Damage Control

One would think being stuck in this place full of boys would be the worst thing imaginable. I couldn't disagree more. Everything here in the Glade worked in harmony. We all had our jobs and duties, coexisting with the maze that kept us prisoners. These boys were my family and I'd do anything to protect them, even if that meant leaving the security of the Glade.

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4. Chapter 4

"I'll slit her throat. Don't try and stop me," Brandon threatened. He turned his head slightly so he could see all four of them. "I'm serious. I will kill her."

"Okay, just…calm down," Nick said, holding his hands up to show he wasn't going to attack him. "Let Elira go."

"No. I'm getting out of this place, and she's going to show me the way." Brandon backed up further.

"She doesn't know. We're all stuck here. The maze is not safe, especially for Elira. She's just a girl," Nick said, rolling his eyes.

I know that he didn't mean it that way. He wanted to make it seem like I was fragile and that Brandon should let me go. Still, it offended me a little.

"If anyone follows me, I will kill her," Brandon promised. He pressed the knife down hard, causing blood to run down my chest.

Nick looked lost for words. Brandon wasn't letting up. He continued to take a few steps back until we were in the entrance of the maze. It felt colder in here, like death. I'd never been curious about the maze. It felt off and I wasn't going to venture in there for answers.

"E, go left and straight down to the eighth section. I told you that was the best way to get out. Remember? We were going to go together," Hank said, looking straight into my eyes. He wanted me to lie.

I nodded as best I could. "I remember." I assumed that was the direction that Ben and Minho went in. I would have to warn them somehow. That was the only chance I had to getting out of here alive. A very, very slim chance.

"Let's go. Don't follow." Brandon kept a strong hold on me and we went further into the maze, turning left at the end of the corridor. At least he listened to Hank.

I knew Nick wouldn't send anyone after us. The rules prohibited it. He'd make no exception for me. I understood that. We can't sacrifice others. It was up to me to get away. I had no idea how I would do that. I was never the brawn of the group.

The further we got into the maze, the more alone I felt. Brandon didn't speak. His breath on the back of my neck creeped down my back. I wasn't sure if he'd let me live. But it didn't matter if it got dark. The grievers would surely kill us both.

"Which way?" Brandon demanded. We were stopped at a y-shaped path.

"I honestly don't know, Brandon. I've never been in the maze before."

"Liar! Tell me!"

"Runners are the only ones allowed. I'm a med-jack," I said, loudly this time. I had to rely on Ben and Minho hearing me and nothing else.

Brandon picked left and walked a good ways before we ran into a huge pile of rubble from where part of the wall collapsed. Instead of turning back, he shoved me forward.

"Climb."

"What?" I rubbed my neck and faced him. I couldn't run past him. He'd definitely catch me.

His eyes narrowed and he lifted his arm to point at the pile. "Climb. I'll follow."

Having no other choice, I started to climb the pile. Huge chunks sat on top of smaller, unstable pieces. I stumbled a few times but I was doing pretty well. Halfway to the top, I missed a step. The piece I put all my weight on gave out and caused a small avalanche, taking me with it.

I toppled down, smacking my head against a piece and blacking out for a moment. I coughed and blinked slowly. My limbs ached and my head pounded. I stayed lying on the ground for a moment.

"Get up and help me!" Brandon groaned and whined. He was on his back with his leg caught under some rubble. Rubbing his leg, he looked down at me.

I struggled to get to my feet. Holding my side, I leaned against the wall of the maze. Broken rib, maybe two. My fingers brushed across my head. Blood stuck to them. I might need stitches.

Brandon called for me again, angrier this time. I apologized and slowly started to climb back up to him. I took my time, careful not to fall. My vision blurred a few times but I blinked it away. Small pieces of rubble continued to fall in small batches on either side.

"Get it off," Brandon breathed out.

I did a quick exam. "I can't. The cement block is the only thing keeping you from bleeding out." I yelled for Ben and Minho, hoping they could hear me. All the runners carried equipment for this kind of problem.

"I just wanted to get out. I don't belong here," Brandon said with labored breathing. His chest heaved and he beat his fist on the ground. "If you had just told me!"

"Do you think any of us want to be stuck in the Glade?" I asked, sitting down next to him. He didn't believe me. I could see it in his eyes. "Whoever put us here didn't leave a way out."

"Elira!" Ben's voice echoed. I almost wanted to cry at the sound of it.

"Over here!" I shouted, standing back up. I dusted off my pants. The rubble pile was still unstable. When Ben and Minho came running around the corner, I smiled at Brandon. "I'm going to get you out." I stepped down a few steps toward them and stretched out my hand. "I need some rope."

"Watch out!" Minho shouted and sprinted toward me.

I turned to see a large slab of concrete start to fall forward. The small pieces that I'd caused to fall away had been supporting it. My eyes widened as it fell. Brandon screamed and my legs were frozen.

The slab landed smack on top of Brandon with so much force that blood, muscle, and other gross bodily things splattered everywhere around, including on me. I heard the crunching of every bone in his body under the weight of the slab. It echoed all throughout the maze.

 

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