Disclaimer: I don't own any characters or anything from TMR-that's all James Dashner,
"Sweetie, you've been selected. I don't know why, but I know that you have been selected by WICKED," my father murmurs as he holds me tightly. We're sitting on the floor of my tiny bedroom.
I don't know what WICKED is, or anything. All I know is that I'm five, my mom and brother are gone and now I'm losing my dad too.
"Daddy.." I start but am cut off by his finger over my lips.
"Shh Lindie. You're going to be okay. I promise," My dad insists.
I stare up at him with big eyes filled with hope and trust.
"Pinky promise?" I question, my pinky held out. A small, fleeting smile flashes upon my dad's lips.
"Pinky promise," he says while wrapping his pinky around mine.
"Just remember Lindie. Always remember how much your mother and I love you," Dad begs while looking me straight in the eyes.
"Mhm okay Daddy!" I grin and he struggles to return the smile. He hugs me one last time before a woman in a white suit bursts through the door.
"Come along Rosalind," she says in a curt and clipped tone. I look questioningly at my dad. He smiles and nods encouragingly.
"Go along Lindie," he says. I walk slowly towards the woman and follow her out the door.
That was the last time I ever saw my father.
"Lindie!" Eleanor, one of my best friends, cries as she races after me. Following her are our other best friends, Newt and Thomas. Thomas' friends Aris, Rachel and Teresa are here too. I like the other three, but I'm not nearly as close to them as I am to Newt, Elle and Tommy. I'm ten now. I've been with WICKED for five years now. After that fateful day, I never once saw or heard from my dad again. The rest of my family was already dead, driven insane by the flare. My older brother had been 12 when he got the Flare. Before he'd been driven insane he'd been my hero, always saving me from the bigger kids when they picked on me. Whenever I try to remember what he looked like, all I can remember is a fleeting image of brown hair, green eyes and a wide grin. I swear, I can still hear his screams as he went insane, his cries muffled by my dad holding me close and stroking my hair, muttering nonsense words into my ears. His name had been James, but I can faintly remember that everyone called him Jamie. My mom had been a beautiful women before the flare destroyed her. Tall, brunette with kind brown eyes, moms death had occurred shortly after Jamie's. The flare had started already, and she'd already began to go insane. Before she'd been gone too far she had killed herself. All I can remember of that day are small flashes of blood, horror, a blood stained knife and blank brown eyes, devoid of previous love and kindness.
My dad.. I don't know what happened to him. I don't want to. I like to think that he's still alive and out there somewhere, that the flare never got to him.
That's what WICKED is fighting to cure. It's why all of us were chosen. We were chosen to under go tests that would help allow a cure to be made for the flare and to save thousands of lives. It's like they always tell us:
WICKED is good.
"Guys! Shut up for a second-I hear something!" Rachel whispers, tugging on the back of Aris' shirt. We all stop at a corner. Suddenly, I can hear voices. We all huddle at the wall, trying to make ourselves small and invisible.
"Yes, but we have two extra girls. Too many. That will provide us with an unwanted variation," a nasal toned voice says. My eyes widen slightly. I know they're talking about all of us kids. There's 78 of us in total-38 boys and 40 girls. My eyebrows scrunch together as I struggle to further listen to the conversation.
"We could just add two extras to group A and provide a new variable for group A that group B would lack," a monotone female voice says. I can hear shifting, before the nasal voice speaks again.
"If you're sure, than that's what we will do," he says, sniffing. Footsteps sound, coming towards our hallway. My eyes widen and I turn to the others.
"Run!" I mouth. They get the idea and we all sprint to the common area we are supposed to be in. Once we get there, we all look at each other. What were they talking about? Newt and Elle look just as confused as I am, but Tommy, Rachel, Aris and Teresa are all looking at each other weirdly, almost like they know something.
"The trials that ensue will help us map out your brain patterns and will allow us to find a cure for the flare. You are all apart of something amazing," a rat faced man with a nasal tone says. It's been two Years since Tommy, Elle, Newt, Aris, Teresa, Rachel and I overheard that conversation. Since then, Tommy and Elle came up with the idea of the Maze together. Teresa was a little bit pissed about that. Elle, Tommy, Teresa, Rachel, Aris, Newt and I all work for WICKED in designing the trials and how to break them. It's not necessarily the kindest process, but WICKED officials are always telling us it's for the greater good. Today is the day the trials officially start. A boy named Alby and a girl named Harriet are entering their separate mazes today.
"Two individuals have been chosen to enter their trials first- Alby and Harriet. Please follow me," Janson, a rat faced WICKED official demands. Two people step forward and follow Janson through a door. As everyone else disperses, Elle, Tommy, Newt and I all follow after Janson, Harriet and Alby. As we're walking, Newt's hand brushes against mine and I blush slightly. Over the years I've developed a crush on the blonde haired British boy. He's always protective of me, always calling me Rosie (he's the only one that's allowed to call me that) and has a great sense of humour. Plus, he's attractive with his dark blonde hair that sweeps over his bright blue eyes.. But he probably doesn't like me back. Why should he? I'm just plain old Rosalind, with boring straight blonde hair and green eyes. Nothing special.
We follow the trio in front of us until we reach the door to the lab. I bite my lip and glance at the other three. Technically, only Tommy is allowed in there out of the four of us. Elle takes a deep breath and pushes through the door. Instantly I'm horrified. Alby and Harriet are lying down in separate glass containers, a liquid rapidly filling them. As they are submerged completely in the tinted blue liquid, Alby and Harriet begin to thrash around, grabbing their heads, pounding on the walls of the containers, screaming wordlessly. I gasp quietly. Newt quickly grabs me and pulls me against his chest.
"Shh, Rosie, shh," Newt tries to comfort me but I can tell he's horrified too. He's shaking. Tommy is trying to console Elle, who has tears streaming down her face. Slowly, we back out of the room as Harriet and Alby's thrashing stops and their faces go blank as they go unconscious and the liquid leaves the box.
That was the first time I began to doubt that WICKED was good.
"Newt! Put me down!" I giggle as he carries me around on his shoulder.
"Not a chance Rosie. This is way too much fun," Newt sing songs slyly. I kick at him some more before finally deciding it's futile with a huff and a pout. Finally, Newt puts me down. We're thirteen and it's been four months since Alby and Harriet have been put into the maze. Four other have joined each of them. All of them have no memory of the outside world, just basic stuff and their names. I don't like this, I don't like the maze. It's wrong, but it's all for the greater good.. Isn't it?
I'm broken out of my reverie by Newt tapping my shoulder.
"Yes Newt?" I question with a grin. He bites his lip nervously.
"Rosie.. WICKED is putting me into the maze next month. They're separating boys and girls, and they're taking away their memories. I won't be able to remember you," Newt confesses with wide eyes. I bite my lip.
"You're right-they are separating boys and girls. I'm scared. I don't want to lose you, you're one of my best friends!" I whimper with my eyes filling with tears. Newt scrambles to put his arm around me.
"Hey, hey! Rosie, you're my best friend too. I don't want to lose you either," Newt murmurs into my hair as he pulls me close. I sob quietly into his shoulder as he rubs my back reassuringly. Suddenly, I have an idea.
"Newt, you know how sometimes Gladers are able to remember small snippets, like their names? And how WICKED is monitoring everything in the maze? Well, if you ever remember me, even just for a second, tug your ear three times and tap your knee. Than I'll know that there's still hope that you remember me, and I'll do everything I can to try and get put into Group A. Remember what we heard three years ago? They have to stick at least two girls into Group A. I'm gonna try to get in it, okay?" I tell him. He nods before hugging me close again.
"I'll do everything I can to remember you Rosie. I'm going to miss you so much," He whispers. I hug him tighter.
"I'm going to miss you too Newt," I say. We end up sitting in that room for the rest of the night, just talking about anything and everything. My crush on Newt only continues to grow.
For the next month, we're inseparable. Elle cries a little when she finds out Newt is going in the maze.
"You be careful, okay? Don't you dare go and die!" She cries into his shoulder. Newt awkwardly pats her on the back in an attempt to console her. When the day finally comes for Newt to go into the maze, Newt and I lock ourselves into our hiding spot in WICKED headquarters. The officials probably know about it, but they never look there.
"Rosie, you're my best friend and I love you, okay? Please don't forget that. I'm going to do everything I can to remember you, okay?" Newt says quietly. I nod and hug him tightly. I can't speak. There are so many things I want to say, but my throat has closed up in my grief over losing Newt. I just continue to sit in lap with his arms wrapped around me until Tommy and Elle enter the room.
"It's time," is all Tommy says. It's enough for my tears to start. Elle sniffles and her eyes fill with tears. As we make our way to the labs, Newt's hand brushes against mine and I take it, grasping it tightly until we reach Janson, who is waiting by the door of the lab with another girl. Newt takes a deep breath before hugging Elle one last time, nodding at Thomas and engulfing me in a bear hug.
"Goodbye Newt," I whisper.
"Bye Rosie," he murmurs back before grudgingly pulling away and following Janson and the other girl into the lab. I stare resolutely at the door. After staring at the door for about a minute, I push my way in. Tommy tries to barricade me from entering, but his attempts are futile.
"Lindie, don't torture yourself more," he tries to convince me, but I refuse to be convinced. I walk into the room and watch the tank with Newt inside. The liquid is filling up the tank and Newt is already thrashing around, beating onto the glass. I continue to stare. Newt notices me and holds my gaze as his attempts at thrashing become weaker and weaker before finally, he falls unconscious. As Elle and Tommy pull me out of the lab, I feel a wetness on my cheeks. I didn't even notice I'd been crying.
That's the day when I begin to truly hate the maze.
One whole year. It's been an entire year since Newt has entered the maze. One whole year since I've hugged him or spoken to him. Everyday, I watch the monitors. The first few days, I barely ate or slept. All I did was watch Newt on the monitors. I had to watch- what if Newt remembered me and did the signal, but I wasn't there to see it?!
Elle finally dragged me away from the monitors about two weeks after Newt was put in.
"Newt wouldn't want you to starve yourself and drive yourself insane because of him. He would've wanted you to take care of yourself," she had said.
Now it's been an entire year since I've seen Newt in real life, not just on a screen. He has made the signal once in that entire time. I had almost missed it too. He had woken up in the middle of the night and muttered my name before doing the signal. For a few seconds he had smiled, and my heart had soared. He remembered me! But within minutes, he had forgotten again. My heart had shattered.
Within the year Newt has been in the maze, he became a runner. Every day he goes out into the maze I fret about him making it back in time. But recently, something has changed in Newt. He seems more held back and closed off. Newt has always been light hearted and happy, but he's been gloomy and depressed for the past few weeks. But today, he seems more depressed than usual. As he runs out into the maze, I get a sinking feeling in my gut. Quickly programming a beetle blade to follow him, the sinking feeling in my gut is only more pronounced. He's not taking the route he's supposed to-instead, he running erratically. Suddenly, he skids to a stop in front of an ivy covered wall. He begins to climb up the wall.
"No.." I whisper in horror. Elle walks into the room with Thomas. They quickly realize my distress.
"Lindie, what's going on?" Elle exclaims. My face pales as I realize exactly what he's doing.
"He's going to try and kill himself," I whimper, horrified. As Newt throws himself off the wall, I shriek and tears stream down my face.
"No! NO! NEWT! NEWT!" I scream as Tommy and Elle try to restrain me. Quickly, a WICKED official shoes up with a needle. As she injects me with it, I feel the world slipping away as I fall into unconsciousness. The last thing I hear is Janson saying "he's alive," before it all goes black.
That is when I fully realize how much I hate WICKED.