"The best way to kill it is to try and stab it in a fleshy part of its body," Thomas said, crouching low. He'd drawn a diagram in the dust as best as he could. Pointing to the armoured body, he said, "Either try and get your knife in between the parts where the armour overlaps, or through the eyes. It's not a great second choice but it might blind it for a second."
Minho nodded, paying vivd attention. After nodding for a few more minutes, he jabbed his finger into the dust diagram. "What about the mouth?"
Thomas shook his head. "Armoured, all the way in and down the throat."
Just around the corner, the Griever was still standing there, groaning heavily. It's pincers clicked along the ground every so often, the sound jarring into Thomas' brain. The image of Isaac's guts lying on the ground was burned into the forefront of his mind. Swallowing, he shook his head and focused on the task at hand.
He kicked his foot through the drawing and said, "Let's get this over and done with."
The Keeper hopped up excitedly, his knife twirling. "I just wanna see the updates. See the babies we're up against."
Thomas frowned. "I want to know how it managed to get rid of Isaac so fast. It's usually a group of Grievers that do that--"
The Griever howled, sensing their movement. They were out of time. It was now or never. Wide eyed, Thomas nudged at Minho. The boy nodded and mouthed, "One, two...three."
The two leapt around the corner, knives clutched desperately in hand. The Griever snarled, the noise bouncing off the walls. Sweat dripping into his eyes, Thomas dashed forwards. The Griever brought its legs down to swipe at him but he narrowly dodged between them.
His name was yelled into the air--Minho had started to distract the Grieve, trying to buy Thomas some time to kill it. Thomas looked up to see the underbelly of the Griever above him, shaking as the beast fought the other boy. The segregated grey armour shielding the Griever's body split in places as it shifted. More foul liquid spilled through the splits, dropping onto Thomas.
He groaned, but there was no time to dwell on the gloop. Twisting his knife, he rammed the blade up into the Griever.
The resulting howl almost burst his ear drums.
"Thomas! Get out of there!"
He ran forwards blindly, in the hope he wasn't running in the direction of a metal spike. Thankfully, he twisted and darted out from underneath Griever without it impaling him. With a groan, it kept fighting Minho, but it's movements were slow and weak. It looked as though it were shifting through mud.
Minho tripped backwards, landing on his back. The Griever made a half-hearted attempt to lunge for the Keeper, but merely succeeded in tripping itself up. Metal legs tangled, it fell clumsily into a wall. Thomas ducked back to avoid being hit.
With a long beep, the lights running along the Griever's armour went out. It's grotesque body shuddered into stillness and the eyelids slipped down, hooding the beady insect eyes.
Thomas let out a heavy sigh, eyes squeezing shut. His back slammed into the ground and he rubbed at his face, allowing all of the tension to run out of his muscles.
From somewhere beside him, Minho groaned. At some point, the Griever had managed to shove him against a wall; blood trickled in a steady stream down his temple, dipping into the corner of his mouth. He swiped it away carelessly.
They were silent for a few seconds, then: "Apart from the armour, they haven't changed a shuckin' bit."
"Not true," Thomas panted. "It didn't really devour Isaac, it more...made him explode." He shuddered, despite the warm breeze.
Ignorant to his discomfort, Minho got to his feet and warily went to the corpse. A leg suddenly shuddered through a reflex and he cried out, stumbling back. Laughing, Thomas stood and offered him a hand.
The Keeper scowled, begrudgingly allowing himself to be pulled to his feet.
The smile fell from Thomas' face and he kicked at the Griever's now still legs. "So basically, the Grievers are now more contained, I guess."
"Boring. Thought they'd at least get laser eyes or somethin.'"
It was a little odd. The Grievers weren't as easily defeated even before the updated armour; something was wrong there. Thomas frowned, itching away the flies on the back of his head. His blade was still lodged in the beast's stomach. As he pulled it out, he realised that all this had been far too easy. A single stab would would only kill a Griever if the blade had struck a major organ. He wasn't even sure if Grievers had organs.
"You thinkin' the same as me?"
Thomas looked up. Minho stood over the Griever, his face scrunched up in a frown.
"Far too easy?"
"Yup." Minho slid his knife back out and added, "This is for killin' kids, you bastard." With one swift movement, he lodged the blade into the Griever's eye.
A loud grating noise echoed through the darkening Maze. Thomas glanced up, spying the dark clouds slowly edging through the sky. A howl followed as the grating stopped. It was getting too close to night for his liking. Minho wordlessly nodded. He pressed the flat of his shoe against the Griever's head and pulled the knife out with a squelch.
"Let's go. Before more come and decide your shuck ass looks good enough to eat."
Fatigue pulling at his eyelids, he nodded. As they ran, he focused only on the boys back at the Glade, and not the boy who had died inches from where they'd crouched.
Because every time he thought about Isaac, his heart twisted into knots and his eyes stung with guilty tears.
Focus, Thomas. Focus.