slap-happy about being "free" that you can't see it. You know I'm right." She looked into his eyes
"Why would W.I.C.K.E.D just let us go? why would they let some random people take all of their subjects? They must know by now."
"They've been monitoring the Mazes, seeing if we found a way out. You think if we mattered that much they would send people to look for us if it wasn't them picking us up."
Minho took a long breath,He reeled Aria in for a hug "I want believe in you little bird." he said hugging her tightly,
Minho just walked off leaving Aria alone in the hall. She crossed her arms and sat down, Was she just over reacting?
So many recent events played so many times over in her head she had no idea if she could trust there accuracy or if her own perceptions had rewritten how these events unfolded, was Chuck really dead? Did Gally shoot him?
One thing was for sure, Aria remembered seeing the emptiness in her friends eyes, his once lively hazel blue eyes had turn into darkness, the most vivid memory of that night was the blood, it covered everything.
Aria knew she would never be the same after she saw the life sucked right out of her friends. Holding chuck in her arms played over and over in her mind, she sobbed in the middle of the hall.
She lost her family, and was now loosing her friends. She held it in and stood up, she crossed her arms and walked to the room, all of the lights behind her shut off one, by one. She opened the door to a completely dark room. She walked over to her bunk, she starred at the top bunk,
The room was empty, The others were all at the showers,
Just as Aria sat on a bunk a loud racket echoed through the room, the vent cover slide across the floor and a boy crawled out.
It was Aris
"I thought i should show you something."He gulped, "I know you see it too."
Aria's eyes winded, Aris made his way back into the vent and gestured for Aria to follow.
So she did.
Aris moved through the vents swiftly, he crawled over another and stopped looking at Aria "This is it." he said so soft you could barely hear it. "Watch."
Doctors pushed what seemed to be like body bag's into a room, the dropped them off and walked back,
"We need a key card to get in, but they've done that every night."
"It's the new life? Isn't it?" Aria asked
Aris shook his head yes "Which is why we need to get out and fast."
Aria crawled back in the grey dull room. and popped the vent back in place, This was happening,
these people here weren't her friends. if anything they wanted her dead. Aria's mind went into over drive she couldn't leave, not today. How could she convince the others?
The Next Morning,
The Next morning Aria sat at the table with her friends. She didn't dare to eat the food,
she'd rather starve.
"Alice, Berry, Walt, Edger, Samantha, Erin, Dennis, Sally, Henry, Tim, and last but not least David." Janson smiled
"I wanna know what's through that door." She said
"Aria, we've been over this. you said they were covered up so you don't know what you saw."
"I know exactly what i saw, i saw bodies."
"Aris said they bring a new group in every night.
"Who the hell is Aris?" Minho asked
Aria pointed across the room to the boy, he was inspecting a piece of bread and the moment and Minho shook his head "Well, I'm sold."
"We just need to not draw any attention to ourselves." Newt said
Aria got up and started to walk to the front with her head down
"What is she doing?" Newt growled
"I think she's drawing attention to herself."
Aria walked right into the guard "You weren't called." he said
"This is a restricted area kid."
"I just want to see my friend."
The guard cracked his Knuckles "Get your ass back in that chair."
Aria started to turn around but then turned back and ran into the guard trying to push threw.
The others started to run up to grab her.
"What's your problem!?!?!" Aria yelled at the guard.
Aria just turned and walked back to her room
"What was that about!?" Minho yelled when they got there
"You didn't think they were gonna let you through?" Newt crossed his arms
"of course not," Aria pulled a key card out of her pocket, "I'm getting into that room."
"These people are not who they say, You know that Thomas."
Thomas shook his head yes. "Newt, they're hiding something."
"No, guys, you don't know that!"
"They only thing we do know is that they helped rescue us from WICKED. They gave us new clothes. Food, a Proper bed."
"Some of us haven't had that in a long time, longer than others."
"Hey Aria," the vent popped open
"What the..." Frypan said
"Maybe I am paranoid but I'm finding out for sure." Aria disappeared into the vents.
"Let's do this." She kicked open the vent in the hall and jumped down walking up to the doors, Sliding the card she was granted access. Aris stood behind her,
They entered the dark room, it had a few blue lights. As Aria looked up she saw her worst nightmare,
Live grievers in tanks, were they growing them?
She looked around and contained to walk down the dark walkway.
Arias heart pounded "Oh my god." she said looking around.
Bodies hung everywhere. They were the kids taken at lunch. "This is the new life she whispered."
Aria walked up to one body, it was a girl "That's Rachel." Aris said
"They took her the first night."
"I told her it was going to be okay."
Aria looked over at Aris, a whoosh sound spread through the room as the doors opened, the two spread out hiding behind objects
"Sure this can't wait?" A voice said
It was Janson
"She was very specific sir." a man gulped
"She wanted to speak with you personally."
"As if i don't have enough to deal with." Janson crossed his arms.
The man turned on a monitor, it showed the blonde lady from Aria's visions.
"Ava Paige" she growled.
"Hello Doctor Paige." Janson smiled
"Change of plans Janson, I'll be arriving sooner than expected first thing tomorrow."
"Oh," he coughed
"Well be delighted to have you, You will be please with our progress." Janson crossed his arms
"I want all subjects sedated and prepped for harvest by the time I arrive."
"We're going as fast as we can." Janson tried to smile.
"Have you found the right arm?"
"No. we tracked them to the mountains."
"We need to find them and stop them!" Ava yelled
"They want these kids as badly as we do and they've already hit 2 installations, and we cannot afford another lost."
"Might i suggest we start with the most recent arrivals?" Janson walked off.
Aria heart raced, she threw herself out of the vent and back in the room.
"We gotta go!"
"We gotta go!" she freaked out running around.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Minho asked
"They're coming for us."
"What happened!?!?!" Frypan asked
"Ava? who's ava?"
"It's W.I.C.K.E.D." Aria barricaded the doors
"Aria, what did you see?"
"They're recruiting and killing."
The group ran out of the vent, running down the hall Aris followed them
"You trust this kid!?!?" Minho asked
"Yeah!" Aria responded
"You guys go ahead, i gotta do something." Aris said
"Freeze!" a man yelled he shot at them,
"They're in L-3!" the man yelled into a walkie talkie.
Minho ran back down the hall grunting he body slammed the man and kicked him in the face
"Shit Minho." Newt said looking down at the man, Aria picked up the gun, the strapped it on her back, they ran as fast as they could down the all.
They made it to the large black door Thomas tried the key card but it wouldn't work.
She pointed the gun at Janson who walked down with a bunch of guards "Open the door Janson!"
"You don't want me to." He laughed
"Open the damn door!" Aria screamed.
Just as she said that the door open behind her. Aria took the gun and fired 3 shots, hitting 2 guards and Janson.
"Come on Greenie!" Minho yelled as the door with closing, Aria tossed the gun and ran she slid out from under the door.
She stopped to take deep breaths.She stood up and faced Janson standing at the door "you little shit." He said shaking his head
Aria arch her brow and turned around running to thee group,
Guards flocked outside. They used every force they had. Whether is be in the air or on the ground.
Airplane's flew around.
Aria ran behind a sand pile.
"This area is clear." a guard spoke into a mic, Aria looked around the corner and back. clenching her fists she turned around the sand pile and punch the guard in the stomach, she then kicked his face knocking him down. Aria check for a pulse.
He was still alive.
Aria searched his pockets for anything she could use. His gun lay on the ground not too far from him.
Aria looked at it and walked away she gestured for them to cross, they ran father into the darkness. Aria stopped at a giant old building stuck under ground. "We need to get out of here." she slide down into the building and landed with a thump. She stood up and looked around.
"Are you crazy?" Frypan hissed.
"What now?" Thomas asked stepping up next to Aria.
"I don't know." She took a deep breath. "We find shelter, and the right arm."
"You lead us out here not knowing what to do?" Newt pushed in front of Aria.
"We had to get out." Aria sighed, "It wasn't safe."
Aria took Newt's arms "I'm trying to keep us safe, I don't want anyone else to die." she starred into his eyes "You're my friend, my responsibility. I need to do what I need to do to keep you safe."
Newt looked down at his feet and back at Aria "I understand."
Aria stepped away and peered into the building "We need to get supplies."
Aria took a deep breath and stepped further into the unknown, Every part of her was frozen with fear, The thoughts of meeting unwanted guests struck threw her. But she knew she had to keep going, Aria shook it off and passed behind a rack, she dropped down and looked through some old bags. She found clothing and a blue flash light with a clip.
A pair of brown sand coloured cargo pants, dark heather grey tank top, and dark green military jacket lay in her hands.
The others collected flash lights and clothing.
Frypan and Newt hunted threw a pile of junk."II don't see anything Man." Frypan yawned as his flashlight shook his hand.
"We need shelter items. We can settle down here."
Frypan looked over to the side and smiled. Newt looked over, he looked back at Frypan and put 2 fingers on his neck pulling his face back over Newt smiled and shook his head.
Aria was changing behind a short vintage room divider, Aria strapped on a brown leather waist gun holster, the belt wrapped neatly around her waist, the leather came down and strapped just above the knee.
She felt the holster on her thigh, all she needed to do was find a gun. She strapped a climbing axe on the other side of the belt and secured it. she clipped a wad of rope and the blue light on the back. She slipped on the jacket and dropped rifle and pistol ammo pouches into the pockets.
She walked up to Newt. "You going stir crazy yet?" he asked
"I need a bow." She clenched her fists "I need my bow."
"But your bow was crafted out of sticks." Frypan stood up
Newt wrapped a desert scarf around Aria's neck "I found it for you." he smiled gently.
"Thank's Newt." she adjusted the soft brown material.
"We'll get your weapons soon." Newt hugged her, She let go of his and switched on the flash light.
"I'm gonna go find Minho."
Aria walked down the dark walkway, she passed shelves full of teddy bears, broken vases and other randoms items, "This place was once inhabited," she said to herself
Aria walked up to Minho and patted his back as he squatted down looking at a fuse box.
This look's promising" Minho starred into the box flipping switches,
Aria shined her flashlight beyond the gate, a bed with old blankets lay in the middle of the floor "Hey, Minho wait!" Said she, but it was too late.
Lights started to flicker on, She starred up at them. Everything powered on, old TV's filled with static and christmas lights.
Minho smiled , Aria bit her lip, and he eyes widened, she screamed as her arm was tugged through the fence she looked up to see a woman with no eyes. Aria pulled her arm away and jumped back next to Minho. Another person like it jumped in front of them spitting "Crank." Aria said quietly
"Stay Back!" Minho yelled as he smacked the crank in the head with a crowbar.
Light after light lit and then busted,
Shards of glass fell from the deep darkness of the sky "THIS IS WHY WE DON'T PRESS BUTTONS!" Aria yelled at Minho as they went running.
Cranks screamed and hissed all through the old mall. Minho and Aria ran passed 2 doors and held the closed, "What are doing!?" Aria yelled as Minho backed away, "Move!" He yelled back. Minho pushed down a old metal set of lockers. He grabbed Aria's hand a pulled her away
Aria and Minho jolted up two old escalators
"HEY!" Aria yelled seeing the group ahead, she slid into the side of a barrel and got back up,
"RUN!" She screeched
Newt's eyes widened as he saw the herd of cranks following them, "Oh shit...." he mumbled
Everyone scrambled up more escalators, Aria could hear her heart beat in her chest, "ARIA! MINHO! What the heel are those things!?!?!" Winston yelled from the top of the Escalator
"Cranks!" Aria replied
Aria took a deep breath at the top, "Oh my god," she looked out of the corner of her eye, Metal and leather shone in the dim light. Aria ran towards it and picked it up, inside an old Nagant Russian Revolver. "Still loaded." she smiled
Aria grabbed the gun, and placed it in the holster "Everybody go!" Aria shoved the group up onto the next floor. Aria turned around at the cranks and pulled out her gun She aimed and shot down 3 of them.
"We gotta find a way put of here!" Frypan yelled
Everyone ran on the top floor, Newt limped behind huffing and puffing, "AH!" He yelled
Aria looked behind her seeing Newt pinned down on the ground by a crank, The crank snapped and growled at Newt as he blocked the bites with his arms. Dark Vines grew out of the cranks mouth,
"NEWT!"Aria yelled kicking the crank off the ledge, "You ok Newt?" Aria asked grabbing his arm
"Yeah! Thank's green bean."
Minho held a narrow gate open urging people inside "Come on!"
Everyone squeezed through the crack the the blue light from Aria's 6inch snap light seemed to stab at the darkness.
"It's a dead end!" Minho yelled as the reached the end, Aria pushed on each of the doors and found one with a loose lock "Everybody get back!" Aria gripped her climbing axe and swung at the lock breaking it open. The Glader squeezed through the door, Winston screamed as the cranks pulled him back, digging there nails into his flesh ripping and tearing it; Aria, Minho, and Thomas pulled back freeing him as the carried him down the hall.
Eventually they had reached the bottom and hid underneath some rubble as cranks searched. Aria stacked boxes of ammo into her back and held her gun tightly, Aris squeezed his bat, and Thomas held a crowbar.
After 20 minutes the Cranks and had given up and left, Aria lay down in silence next to Newt.
Aria opened her eyes slowly to the sunshine and glanced over to find a crow biting at Minho's bag "Go away!" She waved her hand at the bird causing it to fly away, Minho lay next to her and looked at her in silence. She stood up and looked around
"Are they gone?" Newt yawned
"yeah," Aria bit her lip, "Let's pack it up." She grabbed her bag and stretched her arms, the others got up slowly. Winston grunted as he looked at his bandaged stomach.
Aria led the group over the rubble, She gasped as her foot slipped "You ok?" Thomas asked helping her up
"Yeah," Aria answered at the end of the building, she starred at all of the old broken worn down buildings, old cars and buses stopped and abandoned. Stores had collapsed where they stood, dust seemed to be the only thing that remained.
"What the hell happened here to this place?" Frypan asked squinting.
"I don't know, but it look's like no one's been here in a long time." Newt coughed as the sun beamed down on him,
Aria laughed "Well look's like we've arrived in hell, I always thought you'd end up here Minho, not me thought."
"Ha,ha.Very funny.." Minho lagged behind
Aria arched her brow, "You hear that?" She stopped the group, a humming sound lurking off in the distance. Thomas looked around "But where?"
Aria gasped as the sound grew "Everybody hide!" She shoved everyone under some more rubble, in the air ways W.I.C.K.E.D's planes searched around.
"They're looking for us," Aria took a deep breath.
"I don't think they'll ever stop." Minho lowered his head.
Once the planes had passed Aria headed back out into the scorch, She walked slowly up to a giant pile of broken buildings, The way they had fallen formed a bit of a rock wall, She proceeded to climb, she was going to make it to the right arm, she was going to find those mountains.
"I will never give up." Aria said quietly to herself, "You're crazy Aria." Frypan said from the back
"You know it Fry," She turned around and smiled
"I knew you'd be a firecracker since the first time I laid eyes on you greenie." Minho side hugged her
Aria took a sip from her water from her canteen and slipped it back into the pocket of her bag, "Be careful on the slide down," she said carefully placing her footing ahead of her a hill her "I'm gonna check the mountains from above!"
Aria leaped off the the rocks and swung her axe into the the hill sandy surface.
She coughed as dust flew off into her face, Aria proceeded to climb up the hill to the top, she stood up and whipped her hands on her jeans coughing.
She could see the mountains clearly, it was a long trip but they had to make it.
"How far is it?" Newt asked from below
"Pretty far!" Aria answered standing on the edge of the hill.
"How you planning on getting down?" Thomas crossed his arms looking up.
Aria put her back to the gladers and stuck her axe into the top of the hill on the edge. She grabbed the handle and hung on as she retraced her steps climbing backwards
Aria repeated this in a fashionable manner as she dug her axe into the hot surface one last time before dropping and landing on her feet. "If we want to make it we've gotta get going." She slung her bag over her shoulder.
"And with W.C.K.D on our backs this isn't going to be easy."
"Yep," Aria looked at Newt as he wrapped his arm around her,
"We can make it."
Aria started to walk through the thick sand, Minho walked beside her and smiled as the group hiked up a hill of sand "You've gotten stronger." He said
"You're stronger, you've become such a leader. I think you can take this one."
Aria smiled as she reached the top, beyond lay a land of sand. Building seemed to of sunk into the ground.Her focal point shifted.
"WINSTON!" she yelled as her friend fell face first into the sand, he started breathing faster and groaning out of pain.
Purple lines stretched all of his body making him appear lifeless. Winston pointed at his blood soaked shirt, Aria lifted it to see the mark the crank left; she sight of it freaked her out "We-we have to help him!" she stuttered
"Minho, Thomas grab him." Aria order as she grabbed their bags taking stuff out and wrapping it into a cot, the gladers hoisted him on the cot.
Minho and Thomas carried him for miles. "Hey Minho, I can take it from here." Aria said between cough's.
"No," Minho tried to smile "I've got it, you've gotta lead the pack." he shoved me lightly